Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and State

There are some who promote the concept of separation of church and state. It refers to the distance between the church and the state. It refers to the relationship between church and state. The degree of the separation varies among governments, nations, states, and other entities. Also, note that the phrase separation of church and state is not found in the US Constitution. Moreover, one should consider to what extent the separation of church and state refers to organized religion or individual religion or both?  Those who promote separation of church and state seemingly derive the concept from the First Amendment phrases regarding religion and the no religious test phrase of Article VI.

In the US Constitution there is the no religious test for office and the forbidding of the government from establishing its own religion and government preventing others from practicing their own religion.

The no religious test in our Constitution is biblical. It merely means that if Satan or for example Islam can convince enough Americans to do it their way so be it and shame on Christians. This is the same liberty God gives each individual.

Moreover, the government did not establish or set up Christianity as Christianity predates America. So the spiritual admonition for America to abide by biblical principles is not establishing a religion nor preventing others from following Satan in privacy. But when one enters the public sphere one by default consents to engaging in public spiritual warfare.

Biblical nor Constitutional religious liberty gives us the authority to establish laws rooted in love for self and others above love for God. Some erroneously interpret the Bible and/or Constitution so as to justify unrighteous laws.

The words Separation of Church and State do not appear in our Constitution. However, aspects of the concept is there in the form of the no religious test and 1st Amendment phrases regarding religion. Yet, that is only a partial separation.

The concept of separation of church and state allows citizens to establish, recognize, and/or favor one religion over another; this may constitutionally be termed freedom of religion. At the same time it prevents the government from establishing or officially recognizing a religion and/or favoring one religion over another in its laws; this may be constitutionally termed freedom from religion.

The central question is what does the word religion in our Constitution refer to?

It would be unreasonable to conclude that the word refers to moral principles learned from a religious text whether that text be the Bible or the Torah or the Koran.

It is reasonable to conclude the word religion refers to named religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and associated subgroups such as Baptist, Methodist, Seven Day Adventist, National Baptist, Southern Baptist, Seven Day Baptist, etc.

In other words for example the government is forbidden to write a law that says “all businesses will be closed on Sundays because the National Baptist regularly worships on Sundays” or “all businesses will be closed on Saturdays because the Seven Day Baptist says regularly worship should occur on Saturdays”.

That does not mean the government officials can not choose to be informed by the bliblical Sabbath principle and choose to say all businesses will be closed one day a week so all employees will have a day off without being pressured to work seven days and without feeling financially compelled to voluntarily work seven days or limit the number of hours an employee can work per day and per week.

But we as a nation have chosen the more flexible route to leave it up to businesses to choose to implement the principle of the Sabbath as has Chick-Fa-La and Hobby Lobby in being closed on Sundays to specifically allow employees to attend community worship.

Neither freedom of religion nor freedom from religion implies freedom from God with respect to his Word, Will, and Way. Unfortunately some erroneously interpret the US Constitution to imply such freedom from God.

Indeed, biblically both freedom of and freedom from religion require recognition of and surrender to God by both the individual and the government/state. For the individual, government, and other entities, the challenge is to obtain a righteous balance between freedom of and freedom from religion.

Let’s say that the founders of the nation intended there to be a separation of church and state. But the fact that this amendment was added 2 years after the initial Constitution shows that the founders were imperfect men and could have made a mistake in either intending there to be a separation or not clarifying that no separation is intended. Moreover, the fact that there are 27 Amendments to the Constitution shows that it is not a perfect document. Indeed, the founders of the nation recognized their own fallibility and the documents imperfection. So then they included in the base Constitution a provision for amendments to be made over time.

Let’s say that the word church in separation of church and state refers to the presence of a particular organized religion or a particular church denomination or a specific community of faith to the exclusion of others. That is to say it does not refer to the influence of religion on the state. In particular, that is to say it does not refer to the influence of the universal church on the state. Indeed, the universal church consists of people not buildings or things or particular rituals. It is best viewed as a universe of people with equal religious value. So then since the government consists of people, it is unreasonable to conclude that those people could avoid applying their religious values or the lack thereof to their governmental work and work products such as policies, laws, etc. Reasonable religious liberty accommodation recognizes this unreasonableness.

So then the Christian should ask what should the Constitution provide for considering what God says? What the Constitution provides for or what men interpret it to provide for should not be the standard for the Christian.

Moreover, Christians should recognize there are non-Christians who actively seek to devalue Christianity and oppose its presence and influence in our nation and the world. Let the Christian not be deceived by such people so as to support them in their efforts. For Jesus says our love for God should have priority over our love for self and others (Matthew 22:34-40). Jesus also says “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30)

Christians should be mindful that God through Moses established an earthly nation under the Old Covenant. This includes David as King and prophet. Yet, we should also be mindful that the Old Covenant was a teaching tool and not all of its prescriptions are binding under the New Covenant.

Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom under the New Covenant. Instead, he established a kingdom that transcends nations and that transcend space and time. Under the New Covenant humanity has much more liberty than under the Old Covenant. Yet, that liberty is not to be used for evil.

Let the Christian prayer be as that of the disciples in Acts 4:24-32 where it says:

24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

Let not our leaders (President, Congress, Governors, Supreme Court, Judges, etc.) be like those kings, rulers, Herod, and Pilate. Let not the citizens of our nation be like those Gentiles and People of Israel. Let none be gathered against the Lord and Jesus Christ. Even if the heathen (unbeliever) does that which God has foreordained for unbelievers to do, let not the Christian believer do or support the unbeliever in so doing. Instead, let us speak the word of God with boldness and without apology.


Update 6/22/2024:

The State of Louisiana in June 2024 passed a bill requiring all state funded classrooms to place a list of the Ten Commandments on the wall in every classroom:  State Link or PDF version if state link broken.

To God Be the Glory!

Church and State

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *