Why is it legal to have a kangaroo-court?

by bohm 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • bohm

    Here is something i have been thinking about.

    Most problems with religion (JW, Shahira) seem to come from self-established courts. The problem with those courts is that they are allowed to invent rules themselves, and are able to punish people for things that are not illegal, for example sex outside of marriage. There seem to be two factors:

    1) People can be punished for things which are not illeagal
    2) The punishment goes beoynd membership in a local club, church or company, and affects the punished party very negatively.

    Now here is my question: Why does this have to be legal? Especially if the club is religious, what rights would it affect that people are not able to sit down and establish a legal system outside the real legal system?

    To me, it would seem that the state has some interest in preventing random courts from popping up, judging from arbitrary rules, but i have abselutely no experience in these matters, and i would like to hear your thoughts.

  • designs

    A few Witnesses have taken their Judicial Meetings to Court.

    My local Elders stopped harassing me when I told them I would sue them till they were sleeping in tents on a beach.

  • wobble

    I do not think that here in the U.K a JW/JC has any recognition by the Law of the land.

    It is just looked upon as an internal tribunal that any club or association may choose to run to keep member in line, and as such there is no recourse to appeal to a higher court here.

    I have wondered even so, that it may be possible to say that the JW/JC system is contrary to the Human Rights Act, but I am not sure of my ground.

    They certainly go against the spirit of the act, you are not allowed access to the charges against you before the hearing, you are not supposed to have legal representation at the hearing, you are not allowed access to their record of the hearing when preparing an Appeal etc. etc.

    Personally , if threatened with one of their kangaroo courts I would tell them by letter what legal action I would take against the individual Elders, the Congo. and the Soc. if they went ahead, plus that I would alert the national and local press to their silly little actions.

    They are such pompous prats, but they don't want to risk their own assets.

  • leavingwt

    Adults can VOLUNTARILY submit to an infiinite number of completely destructive things in a free society.

  • TD

    I think the law varies considerably from country to country.

    In the U.S. the source of ecclesiastical authority is the parishioners themselves inasmuch as membership is entirely voluntary. In other words, church officials have this power over you because you willingly gave it to them.

    I understand why it doesn't quite seem fair because religions like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Scientology, etc have two very different faces. They have a public face which they present to potential converts and a legal face which is only seen in court through their attorneys.

    The questions you really need to ask upfront would come across as rude and ingracious when presented to the public face (i.e. A kindly old pioneer couple)

  • undercover

    The only authority or power that a JW judical committee (kangaroo court) has is what an individual allows them to have. If you refuse to cooperate, show up or give it respect, there's not a damn thing they can do except announce you as no longer a JW.

    Private groups, religions, clubs, whatever, can set certain standards for what members must attain to in order to remain a member. If you refuse to attain to those membership standards, you can be removed from the club.

    Of course, we can go on and on about the ramifications of that removal announcement and the shunning that occurs but again... those that practice shunning are individuals who have allowed the JW clergy to wield power over them. Once a person refuses to acknowledge that authority, those who do acknowledge it may osctracize you but no laws are broken.

    Yea, it's a cult and yea it's dangerous to a certain extent, but in a free society such as the US, freedom of religion is a cherished and protected right. The courts rarely get involved in church theology/doctrine/practices.

  • bohm

    Wobble: Yah, but its all kind of fuzzy.. im thinking more of the legal aspects of passing an explicit law saying: "Religious Kagaroo Court: Verboten". It would fix a lot of the shahir problems, and i just dont see which rights are being violated by such a law.

    The key is that some punishment is being handed out for things which are not illegal, and that its such a severe punishment which invade the persons private life. It seem (perhaps its a bit naive) that it would be possible to make laws that captured that. I think it would be a hell of lot better to have laws against the parallel court system which is allready in place by the JW, and which is being set up by eg. radical muslims, and to pass laws against eg. the burkah.

  • straightshooter

    The sad thing is that the U.S. laws of the land protect these relgious courts because they are religous. What makes me sick is how the WTS uses da to protect itself from lawsuit in the U.S. Though da is exactly the same as df in the shunning and coming back into the cong, the WTS portrays da as one voluntarily left the org where df is where the org kicked one out. That is legalese bull.

  • leavingwt
    Though da is exactly the same as df in the shunning and coming back into the cong, the WTS portrays da as one voluntarily left the org where df is where the org kicked one out. That is legalese bull.

    People voluntarily agree to join a church that practices shunning. I'm not telling you that it doesn't suck. I'm telling you that free people must be able to shun whomever they please, for whatever reason they see fit.

    If you mess with the Bull (destructive, mind-control cult) you'll get the Horn (shunning).

    Our job as ex-members is to warn the innocent of the dangers of these groups. JWs are but one such group that recruit the vulnerable among us.

  • rnicole76

    This is the one thing i kick myself for...joining a religion that practice shunning. I guess at the time when you believe it is the true religion and they practice what the bible says. At the same time later on in life, we can decide that it is not what we want anymore and want to find something better in life. It is not a penalty to leave the catholic church to be a jehovah witness but it is a penalty to leave the jehovah witnesses for the catholic church? The judicial meetings and disfellowshipping practice does take away our rights but at the same time we signed up for it and knew what we were getting into without thinking about our decision a lot.

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