Religious Law Is Already Here!
I hear a lot about people being afraid of Sharia Law being given power in America and other places. The last thing you would expect a conservative, gun toting, catholic, libertarian to argue is that it should be, but that’s exactly what I think should happen. Let me explain.
Many of us already live under religious legal systems, whether we realize it or not. As a catholic, if I get married and subsequently divorced, I would have to navigate two separate systems, Maine’s civil law system and the churches system of ecclesiastical law, to be completely divorced. You see, when the state divorces a catholic from another catholic (I’m making the assumption they were married by a catholic priest) they remain married in the eyes of the church. I would have to successfully win an annulment to have another catholic wedding.
While there is nothing wrong with this, it would be made far simpler if the law allowed me and my fictitious bride to choose the catholic church as an arbitrator with the power to dissolve marriages. Really this is what we are talking about when we hear of sharia law being imposed in Briton or even, to lessor extent, parts of the US that have functioning sharia courts.
In every case I can find, all you have is two or more parties agreeing to certain rules of binding arbitration, and than going through it. There is nothing really wrong with a muslim woman seeking damages in a sharia court that will require her to field X number of male witness’s to win.
As long as one is not forced to subject ones self to that court and neither is the other party, it is no different than Judge Judy, and there is really no rational reason more power should not be given to religious courts (and other non-governmental arbitrators) in civil matters.
As long as both parties are in agreement, who cares what rules they decide to settle their differences under?
It’s not a separation of church and state matter. It not even a free speech matter. It is of no consequence to everyone else. Bring on sharia law for those who want to settle their civil disputes that way. Even atheist could get behind this sort of thing, setting up their own civil arbitration system based on… whatever they want.
(Please note that I have specifically said civil law. Criminal law should, and must be, the sole purview of the state.)