How to sue the WT over shunning policy. It CAN happen!
France is wimpy
So I ended up sending the following email to the human right commission of canada. Lets see what happens.
To whom it may concern,
As you may already know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) are expected to shun both family and friends who are no longer JWs and not sharing the same residence. While this right has already been confirmed by the courts, you may wonder what exactly I want to bring to your attention. Well, it appears that each time the issue was presented to the courts, it was the teaching itself that was put under trial. Obviously, the courts sided with the freedom of religion and the right for people to practice shunning.
What I want to bring to your attention however is that Jehovah’s Witnesses take things a step further: they coerce, or should I say, “threaten”, their members who would disobey the order of shunning. The threat is that they could also be excommunicated (aka: disfellowshipped), thereby, becoming a victim of shunning.* Sadly, when facing the possibility of shunning, most members will chose to practice it, rather than being a victim of it.
What are the consequences of shunning?
A great deal of people are born into the religion and get baptized as kids, some as early as 8 years old. As they grow older, many experience a spiritual crisis leading to a change in belief. It is at that time that shunning becomes real: If they resign from their congregation, they will lose contact with everyone they know and care for, including their immediate family.
In order to imagine the hurt this may cause, you may personally try to imagine how your life would have been like should you have lived such experience when you were less than 20 years old. This type of pain is unbearable. Reading testimonies online, many report deep depressions resulting in physical illnesses. And while there is no expiration date on the shunning decree, a great deal of them will suffer their entire life.
JWs once reported that about 1% of their members are excommunicated per year. Calculating this along with their yearly counts and the average life span, we can assert that the ratio of EX-JW to JW is 1/7. That is 16 500 ex-JWs to 116 000 JWs in Canada alone.
To these numbers, we can add the impact suffered by the children, the spouses of the ex-members, while not often considered in such discussion, many will never see their parents in law or grandparents. As for those engaging in the shunning, you can rest assured that they also suffer a great deal from this. Obviously, this practice breaks families apart, causing a great deal of pain to everyone involved.
Is organized shunning actually legal?
Shunning is recognized as a form of harassment. For instance, in Ontario, employers are not allowed to tolerate it. However, outside of schools and work settings, it seems that the danger of collective/organized shunning is lost. And yet, it is in fact, much more harmful outside such settings. While a kid, shunned at school, may still rely on his family and personal friends, this will not be so for some who have changed their religion.
While anyone has the right to shun anyone, what about those who ensure that organized shunning does take place, making threats to those who do not comply? For instance, Tom decides to shun Dick: it is his right. However, what if Harry tells Tom that he will hurt him if he does not shun Dick. In a workplace or a school yard, Harry would quickly face discipline for such behavior. Why would this not be identified as harassment when it comes to religion? In short, the enforcing, coercive aspect of the practice should be seen for what it is: Abusive and illegal.
Though Government will never interfere within religious practices, they will step in when the practice is illegal and have a severe impact on our society and the greater good of all. For instance, though polygamy is a religious belief, it is not accepted. I submit that the same could be said of enforced shunning, it is an abusive practice that impacts thousands of Canadian families while actually limiting the human rights of everyone involved.
How is this violating the Human rights?
According to article 18: “Everyone has the right to […] freedom to change his religion or belief”. When someone, raised within the JWs, considers changing his religion, he must face the fact that he will be shunned by everyone he knows. In fact, JWs do expect excommunicated members to suffer from this as they call this a form of discipline. They then ensure that this type of punishment is taking place by threatening current members with similar treatment should they not be steadfast in this directive. JWs will often deviate the debate by focusing on the faith of those who do the shunning. However, they are very well aware of the deliberate harm they are causing others, otherwise, why call it a discipline? Religions are not allowed to use just about any type of discipline they want. For instance, even if a man believes his religion gives him the right to strike his wife, he will soon find that this is not the case in Canada. Similarly, actively forcing people to shun specific people is harassment of both “Tom” and “Dick”!
In view of the above, consider the children raised in such setting: do their religious leaders let them free to change their religion or belief? Let’s not be misled here: various relationships will be lost in such drastic life changes. The crime here is the third party to these relationship (“Harry”) who voluntarily take actions to destroy them!
Same logic goes with article 20.1: “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. ” How can you peacefully associate with someone if your local religious leader threatens to expel you if he sees you associating with an ex-member? While “Tom” and “Dick” have the right to associate with one another, what gives the right to “Harry” to interfere?
As for article 20.2: “No one may be compelled to belong to an association.” Many JWs, including myself, have not been able to actually disassociate from the Jehovah’s Witnesses due to this threat. Sending a disassociation letter would mean that I would lose the remaining contact that I have with my family and some friends. As a matter of fact, these contacts that I have demonstrate that the decision to shun is not a personal one. JWs dissuade their members from associating with “inactive” JWs such as me, and so, I have lost many friends and family in the process, but not all. On the other hand, should I put up Christmas decorations on my house, I will soon be officially excommunicated and my remaining contacts will sever all ties.
JWs deliberately threaten their members to uphold the teaching on shunning. This takes away the ability for their members to make a personal decision on the matter and results in harassing current members and those who have left the religion. This conduct limits the right to freedom of associations, compelling the victims to belong to an association (the JWs) while limiting the right to change their own religion or belief.
I do realize that this email is long and the topic is extremely sensitive; many fear to venture in such waters. Yet, consider the stakes: thousands of families and many more friendships are broken apart year after year as active JW are made to choose between their religions and their loved ones.
PS: For the fact that I, myself, fear being shunned by my loved ones, I would ask you to please keep this email private.
* There is an exception however for relatives as long as they don’t do it openly and avoid talking about religion. Obviously, the secretive aspect of this exception makes healthy relationships impossible.
The lawsuit must come as a class action not one individual. If its just one individual there is no compelling reason for the state to consider if its class action and a number of citizens are complaining then there is a compelling reason for the state to hear compaint. Its Just a matter of time before the greedy attorney's start smelling money.
In the eu sharia law can be practiced up to a point and its voluntary. So in the case of a shunned witness. Other congragents are forced against there will and conscience to shunn other former witnesses. So if there were not repercussions many but not all witnesses would refuse to shun or inflict emotional harm on another citezen who happens to be a witness.
Shunning violated 14 amendment
Poopie. The 14th amendment of what. Of the US Constitution.
Shunning violated 14 th amendment
In the recent 2018 Annual general meeting of Watchtower, almost the first thing said by GB member Stephen Lett who was presenting the meeting, was to remind jws to shun dis fellow shipped ones.
first damned order of business.
The 14th amendment(US) was made after the civil war and had the freed slaves primarily in mind.
Equal protection afforded by the law for all citizens impartially:
The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws".
I would think that making the disfellowshipping elders the primary target of a slander lawsuit, might work. Their kangaroo style secret court could be highlighted as extremely cruel and a total mockery of justice that lead to your name being announced as a member who must be shunned by all Jehovah's world wide as a serious evil doer. Might get a few thousand, and send shockwaves through the JW community especially the elders.