The Religious Communities Act is essentially a subsidy act where the financial subsidy for Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 12,686 members last year amounted to approximately NOK 16 million. Under the Religious Communities Act, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are no longer a legally registered community in Norway due to their treatment of children, and their religious positions regarding the freedom of expression & religion of former members.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses opined in an e-mail to the Norwegian news agency Norsk Telegrambyrå (NTB) “the decision to deny Jehovah’s Witnesses state support, and possibly withdraw the registration as a religious community, will cause Norway to go in the opposite direction of international law,” ignoring worldwide accusations of the organization’s violations of children and former member’s human rights—according to international law.
They are still free to practice their religion and their activities regardless of whether they have a public registration or not, as the loss of registration means that Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer have the right to submit claims for government subsidies.
Interestingly, it also means that society loses the authority to marry fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses.
So while both former and active Jehovah’s witnesses in the United States wonder when the government will take action against the organization, many are celebrating along with those shunned of Norway.
Read the assessment and full decision on the organization’s loss of registration per the state administrator in Oslo & Viken:
Highlights regarding Norway’s assessment leading to this decision to follow.