In light of the recent uproar over the refusal by Rowan County clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licences to anyone in her county due to her "deeply-held" religious belief against same sex marriage, and her subsequent jail time, I've been motivated to write about an idea I've been entertaining on what a legal system could look like if government and religion were in business together.
Imagine if the government legally forced every religious person to live according to the rules of their religion so that they had to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. They would not be allowed to pick and choose which religious rules they wanted to live by or force others to live by. It would work like this. Everyone would have to register their religious affiliation with the government. For whatever religion you register with, special laws would apply to you on top of civil laws from that religion. So if you register as a Catholic, it would be illegal for you to divorce, or to use any contraception, have abortions, masturbate, have any sex outside of marriage, and even watch pornography. Your internet service provider would have to block pornographic websites from being accessed. If you register as a Muslim, it would be illegal to eat pork, drink alcohol, eat during Ramadan, have any sex outside of marriage, watch porn, and daily prayer would be mandatory.
All the special religious rules would be laws that each member of the religion would have to adhere to, under penalty of the law. Failure obey these laws would result in anything ranging from a fine, to a prison sentence. Your religion would be displayed on your state issued ID, so a liquor store clerk would be able to see if you were Muslim and trying to buy alcohol, and a convenient store clerk would be able to see if you were a Christian and trying to buy condoms, and they would be obligated to refuse to sell it to you. All the regular secular laws that exist would still apply to everyone, but the religious laws would apply in addition to them for registered religious adherents. If the two were in conflict, there'd be a general preference for secular law over religious law, so if someone's religion allowed human sacrifice, or wife beating, it would still be illegal for them.
So under this system, Kim Davis would not have been allowed to divorce, and certainly not get remarried, and since her job requires that she issue marriage licences to same sex couples, which is forbidden under Christianity due to homosexuality being an abomination, she wouldn't be able have that job and she'd be fired immediately. If one didn't like having to live as their religion prescribes that they do, they could renounce their religion at any time, and either change their religious identification with the government to another religion, or to none. But there'd be a limit as to how many times you can do this per year to one and there'd be penalties for pretending to be non-religious if it is discovered.
I'm sick and tired of cafeteria Christians, Muslims, and Jews cherry picking which religious rules they abide by, while trying to enforce the ones they do abide by onto others. I don't want to hear Christians lecturing us on the abomination of homosexuality, when they've been divorced three times, or have been watching porn for decades, or have broken dozens of other religious rules and continue to do so everyday. If you want to call yourself a Catholic, or a Sunni, or a Protestant, or whatever, you should be forced to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. We'll see how much you like the marriage between religion and government then.
Now, of course this is pure fantasy. This is neither practical, nor legal, nor moral. But it's nice to entertain.