In a democracy, such as the United States, the state has the obligation to its citizens to protect and promote an individual’s rights without bias against their race, gender, or religion. An estimated 323 million people practice an estimated 313 religions or denominations in the United states. It is practically impossible for the state to accommodate for the beliefs and practices of the different religions and still maintain fairness and equality for all. It is the church’s responsibility to ensure the citizens are treated fairly and equally. I believe that in order for church and state to accomplish their different goals, church and state must remain separated.
Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”(Mark 12:17) Jesus meant the church and state should be independent. His doctrine is relevant today. If the church gets involved in the state’s affairs, then the state is justified in reciprocating---getting involved in the church’s affairs. Merging of state and church affairs often leads to corruption.In the eleventh century, church and state affairs mingled and caused great controversy. The state held power to elect bishops. Unfortunately, the state purposefully chose bad bishops with the goal to undermine the church’s power. Also, in the ninth century, the pope was charged with legitimizing the king’s rule by crowning him Holy Roman Emperor. Unfortunately, the pope could crown an unqualified king because that king would give him military protection, financial assistance, and land.
In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote:“ Their [American people] legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” (Library of Congress Information Bulletin) Jesus clearly believed the power of the church trumps the power of the state when he said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Luke 10:27). I too believe matters of the church, which is eternal, must take precedence over matters of state, which crumble in time. Separation of church and state is a must to sustain a moral and stable society. If church and state affairs overlap, society will be in a constant power struggle It should be the duty of the leaders of the secular and spiritual worlds to ensure we all have stable society. The church and state will continue to have complicated relationships. However I believe that only by them operating independently can society truly achieve fairness and equality for all.