To the OP
So, you'd like your non-Orthodox family to live in a ghetto and be subject to humiliating, but legal, discrimination for their salvation, of course?
Man, that's really f%$$#u@%.
I don't really understand where you got that from...
I don't think the non-Orthodox live in ghettos in either Greece or Russia.
Also, I'm going to have to say that my belief is that the most important thing in society is the community and the whole, not the individual.
Therefore, I would say that Orthodoxy itself would benefit society more than any other faith. Additionally, I would conclude that having a working relationship between the Church & the State (whether as "light" as modern Greece/Russia or as "heavy" as ancient Byzantium/Russia) would also benefit society and the community as a whole.
I recognize that such a relationship would technically be "unfair" to non-Orthodox. But I would say that it's also not a situation where they are persecuted for their beliefs.
What I'm wondering is if we should believe that such a relationship is wrong. We are taught by Western Culture & Society (especially in the United States) that having any relationship between Church & State is wrong, and that even bringing religion into politics is wrong and oppressive.
I simply cannot, and will not accept this point of view. But I would like to know if other Orthodox Christians feel the same way as I do, or whether they feel like the Orthodox Church was in the wrong in having a relationship with the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire.
To try to look back across the pages of history regarding the relationship between the church and state in former imperial times and ask if the Orthodox Church was 'wrong' in having such a relationship is really just a hypothetical, collegiate, time-passing exercise. That being said, I never grew out of enjoying such conversations!
There is a distinction between the unrealized 'ideal' relationship between the two and the actual 'real world' history that did occur.
I would argue that one can construct an 'ideal' nation-state where a benevolent Church ruling with a benevolent civil authority (either democratically chosen or regal) COULD, and probably would be a beneficial thing. This is hardly a unique or a new notion, its roots tracing back to Blessed Augustin and the City of God.
However, history teaches us, as Lord Acton so precisely observed that "Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." The overall history of the Church and its relationship to the state when the Church was a state religion prior to modern times is hardly one of benign goodness and abhorrence of temporal power and greed. During those periods when wise and spiritually complete men ruled the Church, she flourished and the rights of all citizens, regardless of faith, were generally respected. (By norms that would not likely be acceptable in modern times, but which were understood as fair in their own times.)
However, when the Church was ruled by men who were zealots, greedy, revengeful or power hungry - well, things were not so good - even for the pious Orthodox who were not in the right 'camp.'
Some of us tend to forget that while the Church is God's vehicle, it is driven by men. who like all of us are by nature subject to temptation and are hence, incomplete.
The problem in the post-religious West is that those who call for a 'Berlin Wall', if you will, of absolute separation of Church and State have created their own anti-faith theology which was unknown to most of the thinkers and philosophers of the Enlightenment, the Restoration and the American Revolution.
So, in answer to your question, in the realm of the real world, I reluctantly would have to argue that if any faith is so intertwined with the secular powers, Orthodoxy being no exception, those who do not profess the State religion will inherently be at risk.
In America, there is a rising belief among Evangelicals that Christianity (as they
define it) ought to be a semi-state religion. Well then, for example, if that is so, whose prayer will open the local school board meeting? A non-trinitarian 'Jesus' prayer common among evangelicals? A Rosarian plea to the Virgin written by a traditionalist Catholic? A Unitarian plea? A troparion from the day from our tradition? I think you know the answer and it is an answer that would make minority Christian denominations feel even more alone than we already do in this country. That, I think, provides the answer to your original question.
(And by the way, Jews did live in ghettos in Russia and east Europe.)