Could a petition to make shunning illegal work?

by aboveusonlysky 115 Replies latest jw friends

  • Simon
    For example... if a parent intentionally tries to push a son or daughter out the house, simply based upon their non willing involvement of this "religion" that social behavior constitutes an act of hate and psychological abuse onto that person.

    So isn't the parent, the person actually doing the act, the most guilty and, based on what some people suggest, should be prosecuted and / or imprisoned?

    I mean, if you can claim that someone should be killed, but the person who pulls the trigger will always be way more guilty.

    Again harsh, it's often nothing to do with being a member and everything to do with losing your family because of shunning, COERCED shunning, get some empathy dude!

    Harsh, yes, but I would argue completely true and valid. Please note that I write as someone who's been on both side of shunning and have lost contact with family as a result.

    I don't think the appearance of empathy does anyone any good. I think some people might do better listening to what appear to be harsh words but are really just describing the harsh reality of the situation. Give up this idea of banning a specific religious practice by one religious group because it affected us - no one cares enough to do anything even if anything could be done (and it can't).

    I'm more than sympathetic to anyone who's suffered because of the WTS, but not all of the suffering is solely due to the WTS with no culpability by family, friends and we ourselves. We were happy with the setup ... until we weren't. Many people who are shunned by family encouraged the family to join. The WTS makes a great "evil emperor" to direct our angst against, but sometimes some personal accountability is required too.

    I don't think attacking the WTS as the sole party at fault really helps anyone. I think we do better to put the onus on those shunning to hold them accountable for what they choose to do. Right now they get to absolve themselves of all responsibility by saying they "have to" because "the WTS says they have to". I say bullshit - they don't "have to" any more than if the WTS told them to jump off a bridge. They are the only ones that can shun us. Who cares about the other ~7 or 8 million other JWs that we never met and don't know us from Adam?

    The WTS is not the problem, the problem is that it needs to be made more difficult for people to do the shunning. We shouldn't play along with the WTS game.

    This action is injurious and in opposition to person's legal rights and freedom of choice

    What legal rights exactly? Claiming something doesn't make it so.

    If that were really true then there would be hundreds of thousands of people with winning lawsuits and lawyers lining up ... it's obviously not.

    if you think that a legislative action can work you should try and get the requisite number of citizens to sign a legally defined petition and see if a member of your legislature can craft a law based on it.

    Exactly. But it won't happen because no one can come up with anything beyond hand-wavy rhetoric about the evils of the WTS. Nothing that is concrete, that could be made workable and that wouldn't be a massive problem to society as a whole.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver
    Another point looks at the US Supreme Court case of the Hobby Lobby decision. The court ruled that a for-profit company has religious constitutional rights, they went further from just encouraging people not to do an act they prevented their employees from doing an act. They literally prevented employees from getting family planning care though the insurance that was supplied with their employment. And that is even after the same court ruled that the government has a compelling government interest in requiring every citizen to have health insurance and if not they would have to pay a tax for it.
  • Finkelstein

    What legal rights exactly? Claiming something doesn't make it so.

    Well to use an example lets assume the right to non compliance involving a religion.

    Every person has a choice if they want to participate in a religious organization, if a person does not want to participate in a select religion that they once were, they should not be publicly ostracized or publicly instigate the social repulsion toward that person due to their personal choice..

    Even more relevant toward that individual's own family as the case may be.

    That religion is instigating hatred and prejudice in their actions against that individual's personal decision or freedom of choice..

  • Simon

    But you are not pointing to any legal right. You are pointing to a social injustice, but those can't be acted on in court, because there is no law that's been broken.

    Courts are not there to protect against people being "mean" or "unkind".

    You need a law. If there isn't one, you need one written.

    I've yet to see any basis for anything that could be legislated for.

  • Finkelstein

    Maybe there needs to be Simon in the name and pursuance of social justest.

  • waton

    I know you all are discussing about getting government laws to stop shunning. but:

    Is not shunning wt style"- illegal work "already? In Math 18:17 Jesus compared the act, situation as treatment of a Tax collector. (or, more fun, a tax refunder). If the bible is legally binding on wt, total contempt for the excommunicated will carry risks for them. or?

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    It is not just a law you would need a law that is constitutionally viable in whatever country you the law is in and depending on treaties a law that would stand up in like the ECHR. You would have to get past prior court cases. And even politically you would have to get enough legislatures to stand up to not JWs but many religious groups who would fear that any cretailing of ones religions doctorine it will affect them too, look at Russia right now, or anytime when someone in the US government disagrees with a way a religion acts. And remember the US has the most witnesses and that is only 1/300th of the population so neither witnesses nor ex witnesses have that much political power really.

  • StephaneLaliberte
    Simon: Well ultimately everything is a choice. The influence that they have is because people choose to listen to it, not bother to research, whatever. [...] When you're a child, your parents make that idiotic choice for you.

    This is the biggest reason why law enforcement should get involved. Kids are raised in this. Are basically force to build their entire lives around the JWs. And when finally, they want to do something else, they loose their family and friends.

    This threat has caused many to not question their teachings. Not by choice. By fear. They have made life decisions trying to avoid the consequences of their doubts. And now, some of them are indeed prisoners of this abuse. For instance, I know of a man who is obviously depressive. He doesn't believe half of it all and yet, he knows that should he stopped attending, he risks the possibility of loosing sight of his 4 grown kids and his wife.

    Some of us would still take that leap and leave. But the fact that this man doesn't have the strength to fight the abuse does not make the watchtower's organized shunning policy less abusive.

    To say that people, all people, stay in the JWs by choice is to turn a blind eye on ongoing abuse.

    Its hearing your neighbor beat his wife and reason that she must like it. To see the man cheating on his wife and reason its an open marriage. Its to see a kid left alone at home and assuming that he knows how to dial a phone.

    thousands of people can easily testify to the very real and negative effects of shunning on their lives. It is not because we have overcame these effects that they should be dismissed. If you get a good beating, serious beating, and yet, fully recover a year later, will you suddenly believe that the criminal that jumped you would not deserve any consequences? That he might as well beat other people up.. no worries, they'll recover?

    This is absolute nonsense.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    At least in the US it is impossible claim to survive when you sue watchtower. If anyone knows of a successful claim I would love to hear about it. And by a successful claim the court issued some relief for the plantiffs.

  • StephaneLaliberte
    Richard Oliver: (1) a conspiracy;

    I believe that it is somewhat easy to demonstrate that most Jehovah's Witnesses are not informed in a way to let them make a free and educated choice on their beliefs. This, in itself, doesn't sound so bad. However, when brought in context that people viewing and sharing "apostate" material face the possibility of being shunned by everyone they love, it is easy to call this a conspiracy.

    (2) for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws;

    There are two classes here:

    1. The Jehovah's witnesses. They are living under the threat of being shunned should they express disagreement with teachings that would otherwise, appear trivial.

    2. The xJW who are regularly called various names, given ill intentions and dehumanized by the very organization responsible for their shunning.

    (3) an act in furtherance of the conspiracy;

    They enforce shunning by questioning people who do not observe it. by removing privileges from people who keep breaking the rule and even dis-fellowship those who demonstrate their disagreement with it.

    (4) whereby a person is either injured in his person or property or deprived of any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States.

    A great deal of JW are deprived of the right of free speech and religion as they are threatened by the shunning policy. And xJWs have obviously sustain a great deal of emotional injured in his person.

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