The Ghent Court decision declaring shunning as practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses illegal ignores European and Belgian precedents, and is clearly wrong.
In an unprecedented ruling, judges turned the long-standing interpretation of articles 9, 10, 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights on its head.
Many do not understand how shunning exactly works. Erroneous representations of the practice may have influenced the Ghent judges.
Seventy years ago, 9,793 believers were taken from their homes in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and sent to Siberia.
Declaring that shunning “apostates” is a crime implies accepting the ideology that surrendering our freedom to an organization is always suspicious.
The criminal investigation that got into the spotlight earlier this year did in fact start in 2015.
The Belgian court adopted an intrusive view of the powers of the state, incompatible with democracy—and with common sense.
Suggesting that current members do not associate with “apostate” ex-members has been historically common in many religions.
Contrary to other courts in several countries, the Belgian judges dangerously intruded into the internal organization of a religious group.