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Christians should keep Scripture out of politics

Christ Jesus wasn't crucified to make society fairer.

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What is Christianity's proper role in American presidential politics? This question has gripped the 2008 campaign. From the dispute over the acceptability of Mitt Romney's Mormonism, to Mike Huckabee's musings about conforming the US Constitution more to the Bible and the controversy over Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, the spiritual and secular realms have collided fiercely. Just this week, Senator Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fielded questions from US religious leaders at a special forum broadcast on CNN.

More broadly, arguments over public policies – from war to illegal immigration – are increasingly being infused with scriptural justifications.

The media, of course, relish such controversy. So do many religious leaders, who use the occasion to offer the "real" interpretation of what Scripture says about a particular issue. As a result, religion and politics aren't just mingling – they're being wedded to the same goal: redeeming America's body politic.

A largely Protestant nation that can trace its theological taproot to Martin Luther ought to know better. As the original Reformer, Luther understood how critical it was to separate church and state and, in a more important sense, the spiritual kingdom of Christ and the secular realm where God reigns in a hidden way through humans using reason as a guide.

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