As we can see from this week’s Parsha (Deut. 24:1), Judaism not only permits divorce, it encourages it under certain circumstances (and even demands it under still others). I find it fascinating that it is of utmost importance for newspapers to make it absolutely clear who the main opponents are of the new law in New York State that will, come December 14th 2010, finally permit so-called “No-Fault Divorce.” To put this into perspective, prior to the signing of this bill, New York was the only state without such a regulation.
The main opponent is the Church (http://mycrains.crainsnewyork.com/polls/2010/08/is-new-yorks-no-fault-divorce.php), (http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/is-new-york-ready-for-no-fault-divorce/). What sort of support would we expect from the Church if not religiously-motivated support? The purported reason the Church takes issue with the new law is because it will “lead to higher divorce rates.” I think that’s pretty obvious, don’t you? It certainly won’t lead to a lower divorce rate. So what the Church is really saying is that they see this as a blow to their ‘divorce is prohibited’ stance.
But that’s silly — why does anyone other than a Catholic care what the Church has to say about marriage? They will only say what follows from doctrine, and doctrine asserts lots of crazy things that are derived from multiple misunderstanding of a book taken out of context by people who don’t even know how to read it in its original language. So why does that matter to anyone except those who subscribe to Church views? And don’t such people already know that New York State law doesn’t trump Church doctrine?
So all this amounts to is religious saber-rattling, which luckily didn’t affect our representatives’ when they championed religious freedom over Church oppression.
For Jews, it is preferred that the law of the land be more lenient than Jewish law so as to allow for Jewish law to be put into action. For example, in Jewish law, abortion is mandatory should the fetus be deemed a demonstrable danger to the mother’s life. We wouldn’t want our freedom of religion to be undermined by something the Pope decided because he can’t understand Hebrew and thinks the Messiah has already come.