Separation of Church and State: Yea or Nay?

I know I don’t talk politics much here on Modern Reject. Truth be told, I am a political junkie and I have to temper myself, otherwise this blog would become a veritable political buffet.

All that to say, sometimes something so juicy, controversial, titilating and downright hilarious ensues that it begs to be discussed.

So, if you don’t follow politics or have been asleep for the last day, here’s a quick video of what went down Wednesday (yesterday) at the Democratic National Convention:

After watching the video, you will see that the yeas and nays were basically equal. Some have argued that the nays were a bit louder and more boisterous at the end. Then we see poor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Convention Chairman, bang the gavel and push through a proposal to include “God” (and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel) into the Democratic party platform despite the obvious opposition to such language.

The takeaways are many. Political blogs and news sources are having a hay day with this one–Republicans and Democrats alike. The religious and irreligious are also foaming at the mouth.

I, for one, just want to hear what you think. I’m not here to play politics or to try and persuade anyone one way or the other. But one of the proverbial questions this whole debacle has raised is whether or not the separation of church and state is American?

More than that, is there room for God in politics? Do you think God should be included in either of the political party platforms? If God was removed from politics (as desired by those who voted nay at the DNC) what do you think would be the result?

Let’s discuss. Let’s debate. Let’s be kind, respectful, and have fun.

29 thoughts on “Separation of Church and State: Yea or Nay?”

    1. I don’t expect our government to govern our religious beliefs. I prefers Gods method of allowing choice. When your life is governed by his word, you understand that we will always be subject to the laws of the land, however, our victory is maintained by His promises.

  1. Well…I don’t know enough about American politics to comment on that but in the UK and France God is not included in political life and I don’t think we’re in a greater mess than in America. However religion and politics are so intertwined in the US that I’m not sure how it would be removed! As a Brit I find it fascinating watching Presidential candidates stress how important their faith is to them and the values they live by- that never happens over here.

  2. I think if someone claims to have faith, it SHOULD be evident in all areas of one’s life — parenting, work, volunteering, politics, etc.

    But I also see the danger of people who try to claim that the US is a “Christian” country, or that one political party loves God more than another. “Our primary mission must never to be a nation that is guided by Christian principles, but a nation that is full of Christians that live by God’s principles and the Spirit’s power.” (from

  3. My thoughts, in no particular order:
    1. Until the USofA stops killing our enemies and starts loving them sacrificially instead, we’ll never be a “Christian Nation”.
    2. The dude who wrote our founding documents (Thomas Jefferson) was a deist. He didn’t believe Jesus was God or that Jesus was raised from the dead. He wrote his own New Testament (which you can buy on Amazon) that was free of miracles, which he regarded as superstition. All of that to say when he talked about God or a Creator, he was CLEARLY not talking about YHWH, the God of Israel who was incarnate, born of a virgin and who suffered and died for our sins and rose on the third day, ascended into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father.

    So… we’re not a Christian Nation. Unless you believe all roads lead to heaven.

    3. Both parties should be disallowed from talking about God until they figure out how to serve God instead of forcing God to serve them and their agendas.

    4. I vehemently DO NOT think religion is a “private matter” that should stay out of the public sector. But until our politicians actually start living Cruciform, self-sacrificial lives, we can’t reasonably expect that our politics will look any different.

    1. Jr.
      Well-said and thought provoking. I have to admit, I have never considered this issue from that perspective–one of our politicians needing to display self-sacrificial lives themselves.

  4. I used to be republican only…back in my high school and college days to the point where I didn’t even want to have a conversation with a democrat. Thank goodness for growing up!! I am now in between. I honestly hate politics, I feel like 99% of politicians are rotten to the core. But with the issue of God in politics. I don’t know. I would love for our country to be a God-fearing country, but it just isn’t. So as of now I just don’t know.

  5. First time chiming in here, mostly because I think it’s important.

    I do not think a populace can govern itself without faith. With an absolute foundation of all that is good and moral, how can we hope to operate a functioning society? From where do laws come if not from the ways in which God wants us to live?

    I believe that our society is in rough shape because of relativism. When we compare actions and behaviors to other actions and behaviors, instead of valuing them on their own merit, we get into dangerous territory.

    Also, too many people are living for themselves instead of for God. When a society believes “hey, do whatever feels good to YOU and don’t sweat the consequences,” we end up with government programs to pick up the tab for said consequences.

    Stepping off the soapbox now…

  6. A Dutch theologian by the name Abraham Kuyper is a big champion of a concept called “Sphere Sovereignty.” It is simple really: Both church and state have their spheres over which they have unique responsibilities, authority, and competence. This is a good thing that should be preserved.

    But I feel American Politics has gone down a dangerously different route; separation of faith and politics. In my opinion, this is a great paradox, especially for Christians. For Christians, faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the lens through which we view everything, including politics, and not the other way around.

  7. I have a couple of thoughts

    1. We are not a Christian nation. But we are a nation founded on God. If there is no God then there are no inalienable rights. And that is what our whole nation is founded on. Now we may argue over what those rights are or how to pursue them but that is part of what we are founded on.

    2. The reason we initially had separation of church and state had more to do with keeping the state out of the church than the other way around. Now I think they were concerned with both but what they didn’t want was the two to be together. Many came here for freedom of religion. They had seen what happens when the Church and State were the same thing. They wanted freedom from that – but they weren’t looking for freedom from God.

    3. I think the way the Religious Right uses the God card is all wrong. They want to be a Christian nation. If they want that they should love people well and let people (within the freedom of religion) choose to know Jesus because of how they were loved, not because it was legislated.

    4. There are some on the left who seem to think that we get our rights from the people or the government and God has nothing to do with it. While they should have freedom to believe that I would submit that to live out of that as a country would be in fundamental change from the founders. Again, if our rights don’t come from God then we are guaranteed them.

    Those are my thoughts.

  8. Personally, I think it’s high time politics got out of the religion business (and vise versa). Here’s why–

    1) If I’ve learned anything from watching politics, I’ve learned that most of these guys in power (on both sides of the fence) would sell their own grandmas if it would get them ahead in the polls. We live in a country where >75% of the people claim to be an evangelical Christian of some sort–therefore throwing around some Christianese in a speech and kissing Rick Warren’s keester is now a prerequisite for running for office. Any expression of religious faith coming from a political party must therefore be taken with a huge grain of salt.

    2) Any religion that’s forced on you by the state is not a true religion, nor does it encourage anything like a true expression of faith. Just ask the Iranians.

  9. The Bill of Rights states that the federal government cannot establish a national religion, to prevent something like what happened in England with Henry the VIII. It does not mean that all references to God must be removed from public conversations. If the Democrats want to get rid of references to God in their platform, that is their choice. However, it gives me one more reason not to vote for Democrats who devoutly follow the party line. My biggest concern is their apparent lack of grip on reality in debating whether Jerusalem is the capital of Isreal or not. The reality is that it IS the capital and their acknowledgement or lack thereof does not change reality. In my unhumble opinion, what they really want to do is not acknowledge Isreal as a valid government, but are too afraid of offending the Jewish Democrats, so they change the language to try and avoid a direct confrontation.

  10. Gotta say it took me by surprise. Removing “God” seems to be consistent with the pattern that the more liberal perspectives have pursued. However as a believer, it’s flat wrong of me to condemn/label all Democrats as “Godless” or anti-God. I know that there are many Democrats who politically align themselves with the majority of that philosophy, but don’t necessarily agree with the entire platform. I find myself as a registered Republican in that same situation.

    To call the US a “Christian” nation now is sadly a stretch, but you can’t dispute that religious freedom was a huge motivational factor in our founding fathers pursuit of independence. It was never their intention to remove God from the political system. Besides, God isn’t a republican, nor a democrat. So this comes down to a personal decision, not a corporate one. If the individual is a God fearing man/woman, then their decisions will unquestionably be guided or directed by their beliefs. To remove that right is unconstitutional.

    In my opinion politics/politicians are particularly corrupt (with a measure of Godliness that exists in the system), but it is the system and the people we have to work with. If we are to remove God completely from the political system…wow, I don’t want to imagine how much more corrupt and divisive it would become.

  11. The biggest danger we face is that the government begins to define and regulate religious activity. I am a firm believer in/on Jesus and wish everyone to be there, however, we need to be cautious about unintended consequences.

    From my view of history, any time the government takes control of something, the definition gets perverted over time. What starts as a narrow scope becomes broad. Therefore, I think it is less dangerous if the government stays out of religious expression. This means that they have no official policy supporting a certain expression of worship.

    Take marriage for example, until marriage licensing requirements came in to being in the 1800’s, marriage was defined by religious institutions. If somebody needed a definition of marriage, they went to the church.

    By giving government the power to define (license) marriage, we gave them the power to pervert it. Over time, marriage went from a covenent to a contract and eventually was treated no different than a business deal. There was a time when marriage was a sacred commitment between a man, a women, and God, that did not need state endorsement. Now, marriage IS the state endorsement.

    All that being said, I do not have a problem with sincere religious expression in public. Politicians should be able to pray to God for his aid, thank God for blessing, etc. Parties should acknowledge God if they are genuine (but if they are not sincere, remove reference since they are simply invoking God in vain).

    In the end, only God can save us from destruction, and no political party, no secular law, and no politician will ever have the power or ability to make a person better. At best, they can whitewash those who do bad things so other members of society are not shocked by the sin in their neighbors’ hearts.

  12. I am first of all very impressed and thankful how everyone has expressed themselves with conviction and courtesy. I agree with many of the comments here and have an opinion. The “religious freedom” sought by early settlers from Europe was not carte blanche but focused on the Judeo Christian concept. Just as Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc. are restrictive to their faith and doctrines in their countries, so were our forefathers in their beliefs.
    Historically, every civilization beginning with a moral and ethical foundation progressed until they strayed from both, then fell. Church and State together provide balance, separate they careen out of control.
    Note: Not everyone attending agreed on who God is and definitely did not agree with the Jerusalem idea. The way the Chair approached and manipulated the event was inexcusable.

    I am a Christian and cannot imagine bringing either topic, for a vote, to a mixed audience, expecting a non-biased result.
    Thank you.

  13. Many people think that the separation of church and state is in the constitution. It is not. What is in the constitution is that the government will not establish an official religion. (Known as the establishment clause) This means that there are no issues with electing godly men and women to server in office and using this as one of the considerations. In this case it is just another example of how far this nation has moved from its roots. Things like this should be a rallying cry to pray for our leaders.

  14. I am a Kingdom Son, which means I am under a theocracy, since His Kingdom is His Government.

    The governments of men, be they local, State, Federal or International, have no bearing on The Kingdom, since Jesus never said He ever wanted to be President, Prime Minister, or Dictator. He is a King, and His is a Monarchy.

    Politics is an amusing sideshow of human theatre, agendas, platforms, and other man-made nonsense that seeks to either capture Jesus as their backbone or remove Him permanently.

    I can easily spend hours with someone, debating and theorizing and all that silliness in regards to politics, but what’s the point? No government of men can save. No President can save. Israel screamed for a King thousands of years ago, and The Lord gave them Saul. Ouch. I have a King, and His Name is Christ Jesus. The World can have their Sauls.

    Liberals, progressives, Socialists, Occupiers, etc, are all basically politically retarded. The lynchpin of the liberal failure for “social justice”, which means they want everyone to be equal, is that until they stop killing babies in the wombs of their mothers and glory in it as enlightened and evolved feministic progress, they don’t know what the f**k SOCIAL JUSTICE is. Social justice begins in the womb.

    Whining about the war, whining about birth control, whining about misogyny, whining about the “right to KILL, er, choose”, and whining about the specter of racism you see behind every tree all merely point to the fact that liberals are professional victims who need the government to be their Jesus. In this mindset, this slavery of spiritual significance, there is no Jesus. There is only death.

  15. This is nothing, really. “In God we trust” has been on our currency for a long time The Supreme Court decided it didn’t mean anything (my paraphrase), and thus didn’t represent an imposition of religion on the American people.

    “God” is part of the apostate, American civil religion, but I don’t think the true God is impressed. Neither would He be flattered by seeing that highly ambiguous noun (“God” which, unlike “Jesus,” is hardly a name) included in the Democratic Party platform.

    As for declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, that is arguably a political issue more than a religious one. I don’t think our God is overly impressed by the militaristic, predominantly non-Christian nation of Israel, or that He is in love with the dirt in the geographic region where David and Solomon once reigned.

  16. Yeah there is room for God in politics! We are supposed to be “one nation under God” and since we are the pioneers of liberty we let people practice whatever religion they want to practice. I think for a lot of people separation of church and state isn’t to protect freedom of religion for non-christians… it’s because they don’t want to see Christianity anywhere.

    I want whoever leads the country to be lead by God so that they will make the right decisions for this country. If God wasn’t involved in politics where would we be? Don’t we say “God bless America?” If we cut him off from our politics and leadership where will we be? America won’t be blessed! And I think that is the way we are headed so far.

    I subscribed to your blog a while ago but I don’t think I have ever posted :)

  17. Unapologetic Prophet, do you use that kind of filthy language at your church?

    You really need to learn how to discuss political issues without cursing out and insulting people just because their beliefs don’t line up exactly with yours.

  18. Weeeelll, I currently live in Germany, but I experienced French society growing up, and France instituted the separation of church and state in 1905: no state money for churches, no religious education in public school. A hundred years later, most of my French peers have little to no knowledge of any kind of religion, and France as a country is basically lost. Which is not to say that people don’t go to church; in fact I’d say that the Christians I meet in France tend to have deeper walks of faith than in the US or in Germany, where there is no separation of church and state. The Christianity I encounter here or in the US is still so culturally accepted as to be almost superficial. In France the ambient culture is so hostile to Jesus that following Christ becomes more of a personal decision. This has led me to having very little patience with lukewarm avenues of faith, such as what I encounter on a regular basis in Berlin.

    Concerning politics I’m paradoxically a lot less conversative; I’d have to say that as a French citizen I find it very odd for the state to make legislative decisions based on something that derives from a religious text such as the Bible. Whether or not something is made possible by the state doesn’t mean you have to do it, but other people should not be punished by the state for not living according to what faith would be telling them to do, should they ascribe to that faith.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the mix of politics and religion in the US really does not give Jesus a good rep in Western Europe. At all.

    1. Just a passing thought:

      I understand your reasoning that secular legislation should not have religious origins. Indeed, that is a slippery slope. However, is it illegal to murder someone in the nation you reside? You see, I am asking because God said that we shouldn’t murder, and it is a sin. So I am wondering if a secular nation that has ‘murder is illegal’ on their books could be accused of mixing Church and State, since God m Father said it first.

      Like I said, just a passing thought. ;)

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