The American church has a problem. It’s one part fear, one part confusion and one part apathy. Pastors, priests and rabbis have long swallowed the false notion that all things religious and all things political are somehow mutually exclusive – that never the twain shall meet.
Leading up to Ronald Reagan’s landslide presidential victory in 1980, Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University, captured the crux of the church’s apathy problem. “I’m being accused of being controversial and political,” he said. “I’m not political. But moral issues that become political, I still fight. It isn’t my fault that they’ve made these moral issues political. But because they have doesn’t stop the preachers of the Gospel from addressing them. …”
“What then is wrong?” he continued. “I say the problem, first of all, is in the pulpits of America. We preachers must take the blame. For too long we have fearfully stood back and failed to address the issues that are corrupting the republic. I repeat Proverbs 14:34: ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’ Not military might, though that’s important. Not financial resources, though that has been the enjoyment of this nation above all nations in the last 200 years. But spiritual power is the backbone, the strength, of a nation.”
Indeed, it is not just within the church’s purview, but it is the church’s duty to insert itself into state matters relating to morality, public policy and culture at large.
Contrary to popular opinion, the words “separation of church and state” are found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. Yet many are misled into believing they are.
So why the confusion?