All religions have rules that, to outsiders, can seem ridiculously strict. The Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, belong to a society called The Watch Tower, which prevents them from enjoying any holidays (even birthdays), dating without chaperones, and even receiving life-saving blood transfusions.
The fact most associated with Jehovah's Witnesses is that they are the people who knock on your door at 9 AM on Saturday mornings, asking if they can preach the word of their bible to you. As annoying as that may be, it is also tough for the religion's followers to give up their weekends only to have doors slammed in their faces. Going door-to-door constantly, even on Sundays, is not nearly the most repressive of the many rules of being a Jehovah's Witness, however; read on for some of the most ridiculous regulations Witnesses must follow.
No Birthdays For You If You're A Jehovah's Witness
Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate any holidays, and that includes birthdays. The basis for this comes from a few different beliefs. Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays simply because they believe the act displeases God. Christmas and Easter are a different story, though. While Christians celebrate Jesus's birth and resurrection, Witnesses only believe in celebrating his death. They also believe the holidays are rooted in paganism and therefore - like birthdays - inherently displeasing.
Befriending Non-Witnesses Is Strictly Forbidden
One seemingly innocuous yet incredibly restrictive rule is that Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to befriend people of other faiths. They are only allowed to have friends within their own religion, keeping the cycle of such repressive rules rolling on. Non-believers are considered to belong to "Satan's world," and associating with them should be avoided at all costs. It's also probably difficult to maintain lasting friendships when you refuse to participate in people's birthdays.
Some People Die From Refusing Blood Transfusions
Although some of the Witness rules can be frustrating or repressive, this one is downright deadly. In accordance with their religious law, Witnesses cannot accept any blood product — whether that be a touch of blood pudding at dinner, or a potentially life-saving blood transfusion. Since blood cannot be consumed by a Witness in any way, many who end up needing transfusions refuse them, and can even end up dying. One woman died a week after giving birth because she refused a blood transfusion, even after doctors pleaded with her to ignore her religious principles and accept the only form of treatment that could save her life.
Saluting The American Flag Is Considered Idol Worship
Among the many things Jehovah's Witnesses do not do that some Americans might consider "non-American" (they don't join the military, as they are politically neutral; they don't vote; and they don't say the pledge of allegiance), Witnesses also do not salute the flag. Giving reverence to a flag when done in ceremony (such as bowing, saluting, or pledging to it) is seen as idol worship, something strictly forbidden by their bible.