Okay, I've just been watching JAG over again from the beginning, and ran across this episode in Season 6. The plot is that a petty officer stationed in a fictional (I think) Arab country in the Gulf, falls in love with the daughter of a sheil or emir. The pettty officer smuggles her out of the country, and marries her. Apparently, though, her father had already married her to a "friend of the family" without her consent--or even her being present at the ceremony! So, a judge decides to let a Sharia court (at a mosque, making decisions under Islamic law, not US law) decide whether or not her first non-marriage made by her father was valid--which would make her marriage to the petty officer invalid, and her guilty of adultery under Islamic law. This is all portrayed as a perfectly acceptable state of affairs.
So, the question is, is this really what we want in the US? A second set of private laws, where decisions are taken out of government courts, and held is special religious ones? And, did our experience on 9/11 change our tolerancefor this sort of "private" law? And before I get accused of bigotry, can anybodyimagine if a church tried to do this sort of thing? Do you think a judge would go for that?