Advertisement
(Page 2 of 4)

It’s a Gray Area:

To protect the state — and the church

March 20, 2010|By James P. Gray

This is considered an important issue because of the two goals connected to it. The first is to protect government from the undue influence of the church. That is not to say that governments cannot be influenced by religious values, and it does not imply that we should become a secular society. That is not even a part of the discussion, nor should it be! But if you look back into the history of our country, you will find that churches strongly influenced the Salem Witch Trials. Elsewhere, you will find similar tragic results with the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and the Holy Roman Empire. That is not to say we are in imminent peril; it is simply to say that we should be aware that the seeds are there.

Similarly, the Catholic Church in the 1600s caused Galileo to be prosecuted for proposing the scientific belief that the Earth rotated around the sun. This is not an untypical response when churches have some controls over governments and governments attempt to question church dogma. The seeds are there as well for the suppression of such an inquiry.

Advertisement

More recently we see the involvement by the Taliban in blowing up statues of Buddha in Afghanistan because they presented “inappropriate influences” to the people. Similarly some governments require women to cover themselves with scarves and burqas, or countenance the stoning of women for perceived sexual or other transgressions. Religion is often corrupting of government, and it should be kept separate.

Furthermore, it is not hard for one person or a small group of people to accumulate a large amount of power and influence in a church. Most churches are designed that way, with examples being the pope in Rome, and the ayotollahs in Iran. No one should want church officials to become in any way in charge of civilian governments.

Besides, probably anyone who does not see the problem can almost immediately be helped to see the light by being asked the following question: How would you feel if the other guy’s religion is chosen to lead or have undue influence on your government? I think we all know the answer.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|