We teach our collegians well about the period known as the dark ages but do we thoroughly explain what brought on this horrible period across the globe? With little fanfare the answer to that question is an unequivocal no.
Let’s do the math here. The marriage of civil and ecclesiastical power is without dispute the singular cause of the horrors of the dark ages. When the authority of the state and the church are wed, people suffer. The equation goes like this. If I am a Muslim, Christian, Catholic or Jew I may practice my religion without fear of persecution, reprisal or rejection. I still must obey civil law but the judicial body won’t besiege me with charges for the beliefs I hold about God and faith.
When any particular religion becomes the state sanctioned religion then I can be prosecuted for my lack of compliance. Once Catholicism was the state sanctioned religion and for one thousand years the Pope ruled across the globe, with an iron hand. Some say the reformation ended that and some like to call it the recovery, that is, the recovering of the simple gospel message and the abandoning of the burgeoning religious rules and mandates of the church. Is Islam bringing this kind of terror into civilization again?
In America the idea of the separation of church and state is all that stands between us and that kind of tyranny. Of course the separation of church and state is mostly a perception and not actually a law. The law in America simply states that the congress will not make any laws governing religion. This is a law we can live with in the most literal sense of the word. In Islamically ruled nations not believing in the state sponsored religion can and does cost lives.
News agencies have reported that an Iranian man, Mr. Issa Motamdi has been arrested and charged with apostasy. His crime was giving his son a Christian name. Even before his trial which is not likely to be any more than a travesty there is talk of execution.
In the Central Sulawesi area of Indonesia it is reported by the BBC News that three girls were attacked on their way to school. The three who traversed through a cocoa plantation on their way to a Christian school were beheaded. Dozens of Christians have been brutally murdered in this region since 2001 as militant Muslims seek to set up another Islamic state there.
Most people in what still might be referred to as a civilized world take exception to this kind of brutality in the name of any religion. With all her faults, excesses and problems America could be counted upon to deal seriously with this kind of brutality especially toward children. No religious preference would keep the perpetrators of such crimes from being prosecuted and most likely jailed for life or executed.
To the Christian it is sad thing when someone turns to another religion or another God and misses the salvation that comes only from the Saviour of the world. Yet, no where in scripture are they called upon to execute any form of summary judgment against those who choose not to believe. Jesus Christ may have been many things but he is never any less than civilized, perhaps we could say he is a gentleman.
The constitution of the United States could also be said to be a gentleman if it had human attributes. It provides the security to believe the dictates of our conscience without fear of tyranny.
Most of the presidents in our history have been protestant and in the last twenty five years Protestants have met and surpassed the number of practicing Catholics in America. It would be hard to imagine the absurdity of making Protestantism America’s state religion. We would then be very busy prosecuting Catholics and those in other religions. We can only thank God that something this absurd has never been found appealing to even the most confused factions of our body politic.
Rev Bresciani is the author of two Christian books and columnist for several political news sites online. Visit http://www.americanprophet.org
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