This represents my interpretation, discussion, and commentary regarding the concept of the Separation of Church and State versus the concept of the Union of Church and State. My comments regarding Separation come first, followed by my comments regarding Union.
SEPARATION of CHURCH and STATE
The concept of Separation of Church and State directly means the separation of any and all religion from the state (government). The means that the government shall not represent, or become established under, any particular religion or religious idea or belief. This also means that there is no interference, restriction, regulation, mandate, force, or control by the government against or towards the sovereign individual’s religion, beliefs, ideas, views, and/or philosophy – or against the sovereign individual’s inalienable right to pursue the religion, beliefs, ideas, views, and/or philosophy of their choice. A capitalistic government cannot be used to mandate or force any particular religion, belief, idea (political or otherwise), and/or philosophy onto any individual or the citizenry as a whole. Under Capitalism and Freedom, the government is, what I call, “religion neutral.” Period.
The only purpose and function of a proper, constitutionally-limited government under Capitalism is to recognize, preserve, defend, and protect individual and economic freedom, inalienable individual rights, including property rights, and all derivative freedoms (including the freedom of religion, as well as the freedom from religion), and to defend the individual against the initiation of force by other individuals, criminals, any groups or mobs, and/or threatening and invading nations or foreign groups, and to establish a proper, objective justice system (courts).
It is my opinion that the “separation of church and state” concept also means the guarantee, preservation, and protection of all individuals’ “freedom of religion,” as well as the “freedom from religion” (which means freedom from the force of any religion onto any and all individuals, by the government or any private individual or group). This means the freedom of and the freedom from religion or other belief systems; this implies the freedom of the individual to associate with, or not associate with, any particular culture or religion or belief if he or she so chooses, without violating or infringing upon the individual rights, property rights, or derivative freedoms of any other individuals. It is my interpretation that the concept of the “Separation of Church and State” arises from an individual’s primary right to his/her own life, meaning his/her own liberty, meaning the right to be free from any and all religions.
The uniqueness of Laissez-faire Capitalism in regards to the separation of religion (church) and state, and the freedom to practice any number of religions, beliefs, or philosophy systems on private property, is that Capitalism allows a multitude of religions, beliefs, ideas, and philosophies to peacefully co-exist together without any interference or intrusion on each other. The essential key reason here is due to the recognition, preservation, defense, and protection of inalienable property rights by a proper, objectively established constitutionally-limited government. This is because, under Capitalism, the government is NOT established, manipulated, or utilized to govern by any religion (church) for its own purpose or benefit. Under Capitalism, the government is established and limited by a proper, objective constitution that outlines and limits the government’s proper role, function, and operation, including its only three proper, fundamental functions: provide a military system, a police (law enforcement) system, and a proper, objective justice system (courts).
Under Capitalism, the individual (or a group of individuals, such as an organization or a corporation), or any business, can say “yes” or “no” to the actual physical practice of any religion, belief, idea, or philosophy on their own property, and their decision is recognized, preserved, defended, and protected by the government. The freedom of religion and the freedom from religion are derivative freedoms of fundamental, primary individual rights, and are a private matter. But, any physical practice of either the freedom of religion or the freedom from religion does not trump or override the property rights of other individuals and/or businesses.
For a thorough discussion on the topics of separation of state and various private sectors, please see Dr. George Reisman’s Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, Chapter 20, “Toward the Establishment of Laissez-faire Capitalism,” pp. 969-990 (Jameson Books, 1998).
UNION of CHURCH and STATE
The concept of Union of Church and State means the direct union between any religion (church) and the functions of the state (government). This means that the dominate, ruling religion (church) – or dominate mysticism – of a nation has direct influence, manipulation, and utility of a nation’s government, and its use of force, to force the ruling religion’s ideology and agenda onto the citizenry and economy – to the point where the dominating religion completely consumes, regulates, and controls the government and society to form a Theocracy.
Theocracies (be they Catholic, any other Christian belief, Jewish, Islamic, etc.) are the ultimate application of the concept of “union of church and state.” The union of church and state concept means government forced national religions or mystical cultures onto the citizenry of a nation. I think it also implies government forced ideas and beliefs such as multiculturalism and racism onto the citizenry of a nation, and establishes government forced discrimination.
The union of church and state means the forcing of religious ideas, beliefs, practices, and culture onto the citizenry by using state (government) sponsored institutional force and intimidation (such as using the military, police, or justice system), which means to force the citizenry into religious submission by using threats to life and property, violence, intimidation, imprisonment, sentenced execution, or outright murder.
Examples of such “union of church and state” governments, including theocracies, are:
- present day Iran (Islamic),
- Saudi Arabia (Islamic) – a Theocratic Monarchy
- the Vatican (Catholicism),
- “pre-China occupied” Tibet (Buddhism), and
- Israel (Judaism).
Though Atheism is the antithesis of Religion, it is still a particular view of reality, of the universe, and a statist government can also be structured around it where the statist government forces atheism (as it would force a religion) onto the citizenry, as well as outlawing and forbidding, by force, the practice of any other type of individual belief or religion, thus crushing the concept of “freedom of, and freedom from, religion.” Observe the former Communist Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.) and Communist China.
The point is that the purpose of government is NOT to establish, promote, or force any particular religion, culture, belief system, ideology (such as multiculturalism, any racism, environmentalism, or global warming), life-style (such as a “fat-free” life or mandated exercising), or a controlled and regulated economy (commerce) onto the individual and/or citizenry as a whole. The ONLY purpose and function of a government is to recognize, preserve, defend, and protect naturally-based, inalienable individual rights, property rights, and derivative individual freedoms (such as the freedom of religion) of all individuals that make up the citizenry. The purpose and function of government IS NOT to enslave and control any individuals or the whole citizenry.