The Real Meaning of the Separation of Church and State

Source: Time

By JAMES LANKFORD, RUSSELL MOORE

January 16, 2018
IDEAS
Lankford is a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma; Dr. Moore is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

We are told that one should avoid discussing two things at the dinner table: religion and politics. Clearly they have never eaten at our dinner tables. Religion and politics can be polarizing, precisely because they deal with important matters that are deeply personal and close to our passions. But these discussions do not have to be polarizing or combative. Intolerance of another person’s faith is a personal choice, not a legal requirement.

We are also told that we “should not mix religion and politics.” Again, this saying has a powerful truth: that when religion is used for political purposes, it empties religion of its eternal meaning and becomes just one more cynical method of acquiring power.

But there is also a disclaimer hidden in that phrase: that sometimes when people say “Don’t mix religion and politics,” they actually mean “Don’t bring your faith into the public square where I can see it.” In other words, hide your faith outside of your place of worship because we have a “separation of church and state.” Separation of church and state is too important a concept to be misused — especially not as a tool for silencing opposing views. As a matter of fact, on National Religious Freedom Day, it just might be as important as ever to consider the true meaning of church/state separation and religious freedom.

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2 replies

  1. The meaning of seperation between State and religion is that goverment has to treat all religions fairly. Goverment cannot take a side of his religion. Goverment has no right to involve with religion.

    This is my thought
    All our ❤️
    Prigressive Muslim

  2. For good governance we can draw inspiration and ideas from the Quran, the Hadith or the Muslim history. The trouble with the so called Shariah Law is that its promoters have boxed their thinking into a limited and medieval mind set. They want to sell it as a package deal. Their package includes some good ideas and some terrible ones and they want to force it down the throat of every one and do not acknowledge the good that already exists.

    These myopic obsessed minds have an axe to grind and do not acknowledge any thing good in the non-Muslim civilizations including the Western civilization that has given them the modern science and technology and the information age. The promoters of “Shariah Law,” are always cutting the branch that they are sitting on.

    From a devout religious perspective all good ideas about justice, compassion and good governance can be listed under a comprehensive commentary of the Quran.

    But the myopic Muslim zealots want to limit all wisdom to their political or religious leaders and fail to acknowledge that God and His teachings are infinite and they cannot box or crib the infinite into their finite and limited thinking.

    Peace and love!

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