The Dilemma of Church and State Author:G. Elson Ruff This is the 8th in a series of lectures given under the Knubel-Miller Foundation. This foundation honors the first president and the first treasurer of the United Lutheran Church of America. — An interesting look at 1953's worries about the separation of church and state. The author claims that this separation tends to result in complete subord... more »ination of the church to the state in large areas of public life. The author posits that a nation cannot indefinitely exist without a common faith. Without it there is no conscience to prompt individuals in daily decisions as to right and wrong. Faith in democracy, rather than faith in God is the oldest of heresies, the effort of the state to deify itself. The author describes how American Protestantism has contributed to this loss of public influence, and proposes a broadly based "Christian witness to the state." Church and state ought to be in constant tension, neither subduing the other. This discussion will raise more questions than it answers but it provides a framework for fresh thinking on a subject which is of the highest importance.
This reviewer says this book will be of historical interest to those interested in the separation of church and state, in that this is still an issue, but I feel the subject has evolved somewhat from this view, at least within some Protestant denominations. While Protestant fundamentalists still refer to America as a Christian nation to which all must return or face damnation, those Americans who are Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, agnostic or atheist would vehemently disagree.« less