Lowrie On The Contemporary Church and State

Not sure how much I agree with this, but I do agree with a good amount of it, and anyway, it’s good food for thought:

We have a mighty contempt nowadays for the benighted ignorance which failed to recognize the self-evident truth that Church and State are in their nature separate and must be independent. But I take it that we have still no deeply reasoned solution of this vexed problem of our forefathers; –we have furnished no new solution for it at all, but have simply contrived to ignore it. We take as a matter of course what is now so obviously a matter of necessity. At bottom it is the state that ignores the Church. In our modern states, and especially in America, Church and State are no longer coordinates–they cannot be related to one another, neither can they be opposed–simply because there is no single Church in any way commensurate with the state. All that the state recognizes is a multitude of religious societies, –Christian or other, it makes no difference. If in America, for instance, there should be but one organic Christian society–one Church–I fancy that the old problem must again be recognized as a burning one. There is no solution for it except in the sincere recognition that the Church is a spiritual entity, and as such can never be coordinate with the state. But that recognition at the same time involves the inference that the Church cannot be organized in the terms of a secular society, that is, in terms of the state. [51n15]