Monday, August 25, 2014
Separation of Church and State
Say I: You know, one day if I ever do manage to serve as a minister, I may run for political office.
Says He: You can’t do that! That would violate the separation between church and state!
Say I: I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t.
Says He: (a little more emphatically than before). Damn straight it would! No minister can serve political office.
Say I: Pretty sure that’s not accurate.
Says He: Well, even if you could, nobody would vote for you.
Say I: Why not?
Says He: Because you’re a minister! Would you wear the collar?
Say I: (after a few seconds thought) Probably not while I'm working as elected official.
Says He: Doesn’t matter. Nobody would vote for you because you were a minister.
Say I: Because ministers can’t be active in civic society.
Says He: Right. Separation of church and state. Period! No iffs, ands or buts about it.
Say I: What about the priesthood of all believers?
Says He: What does that mean?
Say I: Well, many Christian - specifically Protestant Christian - religions believe that all believers have a duty to minister in their faith. Every believer is a priest.
Says He: Like which ones?
Say I: Well, I’m a little shaky here, but I’m pretty sure that’s Lutherans for sure, and I think Presbyterians, but I have to admit I’m not always super clear on some of the difference between the denominations. Anyway, if they’re all supposed to be functioning as priests, does that mean we can’t invite any of them to serve in secular government?
Says He: Don’t be stupid. Its only real ministers who can’t hold elected office.
Say I: And why again is that?
Says He: Because they all have an agenda. They’re all pushing their religion on everyone else and that’s not right.
Say I: So, you can’t separate a minister from his or her religion?
Says He: Of course not.
Say I: But you can separate a non-minister from theirs.
Says He: Yes. They know how to separate church talk from regular talk.
Say I: (after a few seconds of consideration) Maybe you’re right then. I pretty much am the same way in church as I am in the rest of my life.
Says He: Exactly.
Say I: Well, you’ve made your point. Maybe not the point you’d hoped to make, but you’ve made a point.
Says He: Right.
Posted by Eddie Proulx