Separation of Church and State - Ayn Rand

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Political freedom requires a separation of church and state. This principle is often advocated, but seldom fully understood. Properly, this separation is rooted in the principle of intellectual freedom. It means that every individual should be free to think about and accept any idea he chooses.
To say that church is separate from state means that the state makes no evaluation of its citizens’ ideas, religious or otherwise. The state’s concern is only with men’s actions, specifically actions that trespass on individual rights. It neither persecutes nor tolerates nor promotes ideas—because it is unconcerned with ideas per se.

From the other direction, to say that state is separate from church, means that a citizen—including any faction of them, such as a church—is incapable of using the state’s coercive power to penalize or support ideas, religious or otherwise. If a citizen wants to hinder or support an idea, he must argue his case with others, not enact a law.

In a free society, government has no power to persecute or establish religious ideas because it has no power to police ideas as such. No one, including those in government, may force their ideas on anyone.

Principles of a Free Society