We think, that during these hard economic times, this principle needs to be revisited as our contention would be that some elected officials who profess to be Christians are perverting the ideals of Christianity in order to appease a base that has spent years perverting christian "principles". For the purposes of this post we must remember that the definition of Christian is, "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Though the phrase, separation of church and state does not appear in the constitution of the United States, the First amendment does state that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Now we can could spend hours playing with semantics should one wish to, but the truth is, that from the beginning of this country and until recent history the courts and Congress, during rare moments of wisdom, have defined this to mean that that the "Church" must remain "separate" from the "government".
Even before the founding of America, religion as part of government has been questioned. Many of our forefathers came here to escape "religious persecution" such as that by the Church of England. Which became "the government" when,
in the 1530s Henry VIII, angered by the Catholic Church's refusal to annul his marriage with his wife Catherine of Aragon, decided to break with the Church and set himself as ruler of the new Church of England, the Anglican Church, ending the separation that had existed between Church and State in England.In 1797 America cemented the principle of separation of state and religious matters in it's treaty with Tripoli wherein it contained the phrase,
There is much more to this history. We have posted on it before. But it should be said again that this principle is why Christians can have as many separate Christian factions, e.g. Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, etc as they wish. It is why Jews and other religions are also free to worship as they please in this country.
- As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Jesus himself said:
My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36); i.e., his religious teachings were separate from earthly political activity. This reflects a traditional division in Christian thought by which state and church have separate spheres of influence.
Jesus also said:
Matthew 22:15: "Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. 'Teacher,' they said, 'we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?' But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, 'You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.' They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, 'Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?' 'Caesar's,' they replied. Then he said to them, 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God'sThere are those who declare that Jesus himself was the, "separation of church and state!"
I remember when the "What would Jesus do" question was popular. My answer was always a question back to them, "What "DID" Jesus do?"
And therein lays the rub. For while many might proclaim what "Jesus" was or "was not" based on a philosophical interpretation of the "Bible," few drill down to the reality of what it was that Jesus said an did!