Saturday, November 24, 2012
The turf war brewing between Church and State is coming to a boil. We’ve seen the early skirmishes already. So let’s ask some basic questions. What are the roles of Church and State in today’s culture? Are they both necessary, or is that ancient history? If they are both important, what are they there for? Should they be antagonistic, cooperative, or something in between?
First, let’s define terms. For clarity’s sake, in this discussion, the State will be ”the elected government, together with its ability to legislate and establish laws, and the people involved in those tasks.”
Church is harder to quantify. It isn’t merely religion, since less religious cultures have their counterparts. For now, let’s call it shorthand for “religious (or nonreligious) groups of individuals voluntarily gathered around an idea, belief, or goal.” For distinguishing the two groups, it is important that Church membership be voluntary, revocable, and that the group exercises no actual authority over non-members.