In a religious plurality, the law has a fastidious task of treating religious groups equally – the State must not give a preferential treatment to one particular religion. But how feasible is this? If one accepts that religion should ever impact criminal law, which religion or religions should have an impact?
There have been calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into scale of Sharia law in the UK after the Law Society was ‘accused’ of promoting Islamic law. Although the particular areas of Sharia law currently being reviewed relate to private law (wills), imagine if the Sharia penal code were incorporated into English law? Wouldn’t other religions want to be accommodated in such an arrangement?
The idea of equality before the law is redolent of the Rule of Law doctrine. Dicey predicated:
“No man is above the law; every man and woman, whatever be his or her rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals”.
While generally used to refer to government according to the law, it is submitted that this principle is germane to religious establishments.
In Wilkinson , the owner of a bed and breakfast had discriminated against a gay couple because of their sexual orientation under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 by refusing them accommodation...
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... and Blogs/ Newspaper articles
1) BBC ‘March through London to mark 20 years of women priests’
2) John Bingham, ‘Sharia Law in UK: calls for Parliamentary inquiry’ (The Telegraph, 23/03/2014)
3) Katharine Ramsland, ‘David Koresh: Millenial Violence – Crime Library
4) ‘Love free or die’ (The Economist, 19/04/2014) < http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600999-time-check-motel-new-hampshire-love-free-or-die> accessed 20/04/2014
5) Mike Parker-Pearson, ‘The Practice of Human Sacrifice’
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