I suppose everyone on this board knows now about Sebastian Ramos and his campaign in Brazil. He has filed a claim agains religious discrimination, to the effect that shunning (not disfellowshipping or disassociation) is forbidden, on the grounds that it amounts to religious discrimination.
This is a very easy point to see for someone who is out. It sort of extends the meaning of "religious discrimination", however, as it is usually understood. It is usually understood to mean that you, the member of religion A, can't discriminate against any member of religion B. What Mr. Ramos is doing is extending that to mean that you, member of religion W, cannot discriminate against X, former member of religion W. That is, you can't discriminate against those you define as apostates.
Mr. Ramos is doing a very good thing there in Brazil. I believe everyone should support it. I think this is a matter of basic freedom. It goes beyond free speech or free thought. I hope it snowballs into something very big. I suspect I know who will be at the forefront of opposition to it: other religious groups. Divided as they are in who will actually be in the Heavens (or Paradise Earth), and willing as they are to do away with infidels (that is, each other), they will stand close together in terms of shunning apostates, because that is who they fear most.
But I would like to hear people's opinions about a different matter. I think there are more grounds to Mr. Ramos campaign. Say that the Watchtower is right and you'll die at Armageddon if you don't do as the Governing Body says. If Jehovah himself gives you the right to choose, why should they not let you?
If you question that Jehovah gives people the right to choose, then tell me how come a Jehovah's witness will be quick to claim he or she is not bloodguilty if a worldly refuses to hear them. They are very quick to say that they warned you and you're on your own. Do I have a right to disagree, then, or not?
Can they claim a right to make you believe? Can they claim it is their obligation to make you believe if Jehovah himself doesn't demand that? What's more, where is that sentence about "Not everyone who calls me O Lord, O Lord... will make it?
What kind of a God is this God who FORCES you to believe in him, and sent his son to redeem you but will kill you if you disagree with the idea of worshipping him?