According to informed sources the Watchtower has now made blood transfusions a matter of choice! In a legally binding document they agreed to allow, free choice on blood transfusions for Jehovah’s Witnesses and their children, without any penalties for the choice to take blood. The story was covered in the British press.
This took place at the 276th Session of the European Commission of Human Rights (Council of Europe) held at the Human Rights Building in Strasbourg from 2 to 13 March 1998. The findings used to be found on the European Commission on Human Rights (and will still be there within the archives) but a copy can be seen here.
The case in question was KHRISTIANSKO SDRUZHENIE “SVIDETELI NA IEHOVA” (CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES) v. Bulgaria (Application No. 28626/95).
The case concerned the refusal to re-register the Watchtower association pursuant to a 1994 law, and the alleged suppression of its activities and those of its members. In settlement, the Bulgarian Government agreed to introduce legislation as soon as possible to provide for civilian service for conscientious objectors, as an alternative to military service, and to register the association as a religion.
The Watchtower undertook, with regard to its stance on blood transfusions, to draft a statement for inclusion in its statute, providing members with a free choice in the matter, for themselves and their children, without any control or sanction on the part of the Society.If the Watchtower is to keep its promise to the European Commission, it must officially revoke the instructions found in The Watchtower, 15 January 1961, p.64.
“The receiver of a blood transfusion must be cut off from God’s people by excommunication or disfellowshiping if in the future he persists in accepting blood transfusions or in donating blood toward the carrying out of this medical practice upon others, he shows that he has really not repented, but is deliberately opposed to God’s requirements. As a rebellious opposer and unfaithful example to fellow members of the Christian congregation he must be cut off therefrom by disfellowshiping.”
It will be interesting to see what the result will be.
This is even more revealing in the light of the fact that as yet the Governing Body is refusing to answer the lawyer’s letter sent by the Liberal Elders concerning the refuting of the blood policy.