Now, of course, there are nuances to each side's perspective that make their take on church and state a little more rational sounding, but in general it just seems crazy.
For me, this is particularly true of those who claim that “America” is a Christian nation. After all, “One nation under God,” and “In God We Trust.” They tend to be the very same people who want the government to get out of welfare, food stamps, social security, Head Start, and basically any program that can even loosely be considered “socialist” (except, of course, things like libraries, roads, police officers, firefighters – well, you get the idea).
Their argument is, the church should take care of those things, not the government. My response is, if the churches were actually taking care of those things, the government wouldn't have to. I also can't help but think their argument might actually be why they don't see the other things I mentioned as socialist or at least don't mind the government doing them. It's not for any biblical standard, it's just that they don't want to have to do them. I mean, can you imagine a road being put down by a church committee? You think road crews just stand around now, just put a church committee in charge and see how long it takes. (They'd probably pave the ones leading into New York, Las Vegas and a few other cities in gold. After all, many of them believe that “the road to Hell is paved in gold.” Oddly enough, in doing so, they would actually be pointing out the irony in their own attempt at metaphor. But I digress.)
I just can't help but wonder, what does it mean for our nation when so many Christians are using the church itself as an excuse to allow the government to operate in such an amoral way? When we allow the government to stop supporting its own citizens by placing responsibility on the the church, we are at best pandering to the very lowest form of displacement of responsibility and at worst we are making the church complicit in supporting institutionalized domination which can easily lead to a plutocracy rather than a social democracy. (And before we know it, the road to D.C. will actually be paved with gold – after all, metaphorically it already is).
If the Church wants to argue that the government should get out of supporting those in need, out of supporting it's citizens who most need it, I say, the Church needs to get to doing a better job of supporting the people who are most in need, because if you were doing it, the government wouldn't have to. To do it any other way – well, it's just bass-ackward.