There is likely no better issue for correctly understanding the separation of church and state than the current immigration crisis. In this crisis, the church has a role to play, and the state has a role to play. The problem is that each entity has confused not only its own role but the role of the other.
Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries rightly points out that the church ministers to the souls of individuals and their physical needs. He also points out that the state secures justice and societal stability. Each is guided by the precepts of Scripture, but they apply those precepts according to their own role and purpose in the world. They work best when they work together to accomplish their God given callings.
Christians are right to show compassion inasmuch as Scripture directs the church to care for the fatherless and the widow. But they should not impose that responsibility on the government. The American government has no ability to take on the care and nurture of the entire world. The government must administer reasonable restrictions on immigration and justice so as to allow the church to do its job in caring for the poor. The Church is a world-wide organism that transcends borders. Only it has the true capacity to work beyond the borders of any particular country and take on a world-wide need.
This problem has arisen because both institutions are failing to grasp their own role. The American government wants to be all things to all people, providing care and security to all who need or even want it. But it can’t. Doing so would destroy the very foundation of culture that can bring care to the poor. Following that policy will ultimately bankrupt the country. It is time for the government to reengage in its rightful role of administering immigration in a reasonable manner. When that happens, the Church must be prepared to step in and provide assistance to the poor and the needy.