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Jon Badolato
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Interesting read from the NY Times about religious arbitration

NYT Investigates Religious Arbitration

The New York Times is running a series of investigative stories on the extent to which arbitration agreements are forcing individuals out of the court system into often defendant-friendly alternative dispute resolution processes. Today's installment is titled In Religious Arbitration, Scripture Is the Rule of Law. Here is an excerpt:

For generations, religious tribunals have been used in the United States to settle family disputes and spiritual debates. But through arbitration, religion is being used to sort out secular problems like claims of financial fraud and wrongful death.
Customers who buy bamboo floors from Higuera Hardwoods in Washington State must take any dispute before a Christian arbitrator, according to the company’s website. Carolina Cabin Rentals, which rents high-end vacation properties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, tells its customers that disputes may be resolved according to biblical principles. The same goes for contestants in a fishing tournament in Hawaii.....
By adding a religious component, companies are taking the privatization of justice a step further. Proponents of religious arbitration said the process allowed people of faith to work out problems using shared values, achieving not just a settlement but often reconciliation.

Yet some lawyers and plaintiffs said that for some groups, religious arbitration may have less to do with honoring a set of beliefs than with controlling legal outcomes. Some religious organizations stand by the process until they lose, at which point they turn to the secular courts to overturn faith-based judgments, according to interviews and court records.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/business/dealbook/in-relig...

Mixed feelings about this. Apparently people are entering into these types of contracts willingly, and yet it appears some are so poorly handled it boggles the mind. I am also not comfortable that people who have signed these types of contracts seem to lose some recourse to actually using the secular court system as a result.

Also note that the same type of people who are decrying against sharia law being used in this country are perfectly fine with Christian principles and Christian arbitration being used rather than the secular justice system.

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I've got mixed feelings about it is well, mainly because arbitration clauses tend to buried in fine print. Sometimes they are just in the box the product came in. So in those cases, people aren't really voluntarily agreeing to anything because they never read the insert.

And I think that in some cases, the outcome is nearly predetermined. For example, the Scientology case in the article.
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Paul W
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Religion doesn't really enter into this to me...forced arbitration clauses are common across all American commerce, and they're a crappy deal for consumers across the board. Personally, I think such clauses should be outlawed (i.e. people should not be able to give up their right to seek justice through the court system).

Now, in cases where both parties actually *want* arbitration (whether religious in nature or not) and enter into it voluntarily, I think it can be a good way to resolve disputes in a timely, less expensive, and generally less bitter/confrontational fashion.
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Damian
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I don't have any problem with most any sort of arbitration all parties willingly and knowingly enter into. It doesn't seem like these situations always (often? I don't know.) fit that criteria though. I find the kid sent to a Christian program as an alternative to prison fairly concerning, for example.
 
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casey r lowe
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what would jesus do if sent to religious arbitration - crack a whip and flip a few tables thats what
 
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fizzmore wrote:
Religion doesn't really enter into this to me...forced arbitration clauses are common across all American commerce, and they're a crappy deal for consumers across the board. Personally, I think such clauses should be outlawed (i.e. people should not be able to give up their right to seek justice through the court system).

Now, in cases where both parties actually *want* arbitration (whether religious in nature or not) and enter into it voluntarily, I think it can be a good way to resolve disputes in a timely, less expensive, and generally less bitter/confrontational fashion.
I generally agree religion doesn't really enter into it, but I do think there are going to be some cases where it does like the Scientology case or the case about the teen addiction program where they were trying to pray the gay out. A like-minded arbitrator is going to make the outcome predetermined.
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Paul W
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...sure, but it any arbitration there are sometimes cases where the outcome is very clear cut according to the standards being used: the religious aspect isn't particularly relevant/unique in that regard. As long as both parties are deciding to go to arbitration, that's fine (religious or no). When mandatory binding arbitration enters the picture, that's where things are ripe for abuse (again, there's a lot more non-religious binding arbitration out there than religious arbitration).
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Koldfoot wrote:
There is a story from a few months back where a Russian lawyer applied for a credit card, changed the terms, was approved for the card, then took them to court for breach of contract.

The CC company claimed they didn't read the contract and the judge sided with the lawyer.

Not much to do with the OP, but I like that heart warming story.
Thought that was Germans y. and yes I thought it was as funny as hell.

I agree this is not really religion, but shity practice masquerading as religion. And yes it should be illegal, consumer rights should be sacrosanct.
 
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Moshe Callen
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My problem with the situation the OP describes is people being forced into arbitration, religious or otherwise. Jewish courts in most countries act as binding arbitration but both parties must voluntarily agree before the case is heard. I support sharia courts for Muslims as well under the same stipulation.
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Wolf
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Have mixed feelings about this as much as you want. But please consider:
If any two legal entities can agree to step outside jurisdiction and commit to some other ruleset, what is left of your democracy?
Or your constitution? Or your government?
I will take the benefits, thank you very much, but your other laws don't apply to me because I find them appaling, so if you want to deal with me legally please follow the rules set up by Mighty Spaghetti Monster?

Isn't this dissolution of a social contract you signed by being a citizen?
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Nodens wrote:
Have mixed feelings about this as much as you want. But please consider:
If any two legal entities can agree to step outside jurisdiction and commit to some other ruleset, what is left of your democracy?
Or your constitution? Or your government?
I will take the benefits, thank you very much, but your other laws don't apply to me because I find them appaling, so if you want to deal with me legally please follow the rules set up by Mighty Spaghetti Monster?

Isn't this dissolution of a social contract you signed by being a citizen?
These kind of arbitration things don't replace the laws of the land anyone lives in. If they cause something illegal to happen or say it should, then whatever it is will still be illegal under the normal justice system and people will be treated normally. It just adds an extra binding law to people who agree to it. Of course, even in these cases abuses can happen.

(Of course, a binding law that only works as long as people agree to it isn't really a binding law in my view, but that's a separate issue.)
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Nodens wrote:
Have mixed feelings about this as much as you want. But please consider:
If any two legal entities can agree to step outside jurisdiction and commit to some other ruleset, what is left of your democracy?
Or your constitution? Or your government?
I will take the benefits, thank you very much, but your other laws don't apply to me because I find them appaling, so if you want to deal with me legally please follow the rules set up by Mighty Spaghetti Monster?

Isn't this dissolution of a social contract you signed by being a citizen?
This is of course a valid objection, especially in situations where such a arrangements are not made on a equal footing (such as landlords). But this is an objection to the basic principle, not an objection to the religious aspect as such.

IN a way this is not unlike wills, (as one lawyer said to my sister) it's (under law) very hard to prove coercion.
 
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Moshe Callen
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Nodens wrote:
Have mixed feelings about this as much as you want. But please consider:
If any two legal entities can agree to step outside jurisdiction and commit to some other ruleset, what is left of your democracy?
Or your constitution? Or your government?
I will take the benefits, thank you very much, but your other laws don't apply to me because I find them appaling, so if you want to deal with me legally please follow the rules set up by Mighty Spaghetti Monster?

Isn't this dissolution of a social contract you signed by being a citizen?
Binding arbitration goes under the rubric of contract law; it hardly undermines the rule of law.
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fizzmore wrote:
...sure, but it any arbitration there are sometimes cases where the outcome is very clear cut according to the standards being used: the religious aspect isn't particularly relevant/unique in that regard. As long as both parties are deciding to go to arbitration, that's fine (religious or no). When mandatory binding arbitration enters the picture, that's where things are ripe for abuse (again, there's a lot more non-religious binding arbitration out there than religious arbitration).
Right, but I was mainly referring to mandatory arbitration where the arbitrator has a natural bias. It's hard to see how the Scientology guy is going to get a fair shake. Whereas with an independent arbitrator, there's at least a semblance of fairness.
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Paul W
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Deleted112516 wrote:
fizzmore wrote:
...sure, but it any arbitration there are sometimes cases where the outcome is very clear cut according to the standards being used: the religious aspect isn't particularly relevant/unique in that regard. As long as both parties are deciding to go to arbitration, that's fine (religious or no). When mandatory binding arbitration enters the picture, that's where things are ripe for abuse (again, there's a lot more non-religious binding arbitration out there than religious arbitration).
Right, but I was mainly referring to mandatory arbitration where the arbitrator has a natural bias. It's hard to see how the Scientology guy is going to get a fair shake. Whereas with an independent arbitrator, there's at least a semblance of fairness.
I think that's rather naive, when corporations can shop around for independent arbitrators, that semblance of fairness is is only that,a semblance. The problem isn't the religious angle, it's mandatory arbitration of all stripes.
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Daniel Edwards
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Religious arbitration is a very peculiar thing.

For what its worth, by way of comparison I've never heard of such outside of the Middle East.

 
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fizzmore wrote:
Deleted112516 wrote:
fizzmore wrote:
...sure, but it any arbitration there are sometimes cases where the outcome is very clear cut according to the standards being used: the religious aspect isn't particularly relevant/unique in that regard. As long as both parties are deciding to go to arbitration, that's fine (religious or no). When mandatory binding arbitration enters the picture, that's where things are ripe for abuse (again, there's a lot more non-religious binding arbitration out there than religious arbitration).
Right, but I was mainly referring to mandatory arbitration where the arbitrator has a natural bias. It's hard to see how the Scientology guy is going to get a fair shake. Whereas with an independent arbitrator, there's at least a semblance of fairness.
I think that's rather naive, when corporations can shop around for independent arbitrators, that semblance of fairness is is only that,a semblance. The problem isn't the religious angle, it's mandatory arbitration of all stripes.
Well, in any case, I don't think that all religious arbitrators are going to be more biased than independent arbitrators in all cases. I do think that there are specific fact patterns which will cause a religious arbitrator to be more biased like the two I pointed out above (the Scientology case and the "pray the gay out" case). I also don't think that you're correct that independent arbitrators are that easily manipulated. I still remember the car accident I had, where we went through independent arbitration. The plaintiff won.
 
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Paul W
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There's plenty of journalism coverage to this effect: while individual arbitrators may not be consciously biased, the ability to shop venues combined with a huge amount odd information asymmetry makes for a playing field that is far from level. That doesn't mean that plaintiffs we'll never won, but the position they independent arbitration isn't easily manipulated is quite inaccurate from the evidence and reporting I've seen over the years.
 
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Moshe Callen
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myopia wrote:
Religious arbitration is a very peculiar thing.

For what its worth, by way of comparison I've never heard of such outside of the Middle East.

It exists in the US and UK.
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