Church And State


The Marxist Separation of Church and State

By R. J. Rushdoony

 

An understanding of the Marxist doctrine of the separation ofchurch and state is urgently necessary, because there is a growing confusionbetween the Marxist view and the earlier American position.

 

In the Marxist world, as in the Soviet Union, the separation ofchurch and state means that the church must be totally separated from everyarea of life and thought. It cannot be allowed to educate or to influenceeducation, let alone the state. Because children are seen as the propertyof  the state, the church cannot influence or teach children. In allspheres, the church is isolated from the world and life of its times and isrequired to be irrelevant and impotent. In the Marxist view, the separation ofchurch and state is a major legal handicap and penalty imposed upon the church.It is in effect a separation from relevance, the  power to influence, andthe freedom to function.

 

In the historic American view, the First Amendment places all therestrictions upon the federal government, which is barred from establishing,governing, controlling, or regulating the church. The Marxist view handcuffsthe church; the American view handcuffs the state.

 

In recent years, the states, Congress, the courts, and the variouspresidents have in varying degrees manifested an adherence to the Marxist view.Even as the statist power has encroached on every other sphere of society, sonow it is encroaching on the church. It is assured that the state has totaljurisdiction over every sphere, and the courts in recent years have ruled onsuch absurdities as school dress codes, and the length of a boy's hair. Noconcern is too trifling to be overlooked by the courts in their zeal fortotalitarian jurisdiction. without being Marxist, they share in the Marxistbelief in total state jurisdiction. Predictably, they are moving in the samedirection.

 

This should not surprise us. Given the humanistic belief in man orthe state as ultimate, any freedom or power claimed by the church is seen asirrelevant or wrong. The humanist is being faithful to his faith, to hispresuppositions.

 

The sad fact is that too many churchmen share the Marxist view.For them, the separation of church and state means that the church must neverinvolve itself with anything which is of political concern. I am regularly toldby readers of pastors and church leaders who will not permit mention ofabortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, or any like subject from the pulpit oreven on church premises. Such matters, they insist are now"political" and "violate" the separation of church andstate. They claim the name of orthodoxy for their confusion, cowardice andheresy.

 

The prophets, God's preachers of old, were commanded by the Lordto make God's law-word concerning all things and to correct and rebuke kingsand governors. When our Lord promises His disciples that they shall be broughtbefore governors and kings for His sake, and "for a testimony againstthem" (Matt. 10:18), He did not meanthat they were then to forswear the faith, wink at abortion and homosexuality,and be silent about the sins of the state!

 

There are no limits to the area of God's government, law, andsovereign sway. There can then be no limits to the areas of the church'switness, its preaching, and its commanded concern.

 

(Taken from Christianity and the State, pp. 191-192)