Religion and the Law

Eugene Volokh defends the imposition of religious values on society, on the basis that many policy decisions involve moral decisions, and religion helps define morality. Agreed. But religious morality cannot be the only reason for government to enact a law. It needs a “public reason” in the words of Rawls; one that applies to all people, regardless of religion. For example, take gay marriage. While Dobson et al. can claim (wrongly) that homosexuality is against the Bible until the cows come home, this can’t be his entire argument; it excludes people from non-Abrahamic religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, not to mention nontheists, such as athests and agnostics. A public reason for banning gay marriage would be the false notion gays are harmful to children. This affects everyone, not just Christians. So, yes, morality has to play a role, but that morality has to cut across religious lines.

2 thoughts on “Religion and the Law

  1. Isn’t it wonderful that, despite Jesus’ repeated teaching that divorce is tantamount to murder, the Bible Belt has the highest divorce rates in the country?

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