Few phrases prompt more confusion in the United States today than the seemingly simple words, “separation of church and state.” Everyone seems to intuitively sense what this means. But ask 10 Americans how separation of church and state should play out, and you’re liable to get 10 different answers.
When it comes to the voting booth, many Americans—Christians as well as non-Christians—want to apply the separation of church and state in all the wrong ways. Specifically, they want to pretend that what happens in the church is irrelevant for the state. Or, to put it differently, they would like Christians to leave their religion at the door. Look at the candidate’s policies, they urge, not his/her faith.
We sympathize with some of this sentiment, of course. There is a certain naiveté in flatly asking, “Which one of these guys is Christian? That’s who I’m voting for.” Faith isn’t everything.
But faith is something. A very important something, in fact. And every candidate has one.