Faith and Politics

November 01, 2007

Ethics Daily has a couple of good columns today about politics and religion. One piece, by Drew Smith, makes a great point even in the headline: "Church, State Should Remain Separate for Theological Reasons." Here are a couple of highlights from that piece:

While history has proven that such an alliance is very dangerous, there are significant theological reasons why church and state must remain separate.

... Jesus has called us first and foremost to pledge allegiance to him and his teachings. Our allegiance to the state, and its symbols, is secondary to our faithfulness to Christ.

... History has demonstrated that the relationship between the church and the state is hazardous, for if one seeks to control the other, then both, but especially the church, will lose their identity and purpose.

If the state becomes an instrument of the church, then religious freedoms will be lost, as one religion will seek to control the state. Likewise, if the church becomes a mechanism of the state, then the church cannot stand at a prophetic distance from which it can speak to the potential unjust and abusive polices of the state.
Amen! My greatest concern about the mixing of church and state is the harm it will do to the church.

The other piece today, by Jeannie Babb Taylor, is entitled "A Christian and a Democrat." It reminds us that we should not judge faithfulness based on which party someone belongs to. A great argument is made about why it is so odd that some Christians make George W. Bush out to be a great Christian and Jimmy Carter out to be a heretic simply because they agree with the politics of the former and disagree with the politics of the latter. This despite the fact that Carter has demonstrated much greater sincerity and faithfulness in his personal life. We can disagree with one politically and still respect them as a sincere brother or sister in Christ.

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