Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the church and the u.s. government

The relationship between the institutional church in America and the US government is a source of constant discussion in our society. These two entities form now, and always have in the past, a symbiotic amalgam of mutual self interest. Both organizations have a sacred text which supposedly proscribes their right conduct. Both are in the business of controlling the behavior of the general population and both largely assume God’s mandate in that act of controlling.

 

The insistence of many on the separation of church and state is, as the evangelical church of late more openly admits, is a call for what has never, in fact, existed and what neither entity really desires. Government is the act of governing, directing, and controlling. This is accomplished through laws, regulations, and judicial enforcement. The institutional church assumes to itself the role of moral guide to the world and exercises its own authority through its doctrine and organizational hierarchy. A longstanding tenet of church teaching, in that regard, has been respect for authority and lawfulness. Lawful authority, according to church doctrine, would include the church in its pronouncements and the civil government in its laws. It should be obvious from this fact that respect for the church and its theology bolsters the authority of the government. Two agencies, both bent on control, are naturally beholden to one another in this mutual endeavor.

 

The close affiliation of the evangelical church and the politics of the right further demonstrate the close and inevitable relationship between institutional Christianity and political proponents of the status quo. The real conflict between political persuasions in the US revolve around the issue of who gets to take advantage of whom, with the help and connivance of the government. The rich want to take advantage of the poor and the poor want to take advantage of the rich and no one wants to be the disadvantaged ones. Government here and elsewhere has always been about granting and maintaining special interest for someone and only rarely about the public good, which is so devilishly difficult to define. In the minds of most, the general interest can be damned if I suffer any loss in its promotion.

 

A democracy, in the idealistic sense of government which strives for true equality of opportunity and maximized personal freedom, can only function in an environment emphasizing altruism. A society formulated on a “dog eat dog” philosophy of ruthless competition and special interest politics can never be that place. The church, if it were what it claims to be, would be the promoter of that altruism. Instead they are biggest proponents of business as usual, or worse yet, the ardent reactionaries who think progress involves a return to a past which exists only in their own minds.

 

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