Disassociation - shunning - can we all lobby Government that it is against freedom of religion?
Think about what you're asking ... the Government would what, mandate that you get to go to someone's BBQ? It's simply unworkable and impractical and would be impossible to draw up legislation that wouldn't impact a million and one other aspects of life.
I disagree Simon. The aim would be to prevent an organisation having an official policy of shunning, not whether an individual is allowed at another individuals BBQ.
The target is the Organisation policy and I think a government could take action, especially as it is (supposed to be) a charitable organisation.
The end result might end up the same. Brother Shunsalot still doesn't invite you to his BBQ, but Sister Shuns-cos-she-has-to would now be able to invite you round.
I think jefft is right. I mean we have to see that pushing religion out of the picture brings extreme right and extreme left political mania into the public arena.
other than the above this caught my attention from your link stockholmsyndrome
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
what about angry atheists and angry apostates - an indivdual within a religion (who may have a member of his family who is an angry atheist or angry apostate or both) may feel that he/she are being coercive. what would you do in such a situation stockholm syndrome? would you hold your anger in check to allow freedom of religion to a member of your family for whom you may be concerned?
coercion applies to groups as well as individuals
To disfellowship because of organizational rules which are based on dubious understanding of Scripture is one thing, but to coerce others to discriminate, especially as they are not those responsible ( ie not being the fds)for the understanding, is in a sense forcing them to discriminate on religious grounds,especially as they also will be subject to punitive action if they don't conform. This may be an area the judicial authorities would have an opinion of.
I'm more afraid of a government that dictates who I can and can not associate with, than I am a religion that tells me who I can and can't associate with. I'm even more afraid of a government that dictates who I MUST associate with.
Some people don't seem to be able to fully think through the implications of what they are suggesting.
Most laws end up being mis-used or used in ways they weren't intended. How about you are forced to attend some religious indoctrination at the threat of legal action (you can't shun them) or some political rally?
And again, the people who shun us are friends and family. THEY make the choice to follow the religion but not all do. Even if there was a law, they would just declare it a personal choice - how do you enforce someone "deciding for themselves" based on some interpretation of the bible? Do you really think the government should be in the business of interpreting holy books? How would things be enforced? Police with guns forcing people to say "hello" at the KH?
Who would pay for all this?
glalaxie the problem is that the JW organisation consists of poorer disadvantaged people who in order to get by in life need to group together. Governments understand this and they note these sorts of things particularly if the ones bringing the complaints against such groups are higher up the ladder and this usually the case because when individuals leave the organisation they tend to devote themselves to getting ahead - climbing the ladder and becoming part of the middle classes.
I agree with galaxie. Shunning in and on itself is something that as Simon and others said, would probably never fly. But you know as well as everyone else here that shunning is only the means to an end and that is how it should be looked at. The fact that most JW would shun you just because the GB says so is not the final goal. The GB are glad JWs shun just on their call alone but the ulterior motive is to force people to stick around. I believe that government could take action on those grounds just like the government would take action if a religion would use their belief as a basis to harm people physically. As long as it could be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the practice of shunning forces people to involuntarily remain members, may be. But it is a bit more difficult to do this when the responsibilities are put on the actual members and there is no actual physical harm. I believe society is slowly becoming more aware of the damage of emotional trauma and manipulation but it is a slow road.
Many on this forum have testified to the fact that they do 'stick around' for fear of being shunned and the heartache of losing contact with family and friends.... this is basically people being entrapped through fear...it really should be challenged by whatever means.
So what law exists or could be drafted that enforced by a government telling religions that they can't tell their members who they can or can't associate. You have to approach your representative/senator to introduce a bill in congress. How do you convince them that what the WTS does is illegal under the Constitution?
Good points from Simon on page 1.
So, shunning is part of freedom of religion.
But the paedo-protection and no blood policies definitely should be banned.
Shunning doesn't harm people like the above two doctrines do.
And in a world where some religions are telling people that it's OK to KILL non-believers / ex-members ... why would they take action against a group who simply tells people not to talk to them?
Are we that important?
Are we really that oppressed?