“Separation of Church and State” has never been a part of the constitution. The 2 clauses which are often mistaken for “separation of church and state” are: The “Establishment Clause” which states that the government will not ESTABLISH or give preference to a particular religion (which is what many of our founding fathers’ fathers were escaping when they came here from Europe). supplementing the Establishment Clause is the “Free Exercise Clause” which states that the government will not prohibit the free exercise of religion. (These, by the way, are the foundations of why the government can pay a clergy-person to be in the military: to guarantee the free exercise -or not- of religion.)
We have to consider the intent of the original writers, not what we think. They obviously didn’t intend on separation of church and state or they would not have used the Bible, prayer, the name of God, etc., in public proceedings. Or would we say that our founding fathers should not determine for us how to govern or be governed today? (I think that Jefferson had some thoughts to this effect, though they didn’t become his public policy).
Yes, our country is a mixed bag of religions today but that doesn’t mean that we should deny our foundation. Tolerance, yes. Religious freedom, yes. But sanitizing the government of Christian symbols and references smacks of denying God which we (Christians) are, of course, warned about in the Bible. What is wrong with being a Christian nation?? Study Europe and you see that many countries have religious symbolism and even religious federal holidays & have no problem with it. Muslim countries are even more against separation of church & state than ours and it works for most (but without true tolerance or religious freedom)–though countries like Turkey that have declared themselves a secular government have worked but I dare say that religion isn’t absent even from their government (side note: do you know they have had a Jewish man in their legislative body?).
John Jay, who was the 1st Chief Justice of the United States (1789-1795), 5th President of the Continental Congress (1778-1779) and 2nd Governor of NY (1795-1801) said in 1777, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” As one of the founding fathers, Jay stated that the U.S. was a Christian nation as a matter of fact–he wasn’t pushing for it or suggesting that we should be, he was stating it as fact. The founding fathers believed that is what they were establishing: a Christian nation, which flowed from the original intent of most of the 1st settlers in North America as they established “covenant” communities–they were covenanting with God to establish a better place to live. Within the boundaries of a Christian nation, however, they did provide for religious freedom (the “Free Exercise Clause” in the Constitution), allowing for the free exercise of religion for any citizen whether they agreed with them or not.
The thought that one can separate their religion from their public life is ridiculous and if they could, would not have the integrity to be a public official. That doesn’t mean that they should seek to pass laws that are limited to their own personal beliefs (like abortion, gay rights, etc). In my opinion, if Christians really wanted to make an impact on the issues that they care about (abortion, gay rights, etc.) they shouldn’t waste their time trying to legislate morality but should spend their time evangelizing & winning the hearts and minds of people to the Gospel–which would have a greater effect than laws. A Christian’s primary goal in life is to glorify God in his/her life, this is aided by winning others to Christ. This has nothing to do with “issues.”
If some who have claimed to be Christians have done evil–that is an indictment on them personally and not on all of Christianity. (BTW, while Hitler had a Roman Catholic childhood, nothing in his adult life indicates that he maintained that relationship. In fact, he held himself and the Third Reich up as his supreme being & religion–similar to Saddam Hussein).
Anybody who confesses to be a Christian and sins gives Christianity a black eye. It hurts us all, but wise & intelligent people should know that those individuals make their own choices and do not represent the whole of Christianity. Using that reasoning is the same as saying that all black people are bad because one committed a crime; all Arabs or Muslims are bad because one is a terrorist; or a whole nation is bad because one citizen doesn’t represent it well. This point brings up the issue that more Christians (true Christians, not just professing) should get involved in politics and public life. We’re better able to reform government from the inside than by complaining about it from the outside.
Christianity has survived over 2000 years even with many who have professed it and sinned. I think it has primarily survived-in fact, flourished-because there have been many who have professed it and lived right and stood up for Christ in private & in public–even giving their lives if necessary.