“SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE? IT’S IN THE BIBLE!”

Given the recent theocratic decision of the Supreme Court, I thought I would revisit a post of mine from a couple of years ago…

It is the religious right-wing loud mouths who always can be counted upon to a) demand that we obey the Holy Bible and b) make the claim that there is no such thing as separation of Church & State in America because those words are not in the Constitution. Never mind that this separation was primary on the minds of those who wrote the Constitution. Forget that this separation is what made the United States of America absolutely unique in the history of Western “civilization.” And the hell with the facts that the United States Supreme Court has consistently held that such a separation exists. Throw all that away if you wish.  Let us see what the Bible itself has to say on the subject:

As Moses is ready to die and the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land, Moses grows concerned that there the tribes have no leader to keep the people from anarchy. So, being Moses, he consults God. Here is what happens in the King James Version of the Holy Bible:

Numbers, 27:15-23

And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,

Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;

And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.

And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.

And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:

And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

Do you get what happened? Moses puts Joshua in charge of the people and has Aaron’s son Eleazar in charge of the priesthood. Moses and, more to the point, GOD ALMIGHTY have vested two separate people with the powers of Church & State. It is right there in the Good Book.  Joshua is in charge of the people and Eleazar is in charge of tending into God’s judgment. It’s all there in black and white.

As long as the religious literalists insist that the Bible is a history book, and as long as they insist that it is God’s “divine plan” for humanity, silly claims but they make them nonetheless, then we see by example that God wants the power of the state separated from the power of the religious establishment. There is no getting around it.
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Further driving the point home is 1 Samuel, 13:8-14 where King Saul, tired of waiting for the arrival of Samuel the priest, makes his own burnt offering. When Samuel arrives all hell breaks loose. Why? Because Saul has usurped the power of the clergy and thus violated the biblical separation of Church & State. Can it be any more clear?

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