Patriotic Christians often lament the lack of influence of the Church on our government and culture. While this concern can be heartfelt, well-founded, and well-meaning, we need to be careful what we wish for.
History has shown that the Church has gone overboard in its close relationship with the State. In fact, this has happened quite often throughout history.
It was the Jewish leaders (the 33AD version of organized religion – the synagogue being that period’s equivalent to the “church” of the day) and the Roman government who conspired to crucify Christ. This was the first “church”/state partnership in persecution related to Christianity.
Persecution of Christians continued for over two centuries following Christ’s crucifixion until the conversion of Constantine to Christianity in c.312. It didn’t take long for the the Roman Christians (the “Church) to join with the Roman government (the “State”) in forcing the conversion of pagans to Christianity. Those who would not convert were persecuted and often killed. This pattern continued for centuries. And here we have the second “church/state” partnership.
Moving on to the beginnings of Protestantism in the 1500’s we have the mainstream protestants (the “Church”) and those like the Anabaptists whose beliefs and doctrine diverged from that mainstream. In a number of instances, the prevailing majority church joined with their respective national governments to persecute and condemn these minority “heretics.” This is the third “church/state” partnership.
Fast forward to the 1930’s and 40’s to the church in Germany. This state-funded church/state alliance was the heart of Nazism. All others - Christians, Jews, pagans - who were outside of that mainstream church/state partnership were persecuted, condemned, and most murdered. Thus ends the forth “church/state” alliance.
Then I thought about what is going on today in the mainstream churches. They, too, have been partnering with our government in a number of ways. Most churches have jettisoned their millennia-old doctrine in favor of politically-correct, but immoral state-promoted public policy. Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, legalizing mind-altering drugs, lowering expectations of personal responsibility and raising expectations for government entitlements are all part of the new church/state endorsed doctrines. The state, once again, has co-opted the Church. And the Church has willingly given itself over to the influence of the State. Those of us who disagree with these new decrees, whether we are Jew, Christian, or atheist, are now outsiders – the minority.
Will those of us who maintain our Christian standards be persecuted? What do you think? History proclaims that we surely will be. Such is the nature of fallen humanity.
It is not Christianity that persecutes, condemns and kills. It is those who maintain an erroneous view of God and Christ’s gift to us that does this. Islam is the best known and most flagrant example of this with its faulty understanding of God and His love and Islam’s consequent intolerance, hatred and jihad against those who do not submit to their brand of Islam – including those Muslims who are not devout “enough.” In Islam, religion and government (sharia) are one and the same. Talk about a partnership! Running a close second are nations like China and Russia who have partnered with the religion of atheism to form their church/state partnership to persecute, condemn and murder all who threaten their belief system.
Is it any wonder that Islam, liberal churches, and our government have created a new alliance that calls the rest of us “bigots”, “intolerant” and all manner of “–phobes?” Faithful Christians are now the outsiders. We are now at the beginning of the fifth “church/state” alliance. We do indeed need to be careful what we wish for with regard to church and state. Some church/state relationships never change. When church and state get in bed together all hell breaks loose.