Who Are the Real Evildoers?
THE Bible states that lies are the hallmark of Satan. In Jesus’ day the Jewish clergy promulgated lies against him. Times have not changed.—John 8:44.
The enemies of Jehovah’s Witnesses are constantly using lies and smear tactics to try to counteract the Witnesses’ preaching work. In Socialist countries the lie is that the Witnesses are evil agents of the United States CIA! One Catholic Sandinista supporter, on a flight from London to New York, snarled that baseless accusation to an Awake! correspondent seated next to him. Yet, every informed person knows that the Witnesses are totally neutral in politics.—John 17:16; 18:36.
On the other hand, in Catholic countries other lies have been used to defame the Witnesses. In the past they were accused of being evil Communist agents. Recently near Caracas, Venezuela, a bizarre accusation was leveled against some Witnesses. It was falsely reported in the paper Ultimas Notícias that a Witness had been raped and killed by three other Witnesses in a satanic rite! A local priest heaped fuel on the fire of scandal by telling his parishioners, ‘This shows you what kind of people these Jehovah’s Witnesses are.’ What was the truth of the matter?
The woman in question had died of a cerebral hemorrhage and opposers had invented the rape story. Later, an interview and full retraction were published in the same paper.
But what happened to the priest who had exploited this lie? The same day that the denial was published, he was questioned on television. The subject? He had been caught trying to smuggle 46 pounds [21 kg] of cocaine to Spain. It was not his first offense. He confessed to getting involved in drug smuggling first in 1984 through his contacts with an ex-priest who was also a drug trafficker. The report in the magazine Auténtico stated that the police were afraid the priest would be freed and would flee the country as the other priest did, who “was permitted to escape to a house he bought in Miami [Florida, U.S.A.] with the drug money.”
What did the archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Lebrún, have to say about his criminal priest? “It is my duty to state that father José Luis Gil is not an evildoer.” However, the law’s definition of an evildoer differs from that of the archbishop, and the priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Bible also has a clear definition of an evildoer: “You know perfectly well that people who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God: people of immoral lives, . . . thieves, usurers, . . . and swindlers will never inherit the kingdom of God.” “None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal.”—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 4:15; The Jerusalem Bible (Catholic).
When a priest commits a crime, he is usually transferred to another parish, as has occurred in recent cases of priestly child molesters in the United States. The Biblical norm for unrepentant, unchanged, immoral persons is disfellowshipping, or excommunication. Only in that way can the Christian congregation remain free of willful evildoers.—1 Corinthians 5:11, 12.