The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
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Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
“Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
“Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
“Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
By The Librarian
OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada says a Jehovah's Witness who was expelled from his Calgary congregation cannot take his case to a judge.
In a decision today, the high court says the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has no jurisdiction to review the congregation's decision to shun Randy Wall over alleged drunkenness and verbal abuse.
Several religious organizations took an active interest in the case, given questions about the degree to which the courts can review such decisions by faith-based bodies.
Wall, an independent realtor, was summoned in 2014 to appear before the judicial committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, a four-person panel of elders.
He admitted to two episodes of drunkenness and, on one of those occasions, verbally abusing his wife -- wrongdoing he attributed to family stress over the earlier expulsion of his 15-year old daughter from the congregation.
The judicial committee told Wall that he, too, would be expelled because he was not sufficiently repentant.
By Jack Ryan
Mike MartindaleUpdated 6:11 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2018 Keego Harbor — A quiet residential street became a horrific crime scene Friday with news that four people — a couple and their adult children — died in what police are describing as a triple murder-suicide.
By late afternoon, some yellow police crime scene tape remained around the two-story wood frame bungalow in the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road where police were sent about 8:10 a.m. on a welfare check after a relative became worried about the family, Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald said.
One of four bodies is removed from the home of the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
“A relative had concerns and asked us to look into it,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Inside the house officers found four bodies who neighbors identified as Daniel Stuart, 47, his wife, Lauren, 45, and their children, Bethany, 24, and Steven, 27.
Fitzgerald said the “perpetrator” was among the dead but would not provide details other than to stress “we think we know what happened here and there is no danger to neighbors.”
Fitzgerald said police have recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon but would not elaborate. He said all the deaths remain under investigation.
Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald briefs the media on the murder-suicide. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
Neighbors John and Jackie Tristani said they awoke Friday to learn police were outside the victims’ home.
“My son said police were repeatedly calling out ‘Lauren, come outside,’ " said John Tristani. “When she didn’t respond they (police) went inside. A few minutes later, they came back outside, shaking their heads.”
Tristani said he had been watching television late Thursday night and never heard anything from the Stuarts' home.
Sources close to the investigation said the family pet, a dog, was also slain by the killer. Investigators also found a note which may help explain what led up to the deaths. They would not discuss its contents.
The deaths puzzle the Tristanis, who knew Lauren Stuart as a “hard-working” neighbor who could often be seen working in her yard and remodeled the house largely on her own.
“She would often come over and borrow tools – a saw, a pickaxe – whatever,” said Tristani. “She was always doing something.”
The Tristanis said in one of their first meetings with Lauren Stuart a few years ago she attempted to “recruit” them into the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“I said we were Catholics and weren’t interested,” he said. “She accepted the answer and it was the end of that.”
Lauren Stuart worked at an area gym, he said, and her husband was involved in some form of medical business in the Ann Arbor area.
Darlene and Dennis Buck, who live a block away on Cass Lake Road, said they were enroute home from a trip to northern Michigan when they learned of the murder-suicide.
“We have lived here since ’74 and nothing like this has ever happened in our neighborhood — not even close,” said Darlene Buck.
Jackie Tristani said she found it all “scary” – not just the deaths but that something might have been going on in a neighbor’s home without her knowledge. She had tried to get Bethany a job at her workplace and her son knew both Bethany and Steven. There was never any mention or indication of trouble inside the home, she said.
“I would hope that if there was a problem inside there someone would have reached out, we would have tried to help,” she said, her voice quaking. “Maybe we could have done something.
“But you never really know everything there is about your neighbors, do you?”
Has anyone ever been disfellowshipped AFTER they died for taking an unapproved fraction blood transfusion ?By James Thomas Rook Jr.
If a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation goes into the hospital, and agrees to a whole blood transfusion, and dies anyway, can they be disfellowshipped post mortem, and what about the funeral arrangements? ( I have heard of this being done, but never explained....)
Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?
Let's say a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation goes berserk, and commits some crime, and either dies by misadventure, or gets shot by police ....
Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?
Considering such questions is like a submarine on the surface, at night, in the fog .... firing torpedoes randomly into the darkness, to see what lights up.
.... sometimes survival depends on having the right answer about "What is out there?".
By James Thomas Rook Jr.
Which Pill Would We Take ..... The Red Pill? .... or the Blue Pill?
In the political world, more and more people are rejecting "Fake News" as provided by CNN (Clinton News Network), ABC (All 'bout Clinton) and NBC (Nothin' but Clinton), etc., and are seeking the truth about what they are being told ..... wherever it may be found.
Today John Stossel had an article about this on Foxnews which is incredibly important ... not only for the political ramifications ... but every manner of philosophical thought .... and our very view of how the Universe works, and what "makes it tick".
If you have seen the movie "The Matrix" .... a MUST SEE movie .... you already know the common expression "Red Pill? Blue Pill?".
If you don't ... YOU SHOULD.
The concept behind the expression is incredibly important ... as to whether we live in and artificial fantasy construct world ... or a world of what is actually REAL.
JOHN STOSSEL: More people tuning out mainstream media, embracing 'truth'
Oh ... and if you have not seen it .... get a copy of the movie, so you will actually get a "feel" for the depth of the now commonly understood idiomatic expression.
(For those in Rio Linda, that has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with basic understanding .....)
By Γιαννης Διαμαντιδης
Hi I would like to disassociate my self from Jehovah witnesses but I would like also my brothers and sisters to know the reason why. Is it scriptural to hide this information from the congregation? I am certain that some sisters who dislike me will find opportunity to gossip with lies behind my back and my ex brothers will see me like a monster when in reality I make one step closer to my creator by establishing a new and direct connection to him like he wants ... without human mediators.
“Jehovah’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them — and that’s scary,” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss. “The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that we’ll come back. … It didn’t work.”
Sawyer and many others like her are now denouncing the church's shunning practices in the wake of a recent murder-suicide in Keego Harbor that killed a family of four ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who were ostracized after leaving the faith. The deaths sparked outrage among scores of ex-JWs nationwide who took to Facebook, online forums, blogs and YouTube, arguing the tragedy highlights a pervasive yet rarely-publicized problem within the church: Shunning is pushing the most vulnerable people over the edge, they say, and tearing families apart.
In the Michigan case, a distraught mother shot and killed her husband, her two grown children and herself in their Keego Harbor home, shocking the small and quiet Oakland County community.
The shooter was Lauren Stuart, a part-time model and personal trainer who struggled with depression and spent much of her time working on her house, her friends say. She and her husband, Daniel Stuart, 47, left the JW faith more than a decade ago over doctrinal and social issues. Among them was their desire to send their kids to college, which many ex-JWs say is frowned upon by the church and viewed as spiritually dangerous.
“University and college campuses are notorious for bad behavior — drug and alcohol abuse, immorality, cheating, hazing, and the list goes on,” a 2005 article in the Watchtower, the church's official publication, stated.
But the Stuarts sent both their kids to college: Steven, 27, excelled in computers, just like his father, who was a data solutions architect for the University of Michigan Medical School. Bethany, 24, thrived in art and graphic design. After the parents left the faith, the Stuarts were ostracized by the Kingdom Hall — the churches where Jehovah's Witnesses worship — community in Union Lake and their families, friends said.
Lauren Stuart, whose mother died of cancer when she was 12, struggled with mental illness that went untreated; isolation and fears that the end was near, said friends and officials familiar with the case. One friend who requested anonymity said she believes the killing was the result of depression, not religion.
"This is a tragedy that has to do with a disease. Depression is so prevalent, and when it goes untreated this is what happens," the friend said. "She needed medical help."
Longtime family friend Joyce Taylor believes depression, shunning and religion-based doomsday fears all played a role. She said that about six weeks before the killings, Lauren started getting religiously preoccupied and telling her "'It's the end times, I know it is.'"
Weeks later, Taylor saw her friend again. Lauren had a vacant look in her eyes. She was emotionally distressed.
A week later, with her home decorated for Valentine's Day, Lauren Stuart killed her family. She left behind a suicide note.
"She said in the suicide note that she felt that by killing them it was the only way to save them," recalled Taylor, who said police let her read the letter. "She said she's sorry that she has to do this, but it was the only way to save them all."
Taylor, a former Jehovah's Witness herself who left the faith in 1986, explained: "Jehovah's Witnesses believe that if you die on this side of Armageddon, you'll be resurrected in paradise."
In Lauren Stuart's case, Taylor believes her friend never deprogrammed after leaving the church — a state she describes as "physically out, but mentally in." She believes that Lauren's indoctrinated doomsday fears never left her, and that the shunning helped push her over the edge.
Had she not been excommunicated by her tight-knit community that was once her entire support system — left with no one to share her fears with — Lauren Stuart may not have done what she did, Taylor believes.
"People do things when they are desperate," Taylor said. "And that was an extreme, desperate act."
Shunning "can lead to great trauma among people because the Jehovah's Witnesses are a very tight-knit community," said Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies associate professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
"If you're separated out, you're really left to your own devices in ways that are very challenging and very painful," Schmalz said. "Once you leave a group that's been your whole life — letting that go is a kind of death."
Police have not yet disclosed details about the death of the Stuart family besides calling it a murder-suicide.
The tragedy has emboldened many once-quiet ex-JWs to speak up. Many say they suffered quietly on their own for years until they discovered an online community full of isolated, ostracized people like themselves — people who had lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves because their families, friends and church community had written them off for making mistakes, for being human.
The church calls it being "disfellowshipped." Members can return if they repent, change the behavior and prove themselves worthy of being reinstated. But unless or until that happens, members are encouraged to avoid the sinners, especially those who leave the faith.
Mothers go years, even decades, without talking to their children. Siblings write off siblings. Friends shun friends.
An estimated 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year — roughly 1% of the church’s total population, according to data published by the Watchtower. Their names are published at local Kingdom Halls. Of those, two-thirds never return.
Within a faith representing 8.4 million people worldwide, however, many members believe the religion is pure, good and loving. Those who are speaking against it, current members argue, are disgruntled and angry people who have an ax to grind because they were disfellowshipped. Or, they are lost souls who have misinterpreted the meaning and love behind the faith. Members say they believe the shunning accusations are exaggerated and that the suicides are often more about mental illness than ostracism.
The departed disagree.
In the world of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, they maintain, the shunned are considered dead to their families, just like the suicide victims.
These are their stories:
‘A dangerous cult’
It was a difficult conversation to wrap her 8-year-old brain around.
“‘You know your sister was being bad, right?’“ Sawyer recalled her mother telling her after her sister's suicide.
“ ‘And what she did was stupid, right?’ … To take your own life is very wrong,' " the mother continued.
“I didn’t understand what was going on … and I said, ‘Oh. OK,,’ “ recalled Sawyer. “In my 8-year-old brain I was thinking, ‘When I mess up, my mom’s going to hate me.’ "
And so began her painful journey with the Jehovah’s Witness faith, the religion she was born into and grew up in in Pascagoula, Miss., where her fears of abandonment took hold at the age of 8.
Sawyer believes the shunning drove her sister to suicide. After the church disfellowshipped her for getting engaged to a non-JW, the fiancé left her sister, who was thrown into depression. Her sister tried turning to her mother for consolation, but her mom would read scripture and tell her, "until you start acting right, you’re going to have these bad things happen to you.“
Bad things happened to Sawyer, too. At 30, she sought a divorce from her husband because he was abusive and cheating on her, she said. But the church elders and family pressured her to save her marriage.
“I showed them the holes in my walls,” Sawyer said, referring to the damage her ex-husband did to the home during fights. “They told me to pray more … and sent me back home to him.”
Sawyer took up smoking to handle the stress, which got her disfellowshipped because smoking is not allowed. She also went through with the divorce. She ended up losing her home to foreclosure and turned to her mother for help as she had two children to raise.
Her mother took her in temporarily, but when the church elders found out, they threatened to disfellowship Sawyer’s mother — who let the grandkids stay, but not the daughter.
Sawyer ended up homeless for six months, living out of her car in a community college parking lot. She landed on her feet with the help of a student loan. She got an apartment, a job as a hospice nurse and her children — now 10 and 18 — back. She found herself, but lost her family along the way.
Her mother doesn’t speak to her; she said she can’t recall the last time they spoke.
Her sister in Alabama hasn’t spoken to her since Sawyer got divorced in 2010.
“She was on my porch, with my parents … My sister looked at me and said, ‘You’re abandoning me just like Donna did’ And left. And that's the last thing she ever said to me."
Sawyer has kept silent about her pain for decades.
“This is a dangerous cult,” she said of her former religion. “It’s important for people to realize — this is serious.”
Read the rest of the story here:
By Jack Ryan
According to the Dr Phil show website Monday's show will be about a Jehovah's witness. Check the link or the website for more information.
From the discription:
By Srecko Sostar
Quotations from JWorg. It can be on other issue also, but this is also interesting: my comments are in red color.
"While the Bible disapproves of homosexual acts, it does not condone hatred of homosexuals or homophobia. Instead, Christians are directed to “respect everyone.”—1 Peter 2:17, Good News Translation.
Question: How JW show respect to everyone if are not willing to say even hello on street to person who is: everyday sinner, in process of cleaning from sin, in the state of repentance and not doing sin, in a process of fighting against own bad desires with more or less success?
Can a person be born homosexual?
The Bible doesn’t comment directly on the biology of homosexual desires, though it acknowledges that we are all born with a tendency to go against what God commands. (Romans 7:21-25) Rather than focus on the cause of homosexual desires, however, the Bible prohibits homosexual acts.
the Bible speaks of “those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts,” and then it adds: “That is what some of you were.”—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
In saying “that is what some of you were,” does the Bible mean that those who stopped engaging in homosexual acts never again experienced any homosexual desires? That could hardly be the case, because the Bible also exhorts: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire.”—Galatians 5:16.
As to my knowledge from JWorg publications, person who is homosexual is allowed to be baptized and to become member of JW cong as long as he/she not practicing such behavior. In other words, Bro John Doe is a gay, but because he is passive gay or pedophile or ... (he can have desire, and he have desire) because he have good self control and not practicing sinful desire, he can be invite for lunch in some family with ...minor kids.!?
Note that the Bible does not say that a Christian will never experience an improper desire. Rather, it says that he or she will choose not to carry out that desire. Christians learn to bring such desires under control, not dwelling on them to the point of acting on them.—James 1:14, 15. 
The Bible thus makes a distinction between inclinations and practices. (Romans 7:16-25) A person who has homosexual leanings can control what he allows his mind to dwell on, just as he would control any other wrong desire, including leanings toward anger, adultery, and greed.—1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Peter 2:14, 15.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses uphold the moral code set forth in the Bible, they do not force their views on others. Nor do they try to reverse laws that protect the human rights of those whose lifestyle differs from theirs. The message that Jehovah’s Witnesses bear is a positive one, and they eagerly share it with all who will listen.—Acts 20:20.
But Jesus said, someone who have sinful thoughts, desires he already made a sin. No matter did he engaging in act or not. So, this is somehow in opposition to explanation we read before in text by JWorg. So, did someone who have just desire and never done nothing to realized it (he is made sin in mind and heart, and by Jesus words, he is wrongdoer) braking the unwritten law said by Jesus. Mat 5:27,28 "You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Does JW members take a stand about this (statement from Jesus) according to Bible or they need to reconsider rules about this matter?
Is Shunning a Violation of Human Rights?
There is a quote routinely parroted by apostates accusing our organization of "violating" human rights when former members are shunned. Here is the quote they use from Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." - Emphasis Ours.
Basically, they claim that somehow shunning violates their freedom of conscience, thought, and religion. Let us briefly examine why shunning in the way Jehovah's Witnesses practice it does not violate human rights, or Article 18.
Understanding Article 18
To understand if shunning is a violation of Article 18, ask yourself these questions if your association with Jehovah's Witnesses has ended:
"How is shunning preventing me from exercising my freedom of thought and conscience?"
"How is shunning preventing me from joining another religion?"
"How is shunning preventing me from expressing or manifesting my beliefs, religious or otherwise, in public or in private"?
Answering these questions honestly should lead you to the proper conclusion.
The only time shunning runs afoul of human rights is when a group uses it to have an effect outside of its own membership. For example, if a group uses it to inflict financial harm or harassment through isolation, calling their employer, blacklisting them with businesses, spreading false rumors, threatening lawsuits or calling the police on them with anonymous phone calls, then it can conflict with human rights. However, former Witnesses have the same freedoms and powers as non-members of civil society. They can join another religion, freely express their opposing views with the public at large, and retain or acquire employment. In fact, once they leave, we have no interest in or concern with them whatsoever. (Heb 6:4-6)
Another factor to consider is that if a person makes it officially known verbally or in writing that he or she no longer wants to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they are shunning us, rather than us shunning them. We are obligated to honor this official declaration. Since we did not initiate such action, we cannot be accused of violating their human rights.
But opposers never present that side. Instead, they focus on the possible effects of shunning in an attempt to distract you from the facts and manipulate how others perceive us. They use emotive, non-neutral language such as: "it breaks up families", "separates children from parents", and "causes emotional torture". While that may happen on the rare, extreme end, those are unintended consequences. How does shunning one member break up an entire family? It does not unless that member is permitted to poison other members against each other.
Thus if they stick to shunning, it actually prevents family break-ups, as only an apostate's divisiveness and disregard of the shunning arrangement can cause friction in a family. How does it separate children from parents? Former members try to make it look like we kick under-aged children out of our homes, but that is a lie. Since the 1950's, we have made it clear that parents must take care of their children until they are adults by the law of the land, regardless of shunning. (De 6:6, 7; Pr 19:18; 22:6 ;Eph 6:4) Thus only adults are shunned by their parents. Inversely, children of disfellowshipped parents are expected to remain in subjection to their parents until they come of legal age to leave, so long as they are not asked to violate God's word or endanger their lives or their salvation. (Acts 5;29; Col 3:20)
How does it cause emotional torture? It does not. "Torture" implies intent. The only intent to torture emotionally is by the shunned individual when they keep trying to contact their families, knowing the pain they are causing, not only to their families. but to themselves. If they left their families alone, there would be no torture.
Our beliefs and practices are shared with all members before they join. And just because one finds an experience traumatic, that is not necessarily a violation of human rights. For example, to some people, being kicked off a sports team is traumatic, but that does not mean their human rights have been violated. The team's coach has a right to choose who gets to be part of the team.
If you breach company policy and are fired from your job as a result, and you are no longer allowed onto the property, is that a violation of your human rights? Are you somehow being tortured? Just because it is painful does not make it torture.
A person can file a restraining order against a family member, does that mean the person is torturing the family member? Of course not. Just think about why the person needed to file the restraining order in the first place. It is because the family member was either physically dangerous or was harrassing them. We shun in order to keep ones from posing a spiritual danger and because those who leave often try to harass those who stay. It takes only a single internet search to verify this in the thousands of pages posted by our apostates.
The Courts Have Spoken
Though there is no clear violation of human rights, this did not stop Janice Paul from trying to sue us in the United States over the issue of shunning. In 1987, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th District upheld the Witnesses right to shun those who fail to live by the organization's standards and doctrines, upholding the ruling of the lower court. The court concluded:
"Shunning is a practice engaged in by Jehovah's Witnesses pursuant to their interpretation of canonical text, and we are not free to reinterpret that text. . . . We find the practice of shunning not to constitute a sufficient threat to the peace, safety, or morality of the community as to warrant state intervention. . . . the defendants are entitled to the free exercise of their religious beliefs. . . Although we recognize that the harms suffered by Janice Paul are real and not insubstantial, permitting her to recover for intangible or emotional injuries would unconstitutionally restrict the Jehovah's Witnesses free exercise of religion" - Emphasis Ours.
We do not take the difficulties related to shunning lightly, and that is why we offer Witnesses who may be thinking of leaving, or those who break Bible principles, every opportunity to remain in the fold and offer them assistance in dealing with whatever issue they have. But at the end of the day, it is up to them to accept it.
As to the general accusation that Witnesses "break up families", the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) stated:
. . . that non-Witness family members often cause conflict by refusing “to accept and to respect their religious relative’s freedom to manifest and practise his or her religion.” - Emphasis ours.
Shunning is a free practice of our religious beliefs as well. As the ECHR stated, it is not so much about the belief itself, its more about respecting our rights to practice them, whether you agree with them or not.
Accept the Consequences
What this really amounts to is the disfellowshipped person's refusal to accept the consequences of their actions. Since they cannot openly dissent against the leadership and live their lives apart from Bible principles while maintaining active membership, they claim that removing them to protect the congregation from their influence is violating their conscience and freedom. However, before becoming a Witness, they agreed to live by the tenets of our beliefs and they agreed to accept the consequences of not doing so. We have the right to decide who can or cannot remain members. Neither the public at large nor former members have the right to tell us who can be members or whether we must communicate with them. That is our choice, not theirs.
By James Thomas Rook Jr.
Melody's Interview at 2017 "Don't Give Up" Regional Convention".
Last year my wife and I attended an Assembly in Orangeburg, SC, where a brother in an interview on stage was proud that he had not said a single word to his disfellowshipped father in over 20 years. We were sitting up close and could see his face in person, and on the large monitors. His declaration of cruelty was followed by intense applause from the audience.
We were stunned and horrified.
This video was originally posted on YOUTUBE by the mother of Melody, at a Regional 2017 Convention where she is proud of having shunned her sister, who is disfellowshipped, but many adverse comments on YOUTUBE made her ashamed ..... and she took the posting down.
I got this video copy from the Russian equivalent of YOUTUBE web site, RUTUBE.COM.
After she details her cruelty to her sister, the audience reaction is vigorous applause.
THIS IS WHY the Russian government and most of the people HATE Jehovah's Witnesses.
Oblivious, clueless, extreme cruelty, in the name of righteousness.
Melody's interview @ the Regional Convention 2017 _Don't Give Up_.mp4
By Jack Ryan
a heartbreaking video has emerged online showing how far reaching and deeply ingrained this shunning policy is; a video showing Jehovah’s Witnesses clapping in applause as a little girl announces she is shunning her own sister.
Little Melody, and the sister she doesn’t have.
The incident appears to take place at one of this years Watchtower conventions. The video was posted on youtube by the girls parents, apprently eager to share with the world how they had trained one of their children to pretend her sister didn’t exist purely on the basis of religious dogma.
The video was comment-protected once viewers began expressing concern and displeasure at what they saw, but at the time of writing the video itself is still live and can be viewed below on the family’s youtube page. (EDIT 11/09/2017 – The video has been removed, but we have linked to an alternate site which has a copy)
t shows a little girl called Melody. She is ten years old, and was apparently baptised when she was 9. This means that Melody is now committed to the religion for life, and will be shunned if she ever leaves, or “unrepentantly” breaks any of its vast array of detailed rules.
During the interview, Melody explains that she has a sister who was “disfellowshipped,” which is the Witness term for one who is excommunicated; someone who was thrown out of the faith rather than leaving of their own accord. We are not told the reason for the disfellowshipping, but one can be subjected to it for a wide range of reasons such as pre-marital sex, celebrating Christmas or birthdays, voting, taking a blood transfusion, joining the military, or simply questioning any of the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Melody states that her sister was trying to contact her, and asking her to stay in contact despite Watchtower decreeing that she be shunned. Remember, Melody’s sister has probably lost all her family and friends at this point; everyone she ever knew and loved.
Melody admits that she misses and loves her sister, but states that she was afraid that if she didn’t cut her sister off completely, she might be tempted to keep some form of relationship going. Thus, she has decided to shun her completely, as Watchtower demands. She claims that this was to protect her relationship with Jehovah.
The audience of Jehovah’s Witnesses watching this announcement applaud.
By Gone Away
Even the highly regarded BBC cannot resist the temptation to indulge in gutter-press standard reporting when it comes to Jehovah's Witnesses.
This report on the Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipping process is rather misleading. It associates the disfellowshipping action with totally unrelated experiences and leaves the impression that this action is taken:
1. when a person leaves an abusive relationship
2: when a person does not attend the annual memorial celebration of Christ's death.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most inexperienced researcher could easily find out the circumstances leading to this serious and scriptural measure by looking at https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/shunning/.
It is unlikely that the interviewees would reveal the real reason for their disfellowshipping which would probably cause personal embarrassment, and there is no way that the official organisation would comment or reveal the details of an individual case.
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