Meacham: Jesus started church-state separation
Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s Editor and author of several tomes on American history, had a column in this week’s issue of the news magazine that took a look at the National Day of Prayer decision. He argues, like AU’s Rev. Barry W. Lyn, that there is a religious case and basis for the separation of church and state:
The idea of separation began, in fact, with Jesus. Once, when the crowds were with him and wanted to make him a king, he withdrew and hid. Before Pilate, Jesus was explicit: “My kingdom is not of this world,” he said. Later in the New Testament, Paul argues that God shows no partiality among nations or peoples, meaning nations cannot claim blessed status, and says that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” which means the Lord God of Hosts is concerned with larger matters than whether one is an American or a Norwegian. A Christian nation, then, is a theological impossibility, and faith coerced is no faith at all, only tyranny. If God himself gave human beings free will—the choice to love him or not, to obey him or not—then no believer should try to force another to confess a faith.
Meacham also quotes from the Treaty of Tripoli, mentioned earlier here.