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Separation of the Church and State

Updated on September 3, 2017
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He contributes to peace & security through educational reforms to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights.

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The separation of the Church and the State in the Philippines was adopted from the West. It has two principles that would make it easier to understand. One is the Principle of Non-Establishment and the other is the Principle of Non-Discrimination. For the first principle, it simply states that the government is not allowed to establish religion. No government funds are to be used for religious purposes. Government laws and Church laws are distinct. For the second one, the government allows the people to practice their faith. The government is allowing the people to practice whatever religion they have. The distinction of the Church and the State from each other brought clarity for the people, on how state governance is handled, and on how laws are based. There is a bible verse that shows the separation of the two entities, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). This separation, however, is not absolute. Let us say, priests are preaching their say on RH Bill. Is it a violation of the Bill of Rights? It is not, because priests are also citizens of the country. Another one, let us say that a religious member wanted to pursue public office, would he be violating the law on the separation of the church and state? Under the Canon Law, he must remove himself for office first then he can pursue public office. As for the Constitution, anyone can hold a seat if they are citizens of the country.

I am in favor on the separation of the church and state for it makes them function at its best and on their own. However, at times when morality is at stake, the church and the state must both hear each other’s side, such as issues about abortion, for example. Without the other, there will be no essence in our laws. God’s laws cannot be broken, but defying God’s laws can break us. It is a principle, and principles can never be broken; it is us that can be broken when we try to break principles. Harvard University has three sayings on their logo that is written in Latin, but I will translate it instead. These are: Christ, The Church, and Truth. I have placed them here because I want us to understand that laws created not through the teachings of Christ and the Church can never be essential to human life. This is where truth can only be felt amongst us when we devote our human laws to God’s teachings. If we do not, we then only destroy ourselves and make laws that promote a culture of death.

© 2017 Daì Jié

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