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?