Where the separation ends
In the Bible, God told us government and the church are both his agents. They are the only institutions he ordained to exist. He permits us to have outlet malls and nice restaurants, but he didn’t ordain them. He gave church and state distinct purposes. Jesus honored that distinction when he said, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21 ESV). Thomas Jefferson said the “establishment clause” in the First Amendment was there to “erect a wall of separation between church and state.” The Supreme Court has consistently upheld that principle. We are twice blessed in America.
But church and state have the same constituencies—us. And when they get all up in each other’s business, both tend to suffer. It is disrespectful to God when Christian people bash government as an inherently bad thing. It is disrespectful to God if government makes being a Christian more difficult than it already is.
The place for church and state to merge is in the conscience of a citizen. In good conscience, we can speak with a strong voice and vigorously influence the actions of government so they align with Christian morality. And in good conscience, we can recognize that government must pursue order that is good for all citizens. In good conscience, we may have to live with policies necessary for society that might make us a little uncomfortable as Christians.
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