The Movement Away from Secular Values in the Religious Community

One of the major causes for religious individuals’ and communities’ increased interest in faith based arbitration in recent decades is the ever-widening gap between traditional values and societal law and policy in the United States. As the norms and values embraced by American law and enforced by state and federal courts have moved away from their historically- grounded religious roots, people of faith have become increasingly less comfortable with ordering their lives based on such secular commitments. One solution has been to use America’s legal arbitration framework to opt out of being bound by current legal norms, and to instead choose to resolve disputes in accordance with religious commitments. This chapter explores one of the most acute areas of tension between traditional and secular values within evolving standards of American law and policy: the realm of family law. This chapter will review the family law culture wars that have raged in American society over the last half century or so, focusing on the deeply changing values of general society in the areas of same-sex marriage, adultery, and premarital sex. It will trace both this revolution and religious responses to it, which are important cultural battlegrounds that contribute substantially to the belief by many in religious communities that private religious alternatives to American law are needed.

Sharia Tribunals, Rabbinical Courts, and Christian Panels. Michael J. Broyde. © Oxford University Press 2017. Published 2017 by Oxford University Press.

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