Church & State

Christians are citizens of two "kingdoms" - God's and society's. Jesus and Scripture as a whole have given much guidance on what it means to be a good citizen in God's kingdom, and those same principles apply to being a good citizen in society.

Religious liberty is a key Baptist belief, and this liberty is best promoted and preserved when church and state remain separate. This separation of church and state does not mean that religion is divorced from public life.

Online Resources

On Christian Citizenship: A Biblical perspective

In a democracy such as the United States, citizens direct the government through political processes. Christians dare not abstain from involvement in such processes. The Christian faith promotes responsible citizenship, and the responsibility is heightened in a democracy, which by its nature needs citizen participation at every level — local, state, and national. Click here to read more.

On Civility: A Biblical Perspective

The sharing of ideas and perspectives is the lifeblood of democratic government and congregational churches. One person does not dictate; multiple persons influence and decide. Anyone who pays attention to democracy and congregational churches knows the process of influencing and deciding can quickly slide toward volatile speech and personal attacks. There is, however, a better way -- one that involves mutual respect as people contend with ideas. We call it acting with civility, and the Bible affirms this approach. To be civil does not mean a refusal to contend for a position; it means we contend in a Christ-honoring manner. Click here to read more.

Therefore: Religion and Politics

One of the unwritten rules of most family gatherings and church socials is that polite conversation avoids two topics: religion and politics. We particularly avoid talking about religion and politics together. All too often we lack the knowledge, patience, and skill to navigate the deep divides of partisan politics in these settings, and in the service of familial and congregational civility, we tend to steer clear of discussions about candidates, social issues, public policies, and their faith connections with people who might not share our views. Click here to read more.

Rotten to the Core

Late last year, President Obama made a pilgrimage of sorts to the sleepy town of Osawatomie, Kansas, to talk about the economy. He went there because it's where, in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt gave one of his most famous speeches, called “The New Nationalism," which was, in part, an attempt to unite his party around a common vision of a well-managed economy. Click here to read more.


“You are the salt of the earth.… You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.… In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:13a, 14, 16 NRSV

Click here for more Scripture.

Church State

Freedom and equality go together -- the Bible affirms & we proclaim

A community in Quebec has done an interesting thing. The people of Saint-Apollinaire voted to not allow a Muslim cemetery in town.

They did so for a rather high-minded reason. As reported by Peter Stockland in The Globe & Mail, supporters of the ban are against burial on the basis of any faith tradition, period. No Catholic cemetery either.

“They want to stretch egalitarianism beyond the grave so that we are equally dead together,” Stockland writes.

Egalitarianism has a strong appeal to people in North America. It’s an important principle of Western Civilization. All people, we like to say, are created equal. Egalitarianism taken...

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Ferrell Foster
Director, Ethics & Justice, Christian Life Commission

(512) 473-2288