IN the United States there are multitudes of people who profess to be Christians.
The vast majority of this multitude are diligently endeavoring to secure legislation enforcing their religious views upon all the people.
They desire and require that religion shall dominate politics, shape the laws, and control the State: they want a union of religion and the State.
In truth they want a religious State; an earthly, political, kingdom of God; with “Christ reigning as King on Capitol Hill” and throughout the nation, through themselves as his representatives.
All this is seriously proposed by people who seriously profess to be Christians.
What, then, is it to be a Christian? What is Christianity anyhow?
In the Scriptures it is written that Christ left us “an example that we should follow his steps;” and that “He that saith that he keepeth His commandments ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.”
It is Christianity to follow His steps alone, to walk  only as he walked. For again it is written, “As my Father sent me, even so send I you;” “As he is, so are we in this world;” and we are “in Christ’s stead.”
What steps, then, did Christ take toward the domination of the politics of his day? What steps did he ever take to gain control of the government, or to dictate in the affairs of the State?—Just none at all. Everybody knows that he never in any way gave the slightest indication of any such thing.
This, too, in spite of many solicitations of different kinds. He was not only more than once openly invited to do do [sic.]; but it was the longing expectation of the whole people to whom he came. So strongly was this implanted that they were willing to take him by force and set him at the head of the government.
Yet never by a word, a look, or any sign whatever, would he countenance any such thing. On the contrary he openly repudiated every suggestion of the kind; and withdrew himself from the people who were bent on having it so, and went away by himself alone and prayed for the people that they might have better views of himself and of his mission to the world.
Was this because politics was so pure, laws so just, and government so altogether correct, that there was no call for any readjustment, no room for any reforms? Was there at that time no need of careful watching to see that none but good men should hold office?
Were such as these the reasons why Christ had nothing to do with politics, nor with affairs of government in any way? Not by any manner of means. Corruption in politics and in office was never more rife than at that very time, and in Judea. Then as it was altogether from choice, and not at all from lack of necessity or opportunity that Jesus had nothing whatever to do with politics nor any of the affairs of the government, wherein do the churches, leagues and societies of the United States to-day follow his steps in their persistent intermeddling in these very things? And when they do not walk as he walked, wherein are they Christians?
It was his steady refusal to countenance the political aspirations of the people, which, more than anything else, caused the scribes, the Pharisees, the lawyers, the priests, and the Herodians, to reject and persecute him. These were the church-leaders of that time, and correspond to the sects, leagues, unions, and Endeavor societies of the present day.
It was to the Pharisees with the Herodians that he announced the everlasting principle of the separation of religion and the State, in the words, “Render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.” And when the whole combination together had made against him the false charge that he would make himself a king, he answered them and all other combinations for all time, “My kingdom is not of this world:” “My kingdom is not from hence.”
Such was ever his word and his attitude. Such has been his will concerning his church, from the foundation of the world. He is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever;” and it was impossible that, when he came into the world, he should walk contrary to all the instructions that he himself had given before he came into the world.
And now to all the church combinations, leagues, unions, and endeavor societies, that are afflicting the politics, shaping the laws, and directing the government of the country, he pointedly exclaims, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Why do you call him Lord, and then do your own will? Why do you profess to hold his Word in reverence, and then utterly disregard that which from beginning to end is one of the great vital principles of that Word? Why do you bear the name of Christ, while in this great matter you walk directly opposite to the way in which he walked?
Since the Bible, from beginning to end, treats so fully and so plainly on this subject; and since all history speaks with one continuous voice, warning all men of the essential evils that follow in the train of every step that is taken to unite religion and the State; it is difficult to understand how anybody who professes to have any respect for the Bible, or has knowledge of the A B C of history, and cares at all for mankind, can for one moment countenance any suggestion of a connection between the pulpit and politics, between church and civil government, between religion and the State.
Yet the ones who profess to be the only true believers of the Bible, and the ones who profess to be the best qualified to gather the true lessons of history—these are the very ones who are most diligently engaged in forcing upon this nation the evils of a union of religion and the State, of church and government, of the pulpit and politics.
Surely nothing can explain this contradiction between profession and practice, but worldly ambition that can never learn anything, and religious bigotry that is never content without power.
Yet though this may explain the contradiction between profession and practice on the part of those who are seeking to afflict the nation with this great evil; what suggestion can possibly be made in explanation of the indifference and unconcern on the part of the rest of the people? How is it that they can view with a listlessness almost absolute the steady grasping growth of this power that is determined to bring the whole nation under the curse of a religious despotism after the very image of that of the Dark Ages itself?