I just listened to today’s White Horse Inn radio program and it sure was interesting. The title is Christ in a Post-Christian Culture. The whole idea of where we are in our understanding of Christianity as a nation was discussed, going back to our early history, where James Madison opposed the exemption of churches from being taxed because he said it gave the state the authority to define a church and he saw a problem with that. I see his point. Of course, I’m opposed to income and property taxes; don’t know which kind Madison was discussing. Here are a few more tidbits….
In 1991, Poland’s communist government fell. At that time 70% of the population of Poland approved of the Catholic Church as a moral and spiritual force in the culture. Now only 40% approve because of the church’s interference in politics. They have no separation of church and state in Poland and in several other European countries.
Because they don’t have separation the people are taxed to pay for religious instruction for their children in the public schools whether they are Christians or not. And in order to keep their ‘privilege’ of instructing all these children they have to do so in a way that is not offensive to the parents or else they would protest. So, the gospel is compromised. (It tends to offend us humans when we are told that we are sinners in need of a Savior.)
They also said a civil religion is OK for some religious systems, like Islam, because they are set up that way, but Christianity is not. Christianity as a civil religion is heresy. And a church that seems to depend on the state is seen as weak. The fate of God’s Kingdom, which is not an earthly kingdom, is not bound up in the condition of the culture. His kingdom shouldn’t have a flag and it has no logo and no headquarters. It is Word and Sacrament.
Should Christians be involved in politics, like, should they hold office? Of course, if that is their calling, but not to go in and use the “coercive power of legislation” to change things. They should be there to protect the people from the government. The best constitutions are the ones that recognize the true nature of man. The US Constitution does that.
A lot more was said that I’m leaving out….if you want to hear it, you can listen (it’s about 39 minutes long) at: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/The_White_Horse_Inn/archives.asp
Gee….I’ll probably listen to it again later this week….