The Pew Research Center’s highly-respected Forum on Religion & Public Life has just produced an extremely interesting study of religious courts and tribunals: Applying God’s Law: Religious Courts and Mediation in the US. The study looks at how the tribunals of 15 religious groups – some of the major Christian denominations, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism – routinely decide internal matters and apply their religious laws. Each entry includes links to official documents and other resources.
The report points out that, far from being some kind of exotic rarity, religious courts are a very common phenomenon in the US and that, according to the calculations by the Canon Law Society of America, the Roman Catholic Church has nearly 200 diocesan tribunals handling an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 marriage annulments every year. Continue reading