Baptist views of church-state separation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    The entire story is at http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4216&Itemid=53

    Baptist views of church-state separation: Q & A with Brent Walker
    By Robert Marus
    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Baptists have, since their earliest days, been advocates of religious liberty and its corollary, the separation of church and state. But different groups of modern-day Baptists in the United States interpret church-state separation -- and the Constitution’s provisions for it -- in different ways.
    Brent Walker, executive director of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, explains in an interview the differences between Baptist groups on this issue.

    Q: What are the main schools of thought on church-state separation in the United States, and how do different Baptist groups fall on those lines?

    A: Seventy years ago, the original partners in the Baptist Joint Committee -- Southern Baptists, Northern (now American) Baptists and National (historically African-American) Baptists -- adopted “The American Baptist Bill of Rights.” In it, they outlined four different conceptions of the relationship between church and state:
    • Church above the state -- a theocracy in which religion controls the government.
    • State above the church -- a secular government that is hostile to religion.
    • Church alongside of the state -- where one particular religion is privileged, with toleration for others.
    • Church separate from the state -- [which the document said has been] “championed by Baptists everywhere and held by those governments that have written religious liberty into their fundamental law.”

    Clearly, these three Baptist groups -- and I would hazard a guess 99 percent of Baptists in the pews -- thought that the fourth conception was the right one, the Baptist one and the American one.
    This is the understanding of the church-state separation that finds its roots in Roger Williams, expression in the writing and life witness of [early Baptist champions of religious freedom] John Leland and Isaac Backus, fruition in [Texas Baptist pastor] George W. Truett’s Capitol Hill speech in 1920, and life today in the work of the Baptist Joint Committee.

    This view sees the separation of church and state as an insurance policy protecting our God-given religious freedom. It is not an end in itself. This view of separation, on the constitutional level, takes seriously both protections in the First Amendment for religious liberty: no establishment and free exercise. That is, the government should not try to help religion (no establishment) and it should not try to hurt religion (free exercise), but should be neutral towards religion. Just leave it alone.
     
  2. sag38

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    I would imagine that if the folks seventy years ago understood how our more liberal/ moderate baptists are using the term "separation of church and state" today, they would roll over in their graves. They twist separation of church and state just as they twist the concept of the priesthood of the believer. Shame on those who would twist what was once classic Baptist stances thus making them into some relativistic mumbo jumbo.
     
  3. Magnetic Poles

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    What is a shame is how theocratic thinking has crept into our churches.
     
  4. gb93433

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    I agree, but don't you think the pendulum is always swinging?
     
  5. sag38

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    Yes, it is. But, I would rather err on this side of the pendulum than on MP's side any day of the week. What is sad and ironic is that some Christians from one side of their mouth accuse others of being in bed with the Republican party while from the other side sing the praises of President Obama and the Democratic majority that exists in congress today. Can anyone say "hypocrite?"
     
    #5 sag38, Jul 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2009
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
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    How is that a problem in the way churches are run?
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    You statement is an interesting one, but does not tell us what your understanding of the concept of separation of church and state. What, to you, does this mean?

    The folks who were adults in the country Baptist church when I was a kid are probably rolling over in their graces. Why? Because some modern Baptist are in favor of government vouchers and government funding of religiuos schools. Baptist, regardless of what they call themselves ... i.e. fundamental or conservative ... who support government voucher systems or funding are liberal. This is a liberal idea that has been held by various religious groups in the past.

     
  8. Magnetic Poles

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    It has nothing to do with how churches are run. It has everything to do with abandoning a concept that has served our nation and our religious freedom well.
     
  9. sag38

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    Crabby, you are stating your opinion. Back in the day it was ok for a teacher to read to his or her class from the Bible. The pledge of allegience was spoken by all kids with respect and there were no challenges to the "under God" addition. Children could do a book report on a Biblical hero without having to get a court order to be allowed to do so. But, no longer. OUr public schools have become a humanistic breeding ground. No wonder, many "baptists" are wary of the public school system and do not feel they should have to support what they do not believe in with their government tax dollars and so want that money to be used to support an education that they can believe in (hence vouchers, etc.)
     
  10. Aaron

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    That's right. We have no king but Caesar.
     
  11. Magnetic Poles

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    In the USA, we have no king PERIOD.
     
  12. gb93433

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    You do know that some of the early Americans were deists and Quakers? Baptists were not welcomed at all. So I am not sure how the early Americans would have promoted a theocracy. I would think that a theocracy would have been closer to the norm among the native Americans than what the early settlers promoted.
     
  13. gb93433

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    That just goes to show that the liberals and conservatives lie in the same bed just on opposite ends.
     
  14. sag38

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    You are entitled to your opinion.
     
  15. Magnetic Poles

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    Uh...yeah. But I am speaking of our nation...The United States of America, whose current government was established by the Constitution as ratified in 1789. I am not speaking of colonial governments or even the Articles of Confederation. And if you don't think the colonists promoted theocratic intermingling of church & state, go read some of the history of said colonies. Massachusetts Bay, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island & Providence Plantations, etc.
     
  16. OldRegular

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    You mean Caesar Obama I assume.? I thought it was CZAR Obama!
     
  17. gb93433

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    My point is that the founding fathers did not promote a theocracy contrary to what some Christians are promoting today.
     
  18. Magnetic Poles

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    On that we are in complete agreement.
     
  19. Crabtownboy

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    You are correct. They knew first hand the tyranny of a state church and the dangers of a state or a church having undue control over the other. This was why the Virginia fought so hard to have the separation of church and state clause written into the first amendment of the Bill of Rights.

    Sag wrote the following which I will separate into parts:

    In the elementary school I attended the Bible was read and we had a short prayer. The was only Christians living in the county I grew up in. There was a few people of the Jewish faith in the county seat. There were no Moslems, Hindus, or Buddhists at that time. No one complained.

    However, Baptists did protest Weekday Religious Education where a teacher came into the school to teach Bible lessons. The protest was that this was a violation of the separation of church and state and should not be allowed.



    We did recite the pledge of allegience ... however it was not until I was 14 years old when the words "under God" were placed in the pledge. Baptist also protested this addition saying it was also a violation of the separation of church and state.


    This would not have been a problem where I grew up. I do not remember anyone writing such a book report ... but it would not have been a problem.

    I am never sure what a person means when they use the word humaninist or humanistic. What is your understanding of this concept?

    Apparently many Baptists do not know their religous history and the quicksand of taking funds from the government. With government funds comes government control. I doubt you want this. I surely do not!



     
  20. sag38

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    Crabby, you know exactly what I mean when I use the word humanist. I'm not going to play a semantics game with you. You sound exactly like my agnostic history professor. You also sound like my atheist sociology professor. If you didn't claim to be a Christian I'd say you were just another humanist professor spouting off the same junk that I was taught at the local community college and at the state college I attended. Sounds like you swallowed this line of reasoning hook line and sinker. I for one chose along time ago not to buy into this reasoning that comes striaght from the pitts of hell.
     

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