Separation of Church and State: A Baptist Perspective

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Justified Saint, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Justified Saint

    Justified Saint
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    Separation of church and state carries a lot of different meanings for different people. One of the Baptist "distinctives" is this belief of separation of church and state. Could Baptists please elaborate more on what they mean by this? I often hear that they simply mean that government shouldn't intervene in church affairs but that nationally a country should still have a Christian character. Is it possible to maintain the doctrine of the separation of church and state without ultimately promoting secularism?
     
  2. Johnv

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    Separarion of Church and State, as Baptist Distinctive, means just that. The State (any level) should remain out of the business of the Church (any church) and the Church (any church) should remain out of the business of the State (any level). There should be no official religion endorsed by the Government.

    That does not mean, however, that people of religious persuasion should not be involved in the political process, or in government (I say this as I consider a bid for my local city council) It simply means that religious institutions and the government should remain completely separate.

    The Baptist distinctive makes no implication that, as a compulsory matter, the country should have a christian, or any other character. Many people imply that, but it is not so stated in the distinctives. Being Baptist is not a US-only faith.
     
  3. Justified Saint

    Justified Saint
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    Oops, I almost forgot I posted this. [​IMG]

    So then, would most Baptists see the U.S. today as a proper execution and application of the Baptist distinctive of separation of church and state?
     
  4. Johnv

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    Generally, yes.
     
  5. Justified Saint

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    Interesting.

    Is it correct then to say that America in past generations has not properly separated Church and State in a Baptist fashion?
     
  6. Johnv

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    I would venture to say that the application of Separation of Church and State has never been perfect.
     
  7. Alcott

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    I reckon not. To make it perfect, we could start with getting rid of building or sanitation inspectors poking their state noses into church buildings, or of any board having to approve construction plans before a church could be built. Government building codes must be for the scope government is in control, and with separation of church and state, they cannot control churches.

    Then, get the police, fire, and EMT vehicles and personnel off of church property where they do not belong at any time. They are state, not church. If someone has an accident and breaks a leg because of a church's negligence, it's between that person and that church; no help from the state emergency response units or the courts. Church and state are separate. Besides, churches don't pay taxes that a factory, restaurant, or store pays for these services, anyway.

    Then let churches burn their own trash and dispose of their sewage and waste however they choose to. Church and state are separate, so they must not tie in with city services for these things.

    These sarcastic paragraphs above are the starting points to show why I do not support what I have heard, both from Baptists and atheists, that we must have "full separation of church and state."
     

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