For example, my wife and I are among countless ex-members who are being continually punished by means of shunning for our decision to walk away from our religion.On a day-to-day basis, punishment is visited on us by a religion we no longer believe in because our JW family members are coerced into avoiding all contact lest they too are deemed evildoers destined for fiery destruction at Armageddon.
Members of the banned religion would get to feel vindicated that theirs is the one and only true faith because, especially in Christianity, persecution by the authorities has always been considered somewhat a badge of honor that is worn with great pride.
In addition to fuelling the religion’s pre-existing persecution complex and lust for isolationism, a total ban has the knock-on effect of bringing your country into violation of human rights per article 18. If you’re a ruthless dictator who thinks nothing of annexing sovereign states, blowing up passenger airplanes, hacking the elections of other countries and assassinating rogue agents with fatal doses of radiation as they convalesce in their London hospital beds, who gives a [insert Russian swear word] about human rights? If the above two options are not to your taste, there is a third option that involves neither supporting the abusive religion, nor banning it. You can allow yourself the epiphany that there is no good reason for ANY religion to be tax exempt. Their products are a giddying array of competing, conflicting brands of religious faith that, like cigarettes, fake jewellery, pet snakes and garden gnomes, are non-essential to human existence.
Neither do I need to spell out my contempt for the deadly prohibition on blood transfusions, nor the systemic covering up of child rape.
With all that said, I want Jehovah’s Witnesses who may stumble on this website to be aware that I wholeheartedly support them in repudiating any attempts to ban their religious activities.
If they were to arrange a protest against the Russian government tomorrow (since they are apolitical, this is unlikely) I would stand at their side and serve them hot coffees. Because even though I no longer believe that an invisible Jesus swooped down and chose Joseph Rutherford and his colleagues to be the inaugural “faithful and discreet slave” in 1919, I a firm believer in human rights.