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The Point

Separation of Church and State

What Would You Say?

01/13/20

John Stonestreet

David Carlson

You’re in a conversation and someone says, “Christians should keep their beliefs out of politics. That’s why we have separation of church and state!” What would you say?

In the latest installment of our “What Would You Say?” teaching series—which features short videos to help you answer our culture’s toughest questions—Joseph Backholm tackles the oft-misunderstood notion of the separation of church and state.

Here are a few things to remember.

First, the “separation of church and state” isn’t in the Constitution. It’s Thomas Jefferson’s paraphrase of the First Amendment, which he included in a letter to Baptists in Connecticut—who feared government intrusion into their faith.

Which leads to the second point: The “separation of church and state” is meant to protect the church from the state. Not the state from religious people.

Third, the Constitution tells us that all ideas and people are welcome in public debate. Even religious ones.

Learn more here.

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