Only One Set of Laws for US

We pride ourselves on being a nation of laws, not of men. We elect legislators to create laws to govern our various political entities: cities, counties, states, and the nation. One of our ideals is equal protection under the law. “The law?” Which law? It’s becoming evident in recent times that some religions prefer to govern themselves by their own ideological legal systems.

Currently there is growing awareness among non Muslims that Islam entails a legal system called Sharia. Some countries or enclaves within countries are described as Sharia-compliant. But it’s not Islam alone that wishes to govern itself by religious laws. Recently, a Jewish man in New Jersey was called to task for reporting his son’s sexual abuse to the police before first reporting it for adjudication to leaders of his fundamentalist Jewish community. During the time when there were continuous revelations about sexual abuse by Catholic Priests, some offenders were instructed to do penance and then accept transfer to another church. Once, not long ago, I asked two of my Catholic friends a revealing question: If civil law and canon law were to conflict with one another, which would you follow? One friend, a lawyer, chose civil law. The other, a Catholic Deacon, chose canon law.

Some of these laws are designed to insure moral behavior among their adherents. Sometimes they are invoked to protect a religious community from embarrassment. Whatever the case, these disparate legal systems have the dangerous potential to divide us in ways that could destroy civil order.

In the United States, we elect representatives who are given the task of creating or repealing laws in accordance with the consent of a majority of the governed. This body of law must take precedence over any parochial subset of laws whether domestic or foreign in origin.

Dwight Boud

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