LIFE MATTERS: Politics and Religion

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By Col. Dencio Acop (Ret), PhD

We are so caught up by the separation of church and state dogma that we think it such a truism than it is stigma. Going by history, however, the separation is actually more the latter than the former. As there was only one Christianity from the beginning, there was actually just union between God and man. No separation, legal or moral. Democratic republicanism was handed down to the world by the Christianized Roman Empire under the Emperor Constantine. It is the birthright of Western Democracy as we know it today even if its Christian roots are being eroded by nones. Because western democracy is essentially inspired by divine revelation from its monarchical origins. Before so much power was given to man, only monarchs who received their legitimacy from God were recognized to rule. This much is clear. So anyone who thinks that legal norms and the moral law are unconnected should better think twice.

The separation of church and state came about in the seventeenth century to end the thirty year war between the Catholics and Protestants. To appease man, not necessarily God, the peace pipe ended the rule of monarchies who abused their powers in the name of God. Royal tyrants blasphemously used God in order to do their will instead of God’s. Oddly enough, the war that led to schism between the moral law and legal norms Is to my mind the worst war that ever came to be. Unlike the US civil war, the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, etc. which were secular conflicts, the Thirty Year War was basically a religious war that ended by giving victory to man rather than to God. Strangely enough, it concluded that morals were separate from legalities which actually meant in fact that God’s law is subordinated to man’s law. If you disbelieve me, just examine the laws we have today.

In truth, there can never be a separation between God’s governance and man’s. The Treaty of Westphalia, like many political treaties, was a great error. And still is. Search the evidence through human history including science and one will easily find that all human endeavors ordered to God can lead nowhere but man’s fulfillment as both natural and supernatural being created in the image and likeness of his Creator. This fact is in holy scripture, secular books, and man’s pilgrimage on earth. Our museums, libraries, and schools can attest to this even if I do not mention the church. The further away we move from the moral law with our ego-drama, the more we lose our true identity. But the closer we move towards the moral law through the Theo-drama, the more we gain our true identity. Our true selves. It is such a paradox but the more we do for ourselves taking away from others, which is what legalities do, the more we lose ourselves becoming something else. Conversely, the more we give of ourselves to others in self-giving love, which is according to the moral code, the more we find ourselves. Our true selves. And we know it. Because it is the unmistakable congruence between what is mandated and its resultant effect of serving those in most need among the public. It is here where the lack of conflict between the moral and legal is found.

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