1. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Religion is law?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Smoke, Apr 19, 2011.

    I can't remember exactly what it was or where I found it, but it was an expressed desire on a religious context for birth control to remain illegal because its legalization would lead to abortion and divorce.

    My first thought was that "well if they can't get the pill there, at least they can get it someplace else" and my second thought was something along the lines of "why should someone have to relocate because their religion isn't the basis for the governing of the majority?"


    Anyway, I'm willing to deal with this as a fictional premise simply because it's probably going to grow too complicated for me to persist in treating as a reality at some point.

    For reference, I treat abortion as different from birth control. Birth control is good because it prevents abortions that could have been prevented pregnancies. I'm a firm believer in aborting ectopic pregnancies, undecided on aborting deformed fetuses that might live if they self-expell, and negative on abortion simply because a child is not wanted.


    But what if instead of law based on the state, individual cults could enforce laws on their followers? Say that you were part of a religious group that banned divorce and adultery at the same time? It would have a different culture than the neighbor who believed in non-monogamist practices. Still, the state acknowledged that a particular cult could legally kill someone for a transgression that the majority doesn't think is even a crime.

    It's part of individual groups enforcing their religious edicts into common law simply because they are majority. Religions that require opposing stances must file for exemptions from laws, and actually get repressed on certain issues.

    I'm not sure who declared that Hoosiers couldn't buy bottled booze on a Sunday, but it sure is inconvenient to someone who suddenly wants to drown their sorrows and then not get arrested for drunk driving.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You mean like if the government decided that cults, groups, etc could enforce legally binding laws on its people? Like if you're in the Flying Spaghetti Club, and if they say you can't eat cake on Thursdays, and you eat cake on a Thursday, they can send you to jail, and the government would back them up?

    That's a tricky one.......see, the thing is, with a business, church, or other organization, their rules are part of being there...i.e. if you don't follow the rules, the worst they can do is kick you out, and you choose to follow those rules and be in that group. So no matter how strict, stupid or intrusive their rules are, it's all voluntary. The difference with the government (and why I hate the gov so much haha) is that the government's laws are forcibly imposed on everyone. Some of these are good, like you can't murder anyone. Some are bad, like the fact that you could go to jail for consuming certain substances within your own home or for buying a product for which the production and trade was competely voluntary.

    So, if the government says you're legally bound to obey the FSM's no cake on Thursday laws, and you eat cake, you're held accountable. But if you eat cake, you are also expelled from the FSM club, and therefore not in the group. So if you arne't in the group, how can the government hold you accountable for the group's laws?

    The only way for this to work would be if it was made so that once you voluntarily join an organization, you are legally outlawed from leaving it.
     
  3. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Well yeah, pretty much a whole ritual-of-leaving thing. Maybe you have no legal rights unless a church accepts you, and maybe a common law that all churches have to obey. (Murder isn't murder if it follows a certain set of guidelines. Religious edict has no bearing about how you treat a person on the street, that is common law due to common ground.)

    It's better than having to sell your home because some religious group that is directly contrary to your beliefs manages to take over the majority of the state. (Example: being a long-standing member of the golian religion instead of the more popular frexians strictly because the frexians forbid consuming the flesh of mammals. Maybe you had to raise your own rabbits as a golian, but suddenly you'd be arrested for even doing that much if frexians dictated that everyone should follow their beliefs.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Any of these types of scenarios would be really bad in real life.....
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    italy had banned birth control as well as divorce, on religious grounds, as many other catholic-run countries did... and some may still do today...

    and people did go elsewhere... one of the most famous cases was sophia loren and carlo ponti, who had to marry in another country after he divorced his previous wife elsewhere... when the couple returned to italy, they were charged with bigamy and adultery!

    in today's world, it's the islamic-run nations that impose the most and worst religious laws on all of their citizens and even on non-citizens who live in their countries...
     
  6. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    And here I was worried that I was talking about one minor case.

    .........

    *whimper*

    But I'm still wondering about examples of the inverse, where the laws of the church don't hold everyone that simply lives in its shadow. I'm not sure simple religious exemption laws hold firm, and it's still the state mandating the majorital religious rules.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Maybe in your story's setting, you get some kind of bad rep card with each misdeed you committ within your church/business/org whatever...so if you disobey your church's rules, and get a record of it, the government can look it up same as how they do with your criminal record in real life.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    FAIR WARNING - Politics and Religion in one thread?

    As with every thread dealing with controversial subjects, this one will be closely watched. As long as everyone remains respectful toward everyone else's beliefs, the thread may continue.

    FAIR WARNING! In the past, we have simply closed the thread when it gets too heated. This time, whoever takes it to the point that requires it to be closed will also be subject to an infraction.

    We have had a very poor track record with contraversial threads in the past, and this is why we will follow a zero-tolerance policy on this one.

    So please keep the tone respectful at all times.
     
  9. Cynglen
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    Cynglen Senior Member

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    Thanks for the warning, Cog. I hate when threads like this descend into opinionated fights.

    I'm afraid I don't quite get at what question you're posing here, Smoke. Are you asking for thoughts on a hypothetical situation where individual religious groups within a group of people are allowed to follow their own laws/morals regardless of the laws/morals/opinions of the entire group (i.e. one group does ritual execution of thieves while another group of the same nation doesn't condone killing anyone for any reason)? Or are you looking for examples of religious-vs-secular opinions/clashes over various topics?

    And are you asking these questions in an attempt to create a fictional plot for a story, or are you just looking for a general discussion?
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    The OP mentions "fictional premise," which leads me to think it's for her story.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's your story, so you can have any rules 'n regs apply that you want... it doesn't matter what happens in the real world when you're writing fiction that's taking place in one you created...
     
  12. jonnydredd
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    jonnydredd New Member

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    I agree but it can also be good to do a bit of research and collecting opinions, I guess, to make the results of these situations in your book more believable.

    Too see how people and communities would react to such terms, I would be inclined to look at the past, as most (if not all) old civilizations were ran by their religious beliefs at the time, and to some extend, this is still how our world works today.
     
  13. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    It's not my world, but the real one. It only becomes fiction when the horror becomes too much to believe in.

    This is an excercize for the brain, and unlikely to go anywhere useful unless it tastes nice after fermenting for several years.

    It seems like religious laws either apply to everyone under the government that religion control, or the people involved just get kicked out of the church.

    I think the amish are the only ones I can think of that even try for having laws for their own community that are really strict. (If a kid goes to the devil's playground and doesn't come back, they aren't allowed to even share an eating table with their adherent family.)
     
  14. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Assuming we're talking in U.S. terms, there's a little thing you need to understand called Separation of Church and State. Technically, the United States government has to remain separate from any religious organization. However, many laws are passed based on what the majority wants; if the Protestant majority in the U.S. decides that a law is immoral, and their sense of morality is influenced by their religion, that will have an effect on whether the law is passed.

    Now what you're describing, with everyone joining a church that makes its own laws, does not work under the Constitution. The Catholic Church can say that its members have to follow certain rules, but if the person breaks those rules he's not breaking the law if it doesn't break U.S. law--he simply risks being kicked out of the church. Likewise, a person is allowed to believe whatever he wants under the Bill of Rights, but if he believes that sacrificing unknowing civilians is the way to heaven, he's allowed to believe it, but he's not allowed to go around sacrificing people to get to heaven because it breaks U.S. law. A system of varying religious laws unrestrained by government would cause violence and anarchy. And no government existing would allow it. Some governments are more connected to religion than that of the U.S., but then individual organizations have less power, not more.

    Now if you're using this as an idea for a story, I guess this could be done under some kind of elaborate social experiment, but then the government in power would be some kind of totalitarian regime that has no issues with using the people for potentially violent experiments, and has the authority to do them. Alternatively, maybe the world has descended into anarchy for a number of reasons, and the first governments to be developed are religious groups, which would be able to quickly control the masses. But then there is no higher government.
     
  15. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Well, there would be a certain amount of religious suppression when it comes to one religion interfering with the lives of people outside of their religion. And really that's where I'm driving at.

    I'm going to try and use the Amish as acceptable targets while trying not to bash them too hard. Say that somehow the really strict ones became the majority and started driving policy for everyone else. Suddenly you'd have a country where no-one is allowed to have a car, or have other technologies that promote sloth. What if having buttons on your clothing meant that you could not buy food?

    How they manage themselves seems fine. It may be a little unfortunate for the community that outlaws radios. (A radio could be the one thing that warns them of a tornado.) What children may do when they're going through the devil's playground is a bit sticky, and I'm going to dodge that one as a point of conflict.


    There's also the abortion issue that has its two sides. I don't know which religions have a problem with surgery in general, but I'm convinced that they exist. What if the majority did start outcrying against surgery, or even just anesthetics that make them possible?
     
  16. NathanaelWorks
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    NathanaelWorks Member

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    George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the other great "fathers" of America believed in God and good principles, but kept themselves creditable, humble, and meek without trolling around with mythology. In other words, it's good to believe in God, but forget about the insulting and ritualistic churches.
     
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