Shunning: some religious comparisons

I wanted to find some religious shunning comparisons, so came across following information.

Shunning: some religious comparisons [Part 1V]

Exploring Amish says on its ‘shunning’ website page:

…[W]hen you are shunned, you are treated as if you’re a total outsider. The Amish Church forbids any member of the Church to give you any social standing. Amish shunning divides families and causes much heartache in the Amish community.

I did not have to look further than Ophelia Benson’s FTB blog to find out more information on ‘shunning’ in the Amish community.

Ophelia says in her Big Amish Brother post:

On September 13th, 2012

Have you seen “Breaking Amish”? It’s pretty fascinating – in how horrible the Amish life is. It’s not just in all the deprivation (no school past 8th grade for you!) and rules (as one rebel says, “you can wear this but not that…”) – it’s the revolting coldness of “shunning.” If you step out, you’re […]…

Read the rest Big Amish Brother

The Amish shunning – in a sizable way – reminds me of the shunning – albeit only as a behaviour practice – that occurred at Goldenbridge where even the nuns up the way – not to mention local children from the ‘outside’ national school adjacent to the convent – were warned not to have anything to do with children from the industrial school, lest they be contaminated by their lowly presence. Although, the nuns did not have the power to excommunicate children from the church, they still practiced on them similar Amish tactics whereby “you are treated as if you’re a total outsider.” For something of that psychological magnitude to happen within the confines of an enclosed industrial school – whose geographical make-up was that of a prison – that kind of treatment was sheer hell, as inmates, such as myself, who were on the receiving end of the shunning had no escape route at all. At least there may have been/is the possibility that those who were shunned within the Amish community had the immediate open vast terrain to wander in the aftermath of being shunned by their respective communities. It is also stated: “The Amish Church forbids any member of the Church to give you any social standing. Amish shunning divides families and causes much heartache in the Amish community.” Precisely, the same thing happened to children in Goldenbridge, where they were perpetually torn away from their families and not allowed to have any further contact, because they were considered by those in charge to be unfit parent/s.

The revolting coldness of shunning in both case scenarios was absolutely shockingly suppressive. It was just not going to school and working in a laundry and making rosary beads in a secret factory, or ‘no school past 8th grade for the Amish’ that Ophelia pointed out, that had to be contended. It was the inhumane practice of shunning. Nonetheless, compared to the practices of some sects and cultures, Amish shunning seems quite mild.

Some ultra-orthodox Jewish congregations, for example, go so far as to hold funerals for former members who decide to marry outside the religion.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia: Excommunication within Catholicism is seen as medicinal. The goals are similar to the Amish. In, that the long term effects are to try to draw them back to the ‘path of righteousness.’

Read more here

Here’s another example of an appalling shunning incident within Catholicism that happened on May 18, 2010. I first read about it at butterfliesandwheels and was so disgusted at the way the nun had been treated by the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy. Then again, on reflection I shouldn’t really find it unsurprising. It has not got a very good record in its treatment of institutional children in the past. 170, 000 children and more went through the hands of the religious in Ireland in the past and there is now a Ryan Report to show the shoddy treatment of its handling of the most vulnerable of society.

PHOENIX, Arizona ( – The Bishop of Phoenix has announced that a Catholic nun and administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix has automatically excommunicated herself by approving an abortion on a woman who was 11-weeks pregnant, and whose life hospital officials allege they were trying to save.

See: Nun Excommunicated Self by Approving Abortion – Catholic Online

It has since been rescinded. Incidentally, there was also another nun in Australia who suffered the same fate. The two nuns would have devoted their entire lives to religion and worked every hour God gave them for the good of Mother church. However, the church had/has such power over them, that it thought fit to wield it, at the drop of a hat, and reduce them to insignificant nonentities.

Discovery of religious shunning practices comparisons makes me understand the practice in general that occurred to children in Goldenbridge and to the religious who erred in the eyes of the church and who were excommunicated.

Some ultra-orthodox Jewish congregations, for example, go so far as to hold funerals for former members who decide to marry outside the religion.

I discovered some quotes on shunning which are from various other religious perspectives that were deemed noteworthy to mention here despite being written a decade ago at •

Karen McCowan says Many religions remove members

Tuesday March 4, 2003

“Such shunning is “a fairly common practice of radical reformation sects, groups that tend to be drawn in very much on themselves,” said Carl Raschke, a Denver University religious studies professor.”


“Other practitioners include certain Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities, Hutterites and the Bruderhof.”

I didn’t explore individual Islamic cults. However, this quote from Karen McCowan sums up succinctly the same fate as what happens to Jewish extremist groups.

And in some extremist Islamic groups around the world, apostasy (renunciation of faith) is considered punishable by death – witness the bounty placed on author Salman Rushdie after he was branded an apostate for “The Satanic Verses.”

One would think that being shunned by scientologists would be a welcome relief from all the brainwashing:

Scientology shunning, called “disconnection”, forbids its members from interacting with a “suppressive” person. No calls, no letters, no contact.

Sourced: Many religions remove members

It’s very sad to learn that suicide attempts are not uncommon with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Re: Jehovah’s Witnesses and Shunning

…[I]t is a common trait among esoteric movements that claim to be “the Truth.” Members are required to sever association with even their own family members and relatives who leave. The consequences of this harsh doctrinal policy are extreme, shattering family relationships and leaving the victims emotionally and spiritually devastated. Suicides or attempted suicides are not uncommon.

Shunning is here to stay, and very active so it appears in one particular American school in Indiana. I came across a post on the 18th of February, 2013 again at butterfliesandwheels where a conservative talk show host “Janet Mefferd waded into the controversy about the Indiana high school where a group of students wanted to organise a separate prom that would specifically prevent gay and lesbian students from attending:”

In her post Ophelia Benson says:

I find that there’s a right I can have that I didn’t even know I could have. There’s a right to not see gay people. I did not ever know that. A conservative talk show host called Janet Mefferd says there is such a right. Conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd this week waded into the …

“We don’t agree with it and it’s offensive to us,” said Diana Medley who is a special needs teacher, whom children go to with their problems. Her philosophy is that she “doesn’t believe anyone is born gay.” She continues “I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way; God created everyone equal,” said Medley. ”Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don’t agree with them, but I care about them. It’s the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason,” said Medley. With a mindset of a teacher like that at the school one can only wonder what hope have the gay teens. She is so utterly indoctrinated. Love the person, but not the sinner. Thankfully though, not all in the community think what they’re doing is right in having a separate prom. Yes, there’s a right ‘not to see gay people’, but it’s wrong to shun people for the wrong reasons. This is stomach churning stuff.


Floral shunning 


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