EOM - Are you advocating that the government stick its nose into religion?
Why has nobody started a petition or writing letters to congress, etc?
Lostgeneration - Are human sacrifices, child sex, etc allowed if it's part of ones religion? I am advocating that the government review if humans right abuses are permitted in the name of religion. Brainwashing, forcing members to remain on fear of telling their familes and relatives to shun them if they leave, etc. The WT publishes articles about the amish how it's inhumane for them to shun their familes who want to learn 'the truth', etc, yet goes around and tells it's own members to shun those who leave.
or how about the human rights of one to save their own life. If they need blood then they are told all their familes and associates will shun them, etc.
Ignoring somebody isn't a crime, maybe unethical, but I would never want the government to take away my right to ignore someone.
Brainwashing or mind control when it comes to religious beliefs is not something I want government messing with either. Where are you going to draw the line? Are Catholics ok but Mormons are not? Its just not something your can regulate in a free society.
human sacrifices, child sex, etc
You aren't the first one to bring up this idea. The things you mentioned are illegal whether done in the name of religion or for some other reason. OTOH, nothing that JW's teach violate generally applicable laws in the U.S. "Brainwashing," as you call it, or "religious instruction" as they would characterize it, is not illegal. As anony mous said, you are free to join and leave even if you might not like the terms. Shunning is not illegal either. Congress couldn't do anything, and wouldn't want to in any event. There are no political points to be gained by going after religious groups (at least non-Muslim religious groups). Look at how much more wacky and dangerous Scientologists are, and how much has been done to "investigate" or "regulate" them. That should tell you all you need to know about how far anyone would get trying to get the government to go after them.
chaserious = Okay, you hit upon something that could work then. You said what I mentioned was ILLEGAL no matter if religion or not. Well isn't defamation and slanderi illegal as well?
So since the WT has published that those who leave are MENTALLY DISEASED, then when they announce whoever is no longer as JW, they are saying that they are MENTALLY DISEASED, which is slander/defamation, which is illegal.
Anybody have a rebuttal on that or is that a valid attack that the government could take action on?
EOM, slander and defamation has to be proved as willfully inflicted.
The lawyer at the screening of Truth be Told said it best. He said the society uses the first amendment as a sheild and as a sword, depending on how it suits their purposes.
Hi EndofMysteries, I tried several times in the last two years to either start a petition or write to the U.S. government. My idea involves the U.S. Congress enacting additional requirements for all non-profit organizations to comply with before donors can deduct their donations to those organizations. From my research 1st Amendment issues should not be violated as long as all non-profits must comply with the requirements and Congress passes the bills. Those additional requirements would be all non-profit organizations must not promote shunning/marking of members and ex-members, and/or all non-profit organizations must promote reporting all violent felonies of victims to local law enforcement immediately and before reporting to the organizations legal department.
The simplest reasons why I was not successful involves the concepts of "trying to herd cats" and very few people care to write to their representatives.
The following links are to threads on JWN that may interest you:
Also, you can search for a petition using the JWN search feature that was started last year to ban the Jehovah's Witnesses in the U.K that Cedars tried to promote. I tried to use the search feature but could not locate it quickly.
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,
EOM, as problem addict said, the conduct of the WTS does not meet the legal definition of libel/slander/defamation the U.S. Their characterization of those who leave is morally reprehensible, but it isn't defamation. Defamation has to be more specific. The adage goes that if you defame a large group, you defame nobody.
What ABibleStudent said is probably the most realistic thing you can hope for - some alteration of tax exemption or tax deduction laws. He is right that the 1st Amendment may not be violated by that kind of approach, depending how it's implemented. At the same time I don't know whether it's feasible politically or practically to let some religions have tax breaks and others not to have them in the foreseeable future.
Even if it did meet the legal definition of libel and defamation (which it would be in case someone announces to the congregation "X is no longer one of JW's because of these reasons ..." that both parties reasonably know to be false) there is nothing the government would do about it. There is a reason threatening them with legal action on disfellowshippings usually stops them from proceeding.
But say it is libel and defamation because you are personally called out (or can reasonably make the assumption it is directly targeted at you) then it is still not necessarily a criminal but a civil offense. That means the government can't do anything about it because it's not in the general interests of the public to do so, you need to bring a civil suit against them.
The general public (the 99.97% of civilization that has never been in contact with the JW) does not care about the backwards religious crap they pull and thus it is not in the general interest of the public (the governments) to do anything about it. You may be able to lobby for their removal from tax-free religious statuses but in the US the bar to be called a religion is pretty low - all you need is a pastor, the bar in the EU is in many countries a lot higher, they have to do something that benefits the public. Their "education programs" don't cut it according to France (which has so far been reaffirmed by France's supreme courts and EU supreme courts and is now challenged at the Human Rights court). In Russia, certain books of theirs are banned because they promote hatred and discord, again something that will be challenged in the Human Rights court - Russia did not ban the Witnesses or the majority of their books as the WTBTS would like their followers to believe.