Sounding Off

March 13, 2006

I have been sounding off lately against the mixing of church and state. Here is an article from the Columbia Missourian where I am quoted talking about this issue. I argue:

“We feel like this is a critically important issue to deal with. ... It’s not a political message, first and foremost. ... It’s about reminding the church that they need to be focused on building a spiritual community, not a political one."

Additionally, the Southeast Missourian printed a letter to the editor I wrote against a resolution being considered by legislators in Missouri. Here it is:

I am troubled by the attempts of some Missouri legislators to officially recognize a Christian God. As a Baptist minister, I simply do not understand this mindset. My faith does not need confirmation from state legislators or any other people. My faith depends solely upon God. How tragic it is to see Christian leaders who allow the allure of politics to distract them from their mission of redeeming our state. As Mahatma Gandhi stated, "A living faith cannot be manufactured by the rule of majority."

Instead of trying to post the Decalogue everywhere, we should focus on living by those commandments. The religious leaders supporting this resolution would do a lot more good for our society if they focused on living out the teachings of God instead of attempting to have them codified. After all, Jesus came to build a heavenly kingdom, not an earthly one. It is time to care about what God cares about -- people's souls, not state recognition. When church and state become one, the church loses its prophetic voice as the conscience of society. When that happens, we all lose.
I am not merely engaging in self-promotion here, but attempting to continue to spark dialogue about this very important issue. Hopefully, more Christians will be willing to join the discussion.

UPDATE [3/15/06] The Kansas City Star printed my letter to the editor today and it has sparked some discussion on the paper's blog. At least some dialogue is happening.