Separation of Church and State

I am starting to think that the idea of the separation of the church and the state is a good idea. But before I go into my reasons why let me first state that I do not believe that the separation of church and state is a Constitutional issue. Those words are not found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution nor are they alluded to anywhere in that document. And so I still loathe it when people refer to it as a Constitutional issue when it can not be, because it is not even Constitutional.

Now let me explain why I think that there should be a separation of church and state. I was reading an article in the USA Today entitled, Does the religious majority rule? (The USA Today does an article regarding faith every Monday called On Religion. They are very good and I recommend reading them.) In which the author wrote about how there are Christians that are challenging things like the Ten Commandments on walls in courthouses, prayer at high school football games, etc. It isn’t just atheists doing this anymore. And this was the saddest part of the whole article…

Debbie Mason had long been active as a volunteer in the school attended by three of her daughters in Santa Fe, Texas. But she quickly became an outsider after she challenged the football game prayers in the town’s high school stadium. Debbie endured ostracism, even threats of drive-by shootings. One of her daughters, Jenni, left church in tears one Sunday morning after a school board member denounced her family from the pulpit.

And so that is how we are showing the world God’s love? I think that we need to read this verse as churches more often….

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (TNIV)

Were those people shown love? Did that pastor model the Bible for that family when he spoke against them from the pulpit? The answer is no. And that is why the church needs to separate itself from the state.

The other reason why I believe in the separation of the church and state is because the church has become so filled with political affairs that I believe we have lost sight of our mission here on earth. For some reason it seems like the gospel in our churches today is more about changing the government and less about changing lives. Examine the messages in your church and see if they speak more against political issues or if they are about the Gospel. Personally, I think that if there are any speaking out against whatever political agendas are current instead of being encouraged to go out and touch lives then i think there is a problem.

Yes, I do know that Jesus was a political revolutionary, but He did that by talking about how we need to live differently. How we need to reach out and take care of the poor, widows, orphans or those who are suffering injustices at the hands of the government. That is how He told us to revolutionize the government. The church needs to be taking care of their needs and going out into the world and tell people about the love and grace of God.

And so that is another reason why I believe the church needs to separate from the state. The church needs to worry more about changing lives and worry less about changing the government. Because the reality is that when we change the lives of people in our community and country, we will naturally see a change in our government. I believe that the church today has an opportunity to really shine, but the question is if we have our focus in the right place.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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