Thursday, June 05, 2014

Allowing religion to influence law

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has, presumably, inadvertently got all sorts of people upset by suggesting that law should be informed by religion. I suppose that people have many ideas of what religion is and thus the outcry.

On the elementary level that says religion teaches us to live well and law prescribes how we live, law influenced by religion should prescribe that we live well. But many people see religion as something that breathes disaster and ultimately evil.

I simply gather three interesting and, I think, constructive posts here.

Chris Roper makes the point that religion has the propensity to go bad. While religions may set high ideals, those ideals are often subverted by self-interest.

But this is the problem with Mogoeng’s desire to have religion inform our legal system: which Christianity is going to turn up? Which Islam is going to turn up, the Islam of Boko Haram, or the Islam of Malala Yousafzai? Which Judaism is going to turn up, that of the West Bank Wall, or that of Hannah Arendt?
(Christianity is the enemy of Christianity)

Dion Forster writes that religion is more specific in its application than is the law.

The law is intended to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their religious perspective. Laws should be based on the principles of justice and our shared human dignity . . . Religion on the other hand is based on beliefs that are not commonly shared . . .
(Why Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is wrong - law infused by religion is a bad idea)

Ryan Peter takes the discussion a little further. If it is not appropriate for the church to dictate to the state, should the state not give the church the same respect?

Separation of church and state means that the church doesn’t meddle in state affairs. Great, we all actually agree to that. That’s what secularism means. . . But here’s the other side of the coin: this separation also means that the state doesn’t meddle in Church affairs.
(Are today’s secularists really secular?)

At the end of the day, the church should be living by its own rules. I am afraid that we are too concerned with being 'prophetic' and too little concerned with keeping our own houses in order according to our own values and aspirations. (Not that I don't think there is a place for prophetic.)

In an ideal world church and state would be good influences on each other.

1 comment:

jasmine nile said...

thanks ,,,,,,,,,,