I believe firmly in the idea of separation of church and state. The news stories about a certain Baptist church in North Carolina kicking out members who refused to support President Bush is appalling. I’m a Republican and a Baptist, and I can’t condemn this idiot pastor in North Carolina enough. Here’s an excerpt from the story as reported on CNN:
WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (AP) — A pastor who led a charge to kick out nine church members who refused to support President Bush was the talk of the town Saturday in this mountain hamlet, with ousted congregants considering hiring a lawyer.
Pastor Chan Chandler greeted people at the door of tiny East Waynesville Baptist Church on Saturday evening as the church choir practiced and even welcomed them to attend services Sunday morning — if there’s room inside. But he was not prepared to talk about his mixing of religion and politics.
“On the advice of counsel, I’ve been advised not to have any comment at this time,” Chandler told The Associated Press. “We will have a statement later.”
Members of the congregation said Chandler told them during last year’s presidential campaign that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry needed to leave the church.
I must say this serves as an excellent reminder about the importance of separation of church and state. Roger Williams, the Baptist pastor and founder of Rhode Island, commented that church and state should be separated, because the state will tend to corrupt the church. Thomas Jefferson argued that the church and state should be separated because the church will tend to corrupt the state. Both of them were absolutely correct.
And look at the further problems this moron of a pastor has created: he’s got a lawyer, the members who have been expelled have a lawyer. Obviously neither side takes seriously what Paul said in 1 Corinthians about believers taking one another to court. Of course, I would like to comfort myself by thinking that none of these people are actually believers, but I know better.
Ah well. Good thing that we’re saved by grace.