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Why is religion still influencing the law?

By Portia Ladrido

Rock legend Bryan Adams cancelled his concert in Mississippi after the US state passed a “religious liberty law” that aims to enable private enterprises and religious groups to refuse service to the LGBT community. This comes after Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in North Carolina after a similar law against the gay populace, in which obliges them to use public toilets that match the gender in their birth certificates.

While hearing these backward laws made my blood pressure rise, it is rather comforting to know that the rockstars are on my side. I am 1,000 per cent certain that religion should not be influencing laws, because if they should, then governments would be in a sticky situation akin to that of the Islamic State. I could be exaggerating, but isn’t having religion as law the core of ISIS? Fine, also Saudi Arabia, but that’s another issue altogether.

You could argue that a community in the south of Siberia also makes their religion as their law and they are peaceful, kale-loving people. But you also have to note that these people never go down the mountains, they wear white all the time, and they praise a leader in his early 50s who looks like Jesus. Feel free to Google this if you don’t believe me.

What I’m saying is that in order for a religion as law to work, you have to purposively be in some sort of community that think the same say as you do, and have a complete disregard of contemporary society (aka go off the grid and start a life outside the city.) Otherwise, discrimination in any shape or form becomes inevitable.

There should always be a separation of church and state because we should acknowledge that we all have different beliefs. Laws cannot interfere with these beliefs because these are all very individualistic. If the state would want to satisfy every single citizen, then they will be contradicting each other, making laws completely pointless. Laws, first and foremost, are there to bring order to a civilized society. They shouldn’t be there to merely satisfy one political, cultural, or economic group over the other as this is the sickening root of discrimination.

Law and religion are very challenging subjects to cover because it varies from person to person. Two Catholics living in the same state could have views and principles that are poles apart from each other. In an ideal world, we have laws so we don’t go on a killing spree when people do us wrong while we have religion to make us realise why it is wrong. In the real world, we don’t even need to have a religion to know what is wrong from right, and like ISIS, the law allows you to do harm to other people.

Supporters of these laws in North Carolina say that they are just trying to guard the interests of those that have been victimised by men who would pose as transgenders, attack women and children, and then use the legal protections as cover. While it is justifiable, it also shows how these people have been living in fear. It is upsetting that it seems we are always expecting the worst from people within our own communities. If we all continue to think like this, how are we any different from Donald Trump who wants to build a 20 billion dollar wall?

I am sure that these laws were passed with good intentions in mind. I believe we all try to come from a place of kindness, but somehow, because there are times that we become too self-involved with our own issues, we tend to forget those who are also fighting their personal battles.

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