But did you know that separation of Church and State is actually a Christian doctrine that predates the first amendment? Matthew 22:21 states:
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).This quote is attributed to Jesus and is in the context of the question of whether it is proper for Judeans to pay taxes to their Roman overlords. One of the ironies of the New Testament was that Jesus purported to be the Messiah, which means the anointed King of Israel and the head of its secular authority, and that it was because of the hope of being freed from the Romans and their oppressive taxation system that many Judeans followed him. It was also for this reason that he was crucified.
It was the disciples in their gospels who then enshrined a view of religion as divorced from politics and national identity.
In the history of religion, this is a turning point, because up till then each nation had its own gods, who were believed to intercede for that nation in divine battles, and the success of a conqueror was seen as the success of that nation's god in his battle with the defeated nation's god. To separate religion from patriotism seemed unthinkable.
In time, the Christian religion gained ascendancy in the Roman Empire, so much so that it became the official religion, quite in contravention of the doctrine of "Render Unto Caesar", and by the Middle Ages, all traces of separation of Church and State had pretty much disappeared in Europe. Of course, between the Renaissance and the emergence of the modern nation state a lot of changes did occur. One of the most interesting ones is the founding of the independent Vatican City State.
|The Gardens from atop St. Peter's Baslica|
Vatican City became a sovereign nation on February 11, 1929 under the Lateran Treaty signed by Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel the Third and by Cardinal Pietro Gaspari for Pope Pius XI.
The fact that the Pope is a foreign prince had been a problem for Catholic Americans for some time, especially when they wanted to run for public office, as people accused them of violating their citizenship by swearing their allegiance to the Pope. But this was also a very great boon to American nuns and priests imprisoned by the Japanese in China during World War II. In August of 1943 all American Catholic nuns and priests imprisoned at Weihsien Internment camp were released to be repatriated, because the Emperor of Japan accepted the argument advanced by the the Papal legate to Tokyo that they were citizens of a neutral sovereign: Vatican City. One has to wonder: when they returned to America, were they still allowed to vote?
Dual Citizenship is still a tricky topic today. In current American passports the following standard warning is printed:
LOSS OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP. Under certain circumstances, you may lose your U.S. citizenship by performing voluntarily and with intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship, any of the following acts: 1) Being naturalized in a foreign state; 2) taking an oath or making a declaration to a foreign state; 3) serving in the armed forces of a foreign state; 4) accepting employment with a foreign government; or 5) formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. consular officer overseas.Separating Church and State becomes very tricky once the Church you belong to is also a State. One can argue that this is only a problem if you are a Catholic. But dual citizenship is not strictly a Catholic problem. Many Americans are faced with this issue. A repeal of the Neutrality Act and related laws would resolve the problem and would leave the constitutional rights of all Americans intact, regardless of their country of origin or religious affiliation.