Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A View on the Separation of Church and State

Speaking from a sociological perspective, it is a good idea to have separation of church and State. The two are totally different entities. This does not mean that a State cannot be based on or supported by the doctrine of a religion/church or faith. However, it is important that these two social institutions remain separate because they are fundamentally different. The State is an entity called government, whether by the people or not, reins in or controls society in order to benefit the common good which in many societies observed throughout history this has been the case; and quite often those in government positions have a family history of being in government and or are members of the ruling elite. Given that, to impose upon people what you think is good or right is to their (ruling elite) benefit then and not the churches.  Most people reading this are passionate spirit believers and cannot accept that the real strength in bringing people to Christ is to rest in Him and that is faith which is about accepting God’s grace. Living under the law was removed at the cross.  All too often, Americans turn to the law (listen to Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s program on Basis for Morality, What the Cross can do and Politics Can’t - online radio program 'Running to Win') The fault of Americans is the idea that suffering is bad and hence we turn more and more to the law to end suffering. We rally together to stop suffering.  That is why we have lobbyists... groups lobbying for law to stop suffering that we feel we are undergoing and if only given power in the State our suffering will end... Hebrews thought and did just that in the past.
Our Founding Fathers experienced opposing views on the role of the State and thankfully realized that as long as the State does not take control or take sides and allows for all people in the State to practice free market and what they believe, that life will be as fair as it possibly can in this fallen world.  That is why, any State funded public facility or place cannot show favoritism toward any one religion over another. They can all be represented equally or not represented at all by the State.
Can people of the State go into public facilities, ministering? Based on the above, the answer is no.  Is this problematic for the Christian? Yes and No. Yes, because he/she is required to minister the word of God. I would argue that one can do that through behavior which sends a message that can be as clear as a bell of any scripture; and therefore, it is not problematic for the Christian. As I Stated above, rest in the Lord.  I would add though and even stress that it is problematic for the Christian who is a zealous in his thinking and even repenting as this often leads them to think that by his/her own works and pressing upon others his/her view of scripture is doing the will of the Creator.  Handing out shoe boxes, even to children, is not the same as the ‘roadside Samaritan’ which shows us that situations will come to us or be made available to us in which we should be prepared for and thus will know it is the right situation to minister.  Many ministries today seek to radically change the individual’s situation.  Is that their job? Christ Jesus is the Savior.
Many will argue that this is what we are called to do. I know from my own experience that radical approaches do not work.  Neither does the approach to go with gifts. There is no benefit for the Christian or the non-Christian as such offerings can lead to the receiver believing  more in the bearer of gifts than in the message intended which is to tell everyone that they (by themselves) can reach out to the Lord. 
As a child, I believed in Santa Claus and did not want to accept that my parents were the ones giving the gifts.  One could argue that ‘Santa’ is like Jesus and the missionary like the parents. I also know that as a child, getting those presents from ‘Santa Claus’ was special. Did I truly believe he was the provider? No, because I already had a Christian background. I was able to appreciate that my parents were the ones behind the scenes as I knew that they were spirit filled and chose to give gifts. Yes, this is the missionary’s idea too. But, they forget that if the receive does not already have a Christian background, the message can be received differently. However, children are exceptional in that they can often see past the veil of deception and they see the true spirit in people. That’s my opinion.  What worries me is that such gift giving could turn parents and children against each other as the parents could be insulted by the missionary who is doing for his/her child.
Yes, we want suffering to stop. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, including children, is a job to be done by all; but, we as Christians have to be and should be most careful as to how we go about doing it. Why?
 Ask yourself, are you a Christian because a missionary/pastor/neighbor gave you gifts every year at a certain time or are you a Christian because you were introduced to the Creator of Heaven and Earth simply through His word you gave to believe in the Lord God Jesus Christ, without candy/gifts.  Give a Bible and tell those who can read to Read Acts 17:24 to all who cannot. People need to be encouraged to reach out to the Lord and seek a relationship with Him.  Like Mike Brown says “you think about that.” 

1 comment :

  1. You see, politics should not be mixed with or tied in with any religion. Because, in this way you protect faith in the one true God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth who sent His only Son to Save us..