Church and State and Bright
When the church becomes mixed up in the affairs of the state it risks becoming influenced by the state. Christian principles must be manipulated to fit into the structure of government. The mission of God cannot be held in human containers such as legislation, or regulation.
However, at some level we must take up the challenge to synthesize the message of Christ. One must be able to quantify some fruits of the spirit and thus measure their fruitiness (ya, I said fruitiness)!
On page 250 of The Kingdom of God, Bright says,
"The Church affirms that there is but one redemptive community, and it is neither the United States nor any other nation, nor any government of nations, but the all-embracing commonwealth of the Kingdom of God. That is the hope of history. The Church points toward that Kingdom and summons men in faith to submit to its beneficent rule as its citizens. Then, and only then, is righteousness possible"
So what must we carefully deliberate when separating the Church and the state? We must create healthy boundaries between the two and the Church must always come first. There should be a clear point where the state stops and the church begins. The Church cannot, "point towards the Kingdom" if the State gets in the way. The unfortunate tendency is for the state to obstruct the true purpose of the Church. How many wars have been fought in the name of God (for the sake of the state)? Bright says on page 249 that no organization has ever been able to "create a moral world," buy only point to, "the very relative morality of [its] constituents."
If Bright is correct then it is up to me, as a constituent of the United States, to point towards morality in my dealings with the state.
Is my role to stand in the Church and point the state in the direction of morality? Does that sound too standoffish for you?