Religious law

Religious law refers to ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Examples include Christian canon law, Islamic sharia, Jewish halakha, and Hindu law.[1]

Established religions and religious institutions

A state religion (or established church) is a religious body officially endorsed by the state. A theocracy is a form of government in which a God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler.

In both theocracies and some religious jurisdictions, conscientious objectors may cause religious offense. The contrary legal systems are secular states or multicultural societies in which the government does not formally adopt a particular religion, but may either repress all religious activity or enforce tolerance of religious diversity.

Bahá'í Faith

Bahá'í laws are laws and ordinances used in the Bahá'í Faith and are a fundamental part of Bahá'í practice.[2] The laws are based on authenticated texts from Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, subsequent interpretations from `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi and legislation by the Universal House of Justice.[3] Bahá'í law is presented as a set of general principles and guidelines and individuals must apply them as they best seem fit.[3] While some of the social laws are enforced by Bahá'í institutions, the emphasis is placed on individuals following the laws based on their conscience, understanding and reasoning, and Bahá'ís are expected to follow the laws for the love of Bahá'u'lláh.[3] The laws are seen as the method of the maintenance of order and security in the world.[2]

A few examples of laws and basic religious observances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas which are considered obligatory for Bahá'ís include:

  • Recite an obligatory prayer each day. There are three such prayers among which one can be chosen each day.
  • Observe a Nineteen Day Fast from sunrise to sunset from March 2 through March 20. During this time Bahá'ís in good health between the ages of 15 and 70 abstain from eating and drinking.
  • Gossip and backbiting are prohibited and viewed as particularly damaging to the individual and their relationships.

Buddhism

Patimokkha comprises a collection of precepts for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Buddhist monks and nuns).

Christianity

Within the framework of Christianity, there are several possible definitions for religious law. One is the Mosaic Law (from what Christians consider to be the Old Testament) also called Divine Law or biblical law, the most famous example being the Ten Commandments. Another is the instructions of Jesus of Nazareth to his disciples in the Gospel (often referred to as the Law of Christ or the New Commandment or the New Covenant, in contrast to the Old Covenant). Another is the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15, which is still observed by the Greek Orthodox Church.[4] Another is canon law in the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches.

In some Christian denominations, law is often contrasted with grace (see also Law and Gospel and Antithesis of the Law): the contrast here speaks to attempts to gain salvation by obedience to a code of laws as opposed to seeking salvation through faith in the atonement made by Jesus on the cross.

Biblical/Mosaic law

Christian views of the Old Covenant are central to Christian theology, ethics, and practice. The term "Old Covenant", also referred to as the Mosaic covenant, the Law of Moses, divine law, Biblical law or God's law, refers to the statements or principles of religious law and religious ethics codified in the first five books or Pentateuch of the Old Testament. Views of the Old Covenant are expressed in the New Testament, such as Jesus' antitheses of the law, the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity, and the Incident at Antioch and position of Paul the Apostle and Judaism. Many traditional Christians have the view that only parts are applicable, many Protestants have the view that none is applicable, dual-covenant theologians have the view that only Noahide Laws apply to Gentiles, and a minority have the view that all are still applicable to believers in Jesus and the New Covenant.

Canon law

Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of churches.[5] The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was initially a rule adopted by a church council (From Greek kanon / κανών, Hebrew kaneh / קנה, for rule, standard, or measure); these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Canons of the Apostles

The Canons of the Apostles[6] or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles[7] is a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees (eighty-five in the Eastern, fifty in the Western Church) concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, incorporated with the Apostolic Constitutions which are part of the Ante-Nicene Fathers

Catholic Church

The canon law of the Catholic Church (Latin: jus canonicum)[8] is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church.[9] It was the first modern Western legal system[10] and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West,[11] predating the common and European civil law traditions. What began with rules ("canons") adopted by the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem in the 1st century has blossomed into a highly complex and original legal system encapsulating not just norms of the New Testament, but some elements of the Hebrew (Old Testament), Roman, Visigothic, Saxon, and Celtic legal traditions spanning thousands of years of human experience. while the unique traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.

Positive ecclesiastical laws, based directly or indirectly upon immutable divine law or natural law, derive formal authority in the case of universal laws from promulgation by the supreme legislator—the Supreme Pontiff—who possesses the totality of legislative, executive, and judicial power in his person,[12] while particular laws derive formal authority from promulgation by a legislator inferior to the supreme legislator, whether an ordinary or a delegated legislator. The actual subject material of the canons is not just doctrinal or moral in nature, but all-encompassing of the human condition.

It has all the ordinary elements of a mature legal system:[13] laws, courts, lawyers, judges,[13] a fully articulated legal code for the Latin Church[14] as well as a code for the Eastern Catholic Churches,[14] principles of legal interpretation,[15] and coercive penalties.[16] It lacks civilly-binding force in most secular jurisdictions. Those who are versed and skilled in canon law, and professors of canon law, are called canonists[17] (or colloquially, canon lawyers).[18] Canon law as a sacred science is called canonistics.

The jurisprudence of canon law is the complex of legal principles and traditions within which canon law operates, while the philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law are the areas of philosophical, theological, and legal scholarship dedicated to providing a theoretical basis for canon law as legal system and as true law.

In the early Church, the first canons were decreed by bishops united in "Ecumenical" councils (the Emperor summoning all of the known world's bishops to attend with at least the acknowledgement of the Bishop of Rome) or "local" councils (bishops of a region or territory). Over time, these canons were supplemented with decretals of the Bishops of Rome, which were responses to doubts or problems according to the maxim, Roma locuta est, causa finita est ("Rome has spoken, case is closed").

Later, they were gathered together into collections, both unofficial and official. The first truly systematic collection was assembled by the Camaldolese monk Gratian in the 11th century, commonly known as the Decretum Gratiani ("Gratian's Decree"). Pope Gregory IX is credited with promulgating the first official collection of canons called the Decretalia Gregorii Noni or Liber Extra (1234). This was followed by the Liber Sextus (1298) of Boniface VIII, the Clementines (1317) of Clement V, the Extravagantes Joannis XXII and the Extravagantes Communes, all of which followed the same structure as the Liber Extra. All these collections, with the Decretum Gratiani, are together referred to as the Corpus Juris Canonici. After the completion of the Corpus Juris Canonici, subsequent papal legislation was published in periodic volumes called Bullaria.

By the 19th century, this body of legislation included some 10,000 norms, many difficult to reconcile with one another due to changes in circumstances and practice. This situation impelled Pope Pius X to order the creation of the first Code of Canon Law, a single volume of clearly stated laws. Under the aegis of the Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, the Commission for the Codification of Canon Law was completed under Benedict XV, who promulgated the Code, effective in 1918. The work having been begun by Pius X, it was sometimes called the "Pio-Benedictine Code" but more often the 1917 Code. In its preparation, centuries of material was examined, scrutinized for authenticity by leading experts, and harmonized as much as possible with opposing canons and even other Codes, from the Codex of Justinian to the Napoleonic Code.

Pope John XXIII initially called for a Synod of the Diocese of Rome, an Ecumenical Council, and an updating to the 1917 Code. After the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (Vatican II) closed in 1965, it became apparent that the Code would need to be revised in light of the documents and theology of Vatican II. After multiple drafts and many years of discussion, Pope John Paul II promulgated the revised Code of Canon Law (CIC) in 1983. Containing 1752 canons, it is the law currently binding on the Latin (western) Roman Church.

The canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, which had developed some different disciplines and practices, underwent its own process of codification, resulting in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches promulgated in 1990 by Pope John Paul II.

The institutions and practices of canon law paralleled the legal development of much of Europe, and consequently both modern Civil law and Common law bear the influences of canon law. Edson Luiz Sampel, a Brazilian expert in canon law, says that canon law is contained in the genesis of various institutes of civil law, such as the law in continental Europe and Latin American countries. Sampel explains that canon law has significant influence in contemporary society.

Currently, all Latin-Rite Catholic seminary students are expected to take courses in canon law (c. 252.3). Some ecclesiastical officials are required to have the doctorate (JCD) or at least the licentiate (JCL) in canon law in order to fulfill their functions: Judicial Vicars (c. 1419.1), Judges (c. 1421.3), Promoters of Justice (c. 1435), Defenders of the Bond (c. 1435). In addition, Vicars General and Episcopal Vicars are to be doctors or at least licensed in canon law or theology (c. 478.1), and canonical advocates must either have the doctorate or be truly expert in canon law (c. 1483). Ordinarily, Bishops are to have advanced degrees in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law (c. 378.1.5). St. Raymond of Penyafort (1175–1275), a Spanish Dominican priest, is the patron saint of canonists, due to his important contributions to the science of Canon Law.

Orthodox Churches

The Greek-speaking Orthodox have collected canons and commentaries upon them in a work known as the Pēdálion (Greek: Πηδάλιον, "Rudder"), so named because it is meant to "steer" the Church. The Orthodox Christian tradition in general treats its canons more as guidelines than as laws, the bishops adjusting them to cultural and other local circumstances. Some Orthodox canon scholars point out that, had the Ecumenical Councils (which deliberated in Greek) meant for the canons to be used as laws, they would have called them nómoi/νόμοι (laws) rather than kanónes/κανόνες (rules), but almost all Orthodox conform to them. The dogmatic decisions of the Councils, though, are to be obeyed rather than to be treated as guidelines, since they are essential for the Church's unity.

Anglican Communion

In the Church of England, the ecclesiastical courts that formerly decided many matters such as disputes relating to marriage, divorce, wills, and defamation, still have jurisdiction of certain church-related matters (e.g., discipline of clergy, alteration of church property, and issues related to churchyards). Their separate status dates back to the 11th century when the Normans split them off from the mixed secular/religious county and local courts used by the Saxons. In contrast to the other courts of England the law used in ecclesiastical matters is at least partially a civil law system, not common law, although heavily governed by parliamentary statutes. Since the Reformation, ecclesiastical courts in England have been royal courts. The teaching of canon law at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was abrogated by Henry VIII; thereafter practitioners in the ecclesiastical courts were trained in civil law, receiving a Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) degree from Oxford, or an LL.D. from Cambridge. Such lawyers (called "doctors" and "civilians") were centred at "Doctors Commons", a few streets south of St Paul's Cathedral in London, where they monopolized probate, matrimonial, and admiralty cases until their jurisdiction was removed to the common law courts in the mid-19th century. (Admiralty law was also based on civil law instead of common law, thus was handled by the civilians too.)

Charles I repealed Canon Law in Scotland in 1638 after uprisings of Covenanters confronting the Bishops of Aberdeen following the convention at Muchalls Castle and other revolts across Scotland earlier that year.

Other churches in the Anglican Communion around the world (e.g., the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican Church of Canada) still function under their own private systems of canon law.

Presbyterian and Reformed Churches

In Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, canon law is known as "practice and procedure" or "church order," and includes the church's laws respecting its government, discipline, legal practice and worship.

Lutheranism

The Book of Concord is the historic doctrinal statement of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century.[19] However, the Book of Concord is a confessional document (stating orthodox belief) rather than a book of ecclesiastical rules or discipline, like canon law. Each Lutheran national church establishes its own system of church order and discipline, though these are referred to as "canons."

The United Methodist Church

The Book of Discipline contains the laws, rules, policies and guidelines for The United Methodist Church. It is revised every four years by the General Conference, the law making body of The United Methodist Church; the last edition was published in 2012.[20]

Hinduism

Hindu law is largely based on the Manu Smriti (smriti of Manu). It was recognized by the British during their rule of India but its influence waned after the establishment of the Republic of India, which has a secular legal system.

Islam

Sharia, also known as Islamic law (قانون إسلامي qānūn ʾIslāmī), is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources, the precepts set forth in the Quran and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the sunnah. Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) interprets and extends the application of sharia to questions not directly addressed in the primary sources by including secondary sources. These secondary sources usually include the consensus of the ulama (religious scholars) embodied in ijma and analogy from the Quran and sunnah through qiyas. Shia jurists prefer to apply reasoning ('aql) rather than analogy in order to address difficult questions.

Muslims believe sharia is God's law, but they differ as to what exactly it entails.[21] Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries, societies and cultures have varying interpretations of sharia as well.

Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Where it has official status, sharia is applied by Islamic judges, or qadis. The imam has varying responsibilities depending on the interpretation of sharia; while the term is commonly used to refer to the leader of communal prayers, the imam may also be a scholar, religious leader, or political leader.

The reintroduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements in Muslim countries. Some Muslim minorities in Asia (e.g., in Israel or in India) have maintained institutional recognition of sharia to adjudicate their personal and community affairs. In western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced sharia family law, for use in their own disputes, with varying degrees of success e.g., Britain's Muslim Arbitration Tribunal. Attempts by Muslims to impose sharia on non-Muslims in countries with large Muslim populations have been accompanied by controversy,[22][23][24] violence,[25][26][27][28][29][30] and even warfare (cf. Second Sudanese Civil War).[31][32]

Jainism

Jain law or Jaina law refers to the modern interpretation of ancient Jain Law that consists of rules for adoption, marriage, succession and death for the followers of Jainism.

Judaism

Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה‎; literally "walking") is the collective body of rabbinic Jewish religious laws derived from the Written and Oral Torah, including the Mishnah, the halakhic Midrash, the Talmud, and its commentaries. After the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in the year 70 during the First Jewish-Roman War, the Oral Law was developed through intensive and expansive interpretations of the written Torah.

The halakhah has developed gradually through a variety of legal and quasi-legal mechanisms, including judicial decisions, legislative enactments, and customary law. The literature of questions to rabbis, and their considered answers, are referred to as responsa. Over time, as practices develop, codes of Jewish law were written based on Talmudic literature and responsa. The most influential code, the Shulchan Aruch, guides the religious practice of most Orthodox and some Conservative Jews.

According to rabbinic tradition there are 613 mitzvot in the written Torah. The mitzvot in the Torah (also called the Law of Moses) pertain to nearly every aspect of human life. Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups (the Kohanim and Leviyim), members of the tribe of Levi, some only to farmers within the Land of Israel. Some laws are only applicable when there is a Temple in Jerusalem (see Third Temple).

Wicca

The Wiccan Rede is a statement that provides the key moral system in the Neopagan religion of Wicca and certain other related Witchcraft-based faiths. A common form of the Rede is "An it harm none, do what ye will".

See also

References

  1. ^ Gad Barzilai, Law and Religion, Ashgate, 2007
  2. ^ a b Smith 2008, pp. 158
  3. ^ a b c Smith 2008, pp. 159
  4. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
  5. ^ "Canon law". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  6. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Apostolic Canons". New Advent. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  7. ^ "The Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles". Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  8. ^ Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, pg. 771: "Jus canonicum"
  9. ^ Della Rocca, Manual of Canon Law, pg. 3
  10. ^ Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution, pg. 86 & pg. 115
  11. ^ Dr. Edward N. Peters, CanonLaw.info Home Page, accessed June-11-2013
  12. ^ Canon 331, 1983 Code of Canon Law
  13. ^ a b Edward N. Peters, "A Catechist's Introduction to Canon Law", CanonLaw.info, accessed June-11-2013
  14. ^ a b Manual of Canon Law, pg. 49
  15. ^ 1983 Code of Canon Law
  16. ^ St. Joseph Foundation newsletter, Vol. 30 No. 7, pg. 3
  17. ^ Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, pg. 187: "Canonist"
  18. ^ Berman, Law and Revolution, pg. 288
  19. ^ F. Bente, ed. and trans., Concordia Triglotta, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), p. i
  20. ^ Book of Discipline (United Methodist)
  21. ^ Otto, Jan Michiel (2008). p. 7. "When people refer to the sharia, they are in fact referring to their sharia, in the name of the eternal will of the Almighty God."
  22. ^ Hamann, Katie (December 29, 2009). "Aceh's Sharia Law Still Controversial in Indonesia". Voice of America. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  23. ^ Iijima, Masako (January 13, 2010). "Islamic Police Tighten Grip on Indonesia's Aceh". Reuters. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  24. ^ "Aceh Sharia Police Loved and Hated". The Jakarta Post.
  25. ^ Staff (January 3, 2003). "Analysis: Nigeria's Sharia Split". BBC News. Retrieved September 19, 2011. "Thousands of people have been killed in fighting between Christians and Muslims following the introduction of sharia punishments in northern Nigerian states over the past three years".
  26. ^ Harnischfeger, Johannes (2008). p. 16. "When the Governor of Kaduna announced the introduction of Sharia, although non-Muslims form almost half of the population, violence erupted, leaving more than 1,000 people dead." p. 189. "When a violent confrontation loomed in February 200, because the strong Christian minority in Kaduna was unwilling to accept the proposed sharia law, the sultan and his delegation of 18 emirs went to see the governor and insisted on the passage of the bill."
  27. ^ Mshelizza, Ibrahim (July 28, 2009). "Fight for Sharia Leaves Dozens Dead in Nigeria – Islamic Militants Resisting Western Education Extend Their Campaign of Violence". The Independent. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  28. ^ "Nigeria in Transition: Recent Religious Tensions and Violence". PBS.
  29. ^ Staff (December 28, 2010). "Timeline: Tensions in Nigeria – A Look at the Country's Bouts of Inter-Religious and Ethnic Clashes and Terror Attacks". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved September 19, 2011. "Thousands of people are killed in northern Nigeria as non-Muslims opposed to the introduction of sharia, or Islamic law, fight Muslims who demand its implementation in the northern state of Kaduna.".
  30. ^ Ibrahimova, Roza (July 27, 2009). "Dozens Killed in Violence in Northern Nigeria" (video (requires Adobe Flash; 00:01:49)). Al Jazeera English. Retrieved September 19, 2011. "The group Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia (Islamic law) across the country, has attacked police stations and churches."
  31. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies: Sudan:. "The factors that provoked the military coup, primarily the closely intertwined issues of Islamic law and of the civil war in the south, remained unresolved in 1991. The September 1983 implementation of the sharia throughout the country had been controversial and provoked widespread resistance in the predominantly non-Muslim south ... Opposition to the sharia, especially to the application of hudud (sing., hadd), or Islamic penalties, such as the public amputation of hands for theft, was not confined to the south and had been a principal factor leading to the popular uprising of April 1985 that overthrew the government of Jaafar an Nimeiri".
  32. ^ PBS Frontline: "Civil war was sparked in 1983 when the military regime tried to impose sharia law as part of its overall policy to "Islamicize" all of Sudan."

External links

Canon law

Canon law (from Greek kanon, a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church (both the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches), the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Damnation

Damnation (from Latin damnatio) is the concept of divine punishment and torment in an afterlife for actions that were committed on Earth. In Ancient Egyptian religious tradition, citizens would recite the 42 negative confessions of Maat as their heart was weighed against the feather of truth. If the citizen's heart was heavier than a feather they would be devoured by Ammit. Zoroastrianism developed an eschatological concept of a Last Judgment called Frashokereti where the dead will be raised and the righteous wade through a river of milk while the wicked will be burned in a river of molten metal. Abrahamic religions such as Christianity have similar concepts of believers facing judgement on a last day to determine if they will spend eternity in Gehenna or heaven for their sin [Mark 3:29]. A damned human "in damnation" is said to be either in Hell, or living in a state wherein they are divorced from Heaven and/or in a state of disgrace from God's favor. In traditional Abrahamic demonology, the Devil rules Hell, where he and his demons punish the damned.

Following the religious meaning, the words damn and goddamn are a common form of religious profanity, in modern times often semantically weakened to the status of mere interjections.

Divine law

Divine law is any law that is understood as deriving from a transcendent source, such as the will of God or gods, in contrast to man-made law. Divine laws are typically regarded as superior to man-made laws, sometimes due to an understanding that their source has resources beyond human knowledge and human reason. They are accorded greater authority, and cannot be changed by human authorities.Divine laws are noted for their inflexibility. Divine laws are often understood as beyond the authority of humans to change. The introduction of interpretation into divine law is a controversial issue, since believers place high significance on adhering to the law precisely. Opponents to the application of divine law typically deny that it is purely divine and point out human influences in the law. This element of human influence is understood as incorporating some degree of fallibility. These opponents characterize such laws as belonging to a particular cultural tradition. Adherents of divine law, on the other hand, are sometimes reluctant to adapt divine laws to cultural contexts.Divine law may be transmitted through several mediums. Most frequently, that are transmitted through religious texts. Medieval Christianity understood there to be three kinds of laws: divine law, natural law, and man-made law. Others, on the other hand, understand natural law as a subset of divine law delivered through general revelation from a creator deity. Theologians have substantially debated the scope of natural law, with the Enlightenment encouraging greater use of reason and expanding the scope of natural law and marginalizing divine law in a process of secularization. Some people may understand themselves as receiving guidance through prayer or conscience, although the moral authority of these methods of transmission are much lower.Since the authority of divine law is rooted in its source, the origin and transmission history of divine law are important.There are frequently conflicts between secular understandings of justice or morality and divine law.Religious law, such as canon law, includes both divine law and additional interpretations, logical extensions, and traditions.

Dratshang Lhentshog

The Dratshang Lhentshog (Dzongkha: གྲྭ་ཚང་ལྷན་ཚོགས་; Wylie: grwa-tshang lhan-tshogs) is the Commission for the Monastic Affairs of Bhutan. Under the 2008 Constitution, it is the bureaucracy that oversees the Drukpa Kagyu sect that is the state religion of Bhutan. Although Bhutan has a state religion, the role of the religious bureaucracy ideally complements secular institutions within a dual system of government.

Halakha

Halakha (; Hebrew: הֲלָכָה, Sephardic: [halaˈχa]; also transliterated as halacha, halakhah, halachah, or halocho) (Ashkenazic: [haˈloχo]) is the collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the written and Oral Torah. Halakha is based on biblical commandments (mitzvot), subsequent Talmudic and rabbinic law, and the customs and traditions compiled in the many books such as the Shulchan Aruch. Halakha is often translated as "Jewish Law", although a more literal translation might be "the way to behave" or "the way of walking". The word derives from the root that means "to behave" (also "to go" or "to walk"). Halakha guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but also numerous aspects of day-to-day life.Historically, in the Jewish diaspora, halakha served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of law – both civil and religious, since no differentiation exists in classical Judaism. Since the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) and Jewish emancipation, some have come to view the halakha as less binding in day-to-day life, as it relies on rabbinic interpretation, as opposed to the pure, written words recorded in the Hebrew Bible. Under contemporary Israeli law, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law are under the authority of the rabbinic courts, so are treated according to halakha. Some differences in halakha are found among Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Sephardi, Yemenite, Ethiopian and other Jewish communities who historically lived in isolated communities.

Heresy

Heresy () is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. A heretic is a proponent of such claims or beliefs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is an impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.The term is usually used to refer to violations of important religious teachings, but is used also of views strongly opposed to any generally accepted ideas. It is used in particular in reference to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.In certain historical Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures, among others, espousing ideas deemed heretical has been and in some cases still is met with censure ranging from excommunication to the death penalty.

Jain law

Jain law or Jaina law is the modern interpretation of ancient Jain law that consists of rules for adoption, marriage, succession and death prescribed for the followers of Jainism.

Jewish religious clothing

Jewish religious clothing is apparel worn by Jews in connection with the practice of the Jewish religion. Jewish religious clothing has changed over time while maintaining the influences of biblical commandments and Jewish religious law regarding clothing and modesty (tzniut). Contemporary styles in the wider culture also have a bearing on Jewish religious clothing, although this extent is limited.

Laws in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is part of the common law jurisdiction. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The legal system of Bangladesh has its roots in the laws of British India. Since independence in 1971, statutory law enacted by the Parliament of Bangladesh has been the primary form of legislation. Judge made law continues to be significant in areas such as constitutional law. Unlike in other common law countries, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has the power to not only interpret laws made by the parliament, but to also declare them null and void and to enforce fundamental rights of the citizens. The Bangladesh Code includes a compilation of all laws since 1836. The vast majority of Bangladeshi laws are in English. But most laws adopted after 1987 are in Bengali. Family law is intertwined with religious law. Bangladesh has significant international law obligations.

During periods of martial law in the 1970s and 1980s, proclamations and ordinances were issued as laws. In 2010, the Supreme Court declared that martial law was illegal, which led to a re-enactment of some laws by parliament. A Right to Information Act has been enacted. Several of Bangladesh's laws are controversial, archaic or in violation of the country's own constitution. They include the country's special powers act, blasphemy law, sedition law, internet regulation law, NGO law, media regulation law, military justice and aspects of its property law. Many colonial laws require modernization.

According to the World Justice Project, Bangladesh ranked 103rd out of 113 countries in an index of the rule of law in 2016.

List of national legal systems

The contemporary legal systems of the world are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. However, the legal system of each country is shaped by its unique history and so incorporates individual variations. The science that studies Law at the level of legal systems is called Comparative Law.

Both civil (also known as Roman) and common law systems can be considered the most widespread in the world: civil law because it is the most widespread by landmass, and common law because it is employed by the greatest number of people.

Oral law

An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted.

Many cultures have an oral law, while most contemporary legal systems have a formal written organisation. The oral tradition (from the Latin tradere = to transmit) is the typical instrument of transmission of the oral codes or, in a more general sense, is the complex of what a culture transmits of itself among the generations, "from father to son". This kind of transmission can be due to lack of other means, such as in illiterate or criminal societies, or can be expressly required by the same law.

There has been a continuous debate over oral versus written transmission, with the focus on the perceived higher reliability of written evidence, primarily based on the "linear world of academia" where only written down records are accepted. However, "standard" theories of orality and literacy have been proposed.

Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbinic Judaism (Hebrew: יהדות רבנית Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Babylonian Talmud. Growing out of Pharisaic Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism is based on the belief that at Mount Sinai, Moses received from God the Written Torah (Pentateuch) in addition to an oral explanation, known as the "Oral Torah," that Moses transmitted to the people.

Rabbinic Judaism contrasts with the Sadducees, Karaite Judaism and Samaritanism, which do not recognize the oral law as a divine authority nor the rabbinic procedures used to interpret Jewish scripture. Although there are now profound differences among Jewish denominations of Rabbinic Judaism with respect to the binding force of halakha (Jewish religious law) and the willingness to challenge preceding interpretations, all identify themselves as coming from the tradition of the oral law and the rabbinic method of analysis.

Religion and abortion

Many religious traditions have taken a stance on abortion, and these stances span a broad spectrum, as highlighted below.

Religious police

Religious police is the police force responsible for the enforcement of religious norms and associated religious laws.

While most police enforcing religious norms in the modern world are Islamic and found in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, some are not (for example in Vietnam, the religious security police monitor “extremist” religious groups, detaining and interrogating suspected Dega Protestants or Ha Mon Catholics).

Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork

Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork are common particularly in the Middle East amongst Jews and Muslims. Swine were prohibited in ancient Syria and Phoenicia, and the pig and its flesh represented a taboo observed, Strabo noted, at Comana in Pontus. A lost poem of Hermesianax, reported centuries later by the traveller Pausanias, reported an etiological myth of Attis destroyed by a supernatural boar to account for the fact that "in consequence of these events the Galatians who inhabit Pessinous do not touch pork". Concerning Abrahamic religions, clear restrictions exist in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut) and in Islamic dietary laws (Halal).

Although Christianity is also an Abrahamic religion, most of its adherents are permitted to consume pork. Since Christianity lost most of its roots from Judaism, Christians are not bound to some restrictions of Mosaic Law. However, Seventh-day Adventists consider pork taboo, along with other foods forbidden by Jewish law. The Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church do not permit pork consumption.

Many Yazidis in Kurdistan regard pork as forbidden.

Shafi‘i

The Shafi‘i (Arabic: شافعي‎ Shāfiʿī, alternative spelling Shafei) madhhab is one of the four schools of Islamic law in Sunni Islam. It was founded by the Arab scholar Al-Shafi‘i, a pupil of Malik, in the early 9th century. The other three schools of Sunni jurisprudence are Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali.The Shafi school predominantly relies on the Quran and the Hadiths for Sharia. Where passages of Quran and Hadiths are ambiguous, the school first seeks religious law guidance from Ijma – the consensus of Scholars (Community of Islamic scholars). If there was no consensus, the Shafi‘i school relies on individual opinion (Ijtihad) of the companions of Muhammad, followed by analogy.The Shafi‘i school was, in the early history of Islam, the most followed ideology for Sharia. However, with the Ottoman Empire's expansion and patronage, it was replaced with the Hanafi school in many parts of the Muslim world. One of the many differences between the Shafi‘i and Hanafi schools is that the Shafi‘i school does not consider Istihsan (judicial discretion by suitably qualified legal scholars) as an acceptable source of religious law because it amounts to "human legislation" of Islamic law.The Shafi‘i school is now predominantly found in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, eastern Egypt, the Swahili coast, Hijaz, Yemen, Kurdish regions of the Middle East, Dagestan, Chechen and Ingush regions of the Caucasus, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kerala and some other coastal regions in India, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines.

Sharia

Sharia (, Arabic: شريعة‎ [ʃaˈriːʕa]), Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah (authentic hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus). Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad. Traditional jurisprudence (fiqh) distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics. Its rulings are concerned with ethical standards as much as with legal norms, assigning actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited. Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.Classical jurisprudence was elaborated by private religious scholars, largely through legal opinions (fatwas) issued by qualified jurists (muftis). It was historically applied in sharia courts by ruler-appointed judges, who dealt mainly with civil disputes and community affairs. Sultanic courts, the police and market inspectors administered criminal justice, which was influenced by sharia but not bound by its rules. Non-Muslim (dhimmi) communities had legal autonomy to adjudicate their internal affairs. Over the centuries, Sunni muftis were gradually incorporated into state bureaucracies, and fiqh was complemented by various economic, criminal and administrative laws issued by Muslim rulers. The Ottoman civil code of 1869–1876 was the first partial attempt to codify sharia.In the modern era, traditional laws in the Muslim world have been widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models. Judicial procedures and legal education were likewise brought in line with European practice. While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were largely retained only in personal status (family) laws. Legislators who codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence. The Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning. In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers. Some Muslim-minority countries recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations. Sharia also continues to influence other aspects of private and public life.

The role of sharia has become a contested topic around the world. Introduction of sharia-based laws sparked intercommunal violence in Nigeria and may have contributed to the breakup of Sudan. Some jurisdictions in North America have passed bans on use of sharia, framed as restrictions on religious or foreign laws. There are ongoing debates as to whether sharia is compatible with democracy, human rights, freedom of thought, women's rights, LGBT rights, and banking.

Synod

A synod () is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.

Sometimes the phrase "general synod" or "general council" refers to an ecumenical council. The word synod also refers to the standing council of high-ranking bishops governing some of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. Similarly, the day-to-day governance of patriarchal and major archiepiscopal Eastern Catholic Churches is entrusted to a permanent synod.

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