No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
-- Matthew 6:24
Merging Church and State is bad for at least one.
Globally, few countries have the strict separation of Church and State that the United States does. When Church and State are pushed together, either the State becomes a branch of the Church, or vice-versa. In Western Europe, most state Churches are weak and mostly ceremonial. In the Middle East and South America, most governments answer to the religious authorities.
A country that wants both a strong government and a strong church must keep them separate.
My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
-- I Corinthians 1:11-12
Joining Church and State is bad for most religions.
Christianity is divided. More than the division between Eastern Orthodox and the Western traditions, more than the division between Catholic and Protestant, the division among Protestant churches is wide and growing wider. Having a State Church often causes more, not fewer, problems.
The theological differences between the Anglican and the Catholic churches were small, mostly designed to let Henry VIII remarry. Yet the differences led to broad civil war in England.
Anyone who works for theocracy in the United States must wonder: what would happen if my religion isn't the one in charge?
America is a strong democracy, but from its start, it has had a strong Protestant religious streak. Today, the vast majority of Americans believe in God; as long as we're a democracy, our leaders will reflect this.
Yet we have not devolved into a theocracy. And I believe that we are further from it now than we were sixty years ago.
In the past sixty years, our religious beliefs have broadened. We now have a more diverse set of beliefs: fundamentalist, charismatic, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventist, Wicca, Islam, and other groups can be found everywhere in the United States. This diversity will help prevent any single group from taking control.
As usual, what do you think? Take care, all.