Reconciling faith and governance

The “separation of church and state” is an important concept in American history, but the term “church and state” is archaic. A better term is “faith and governance.” A group of Duke University undergraduates sharpened the issue in an article entitled “Reconciling Faith and Governance,” published (ironically) on January 6, 2021.

My recent posts focused on the disaffiliation of some United Methodist congregations. While personally important to me, it pales in importance to the question of whether the US will replace our Constitutional freedom of religion with Christian nationalism. This would reverse the genius of our Founders, who learned from Europe’s mistakes.

John Lewis (1940-2020) was raised in a rural Alabama Baptist congregation and went to a Nashville college, intending to be a Baptist pastor. He was influenced by Civil Rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). His work in Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign convinced him that he could make the most difference in governance, beginning with a 1977 appointment by President Jimmy Carter, followed by the Atlanta City Council (1981-1986), and the US Congress (1986-2020).

Reconciling faith and governance–envisioned by the Founders, lived out by John Lewis, and now applied by the Duke students–is vitally important and very different from Christian nationalists’ attempts to impose a version of Christianity on everyone.

Duke Crux is a new undergraduate journal of Christian thought at Duke University.

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