Most Christians agree that their faith affects how they approach politics, but disagreements arise over the political role of the church. A common source of confusion is the phrase “separation of church and state.” Although the U.S. Constitution does not include these specific words, the phrase is part of the American lexicon and one that evokes strong reactions. Some associate the phrase with strident secularists who want to remove all vestiges of religion from the public square, forgetting entire traditions of Christian belief, such as Anabaptists, that uphold separation out of their religious convictions. Others assume that theological traditions affirming the integration of faith into all realms of life, including government, aim for nothing less than creating a theocracy.
These tensions, particularly in an election year, can cause confusion within a congregation. This quiz, created by our editors with input from political scientists, is intended to be a self-assessment tool for approximating where you stand on issues of church and state. The survey’s goal is to stimulate healthy discussion and deeper thinking. Clearly, these relationships are far more complex than this simple tool can fully diagnose, but these questions are meant to provoke deeper reflection about the assumptions we carry and why we carry them.