Six thoughts on “separation of church and state”

1. A nation inescapably has a shared set of values, beliefs, symbols, orthodoxies, stigmas, doctrines, founding narratives, heroes, and even rituals. This is a religion (broadly defined).

2. “Separation of church and state” is really about having 1) a state religion that is generic enough to be inclusive of denominations (and people of conscience) compatible with the nation’s sense of public morality and civil values. And 2) a separation of civil institutions and more particular denominational institutions.

3. Both liberals and conservatives inevitably want a civil religion: They want the government to encourage and in many cases even enforce a civil code that reflects a notion of public morality and human flourishing.

4. Liberals should acknowledge that they are trying to change our country’s civil religion and enforce their own orthodoxy / doctrine.

5. Christians should acknowledge that we too prefer a “civil religion”: a generic set of Judeo-Christian / Western values.

6. Since America is now abandoning its original “civil religion”, it is all the more appropriate for Christians to own our identity. America is not our final home. We are like foreigners, immigrants, and refugees. We are wandering. Longing for our true home. Awaiting the return of our true President/King, Jesus Christ.