Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Cleric Speaks Out For Separation of Church & State כומר בעד הפרדת דת ומדינה

I finally tracked it down after 17 years, with the help of Dwight Tawney and Caroloyn Nussbeck of the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas: A sermon delivered by their Pastor Emeritus the Rev. Doc. Robert H. Meneilly, and reprinted in the New York Times in 1993. It was probably reprinted in whatever English language paper I read at the time, and I never forgot it. I'm posting a link to it here (you don't even need to download the doc; just click on the above link and read), but for those who don't feel like slogging through the entire four pages, I'm reprinting what I feel to be the salient quotes:
  • Any religion that needs the government to support and subsidize it doesn't deserve to survive. It's not the state's business to carry out the churches' ministries!
  • Any religion that must depend upon the state to do what it cannot do [i.e., force the citizenry to observe the commandments] is not worthy of existence...even Christianity.
  • When the state and the church would become entwined, it is the latter that will be the loser.
  • We can't uphold the...commandments by majority rule!

As far as I'm concerned, that says it all as far as church and state. Would that more clerics and religious leaders were as courageous as Rev. Meneilly, who a friend calls "an icon in the 'burbs"*.

*Johnson County, KS, where his church is located. Think Ultimate Suburbia, and you're there.

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