Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Who Separated Church and State?

Hint: It wasn't the ACLU.

In a provocative but eminently sensible essay, Lee Harris says that one person pretty much singlehandedly made the separation.

Here's a brief excerpt:
Imagine going to a Roman citizen circa 33 AD and asking him to explain the dividing line between the Roman state and the Roman religion. He would scratch his head in puzzlement. For the Roman, the state was the church, and the church was the state: the same entity performed both civic functions and religious duties. But if you had gone to Galilee at about the same time, you might have encountered a man who taught another doctrine -- a revolutionary one.

You can read the entire article here, which will take you about 10 minutes. Although not a comprehensive treatment, it may change forever how you think about this subject.


  1. When I was a sophmore, I wrote an essay that argued for the separation of church and state, along the same lines of the article you referred to. And I was a relatively new Christian.

    My mom grew up attending public school and having religion shoved down her throat pretty much every day. It did her no favors, as outwardly she conformed, but mentally rebelled. She spoke of walking a very thin line, and in a rural area where everyone knows what you do, if you take one step out of line, you faced a lot of judgement. No mercy. No grace. No reconciliation. Which, as I saw it, was pretty un-Christian for a supposedly Christian culture. In my mom's line of reasoning, if you get judged severely on something small, like how bright of lipstick you wear, then what do you have to lose by complete rebellion?

  2. Thanks for reading, but . . . heart WHO?

  3. Ummm,Roy, what do you mean by "heart"?

    This isn't text messaging vocabulary, is it?

    Arnold, I think Roy is hinting something funny about age here.

    This is clearly a cross generational communication situation.I have to ask my co-workers at Starbucks to figure out what we should be saying in response. Be back when I finish my research.