Reversing The ‘Don’t Forgive The Sinner, But Forgive The Religion’ Philosophy
by Chris Stevenson
Shunning is religion’s last link to the Dark Ages. While it may be a policy in more than a few sects, not many churches actively enforce it. The reason is simple, normal people just feel awkward implementing or practicing it. Once you shun someone in society the very next step is physical abuse or even murder. On the other hand you don’t have to murder someone to cause great psychological damage through shunning, under it’s many names in various faiths or cults. It’s safe to assume that all religions that actively shun are simply a cult.
Synonyms for shunning include: To keep away from: avoid, burke, bypass, circumvent, dodge, duck, elude, escape, eschew, evade, get around. The purpose is completely narcissistic, to induce shame and guilt within the target.
Religious synonyms for shunning are; excommunication (viewed as slightly different than shunning), disfellowshipping (Jehovah’s Witnesses), disconnection (Scientology; Scientologists denied disconnection for years until they admitted it on their website. It is an especially brutal form of shunning, well-known to break up marriages), Cherem (Jewish faith. a form of shunning that ended during the 17th century’s Age of Enlightenment), vitandi (Catholic shunning, this ended in 1983), Kasepekang (Bali, Indonesia, a more communal-shunning).
A shortcut to regaining self-esteem after an individual has already been shunned, is for the shunned person to shun someone else themselves. But it’s false-esteem. Labor unions and companies have used their own form of social rejection on strike-breakers and whistleblowers respectively.
Shunning isn’t seen as dangerous on the religious extremism scale by governments or big non-profit organizations because on the surface it doesn’t result in (immediate) death. In actuality it can be placed right alongside bullying, terrorism and in an indirect way kidnapping in many cases. Most strict religions will tell you not everyone is cut out for their faith, meanwhile they not only want your membership, but as many in your family as possible. it’s important for them to bring in as many followers as they can for money, and control. It used to be if they shunned you, then all the friends you made within the organization would stop speaking and associating with you. The Watchtower have now stepped up the virtually-demonic practice, by ordering blood and immediate family members to stop speaking to disfellowshipped individuals.
Although I marvel at the audacity of anyone assuming they are worth costing you your natural relationship with those whose closeness you previously took for granted, I can’t dismiss the reality of mothers telling me their son’s or grandchildren won’t speak to them or son’s and daughter stories about their parents cutting them off from the family.
The most famous form of shunning was non-religious and practiced in South Africa, it was called Apartheid. It’s goal was an economic and social denial of goods and services to the black majority there. Always understand and remember it was brainstormed and practiced by a people who didn’t even originate from that land, Europeans or white people. It officially went into law in 1948. Picture me walking into your home either as a guest or intruder, and over time convincing your mate and children to either limit or cut off their interactions and association to you. What would that make me in your own words? By strange coincidence the Watchtower Society (always watching closely the powerful tenants of the same world they outwardly condemned) began practicing “disfellowshipping;” a form of shunning where they even made up their own bizarre-sounding word between 1948-1952. Very few of today’s practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses know that before then the Watchtower openly condemned other churches that practiced shunning. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that they can be shunned just for researching their old publications and looking that up.
The man most responsible for forcing the destruction of Apartheid is of course Nelson Mandela. Few people know that during his early years as a young activist/attorney his first wife Evelyn (Mase) was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Through her the Watchtower tried to get him to stop his anti-Apartheid activities. Using their oath of neutrality, they were able to become political while at the same time conveniently claiming not to. Back then they fully knew the value to themselves and the overtly-racist South African government had Mandela simply listened to his JW wife and resigned himself and black South Africans to 2nd-class citizenship by joining their religious order. This is part of the reason I consider the Watchtower just another component of what is known as the Religious or Christian Right. One of the jealous religion’s slick accomplishments is their prohibition of political and civic involvement through what they call neutrality, but what is actually for black members stifling of race progress through their lack of participation as a trade-off of a promise of living forever in a non-racial earthly paradise. Millions of blacks, many potentially would have been another Mandela, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Thurgood Marshall or Huey Newton, have through their intense involvement in this organization been politically neutralized.
It’s possible the people who push some form of shunning have never even been in a fistfight before. It’s born of a spoiled, low-level, confrontational, trifling spirit that simply seeks to draw others not directly-involved in the personal hangups of the shunner. Later some the most skilled religious publishers have adopted this as their policy, outwardly using a pretext of keeping the church “undefiled.” You will find no history of Jesus using shunning as a tool to teach or keep followers loyal to him. Jesus was not all into buildings of worship like that if you check his record, he advocated the most difficult task of all, improving personal character. There are more scriptures where Jesus in so-many words tells people to ‘stop being an asshole’ than there is of him ordering followers to build a church. Only after he left this planet was there a rush to form churches named after him, Christianity.
Many people are baffled as to how to turn the tables on this type of archaic treatment in modern times. But what overbearing cults masquerading as religions have done is make the archaic and unnatural look normal within their own insular surroundings. But don’t be discouraged, if you are undergoing this as a member of a faith that ousted you, you can still win back your family if they are still in. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say it was going to be easy. The best way is to help topple the very thing your family worships, their cult. The gullibility of many church followers is stronger than the cement holding it’s bricks together. The next option is to prove to your still-kidnapped loved one that their faith/cult is not the exclusive pipeline to God or Jesus or Allah as they claim. Free the mind, the ass will follow. For example if you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses the trick is simple but complicated; you must prove to him or her the Watchtower is not God’s only channel to mankind. Once you can convince them of this, you got ‘em.
To do this most effectively you must figure out what in particular makes her or him think this is God’s ONLY true organization (people are different and do things differently), and convince her otherwise. Those whom will be the toughest, because in reality those governed by old friendships are going to be harder to convince than those who might leave based on their discovery of the Watchtower’s changes on blood, or the secret UN membership, or the unreported child-molestations. Others are simply terrified of a day when most of the people they know all turn their nose up at them. Currently right now there is a Mormon woman facing excommunication for doing what women in that faith need the most, forming a womans’ group. That’s yet another issue they have. Strict faiths hate resources.
An unwanted activist group has been growing from within the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) calling themselves Ordain Women. As much as the men worshippers hate it, I think it’s way overdue. The leader is a woman named Kate Kelly, a longtime member who is also an international human rights lawyer, feminist, and the founder of the movement.
Ordain Women’s goal is no more hard to figure out than the two words used to form it. Having been born into the church of the LDS , she has long viewed it as stifling, over-patriarchal, rigid, and in danger of losing members if they continue on in this course. She enrolled in Brigham Young University and American University Washington College of Law. She is reported to have formed OW on 3/17/13. There is a website that has grown from 19 supporters initially to over 400 today. You would think issues of gender equality and women priests shouldn’t be a concern given the runaway-freight-train of corruption male clergy have been slamming inside the churches for generations now, but it still does.
Kelly has shown herself to be an effective community organizer since her days as a college student. This year she has come under fire for her stance against LDS by of course their all-male leaders. Back on 5/5 she was put on probation for being in public opposition to the church after having been previously warned not to do so, and on 6/22 she was put on trial by a panel of judges and “excommunicated.”
Though shunned by the church she grew up in it’s notable to mention that her family has always supported her voice to reform the Mormons, and still support her actions. No small feat given their tenure in that religion (A lot of you would have shunned her because you’re dope-fiends). Churches like the LDS have long been nothing more than LSD to a society-at-large seeking to find their own line of communication to the creator. The problem comes in when they bring too much baggage with them for God to demonstrate any exclusivity with them.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to The Hampton Institute, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the link below.