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Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality?

Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality?

 Jehovah’s Witnesses remain politically neutral for religious reasons, based on what the Bible teaches. We do not lobby, vote for political parties or candidates, run for government office, or participate in any action to change governments. We believe that the Bible gives solid reasons for following this course.

  •   We follow the example of Jesus, who refused to accept political office. (John 6:​15) He taught his disciples to be “no part of the world” and made it clear that they should not take sides in political issues.​—John 17:14, 16; 18:36; Mark 12:13-​17.

  •   We are loyal to God’s Kingdom, which Jesus spoke of when he said: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth.” (Matthew 24:14) As representatives of God’s Kingdom, commissioned to proclaim its coming, we remain neutral in the political affairs of all countries, including the one where we live.​—2 Corinthians 5:​20; Ephesians 6:​20.

  •   By remaining neutral, we are able to speak freely to people of all political persuasions about the good news of God’s Kingdom. We try to show by our words and practices that we rely on God’s Kingdom to solve the world’s problems.​—Psalm 56:11.

  •   Since we avoid political divisions, we are united as an international brotherhood. (Colossians 3:​14; 1 Peter 2:​17) In contrast, religions that meddle in politics divide their members.​—1 Corinthians 1:​10.

 Respect for governments. Although we do not take part in politics, we respect the authority of the governments under which we live. This is in harmony with the Bible’s command: “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Romans 13:1) We obey the law, pay taxes, and cooperate with efforts of the government to provide for the welfare of its citizens. Rather than participate in any attempt to subvert the government, we follow the Bible’s counsel to pray for “kings and all those who are in positions of authority,” especially when they are making decisions that could affect freedom of worship.​—1 Timothy 2:​1, 2, footnote.

 We also respect the rights of others to make their own decisions in political matters. For example, we do not disrupt elections or interfere with those who choose to vote.

 Is our neutrality a modern innovation? No. The apostles and other first-century Christians took an identical stand toward governmental authority. The book Beyond Good Intentions states: “Though they believed they were obligated to honor the governing authorities, the early Christians did not believe in participating in political affairs.” Similarly, the book On the Road to Civilization says that early Christians “would not hold political office.”

 Is our political neutrality a threat to national security? No. We are peace-loving citizens from whom governmental authorities have nothing to fear. Consider a 2001 report produced by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Commenting on our political neutrality, the report stated: “Today some may dislike this stand of Jehovah’s Witnesses; it was a basic reason for their being accused by the totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes of the past.” Yet, even under Soviet repression, the Witnesses “remained law-abiding citizens. They honestly and selflessly worked in collective farms and at industrial plants and presented no threat to the Communist regime.” Likewise today, the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses do not, the report concluded, “undermine the security and integrity of any state.”