I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out what to say about all the tension between the government and the Church. The truth is, it’s a nuanced problem, and I don’t have a nuanced response. One of the fundamental problems I see though is something I bring up with other problems in America, and that is the lack of a unifying culture. America is not the melting pot it once claimed to be; it is a hodgepodge of different ideas and cultures. Sometimes, that is a good thing, a country that allows everyone to retain their own culture. But other times, it just creates thousands of tiny, competing fractions coming from such different viewpoints that there is no solution that makes everyone happy. Too big, too diverse, too eager for quick fixes to long problems.
So, some thoughts: Do I believe in separation of church and state? Yes. I don’t want the state in my Church. She is too beautiful, too everlasting, and too worthy to become subject to political goals, majority votes, and sways of opinion.
Do I believe in the freedom of religion? Yes. Freedom of religion is freedom to practice religion. Practice is beyond worship. Freedom to worship means I can go to whatever meeting I want. Freedom to practice means I can live out my beliefs in the public. I can say I want something changed in government based on my religious beliefs. I don’t have to check my faith at the church door. And my beliefs will be listened to, and I will listen to others’ beliefs, and we will find common ground and base our society on that.
Do I believe the Church is being persecuted in the U.S.? Yes and no. I do think some people see the Church as an enemy to be battled. I think a great more see her as a nuisance, a blockade to their personal goals. I don’t think those that push birth control or secular agendas are evil; I think they have compassionate reasons for supporting what they do. I just think they are wrong. The friction is that they come from a different culture, and they can’t understand that others have a different culture, with a completely different understanding of value of life and morals. Both sides think they are on the defensive, that they are the persecuted.
And should the Church act any different when she is persecuted than say, when she is in power? No. She should always be true, always be humble, always be vigilant, always be loving.
Pray that Church can stand unified.
Pray that the state will continue to grant religious freedom.
Pray that those in power make their decisions based on morals and not on profits.
Pray that the marketplace of ideas becomes a place of conversation and understanding instead of a place of yelling and fighting.
Pray that people see the value of all life, from conception to natural death, from the starving to the addicted, from those who beg for help to those who don’t believe they need it.
Pray for guidance on what individual actions to take.