[This is a reprint from the old blog]
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
~ Thomas Jefferson in letter to Danbury Baptists (as quoted from Wikipedia)
Ancient Israel had a separation between the office of king and office of high priest. Both, however, were accountable to God, which is why they were considered a theocracy. Later, under foreign rulership, the high priest often also acted as a secular ruler in some cases (ibid), but there is no real indication that that condition was what God intended. When the Messiah returns, the king and high priest offices will be once again combined in Jesus Christ (Heb 7:1, 17; Zec 6:12-13). It is often believed that this separation was because normal men become quickly corrupted, so the only One Who can hold both offices is the Perfect Man Jesus Christ.
The other day, I saw an email that basically was critical of the US Postal Service for selling holiday stamps. They often offer stamps commemorating certain events and certain holidays, including Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah and, it turns out, the beginning of Ramadan. I won’t go into the details of the email (mostly because it was a silly argument anyhow), but the phrase was used “so much for the separation of church and state”.
This really got me thinking. It seemed like an odd argument given the circumstances. It just seems sometimes that people want to have their cake and eat it too. They will decry the forced removal of a monument of the Ten Commandments, but then turn around and say “separation of church and state” when it is not their pet beliefs being promoted. It seems they are missing the point just as much as the atheists who cry out “separation of church and state!” and insist upon a secular government devoid of any mention of God.
That sort of begs the question, though: Does separation of church and state really mean a government is to be completely devoid of any religion? Is that even possible? The answer is “Of course not.” Remove God from government, and secular humanism moves in. Don’t kid yourself; it is a religion with its own particular beliefs and rituals and laws (the new intolerant “tolerance” being the chief among them). Remove God from the school, and atheistic evolution fills the void. Moral behavior will be dictated by an “enlightened self”, which in actuality is a foundation of the sand of relativism.
Why should people not murder? Why should people not steal? You could answer “It hurts others” or that “It hurts society”, but the real honest truth is that without a divine being, it just doesn’t matter. If we live, suffer and die, then why does it matter if we make others suffer so we ourselves can have a little pleasure? If it is survival of the fittest, then why help the weak, the poor, the infirmed? You know, Hitler reasoned we should not. At least he was honest about his beliefs.
Indeed, if government is to be devoid of religion, which is what all morality rests upon, then why have any laws? Why have government? Not only is it impossible to have government and laws without religion, but atheism cannot address these questions. Indeed, as one evangelist I once heard said, “Atheist can be moral, alright. The difference is that they have no basis for their morality.” I would add there is not even a reason to be moral if there is no God.