MIT student worried about the divisive force

So I heard a quote from an MIT student this week that claimed that our founding fathers included a separation of Church and State so that the latter would not have a “divisive force” on the former (my paraphrase).

I have heard and read many things about the decision that followed this letter.  But my only observation about it has almost nothing to do with MIT.  Rather, I wonder how we came to think that the founding fathers were worried about the church being a “divisive force” upon the state.  As I read history I see something quite different.

I see a group of separatists who had just recently broken off from a government who at one point had required them to be a part of the Church of England.  Hence we see the early settlers coming to the US being from other protestant lines.

The reason the separation of Church and State is such a big deal is not to protect the State from the ideas of the Church, but to protect the Church from the requirements of the State.

This is reflected also in our election process.  If a people in an area are electing a representative, they have the freedom to elect a Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, or whatever other world view their candidate may have.  But the candidates world view will drive him or her.  To insist that a candidate, or later representative should not rely upon that world view that has guided them to where they are is the same as to give them permission, or even an expectation, to abandon their driving principles for the sake of popular opinion.  None of us expect that.

My point is this:  The state is subject to the people, not the other way around.  The church is to love and serve people, not follow the state.

  • Here Albert Mohler on this topic here.

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