In an article in one of the country’s newspapers published almost two years ago, writer, Karl Salmon stated: “Separation of Church and State is a theoretical concept that defines distance, allowing citizens the freedom to practise any religion of their choice and preventing the government from officially recognising or favouring any religion in government-run environments that the public relies on. Most governments were formed to create organised policies to protect the welfare of the civilians and fulfil their need for the betterment of the nation, while striking a balance with individual choice. Separation of Church and State not only allows citizens the freedom to practise any religion of their choice, but also prevents the government from officially recognising or favouring any religion.”
As a child, I was always told that people should not mix religion and politics. This saying has a powerful truth: that when religion is used for political purposes, it empties religion of its eternal meaning and becomes just one more cynical method of acquiring power.
But there is also a disclaimer hidden in the phrase: that sometimes when people use that phrase they actually mean “Don’t bring your faith into the public square where I can see it.” In other words, hide your faith outside of your place of worship because we have a “separation of church and state”. But this is too is too important a concept to be misused.
The word of God says in Mark 12:17 (ESV): Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
Government, religious leaders, and their supporters should welcome and advocate for the concept of separation of church and State. While religion will not directly interfere with government the separation of the two gives the church the freedom to speak against any practices that run counter to the Bible and the moral fibre of society.
Religious freedom protects people’s right to live, speak, and act according to their beliefs without fear of retaliation. It protects their ability to be themselves at all levels of interaction. Religious freedom is more than the freedom to worship in church, it makes sure people do not have to go against their core values and beliefs in order to conform to societal norms. .
Religious freedom benefits individuals and communities. For us Christians, a relationship with God is the most important aspect of our lives, and our faith guides the shaping of our values – values such as honesty and responsibility – which impact our families and the wider society. The government should not be in the business of policing religious ideas. The tenets of many faiths are founded on the belief that truth is eternal and unchanging. Insisting that their beliefs change to embrace new cultural norms, goes against the very nature of our convictions. Mandating specific religious ideas and actions for all citizens also rejects the freedom of conscience. Every person has the freedom to hold his or her own religious views.