Slowly, Slowly, Things Get Off the Ground

From the Washington Post article, “The rise and rise of religious arbitration” by

The Causes

The rise of religious arbitration (RA) is a result of three phenomena that are together changing aspects of American society. The first (and not the focus my book) is the rise of arbitration generally. Over the last twenty-five years, more and more parties, from credit card companies to law firms themselves, have agreed to leave the court system and its laws, opting instead for private resolution of disputes. This has brought about renewed interest in the question of whether expanding arbitration law is generally good in areas as diverse as family law, religious law, class actions, and securities law. It has further engendered discussion about the values and virtues of allowing members of secular societies and subjects of secular legal systems to choose both different forums and different legal systems to resolve their civil disputes.

Second, almost all of the more conservative religious communities (Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, Orthodox Judaism, Islam, to name just a few) feel more and more that they are at the margins of American law, and are seeking to opt out where possible from vast amounts of civil law, particularly family law. To some extent this is about same-sex marriage, but it has been a significant issue since no-fault divorce was introduced many years earlier.

A third phenomenon is now occurring because of these first two — almost otherwise unrelated — trends: Many religious communities are now forming arbitration tribunals to resolve disputes within their own communities. For example, the rise of Islamic law courts — both perceived and real — within the United States has generated much discussion over whether religious arbitration in particular is a good idea, and even if it is a good idea in the abstract, whether it is a good idea in practice, given the ways in which religions will use it, and how it will or should be implemented.

My book explores the rise of these religious tribunals.


Although there has been a long and winding road over the last seventy-five years, the Supreme Court has consistently over the last three decades expanded the scope of arbitration to include most fields and most types of litigation. Essentially, by contract, a two people can now choose a forum other than a court and can choose a law other than American law. The forum can be an arbitration panel made up of sixty-three Polish-speaking Italian jurists residing in New York or three members of the American Arbitration Association. It can be French law, British law, Jewish law or Islamic law. So long as it is clear in the contract, it works.

This has given rise to a thriving network of independent rabbinical courts throughout the United States, many Islamic courts that have been created over the last decade, and the beginnings of Christian arbitration as ever more people in the Evangelical community realize that individual Christian denominations, too, are a minority religion in the United States.

Hmm…. I wonder how Christianity has declined to become a minority religion in the United States?

(Points to the intensely secular and pointedly anti-Christian Public Education System, lovingly protected by conservatives almost everywhere…)

Anyways, let me end by providing some constructive recommendations to end today’s secularist tyranny, contempt, and rule over Christian lives, businesses, property, and families.


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