“FROM BLACK TO WHITE HE SLOWLY TURNED.”
Category: Civil Rights
Witnesses Comply with South’s Laws, Quiet on Rights Front
Amsterdam News (New York)
June 29, 1963
Jehovah’s Witnesses condone the separation of their Negro and white members in the South, merely out of compliance with Southern segregation law. “But compliance with that law doesn’t mean that we believe that the races were meant by God to be separated or that we believe that Negroes are inferior to whites.” Ulysses Glass, an official of the sect, told The Amsterdam News this week while acknowledging the veracity of charges of segregation.
“The law doesn’t interfere with our mission of teaching God’s word. He doesn’t require that everybody must be together in order to teach his word,” continued Glass, adding that those are the reasons why Witnesses have not taken any position against the Southern law or advocate violation of it.
On the other hand, Witnesses refuse to serve in the nation’s fighting forces and salute the American flag, the first of which is mandatory of every healthy American of draft age.
They reconcile compliance with the Southern segregation law with their failure to serve in the armed forces and salute the American flag on the grounds that military service compels them to slay their fellow men while saluting of the flag abridges their religious freedom, Glass explained.
“We believe in Jesus’ teaching: ‘Give unto Caesar those things which are Caesars and to God those things which also are his,” said Glass.
“That is why we comply with Southern law and will not recognize segregation when the law is changed.” he added.
“We don’t recognize government by man, only government by God,” Glass continued.
That is also the reason why the Witnesses have not taken any position on the civil rights struggle, as also charged, said Glass.
“Throughout the remainder of the country,” Witnesses are all treated alike,” Glass stated. “Witnesses are also district supervisors (one of the high leadership positions) and are integrated here in our staff at headquarters (77 Sands St., Brooklyn).”
The charges of segregation were made by Jackie Williams, a young woman of 1296 Dean St., Brooklyn, who said she had asked clarification in a recent letter to the Watchtower Bible and Trace Sciety [sic].
Miss Williams said she never received a reply.