EDITORIALS: Separate church and state

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
The debate over the removal of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has generated far more heat than light, especially in the conservative Christian community. Moore was ousted as chief justice by a state disciplinary court after defying orders to remove a 21/2-ton granite monument featuring the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state’s Supreme Court building.

Here what’s clear to us:

— Moore needed to be removed from his position. This is still a land of law, and whatever he might think of a particular legal ruling, a chief justice cannot place himself above the system without undermining it and inviting anarchy.

— The judiciary’s ruling that the monument violated the constitutional principal of “separation of church state” upholds what seems to us to be a clear misreading of First Amendment protection regarding freedom of religion. The Constitution would prevent the government from establishing one religion over another, not acknowledging religion in general. Unless Chief Justice Moore banned monuments to other religious or atheistic traditions from the rotunda, he was not necessarily promoting the Judeo-Christian tradition at their expense.

— Christians in America need to get over the notion that they live in a “Christian nation,” or that the removal of God references from the political realm should necessarily threaten their spiritual calling. The Bible clearly teaches that the primary allegiance of Christians is to a kingdom that cannot be contained by the boundaries of any one country, that it is not embodied by any one political philosophy, and that it is not dependent on the “protection” of any one legal system.

What this country needs are more Christians who demonstrate the ideals of their calling in the workplaces and neighborhoods of our country, and fewer who demonstrate their ignorance of that calling on courthouse steps.-DR

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