General discussion


The religious fist stops where the legal face begins

By mjwx ·
This part of a discussion recently started by Stargazerr which referred dealing with foreign religious customs within our own countries. I would like to focus on this aspect and hear what people have to say.

I?ll begin, the title I have chosen sum?s up what I think. The religious fist stops where the legal face begins. I firmly believe that you have the right to practice your religion be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Satanism, Paganism, Maxwell Edisonism or whatever you believe up until the point you break the law. At this point I would like to point out that I am talking about our countries and our laws (US, Australia, UK specifically but anyone is welcome to join in). After the point you have broken a law religion should have no bearing what so ever. The old saying ?if you do the crime you do the time? the defence that it was part of your religion to steal, rape or murder is no defence at all (yes I am talking about Islam here) in my mind. By the same token hate criminals should be treated more harshly by the law, White supremacists and extremist Imans are two types of people I?d like to get out of my nation. A nation that has truely and completly separated church and state should be able to implement both of these ideas without stepping on anyone?s toes, can we find nations like this?

Look forward to reading your opinions after the weekend (sunday for you yanks, you're back about 16 hours from here)

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Civilization and the rule of law

by JamesRL In reply to The religious fist stops ...

If we abandon the rule of law, we abandon the hope of living together in peace.

If you emigrate from a country with one perspective on criminal laws to another one, you need to make your decision understanding the implications. While you may seek to change the laws of your new home, as is your right in a democratic system, you must respect the laws that are in place, unless they contravene inalienable rights (ask Maxwell).

I would question your persception of Islamic law. In most situations, Islamic law is harsher than "western" countries laws. It wasn't that long ago that they used to cut of the hands of a theif in Saudi, they still treat drug dealers extremely harshly in Islamic countries. Your chances of getting a fair trial there are less than here. Now this is not to say I agree with all Islamic laws - many Islamic states still treat women as second class citizens and as a consequence rape is nto prosecuted as it is here.


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I know that Islamic law

by mjwx In reply to Civilization and the rule ...

is harsher than western law. I was reffering to Islamic (or any other religion) abiding by western law (in western countries).

Didn't mean to give you the wrong impression.

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A point of order

by Mickster269 In reply to The religious fist stops ...

What about the Native American Indians? Some of them practice a relgion/lifestyle that requires somking Peyote. Is that an exception?

What about religious practices that require the sacrifice of animals?

There are certain religious "practices" that are illegal for most, but allowed for some. Where and when do you draw the line?

It's not as easy to say "A nation that has truely and completly separated church and state should be able to implement both of these ideas without stepping on anyone?s toes...". The last one that supposedly was able to do that was the U.S.S.R. China isn't having a whole lot of luck there.

Now, I do agree that in principle, the State and the Church(es) should be totally seperate. But it's not a one way street. If you keep religion out of the state, then you also must keep the state out of religion.

In summation, one man's Religious Practice is another man's Violation of the Law.

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There have been formalized exceptions for that.

by Absolutely In reply to A point of order

I don't know if it is still in effect, but there was an organized Native movement of peyote users who had their religious custom recognized under law as a right, when used ceremonially.

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Sovereignty trumps Religion.

by deepsand In reply to A point of order

The core principle of any functional governing body is that it must provide for the general welfare of the governed such that the sovereign survives.

The express purpose of, for example, a constitution is to try to best insure that peoples of disparate beliefs co-exist with the least amount of conflict.

This demands that the power of the sovereign be superior to that of any and all particular beliefs, including those of religion.

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Not all that clear cut.

by jdmercha In reply to The religious fist stops ...

Some examples of religeous extremsits are easy to condemn, such as genocide or suicide bombings. But the line gets a lot grayer with religious issues such as abortion, assisted suicide and refusal of medical care.

All of these examples may result in the loss of an innocent life. I agree that the law of the land should take precidence over the law of religion. But what if the law of the land is wrong? If your religion forbids you to have a blood transfusion then that should be your choice to refuse it. But when your six-year-old needs a transfusion and does not have the capacity to make the choice, should the parents be allowed to refuse a transfusion? Doesn't this result in the death of an innocent child, just like a suicide bomb would?

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You seem to be confused.

by deepsand In reply to Not all that clear cut.

The laws of the land do not allow for the withholding of necessary medical treatments to insure the life of a minor, even though the parents or guardians religious beliefs may hold otherwise.

So, how is the law of the land here wrong?

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Somewhat confused

by jdmercha In reply to You seem to be confused.

Actually I don't have an answer. I am undecided as to wether or not a parent should be able to refuse medical treatment for their child based on religious beliefs. As I am not in a position where I have to make such a choice, I choice not to stand one way or the other.

I do however think that an individual has the right to refuse medical treatment for themselves.

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The law generally allows one to refuse treatment for himself.

by deepsand In reply to Somewhat confused

The law, in this country, doesnot allow a minor to make such a decision.

Not does it allow an adult to deprive a minor of treatment required to sustain their live solely on religious grounds.

The guiding principle here is that one whose has the legal capacity to make contractually binding decisions for himself is free to do so for himself, but is constrained with regards to making such decisions for others.

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In general

by Absolutely In reply to The religious fist stops ...

If a person's beliefs (religious or atheist) conflict with law, they know they have the option of conforming to the law, or risk suffering the consequences. If one's convictions are strong enough to violate the law, they ought to be strong enough to endure the legal consequences. If not, it's irrational to take seriously any claim that violating the law was based on any "higher" moral belief. King and Mandela did their time peacefully for their beliefs. Everybody who claims the right to violate the law and not serve time is a hypocrite.

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