This morning, Stevie raised an important question when she asked what I thought of the separation of church and state.
I suppose there are some out there who might assume a pastor would be opposed to the separation of church and state. Not this pastor. I am an ardent supporter of the idea.
“Why?” you ask.
I could go on for hours about why I am. For the sake of time, I’ll give you just a couple of reasons.
As a student of American history, I remember that many of the Europeans who first landed on the shores of our country arrived seeking something precious to them: religious freedom. Some of these folks had endured tremendous hardships back home simply because they were a part of a religious minority. It would be incredibly ironic, therefore, if we were to tear down the divide between church and state that has been carefully constructed over several generations just so that the religious opinions of one group could be inflicted on those with different beliefs!
This takes me to another reason why I’m such a strong supporter of the separation of church and state.
If we were to abolish the divide between church and state, whose version of “church” would be inflicted upon the state?
- Would we, for instance, use the religious opinions of some traditions in order to severely limit the rights of women?
- Would we resume the practice of stoning adulterers?
- Would we abolish divorce (or – at the very least – remarriage), since a literal reading of the New Testament would call such practices into question?
The list of frightening possibilities goes on … and on … and on … and on …
If we open the door to using just one religious tradition to shape public policy, there’s no telling where it might lead! That’s why I’m such a strong defender of the separation of church and state.
How about you? What do you think?