Joel Osteen

A Public Duty

As a Christian and a Catholic, I believe that there is a major difference between the separation of Church and State on the one hand, and religion and politics on the other. Church and State are establishments; religion and politics are systems of thought and practice.   To expect people with religious beliefs to somehow keep them “out of politics” is the equivalent of expecting them not to participate in politics at all – something that the radical fringes of the atheist/agnostic movement would probably affirm. In their view the religious are too stupid or irrational to deserve a vote.

Throughout history there have been Christians who choose to opt out of politics and even mainstream society altogether for a more religiously pure life. From the desert ascetics and hermits that completely isolated themselves from society, to the monastic orders that lived more secluded lives, to the Amish who built separate communities and resisted modernization, there have always been Christian “separatists”, for lack of a better word. To these groups I have always said, “God bless you.” I fully understand the impulse and desire to remove one’s self, and one’s family, away from the mess that mainstream society can easily become.

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