Blood and Boston
It’s likely that over the past 12 hours, you’ve been watching and reading the updates of the horrendous events that happened on the 26th mile of the Boston Marathon. After two bombs were detonated, and two more unexploded devices defused, we are left with the stark reminder that there is a wound in humanity, one that may never be fixed.
As the news rolled in, minute by minute, some reports began to give me faith in humanity again. Random acts of compassion and kindness were springing up in every area (you can see a brief list here) and it just proved that there is a wonderful nature of love that resides in the vast majority of the human species. Perhaps one of the most poignant pieces of information I read was that upon finishing the marathon, runners continued to run on so that they go and donate blood. It was done in such high numbers, that the Red Cross posted online that they had enough to meet demand.
Now, I’m not going to discuss the theological debate over blood – a fellow former JW, Tracy Metcalfe, discusses that with great detail over at My Analysis – but the Watchtower places on its members at times such as this in an incredible moral difficulty. In my relatively short life, I’ve seen great acts of kindness shown by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Whilst many can be rightly accused of only helping their own, I have met many who simply help in charitable ways whomever needs it. That shows a deep desire to show love to fellow human beings, and whilst not comparable, in my opinion, to that shown by many other non-belief and belief groups, it’s still a sure sign that they would, if they could, do a lot more. Now think again to those blood donations, those people out on the streets offering all that they can, the very thing inside their body that is essential to their survival – and they want to share that thing.
Is it accurate to suppose that the person behind the Jehovah’s Witness, the one who lies dormant and suppressed behind blackmail and propaganda, would not also want to do the same? I think they would – the majority anyway – and yet it is the Watchtower’s murderous policy on blood that keeps them from partaking in life-giving acts such as this.
In my heart of hearts, I hope that Witnesses have no qualms about opening their homes to victims of any tragedy when it comes to where they live. I hope they offer all they can in all the same ways that many others have done. But above all, I hope they credit that kindness to humanity, and not to a god that the victims and the volunteers don’t believe in.