PORTUGAL: Filed a petition to the parliament to erase the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness

by EdenOne 124 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • smiddy3
    smiddy3

    I`m sorry if this question has been answered before Eden One ,have you also sought out other ex JW sites to get people to sign this petition ?

    If so I think it`s a pretty poor response so far and I just wonder why that may be from your point of view ?

  • EdenOne
    EdenOne
    search
    Are there are time periods involved?

    The law of petition doesn’t specify any time interval for gathering signatures. Because the date of March 9th is very symbolic (40th aniversary of the adoption by Portugal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), I am inclined to submit the petition on that date. But we’ll see how the collection of signatures goes. No pressure.

  • EdenOne
    EdenOne
    smiddy3
    I`m sorry if this question has been answered before Eden One ,have you also sought out other ex JW sites to get people to sign this petition ?

    Yes, on reddit and also on the portuguese ex-JW forum. Some reddit users also shared the petition to other european reddits.

    Portugal is a small country with 50.000 witnesses and a tradition of poor civic participation. If the petition was about soccer I would get 10.000 signatures, but human rights? Mehhh

    Interestingly at the portuguese forum, we have received threats from Watchtower apologists, threatening us with death and calling us insignificant demon-controlled worms for challenging Jehovah’s organization. How loving these people are....

  • EdenOne
    EdenOne

    352 signatures

  • Simon
    Simon

    Can I point out some reasons why there are so few people wanting to put their name to this?

    Your topic headline is "Filed a petition to the parliament to erase the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness" but then you claim "The petition does NOT seek to ban the Jehovah's Witness as a whole in the country". That seems to be contradictory. What exactly is it meant to do? What is the outcome that would have you say "yes, we did it, we were successful!"

    You mention Laws of Religious Freedom. What are they exactly? Have you tried to find those laws? There are declarations which sound very nice but are worth diddly squat and there are treaties that are often the basis for laws being enacted in the countries that sign up to them - do you have the actual laws that you think they contravene?

    If you do, then do you have cases to point to that are unfair? Because to bring a complaint forward you need to show that you have tried to argue your case but your rights are being denied. You can't just claim it on the internet, it has to be a real thing, with a court outcome. The first question would be why no one has taken legal action under the laws you claim apply?

    But if you can't point to actual laws that you believe they are contravening ... then what exactly do you expect to happen? They'll ban an organization on the say-so of a few hundred signatures off the internet?

    Take a look around at the world. There are people being executed in some countries for their religion. That is the sort of thing that the laws are there for and even THEY don't count for much. The idea that someone's internal family issues would take precedence over genuine abuses is rather sick IMO.

    You cannot legislate for someone to be your friend or for your family to be nice to you. Forget it, it's not going to happen and if it ever did your life would be far more miserable for far more significant reasons because of the type of country you'd be living in. That is North Korea type crazy.

    The unpalatable truth is that family decide who they want to follow and what they want to believe. Muslims can't sing and dance, where are the UN court cases about their freedoms being removed? There aren't any because that's not the kind of freedoms people are talking about.

    Everyone is free to leave at any time. The JWs don't put an embargo round your house and prevent people going there. Whether their members chose to stay or chose to leave is up to those individuals and there is nothing that you can do to get what you want without trampling on a whole set of established laws around the world and I'm sorry, it just ain't gonna happen, not for this and not for other things 1,000 times more important.

    There are Treaties on equal pay for women - with all the current hullabaloo about gender pay inequality, where are those court cases? Or Treaties about equal treatment of race - again, how's that all working out? Why do you imagine something of practically zero interest to the majority of people will jump to prime importance?

    It will be dismissed like all these kinds of petitions before them. The only purpose they serve is for publicity but shunning seems such a nuanced issue I doubt there is enough interest to run a story long enough to sway opinion. The Amish shun people, they seem to be still going strong. No one cares.

  • EdenOne
    EdenOne
    Your topic headline is "Filed a petition to the parliament to erase the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness" but then you claim "The petition does NOT seek to ban the Jehovah's Witness as a whole in the country". That seems to be contradictory. What exactly is it meant to do? What is the outcome that would have you say "yes, we did it, we were successful!"

    Have you bothered to read the actual text of the petition, Simon?

    The reason to ask for the dissolving of the "charity" "not-for-profit" corporation that represents the Jehovah's Witnesses in Portugal is because there isn't any other provision in the Portuguese law to sanction a religious community for violations of human rights. Do you deny that institutionally enforced shunning for religious reasons is a violation of human rights? The practical consequences of this termination are ZERO for the individual witnesses; their constitutional rights to gather for worship meetings isn't touched, as isn't touched their right to share their faith by preaching. The practical consequences for the CORPORATION of the Jehovah's Witnesses? They might lose their status as an officially recognized religion, and therefore, lose: a) tax exemptions b) the right to celebrate weddings without a civil ceremony; c) the right to be heard in certain city planning situations regarding their places of worship; d) the right to access hospitals and prisons as "religious ministers".

    The petition also asks for two other things: a) For the legislators to amend the Religious Freedom Act 16/2001, so that it includes a proper sanctions provision for religious communities who engage in hate speech and discrimination; and b) that the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses community in Portugal are summoned to the Parliament and, under the mediation of the Parliament meet with the victims of their shunning policy, and negotiate changes in their policies to alleviate the suffering of the victims.

    Then there is the question of admissibility: If the petition is considered admissible by the Parliament and the petitioners are granted an audience (even if we don't get 1000 votes) and we get the opportunity to explain what the shunning issue is about, so that the legislators become aware of this problem with the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    If ANY of these four situations takes place, yes I would consider the petition a success.

    You mention Laws of Religious Freedom. What are they exactly? Have you tried to find those laws? There are declarations which sound very nice but are worth diddly squat and there are treaties that are often the basis for laws being enacted in the countries that sign up to them - do you have the actual laws that you think they contravene?

    Yes, and that is what a good portion of the petition is about: detailing how the institutionally enforced shunning and discrimination breaches the Law. If you had bothered to read the petition, you wouldn't be asking that question. I know, it's 36 pages long and perhaps you can't be bothered to attempt to translate it with Chrome or Firefox and then actually reading it. Some other people did just that and signed for it though. Go figure.

    Take a look around at the world. There are people being executed in some countries for their religion. That is the sort of thing that the laws are there for and even THEY don't count for much. The idea that someone's internal family issues would take precedence over genuine abuses is rather sick IMO.

    This petition does not concern with the rest of the world; it concerns my country, which is a member State of the European Community, where executions for religious reasons do not exist, and thankfully religions don't have the leeway they have in north America, thankfully. Your point is moot. And, again, read the petition: The individual right to associate or not associate with someone (even a family member) isn't being questioned, as long as it's exercised free from moral harassment and coercion. What is being challenged is the right of an institution that benefits from legal recognition and tax exemptions from the State to teach and enforce discrimination based on religious grounds.

    Everyone is free to leave at any time. The JWs don't put an embargo round your house and prevent people going there. Whether their members chose to stay or chose to leave is up to those individuals and there is nothing that you can do to get what you want without trampling on a whole set of established laws around the world and I'm sorry, it just ain't gonna happen, not for this and not for other things 1,000 times more important.

    I have to strongly disagree with you. I mean, really, Simon?? You're doing the Watchtower Society a favor with that argument. Real freedom means to do (or not do) something without being unduly conditioned by the fear of morally wrong, unreasonable and unwarranted consequences. If Jehovah's Witnesses would be able to leave their religion without facing the dire consequences of being perpetually shunned, then I would agree with you. But both you and I know that's not how it works. That's not how cults operate.

    The 'irrelevancy argument' that you brought up doesn't make sense either. As an example: If your business partner would screw you up, would you not take legal action just because there are a gazillion more important issues in the world?

    There are Treaties on equal pay for women - with all the current hullabaloo about gender pay inequality, where are those court cases? Or Treaties about equal treatment of race - again, how's that all working out? Why do you imagine something of practically zero interest to the majority of people will jump to prime importance?

    That may be the scenario in north America. It's not the case in Europe, where matters like such are taken a lot more seriously. And if no one does nothing, then nothing will ever change. We have to start somewhere.

    No one cares

    If everyone would have your attitude, then we would still live in a society where slavery would be acceptable, women's rights wouldn't exist, and burning witches would be a thing, because .... no one would care.

    Truth is: YOU don't care. Others do, though. Your criticism has been duly noted.


  • Simon
    Simon
    Do you deny that institutionally enforced shunning for religious reasons is a violation of human rights?

    Yes, because it isn't. It is unkind, but it is not against any law. If you believe it is then show me the law and show me the court cases brought forward under that law.

    for religious communities who engage in hate speech and discrimination

    You need to prove they do those things. I think you would have a hard time.

    If the petition is considered admissible by the Parliament and the petitioners are granted an audience ...

    It isn't going to happen.

    If ANY of these four situations takes place, yes I would consider the petition a success.

    Yes, and that is what a good portion of the petition is about: detailing how the institutionally enforced shunning and discrimination breaches the Law. If you had bothered to read the petition, you wouldn't be asking that question. I know, it's 36 pages long and perhaps you can't be bothered to attempt to translate it with Chrome or Firefox and then actually reading it. Some other people did just that and signed for it though. Go figure.

    Again, you don't point to any actual law. When you want to do something legal, you need more than "someone was mean to me". Things can be unfair but not illegal.

    And, again, read the petition: The individual right to associate or not associate with someone (even a family member) isn't being questioned, as long as it's exercised free from moral harassment and coercion.
    What is being challenged is the right of an institution that benefits from legal recognition and tax exemptions from the State to teach and enforce discrimination based on religious grounds.

    Again, you need to prove the discrimination. Right now you can't even describe it. After that you need to prove how the enforce it against people's will. Convincing someone to do something based on their beliefs is the essence of religion - you'll have a hard time dismantling that fundamental principle.

    I have to strongly disagree with you. I mean, really, Simon?? You're doing the Watchtower Society a favor with that argument. Real freedom means to do (or not do) something without being unduly conditioned by the fear of morally wrong, unreasonable and unwarranted consequences. If Jehovah's Witnesses would be able to leave their religion without facing the dire consequences of being perpetually shunned, then I would agree with you. But both you and I know that's not how it works. That's not how cults operate.

    It's how life works. When you leave a company, you don't get to walk back into the building and it's the same with religion and most other groups - they have their rules and people abide by them or they don't, they chose to belong or they don't. Different groups have different rules and may apply them in different ways, some aggressively, some less so, but if you chose to belong to a high control religious group with a certain set of rules just because you chose to leave doesn't mean others aren't free to continue to stay and adhere to those rules. They are also free to just leave if they wish. They are also free to chose the religion over the person who left - that is their choice, as much as we may think it is the wrong one, it's theirs to make.

    The 'irrelevancy argument' that you brought up doesn't make sense either. As an example: If your business partner would screw you up, would you not take legal action just because there are a gazillion more important issues in the world?

    It's not the same. You are looking to have new laws created and applied for the mildest of situations. You ARE competing for political attention with other, more important issues.

    As an example, there's a petition in the UK to ban the exporting of live animals. It is up to nearly 100,000 signatures in about 12 days.

    If you think that a more well supported issue that would be far easier and straightforward to legislate isn't more likely to get political attention ahead of yours then I think you are being unrealistic.

    That may be the scenario in north America. It's not the case in Europe, where matters like such are taken a lot more seriously. And if no one does nothing, then nothing will ever change. We have to start somewhere.

    You start by quoting vague human rights 'laws' but haven't pointed to them so I presume you are referring to the many grandiose, well intentioned, but utterly ineffective declarations of human rights. Most countries have signed on to these including those that are the largest abusers of human rights.

    If you think you have laws that apply that are specific to your region then point to those laws.

    If everyone would have your attitude, then we would still live in a society where slavery would be acceptable, women's rights wouldn't exist, and burning witches would be a thing, because .... no one would care.
    Truth is: YOU don't care. Others do, though. Your criticism has been duly noted.

    Slavery and women's rights were real issues and changed because there was massive support for change. Do you really think you can equate someone not being invited for family BBQs with people being burned at the stake? Do you know how petty that makes it sound?

    If you can't take criticism as being helpful and adjust your strategy based on feedback then you will fail. Someone pointing out the flaws in your arguments are worth 100x more than "likes".

    If you can't argue your case on an ex-JW forum then what are you supposed to do when you come up against real opposition to your claims?

  • EdenOne
    EdenOne
    • Again, you don't point to any actual law. When you want to do something legal, you need more than "someone was mean to me". Things can be unfair but not illegal.
    • You start by quoting vague human rights 'laws'
    • If you can't argue your case on an ex-JW forum then what are you supposed to do when you come up against real opposition to your claims?

    Again, this only shows that you haven't bothered to read the petition, otherwise you wouldn't be making these claims. The breaches of the law are pointed there, and each article offended, and how, and the "hate speech" and "discriminatory instructions" are quoted there. If you don't bother to read the text of the petition, I certainly won't bother to discuss this with you.

    You need to prove they do those things. I think you would have a hard time.

    It's actually pretty easy to prove. All it takes is their literature and their confidential letters. And testimonials, including mine and my family, notwithstanding many others that I can produce.

    After that you need to prove how the enforce it against people's will.

    Threatening to disfellowship and shun someone if that person refuses to shun a disfellowshipped / disassociated person - I call that enforcing the policy against people's will. It's plain to see on the Shepherd the Flock of God elder's manual.

    show me the court cases brought forward under that law.

    This would be a case that would break new ground.

    If one doesn't bother to challenge the "status quo", nothing will change. Watchtower used to hide behind the "confession privilege" to claim that elders weren't allowed to report to the authorities the complaints of child sex abuse that they became aware of. Until someone challenged that in court. And now the Watchtower cannot use that argument anymore. But someone had to challenge that status quo. The Watchtower will have to stop hiding behind the "religious freedom" to spew hate speech and teach / enforce discrimination and social ostracization. It takes someone to challenge that status quo. If my angle doesn't work, so be it. Someone else will find another. And another. And another. Until the Watchtower cannot hide anymore and concedes to change via some "new light". Who cares. As long as it changes.

    If you think that a more well supported issue that would be far easier and straightforward to legislate isn't more likely to get political attention ahead of yours then I think you are being unrealistic.

    Realistically, that's the only real risk at stake here. That this isn't considered a priority; especially because it might strike a nerve with the RCC. Still, it's a risk worth taking.

    You still haven't made one reasonable argument as to why isn't worth trying.

  • Ruby456
    Ruby456

    so part of what seems to be argued is that an institution stands between the republic and the individual and it is this institution that is breaking the law regarding religious freedom, human dignity etc via its shunning practices. But the thing is that the relationship between the republic and the individual is full of semi religious language anyway and not meant to be taken so literally.

    To frame shunning as psychological torture, although it may feel that way to an individual, would have to be backed up by actual evidence. In reality most people recover from disfellowshipping - at least they usually say they have - they make other friends. Jehovahs witnesses do not try to prevent them from finding friends outside of their community. Psychological torture usually means that the individual is prevented from having any contact with outsiders and it is a prolonged session of repeated abuse. This does not happen with disfellowshipping. The person is simply not considered part of the community and the community loses/is told to lose interest him.

    edit: if action is taken against Jehovah's witnesses then this would establish a precedent for any and everyone to have a field day with religion. In reality the laws were designed to protect religion from the republic/state interference.

  • Ruby456
    Ruby456

    but if you guys succeed in at least getting a hearing then that would be welcome news. Most things nowadays are conceived of in economic terms - so I think you guys might want to mention how disfellowishiping affects you economically too if you get a hearing.

    So you are part of this initiative edenone?

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