principle of separation between Church and state was spelled out by Christ.
One day the apostles asked Christ if they should pay taxes. He said to them:
"Show me the coin that pays the census tax.
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, Whose image is this and whose inscription?
They replied, Caesars. At that he said to them,
Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. (Mt 22:19-21)
The experience of Baptists who were often persecuted lead them to insist on the separation of Church and State. They base this separation on "Freedom of Conscience" which means that God alone is the Lord of Conscience. So each individual can worship God as he sees fit. This freedom of conscience also implied in their refusal to tolerate any interference in the belief and practices of the local church. They also believe that the state should not favor one religion over another.
Consider the following:
So, let us examine the meaning of conscience. We have a primordial conscience or an awareness that good is to be done and evil avoided. But, this is not a fully formed conscience which must take truth and goodness into consideration. Conscience by itself is influenced by ignorance, ideologies, pride and emotional disturbances. Conscience is not infallible.
Pope Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Miran Vos, Aug. 15, 1832 insists on the primacy of truth over conscience and opposes the sophism which states "That no preference should be shown to any form of worship; that it is right for individual to form their own personal judgment about religion; that each man's conscience is the sole and all sufficient guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the state."
On the other hand, Pope Leo XIII in his 1985 encyclical Immotale Dei, while maintaining that it is wrong to consider all religions equal, "Does not, on that account, condemn those rulers who, for the sake of securing some great good or hindering some great evil, allow patiently custom or usage to be a kind of sanction of each kind of religion having its place in the State. And, in fact, the Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, 'Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own will'".
If the separation between Church and State cannot be based on "Freedom of Conscience", what is it based on?
The separation of Church and state lies in the nature of each as designed by God. The primary function of government is to secure the temporal well being of its citizens while the Church primary goal is to save souls or direct them toward their heavenly happiness.
We are in agreement with Baptists in opposition to immoral laws. "Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the issues of abortion and homosexuality. As Christians, while we are to submit to the government's authority, our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and the truth of His word." Moral Law, is for the most part, is based on right reason applied to the nature or things or "Natural Law" which Christ supported when he stated that divorce was wrong because it was not so from the beginning. The Natural Law applies to all human beings regardless of their beliefs and the State has no right to legislate against it.