71 S. Cal. L. Rev. 781 (1997-1998)
Religious Law and Civil Law: Using Secular Law to Assure Observance of Practices with Religious Significance

handle is hein.journals/scal71 and id is 795 raw text is: RELIGIOUS LAW AND CIVIL LAW:
USING SECULAR LAW TO ASSURE
OBSERVANCE OF PRACTICES WITH
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
KENT GREENAWALT*
I. INTRODUCTION
Civil law in the United States rarely helps to enforce religious stan-
dards or demands that people perform actions whose significance relates to
religious obligations. Yet, some American states do have such involve-
ment with certain observances of Orthodox and Conservative Judaism.
Many states enforce kosher requirements, to which Orthodox and
some Conservative Jews adhere. The laws, which penalize fraud in the la-
beling of products as kosher, serve the secular interest in preventing de-
ception of consumers. However, the laws also force the state to decide
when religious regulations have been violated.
Orthodox and Conservative Jewish divorces raise a second kind of in-
volvement. The law pressures people to perform an act whose significance
connects with a sense of religious obligation. Jewish law does not permit a
woman who is divorced under civil law to remarry unless her husband
grants her a get. Thus, a husband may obtain a civil divorce which effec-
tively blocks his wife's remarriage. New York has adopted statutes that
* University Professor, Columbia University School of Law; A.B., Swarthmore College,
1958; B.Phil., Oxford University, 1960; L.L.B., Columbia University School of Law, 1963. I have
received extremely valuable comments and research assistance in my preparation of this Article.
Among those giving critical comments have been Samuel Fleischaker, Louis Henkin, Samuel Levine,
Nathan Lewin, Henry Monaghan, Gerald Neuman, Elaine Pagels, Carol Sanger, Marc Stem, Richard
Stone, Peter Strauss, Stephen Sugarman, David Weiss-Halivni, and students in Seminars in Church
and State in the autumns of 1995 and 1996. Galina Krasilovsky, Mark Hulbert, Troy Selvaratnam,
Paul Horwitz, Gale Dick, and Jeremy Senderowicz have assisted me greatly with their research and
reflections.

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