Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I've become a Lenten exercise for some Jehovah's Witnesses


The envelopes and the letters appear authentically handwritten. My uninvited correspondent wants to help me:

It is our privilege to share in a work that is being done by volunteers in more than 239 lands. In all these lands people are being invited to benefit from a program that helps people learn the Bible's answers to such questions as: why do we grow old and die? ... We engage in this activity because we are genuinely interested in our neighbors. Our work is not commercial.

The concern seems genuine. So far I've gotten two of these.

I have a vision of nice respectable women sitting someplace that looks like a school room, churning reams of these out in fulfillment of their evangelical duty. I wonder, why am I a target? If they have the equivalent of a good voter file, they know I am female, older, white, a long time homeowner. Perhaps I'm not so different from them -- except that I am. So it goes ...
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Oddly enough, I did a project not too different from this for the Obama campaign in 2008. Volunteers mailed partially hand written letters to potential voters they had never been able to reach by any other means. I calculated that 24 volunteer hours might yield 6-12 additional votes for our guy. I wonder if the Jehovah's Witnesses get that high a return?
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Given that we are into March, when Californians mark farmworker organizer Cesar Chavez' birthday, I'll trot out my favorite Chavez story. When I did a brief stint on the United Farmworkers boycott in New York City, an order came from the man himself in Delano: "Find out how they get those ladies to stand on the corners all the time with their tracts." I don't know whether anyone ever ventured over to the Watchtower to fulfill that instruction.
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I'm afraid the post's headline is a cultural faux pas. Jehovah's Witnesses don't observe Lent. Or Easter either. Now I know.

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