Separation of Church and State

Jesus said "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me" (Matthew 28:18). Yet church leaders who speak out on political issues are often attacked with the "separation of church and state" mantra.

In God We Trust

Contrary to popular belief, the phrase "separation of church and state" did not come from the Constitution, but from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a group of Baptists. Jefferson used this phrase to emphasize the importance of protecting churches from government influence, never intending to protect the government from being influenced by churches. In fact, the Founding Fathers assumed that good government required unfettered religious institutions.

Although Jefferson's use of this phrase was appropriate, it has been misconstrued so often in recent history that United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist (in Wallace v. Jaffree) advised its complete abandonment, calling it "a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging."

Nevertheless, "There is a rightful separation of Church and State," according to Rev. Earle Fox. "The State holds the gun of enforcement, but may use the gun only as directed by the people - elected legislature. The Church, holding no gun, operates in the free market of ideas, passing on that unifying moral consensus under God, teaching the people the meaning of Godly government – so they as voters can hold government on the constitutional tether.

"Church and State are indeed different entities," Rev. Fox continues, "but both under God. The government referees, and the Church teaches how to do that refereeing under the law and grace of God."

For further study, see:

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