Thursday, August 16, 2012

Secularism and Separation of Church and State

Hunter Baker on the difference between secularism and the notion of the separation of church and state:
Secularism is not and should not be synonymous with the separation of church and state. The separation of church and state, in the classical sense, simply means that the state does not collect fees to support the church; neither does it mandate membership in the church. . . . 
When Christians rail against the separation of church and state and heatedly charge that those words do not appear in the Constitution, they are really reacting to secularism. The problem is that the language of the separation of church and state is often used to push for more secularistic understandings. Given a right understanding of secularism as the separation of religion from public life and the separation of church and state as nothing more than formal institutional independence of church and state, citizens should value church-state separation as the healthier and more justifiable state of affairs. 
—Hunter Baker, The End of Secularism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 19-20.

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