Possibly the Most Interesting Pact With the Devil

Rick Perry has apparently made some bizarrely critical comments about the separation of church and state. That separation is the separation that the forerunners of modern Evangelicals, including the Baptists in particular, struggled for and advocated. It is the one that is surely responsible for the fact that religion is a vibrant part of American life in a way that is not true in those countries where such a separation does not exist.

If Perry is calling for spiritual warfare that aims to undermine that separation, then I think one cannot but conclude that he is doing so in order to undermine the Christian faith, not promote it – whether he knows it or not. Because if anything has been to the detriment of Christianity in the past two millennia of its history, it is the forging of an allegiance between imperial/state power, and the church.

I don’t think there is a literal personal entity called “Satan.” But if I did, I’d expect him to be seeking to put the church in bed with the state, and not keep them apart in the manner that has upheld and defined religious freedom in the United States.

Progressive Christians don’t always use the term “demonic” – certainly not as much as some Christians do. But when we do, it is in reference to those who would take the name of the one who taught his followers to not repay evil for evil, and stick it on flags or the bumpers of tanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.sissons1 Christopher John Sissons

    Hang on that can’t be right! The US might have separation of state and church but from where I’m sitting you have masses of unaccountable fundamentalist churches. At least here in Europe, where we don’t have separation, we’ve been spared that. If Rick Perry is undermining the church the image of someone sawing off the the branch they’re sitting on springs to mind. Wouldn’t things be improved if there were less so-called religion in the US? I don’t think the problem is separation, The problem is lack of accountability to the one holy catholic and apostolic church. Those churches that allow for a spread of theological postions (ie catholic churches) tend to be the ones that engage in ecumenical relations. Establishment is one way to provide that accountability. There are others, eg papacy, episcopacy, connexionalism, some forms of congregationalism where there are doctrinal standards and so mutual recognition. All are better than the unaccountable pastor. I don’t see what the state has to do with it. Sorry if this is incoherent, its 1am here.

    • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

      If Rick Perry is undermining the church the image of someone sawing off the the branch they’re sitting on springs to mind.

      I see it more as knocking down a bridge, once you have crossed, so that no competitor can cross that same bridge.

    • http://twitter.com/rebelsquirrel Not That Thena

      In this country we believe fairly strongly in the right of people to be d*mn fools if it please them to do so. I tend to hold Mr. Perry and his ilk in that regard.


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