|Without Domination: A New Paradigm for Church-State Relations|
|Issue: 81 Page No: 27 Updated: 02/04/2011 04:03 PM|
|Author:||C. Truett Baker , Darold H. Morgan|
Reviewed by Darold Morgan
Without Domination: A New Paradigm for Church-State Relations
Do not let this understated title lead you away from this new and interesting book on one of the vital areas of interest to Christian ethics today---Church-state relations. Truett Baker has written a timely, helpful book on this subject of substantial importance to all peo0ple interested in and concerned about the role of religion in America today.
America is increasingly diverse, pluralistic, and complicated. These qualities have led to a serious clouding of the historic perspective of religious freedom in our country. Baker’s book is genuinely helpful primarily because of its solid historical purview with particular emphasis on early Baptist life and the influence that perspective had on the beginnings of a new nation. Baker gives us an exceptional emphasis on the clash of history with contemporary culture in the chapter on “the Supreme Court Role in shaping Church-State Relations.” This chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Baker plows through some of the untouched areas of judicial decisions and provides very helpful footnotes which document the bases for his conclusions while providing a starting point for further research into the third branch of decision-making in the federal government. The ultimate emphasis of this chapter, as indeed the entire book, is the importance of upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, properly understood.
The helpful review of American and Baptist history leads to the author’s defense and interpretation of the contemporary “Purchase of Care” concept which is part of the recent federal government’s emphasis on “Faith-based” programs. The massive needs of poor people in America are not debatable. The needs of the poor provide the basis of the welfare system in our country. This core concept of the need to address poverty is central to the book. The author proposes “Separation and Cooperation Without Domination” as a way forward for church-state relations, and this approach stems from the author’s own experience in institutions which minister to the expanded list of needs of the poor. The enormous needs of the poor will not vanish. Indeed, we see a multiplication of those in poverty and among those with serious mental health needs. But the unique concept of the separation of church and state need not be sacrificed in addressing those needs. Rather, the profound depths and values, as well as the wisdom of one of America’s crown jewels must be balanced in the on-going tensions between church and state.
This book should be read, and its contents made part of the current debate.
Cite This Page:
Baker, C. Truett , Morgan, Darold H.. "Without Domination: A New Paradigm for Church-State Relations" ChristianEthicsToday.
The Christian Ethics Today Foundation. Winter 2011 (Issue 81 Page 27)