Religious freedoms have come from different sources but one source that has continually challenged the First Amendment and religious freedoms is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Jehovah’s Witnesses brought 23 First Amendment cases before the United States’ courts. Some of the cases concern the right for school children to not be forced to say the pledge if their conscience objected (they believe that one can only pledge allegiance to God any other allegiance is idolatry) , the right for adults to refuse medical treatment, the right to gather and worship peacefully, the right to share one’s faith without a permit, and the right to refrain from joining a war.
I may not agree with their stance on every issue but I am so very thankful for their willingness to stand up for their convictions and challenge the courts on religious freedoms.
•“I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to have an endowment in view of the aid which they give in solving the legal problems of civil liberties.”
Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone
•“All religions have the Jehovah’s Witnesses to thank for the expansion of that freedom.”
Tony Mauro, USA Today
Thank you, Jehovah’s Witnesses.