My youngest is studying law. Browsing through one of her books I came across a chapter Freedom of Association. It covers the well known categories, colour, race, religion, sexuality etc. Not ex members of religions though. Coincidentally (I do believe in these now) our Police here have set up a website offering advice for victims. I sent this: Hello, I have a query regarding hate crime but its not LGBT related. I would be grateful if my query could be directed to the correct department. Briefly, I am a baptised Jehovah's Witness but no longer active. Last Sunday members were informed by the leaders to regard all ex members as "mentally diseased" and we are to be treated as if we were carrying a fatally contagious disease. This even includes any family members who have chosen to no longer attend meetings. (They don't like to call it church). I find it highly offensive my friends and I are labelled "mentally diseased" because we no longer choose to peddle their magazines. Thank you Amelia Ashton They emailed me back and informed me these words would be classed as hate crime. I then received a phone call and explained briefly the July 15 article. I have a Police officer coming Saturday 3PM to take more details. Please can I have your input on how best to convey the damage, suffering and pain this article has caused. Thank you Amelia I am pretty sure all paragraphing will disappear the moment I hit the submit button. Apologies xxx
"Mentally Diseased" are confirmed as offensive words of hate crime. Help needed, please.
Way to go!!!
Hate crime?! They are the epitome of Christian love!
Way to go. Make 'em choke on their own words. Can't cover up that hate crime.
(In case you are the brother who read the above word at a recent meeting and you happen to be reading this, it is pronounced ee-pit-o-me)
Amelia, very well done! I'm sorry I don't have any specific advice at the moment but this thread deserves everybodies attention.
Could anybody post a scan of the offending paragraphs?
Interesting Amelia...good work. There are a few threads going on these articles being studied recently. Cofty, this is the page...
My uncle from Nashville came into my area a few days back. He has a band and was playing at a local cofee shop. His show was later so I had to come alone while my wife stayed home with the little one. About an hour before the show my mother called me and told me that she wouldn't be attending and also told me that my cousin-in-law, a musician, was playing bass in the set with my uncle. Now this cousin regards me as one of these "mentally diseased apostates." I thought about not going, but soon chose not to let it effect my planned evening.
I was looking foward to watching my uncle play. I actually arrived at the cofee shop earlier than the band. As they came in my uncle gave me a big hug and introduced me to all the band members except my cousin in law. I brought my camera to flim their set and for the next 2 hours he didn't make eye contact with me. The shop was maybe 250 square feet.
This is a good example of the sway the Watchtower has over their members. He truly seemed to treat me as if speaking to me, or even making eye contact with me, would turn him apostate or make him lose favor with God. The Watchtower article being studied at the Kingdom Hall sure does constitute hateful generalization and defaming of good name.
This is great news Amelia. I will speak to sleeping beauty and supply you with some amo before Sat. These Watchtowers are not given to the public either so make this clear aswell. I am so mentally diseased that my dad has not contacted me in over 12 months now I just think it's time to expose this evil cult in the UK now. Do a number on them and cause as much damage as you can on Sat.
Well done. I think I may just fire off another email to the Charity Comission.
Lifted from the Police website. For the police service to be truly effective and provide an appropriate level of service to the victims of hate crime / hate incidents, it is important that the community has the confidence to report hate crime. A hate incident is defined as: 'Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate based on age, disability, gender, homophobia, racism, religion, transphobia'.
I hope you are prepared because the WT has a pretty good legal team...
I sent it off to my lawyers as well, I'll let you know. It's based on the above:
I was until recently a member of Jehovah's Witnesses. As you may or may not know, it is a very closed religious community where even minor offenses against their interpretation of the Bible can result in disfellowshipping and subsequent shunning. Last Sunday (September 11th) members were informed by the leadership through their publication the Watchtower to regard all ex-members as "mentally diseased" and we are to be treated as if we were carrying a contagious disease. This even includes any family members who have chosen to no longer attend their meetings such as me.
I find it highly offensive some of our ex-members (which includes me) are labelled "mentally diseased" because we no longer choose to peddle their magazines and many like me have seen many things in the organization that make us turn away from it. I am not against any Witness personally and my wife and her family are still members.In attachment the Watchtower (normal and 'simplified' edition) in question. Paragraph 4 on page 10 lays the groundwork with the notion that false teachers are apostates and the foot note mentions "Apostasy is a rebellion against true worship and an abandoning of it". Thus all that are rebelling against or abandoning their version of 'true' worship (which they imply only Jehovah's Witnesses have this 'true' worship) are false teachers if they attempt to share their religious ideals with others. Paragraph 6 on page 11 of the simplified edition (or page 16 of the standard edition) then mentions "The Bible says that apostates are mentally diseased and that they use their teachings to make others think like them.". Paragraph 7 goes on to mention "We do not speak to them or invite them into our houses. We also do not read their books, watch them on television, read what they write on the Internet, or add our own comments about what they write on the Internet." (quote from simplified edition, standard edition has similar wording). Since then my wife's family has followed the advice to no longer speak to me and even my wife is attempting to limit contact between me and her and our newborn child (2 months old). I believe others will do the same thing for risk of being disfellowshipped (and shunned). I do not care whether or not anyone makes the personal decision not to talk to me anymore however I find it hard to accept that a large worldwide organization can incite others to what is basically acts of hatred based on choice of religion. I was wondering whether this is acceptable 'free speech' from an organization (or any religion) and whether there is a way to either have them retract this statement or publicly apologize and rectify this in communications with their members. Can they be legally held responsible for such statements? I am also a citizen of Belgium (the EU) although I live in the US. If there is no legal recourse in the US, is there any way to get the ECHR (European Commission for Human Rights) to look at this issue?
The 1st Amendment will protect Watchtower, in my opinion.
Amelia Ashton you have a PM.
Great letter Anony Mous !
It's a hate crime in what country?
I think that people with gravatars are mentally diseased. There, I said it! ** oh no he diden't.... **
I am in UK. Thanks Hadit, great points!
Make sure you offer the cops good coffee (tea) and cookies!
Make them a binder of JW stuff on apostates, including personal experiences from Freeminds, Silent Lambs, AJWRB, Watchtowerdocuments, jwtruth, etc.
You got a chance to apostate study with the police.
"Fighting words" are not protected by the First Amendment.
Preaching hate and expecting it to be acted out against others would probably be considered "fighting words," because they incite hostile acts against others.
Hostile acts don't have to be physically violent. They can be psychological, too.
Seeking to wreck someone's reputation and relationships by spreading harmful things about them might be considered slander or libel.
Well done Amelia!
Don't be nervous about it . . . keeping it simple at this stage is probably best IMO. Stick to the expression used in the July 15 WT and see what comes of it. You can always assemble supporting examples later if needed.
The 1st Amendment will protect Watchtower, in my opinion. . . . leavingwt
This will be the greatest obstacle . . . but not necessarily insurmountable . . . if the exercising of 1st ammendment rights violates the 1st ammendment rights of others . . . then there exists a conflict that needs to be addressed IMO.
Fortunately . . . in my country, constitutional rights do not provide the same protection. I have laid a complaint with the HRC using exactly the same material . . . and am awaiting a response.
Keep us posted.
ED: I see you are in the UK . . . excellent!
The "mentally diseased" terminology touched a nerve with me, too. What, specifically, is the diagnosis for this "mental disease" they speak of?