The United States is more lenient than most countries when it comes to hate speech and allowing organised religions to have their way, even when they hurt others. However, there are limits. I found a federal law that seems strangely relevant to recent Watchtower articles that labels former members as "mentally diseased" and discuss the "slaughter of apostates".
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
Conspiracy Against Rights
This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.
I'm not a lawyer, so these are just my opinions.
This law isn't about shunning or expelling a member from an organisation. The US courts have been reluctant to interfere with these issues. However, the Watchtower Society has conspired to intimidate and threaten it's members to avoid any questions or challenges to their authority or even leaving the religion peacefully and quietly. The enforced shunning from friends and family is certainly part of this intimidation, but it also includes written comments demonising and insulting any who disagree or leave. This includes a recent article that gleefully discusses the "slaughter of apostates". The fact that they say that they don't do that today (there is no mention of tomorrow) doesn't change the fact that the article is extremely threatening and intimidating.
Furthermore, the article is largely directed at current Jehovah's Witnesses who may be intimidated to attend public JW meetings and are then confronted by direct threats about the things that will and might happen if they dare to question anything that is taught or if they just try to leave or change religions according to their contitutional rights.
I personally believe the discussion of the slaughter of a minority group who merely wish to exercise their freedom of (and from) religion, accompanied by both real and veiled threats and a range of official procedures and propaganda to further isolate and intimidate these people is a direct and blatent violation of this federal law.
I welcome your comments.