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Enacted by the court system on 2 Su'mo', LY 902. The law prohibits any religious organization from interfering in government. It also prohibits any government from regulating religion. The penalty for any spirit-talker who is convicted of breaking this law is to be excommunicated, and have their emotional stamp revoked. The penalty for any politician convicted of breaking this law is to have their spiritual stamp revoked. (Thus, either perpetrator would no longer be considered a legal adult.) Any further sentence would be at the discretion of the judge; in many cases, there would be no additional penalty, and if there were, it would likely be mild. However, it is possible that the specific way in which the law was broken would also include the breaking of other laws, which would of course lead to specific sentencing on those counts. The law further states that no official within the Church (that is, no vice-bishop, bishop, Arch-bishop, nor head of any individual local church) would be allowed to hold public office (with two exemptions, until 913). In 914, the United Villages of the Chaos, Sorret, and West Ocean adopted the law as well.

HistoryEdit

This law was first suggested by Bishop Kizin, as it was an important aspect of The Plan which he had devised in 890, and which he and his supporters had been implementing since 897. Much of the early stages of the Plan involved local spirit-talkers in each village making subtle suggestions to their parishioners, or else giving advice when individuals came to ask about ideas they'd had (or more likely, ideas they'd been led to having, though not necessarily directly by members of The Order). While it had taken a few years for citizens of various villages to begin realizing they were all getting the same advice from spirit-talkers, it was inevitable that this realization would come, given the fact that such advise was specifically designed to lead to enhanced contact and communication between villages. And so, though it could have been a coincidence, or simply evidence that the advice was just common sense, some people began to grow suspicious of the uniformity of the ideas which were springing up around the world.

It was at this time that the Order revealed at least a portion of their intentions, and the existence of the Plan itself. However, several aspects of the Plan remained hidden from the general public. Just enough was revealed to make it seem the ultimate goals of the Order were noble, and might lead to the betterment of the world as a whole. By this time there was already ample evidence of the improvements that had been made by various aspects of the Plan. Nevertheless, there were still those who objected to being manipulated in this way, and Kizin agreed. This is why he had planned all along on simultaneously revealing part of the Plan, and proposing a new law, which would prohibit religion from directly influencing public policy; and should a government be established, this law would also prohibit the government from regulating religion.

While this law is considered ironic by some (since it is an example of a law suggested by the Order, and as such technically a violation of itself), most people found it reassuring to know that the development of the world would from that point on be in the hands of the masses, rather than a select group. It particularly paved the way for the acceptance of the idea of government, by reinforcing people's appreciation of the idea that they themselves had political power, while (again ironically) having minimal involvement in decision-making. In fact, though on the surface it seems government would take such power out of the hands of the people, it actually served to increase voter turnout. Until this time, decisions had always been made locally, by popular vote; but such votes often attracted only a minority of a village's citizens, who were indifferent to many matters of public policy. The idea of electing both a local and federal government was a new and exciting idea which appealed to a majority of citizens, who now began to take a greater interest in public policy, not just for the election of officials, but also for voting on specific referendums. It was particularly convenient, in their minds, that this would be something they'd only have to consider once a year, on a regular date; their natural apathy was appealed to by the idea that if matters arose at other times of year, they needn't feel guilty about not altering their routines to deal with it, as there would now be people whose job it was to do so. And of course, they liked the feeling of security gained by the knowledge that they themselves were the ones responsible for choosing those people, after the initial fear that those doing the governing would be chosen without the public's knowledge or consent. After all, the Order was clearly good at making things happen behind the public's back; without this law, what would stop them from doing the same with the appointment of government officials?

ExemptionsEdit

It should be noted that, while the law states no religious official may hold political office, there were two exceptions to this until 912 (or technically 913). First, it is well known that many Sorreters, while technically spirit-talkers, do not consider themselves religious (even if they did attend the annual Pilgrimage to Monab). It was therefore allowed that Sorreters might hold positions on the Sorret Council, and in fact it was a virtual certainty that the Grand Sorreter would be elected Chief Councillor. Similarly, Castor Des'Eller was both High Sorcerer and Chief Councillor of Woodstockade, which was allowed because he was not a religious leader. (Though if any future elven sorcerer was also a religious official, it is unclear whether or not he or she would have been bound by the Separation law.) Grand Sorreter Durell Turner of Sorret took advantage of this 'special dispensation,' in spite of the fact that he was also Bishop of Sorret.

The other exception was in Monab, where the citizens insisted on being allowed to elect a spirit-talker, if they so chose. In fact, they clearly wanted to elect Kizin, but he refused to consider a political career. Certainly no other spirit-talker would consider him or herself more worthy than Kizin of the position of Chief Councillor, so none of them ran for office, either. The first Chief Councillor of Monab, Collin Botanical, was not a member of the Order, though he did have ties to them. However, when Kizin died in 910 (prior to that year's election), Botanical supported Mallory Secundus, who replaced Kizin as bishop, in her campaign to become Chief Councillor. (It should be noted that the special dispensation granted to religious figures in both Sorret and Monab limited them to local political careers; no religious officials from any village would be allowed to hold a federal office.)

It was, however, discovered in 912 that Durell (who had always been opposed to the Separation law), had abused his power, and committed criminal acts (including the murder of Kizin Planner). He was excommunicated by Arch-bishop Talak Archman, impeached from his political office, and went into hiding to avoid arrest. Subsequently, Mallory relinquished her position as Chief Councillor of Monab, and called for a repeal of the special dispensations that had been allowed her village and Sorret. The repeal was supported by Cirna Mastera, who would the following year succeed Durell as Grand Sorreter and Bishop. In 913, the referendum to repeal special dispensation passed by a wide margin in both villages. However, the law still applied only to religious officials, not to spirit-talkers in general (and therefore not to Sorreters, sorcerers, or witches and warlocks, as long as their practice of magic was deemed strictly secular); hence the ability of people such as Manat Ericson to hold political- even federal- office.

See alsoEdit

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