Serena Williams would vote for Barack Obama if she could. Don't even ask Venus Williams what her political leanings are.
The Williams sisters, vocal on so many issues from fashion to gender equality and equal pay for women, say they're not allowed to vote because of their religion. The sisters, who have 14 Grand Slam singles titles between them and are among the most recognizable athletes in sports, are Jehovah's Witnesses.
After their first-round wins at Wimbledon, both were asked about the Nov. 4 presidential election.
"I feel that what I do in tennis isn't really political," Venus said after her 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over British wild card entry Naomi Cavaday on Tuesday. The work she does for UNESCO and other agencies was about helping people, she said, "I don't see it as political. I don't vote."
Younger sister Serena said she was "excited to see Obama out there doing his thing."
"I'm a Jehovah's Witness, so I don't get involved in politics. We stay neutral. We don't vote," she said. "So I'm not going to necessarily go out and vote for him. I would if it wasn't for my religion." (International Herald Tribune Article)
I had never heard of this before reading the article. I think it is incredibly stupid for a religion to forbid their followers from voting. But maybe if less religious people voted, we wouldn't be having all these problems allowing gay people equal rights, giving women the right to choose, letting evolution be taught in schools, and giving scientists the freedom and funding to find cures for diseases. And we probably wouldn't be in the middle of a war.
In all seriousness though, I find it incredible that a religious group would encourage their followers not to have a voice or opinion about important matters. I guess they really are just waiting for the afterlife.
I did not mean to imply that because they do not vote, that they have no voice or opinion. I meant that obviously if this religion discourages voting, then they discourage this form of voice and opinion.
I made the assumption that since they are discouraged from voting and encouraged to stay neutral ("I don't get involved in politics. We stay neutral."), that they are also discouraged from other forms of voicing their political opinions as well.
Based on the article I read, I would say this is a good assumption. If it is not true, then the sisters' commments are very misleading.
But I have very little knowledge about this faith, so if anyone knows more, please fill me in.