This email was sent to the ACLU today. Hopefully they are able to respond despite high volume of requests.
----- Original Message ----- From: To:[email protected] Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2011 10:17 AM Subject: West Virginia v. Barnette (Religious Freedom) Louise Melling Director Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief The Center for Liberty American Civil Liberties Union 125 Broad Street 18th Floor New York NY 10004 212-549-2500 Dear Director Melling
Please can you advise if we have correctly interpreted West Virginia v. Barnette below (1). The section in square brackets is our interpretation.
We are interested in the implications for dissenters or conscientious objectors within the Jehovah's Witnesses religion who are not free to leave the religion without losing more than most people can imagine. These internal minorities, although possibly numbering into the millions of individuals, do not enjoy the freedom of religion secured and appropriated by the megalomaniac and corrupt Watchtower organisation for itself.
This is also in hypocritical violation of the freedom of the individual that the Watchtower demands (2) for adherents of OTHER religions to make unhindered personal choices about their personal religious orientation and future without fear of being undermined, discredited, ostracised, vilified, labelled, and slandered as an apostate or heretic by their family and community, and without losing their credibility, jobs, and businesses. The section in square brackets is again our interpretation.
The exclusivist and supremacist Watchtower is a surreptitious and abusive enemy of hope, connectivity, social inclusivity, freedom and equality and consequently of mental health and consequently of healthy societies.
The Watchtower is one of the most aggressive and divisive supremacist organisations in society as evidenced by their vitriolic and malicious contempt for those who do not (or no longer) embrace their rampant and supremacist legalism, moralism, ethnocentrism, and Gnosticism.
The Watchtower is itself a grotesquely exaggerated caricature of all the disturbing and Kafkaesque elements they repeatedly and frequently decry in OTHER Pharisaical religions and religionists.
If the Watchtower is "the truth" and practice genuine love as they claim, why do they have to use draconian measures to coerce people to stay against their free will? Why do you have to lose your parents, children, family and friends if you no longer agree with the Watchtower? How many other religions do the same?
I look forward to learning of the ACLU position on the abuse and denial of INDIVIDUAL religious freedom. Kind regards Signed Director Business name
- The first great Supreme Court freedom of religion case was decided in the middle of World War II in West Virginia v. Barnette. In one of the Court's most frequently quoted passages it said: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, [religious or secular,] high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force [any] citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us." ( http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-and-freedom-religion-and-belief )
- The Watchtower Society's July 2009 Awake (pages 28 and 29) says in relation to those it seeks to recruit away from their religion: “Since our Creator wants us to search for truth, it cannot be wrong to act on the evidence that we find – even if this means changing our religion” and “No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family [or friends]”.
Any help, advice or suggestions appreciated...