Here is an interesting extract from the Science Party’s policy platform.
7.1. Policy: The government should not be involved in funding religious organisations, religious events or religious instruction. The government should not endorse any particular religion, and this should be reflected in the use of government funds and its processes.
7.2. Discussion: The government should remain free of influence from any religious stance at any time. Secularism is vital to ensure that all people are allowed to practice their beliefs freely without fear of retribution for the beliefs they hold, and is therefore a value people should embrace regardless of their own beliefs or lack thereof.
While the separation of church and state is most associated these days with atheists and agnostics, historically in the Western world the idea was developed by religious thinkers – for instance one of the founders of Protestant Christianity, Martin Luther – who argued that governments have no authority over a person’s thoughts and beliefs, and who sought the freedom to peacefully practice their own faiths alongside others in an era of violent conflict over religion. The separation of church and state has benefits for all people, regardless of the beliefs.
The extract has connotations that extends to the influence of religion on policy, such as marriage laws, euthanasia, and sex laws. If people make a choice that is not in alignment with spiritual or moral precepts, whether that choice is legal or not, then by karma, such people will inevitably reap the consequences of their actions. So, it is really the responsibility of every individual to make sure that they are doing their best to listen and follow their conscience. Conscience is an expression of the intuition of the soul, rather than whims, beliefs, moods, and other things which are limited by the body. How can one develop intuition? Through meditation. How can one separate religious beliefs from actual experience of the essence of religion–God, or ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss? Through practicing meditation, or experimentation with religious instructions until the results are obtained (practice should also yield encouraging results as one goes).
So what I am saying is that ethics trumps legality. If an action is unethical, it should be avoided, while if an action is ethical, then it is should be practiced. If something is legal, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is ethical or unethical. If something is illegal, that does not necessarily mean it is ethical or unethical. Law is enacted or shaped by whoever has the power, influence, and/or authority.