I am not sure exactly what this Belgium court is saying about the freedom of worship & shunning hurting that. I need to see the court documents to know precisely this Belgium court's angle.
But, I have seen writings that state that
- Freedom of religion = the freedom to choose a religion, AND
- Freedom of religion = the freedom to LEAVE a religion, AND
- Freedom of religion = the freedom to DISAGREE with a religion.
Shunning is an impediment to the freedom to leave/disagree with a religion, especially when it involves breaking apart the family structure. The family unit is the bedrock to our society and very important to governments. The family unit is each of our safety nets for when we get into trouble. Who is the first person you call when you're having a really big problem? Dear old comforting Mom or money-bags Dad, I bet. For those of us with children, who is the one who can make your worst day bearable? Your child. When you are old, who is willing to talk & walk slow with you? Your grandchild. That is why the State has a say in marital, divorce, adoption, domestic relationship law. Losing one's family contacts will drive you nuts or make you a street bum, as the people on this website will attest to. Organizational-induced shunning breaks apart your family bonds. It's what keeps some in, some unwilling to leave due to feared divorce/shunning by their child, some who will only speak against the JWs under fake names, etc.
Ask those on this web-site, "Does being trapped in a religion that you disagree with because you are afraid your family members will shun you, kick you out of their house, not allow you to see your children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, etc., not take you in when you are sick/hungry/down on your luck, a real fear that keeps you going to the KH against their own desire to leave the religion and worship elsewhere (or nowhere)?" Unless another Belgium court overturns this decision, if you are a Belgium JW who has been disfellowshipped (i.e. shunned by friends and family) you can sue the WTS. Belgium court decisions are not binding on US courts. But, US courts do sometimes quote court cases from other countries and use their reasoning. In otherwords, this decision is another chip into the WTS's fortress.