The tension between church and state has been around since Jesus held up a coin and confounded the Pharisees with His admonition to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Caesar is entitled to a certain level of authority and taxation, Jesus acknowledged. But God, the Creator and Author of our souls, gets the rest. In this way, Jesus clearly limited Caesar’s reach. But government has a huge appetite for power and does not particularly like limits.
That’s why churches have been a thorn in the side of those who would impose socialism on us in the name of “equality” or “tolerance” or “fairness.” It’s why the political Left, since the mid-19th Century, has been at war with the church, alternately trying to co-opt it or destroy it.
When religious leaders support leftist goals, they are angels. When, on the other hand, they oppose abortion or the homosexual political agenda, reaction is swift and cries of “the separation of church and state” are raised. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) had no problem with the Conference of Catholic Bishops aggressively lobbying for the Obama/Pelosi government health care takeover bill in the House. She was undoubtedly delighted that they would put their weight behind a law making Caesar our ultimate doctor. But because the bishops insisted on the Stupak Amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion, she bared her teeth and called for an end to the church’s tax exemption.
Some church-related entities don’t wait for the government to bully them before ceding moral ground. At Concordia University Chicago, a campus of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which is staunchly Biblical regarding homosexuality, the theater department is showing The Laramie Project, a play about the town of Laramie, Wyoming’s reaction to the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Based on a book by Moises Kaufman, the play fits the narrative of “gays as victims,” which has been their most effective strategy other than the unsubstantiated claim that people are “born gay.”
The play was hatched by the Tectonic Theatre Project, whose managing director, Jeffrey LaHost, claimed that conservative Christians are a hate group and want to murder homosexuals.
Here’s a snippet from a 2002 Baltimore Sun article: