Church and Government Relationships

Subject: Religion
Pages: 6
Words: 907
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: Master

Church and political power were intertwined globally several centuries ago, and this connection is still observed in many countries of the world. Nevertheless, democratic free states increasingly delve into the processes of secularization, reducing the importance of religion in the life of society. These processes have dangers associated with more risky behavior of the population and the loss of moral guidelines. On the other hand, negative consequences of religious influence, such as social conflicts, due to globalization and liberalization of the world, can also have a decisive importance in the political life of states. Consequently, the Christian Church and state governments must maintain a balance in their relations, separating the political and religious aspects of society but involving the church in the process of making critical government decisions.

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The secularization and involvement of the Christian Church in it have their advantages and dangers. The participation and influence of the Christian Church in the political and cultural life of the state have a positive economic, social, and spiritual impact on the life of individuals and society as a whole. Studies show that religious participation has a positive effect on the economic growth of a country. This situation can be justified by the fact that Christianity promotes hard work, patience, diligence, and honesty, which are positively reflected in the performance of companies. People who follow the commandments are less likely to engage in corruption, fraud, or tax evasion.

At the same time, Christianity also preaches mercy and compassion, which forces individuals and companies to participate in charity and help people in difficult life situations return to regular life. In addition, the church can also express its support or condemnation of legislative initiatives based on fundamental Christian principles. For example, the expression of ideas of the equality of people before God regardless of race or origin during the Civil Rights Movement could help to turn the public against discriminatory policies. Therefore, the responsibility of the church is to remind the people of the principles of Christianity and give hope in difficult times.

Secularization also has its dangers that the church must face. First, secularization leads to the gradual rejection of the benefits associated with religious beliefs and religiosity in general by society. This fact is evidenced by the statistics of the growing number of atheists and agnostics in modern states; for example, in the United States, 28% of the population considers themselves atheists. Secondly, the rejection of religion can lead to the loss of moral guidelines for some people and, consequently, increase social problems. Research demonstrates that increased secularization leads to the growth of risky behavior such as alcohol or drug use. Therefore, Christians need to understand these threats and be prepared to overcome them through faith.

However, the church’s influence on public policy should be moderate and in line with the population’s demands. In some cases, too much pressure from the Christian church can cause conflict in society and force believers to abandon their denomination due to disagreement on key issues. For example, the recent demonstration in Poland over the adoption of a law banning abortion for most reasons demonstrates that the church and government do not take into account the wishes of many people. Consequently, the church loses trust in the eyes of believers, supporting and insisting on the need for this law, although the influence of the Catholic Church in Poland is traditionally significant. In addition, in some cases, the close relationship between church and government can be exploited by politicians for harmful purposes. For example, politicians can persecute their opponents for insulting the feelings of believers or speaking out against the official church in some extreme cases.

Moreover, the relationship between government and church should not be closely linked or manifest as one whole due to globalization and the diversity of society. For example, the United States is a multicultural and multireligious country. Hence, if the US government declares Catholicism or Protestantism a national religion or promotes its principles at the federal level, formally or de facto, it will cause social conflict. Representatives of other faiths will feel that their rights are oppressed because of their faith, even if the laws and regulations are in accordance with the general universal morality.

Consequently, Christians and the Christian Church should interact with the government to defend their positions on critical decisions but not dominate politics. Church officials can make comments and statements on important political issues and events, such as expressing support and hope during a pandemic; however, they should not be decisive in the life of the entire state. In this way, people will remember the fundamental Christian principles and fulfill them in their way, whether participating in church activities or having a decent person’s life. At the same time, expressing their concerns directly through appeals to representatives or demonstrations will convey the position of Christians on critical political issues, as well as representatives of other religions.

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Therefore, these features demonstrate that although secularization is an influential trend in modern countries, the church still should and can influence society’s political and cultural life. This influence contributes to the maintenance of moral guidelines for many people and will reduce the impact of negative social or economic factors. However, the church must be separated from politics to have a purely spiritual and mentoring function in people’s lives. In this way, religion will maintain its role in society but not provoke conflicts with those people who take a different position.

Bibliography

Third Night of Protests in Poland After Abortion Ban Takes Effect.The Guardian, 2021. Web.

Lozano, Fernando. “The rise of secularism and its economic consequences.IZA World of Labor, 2017. Web.

Olsen, Henry. “Opinion: America Is Becoming Less Religious. That Won’t Demolish Conservatism.” The Washington Post, 2021. Web.