...I'm trying to make a point here.
I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"
If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.
I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.
You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument. Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8
The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.
I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.
From Metropolitan Hilarion: "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.
But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:
"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "
I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.
I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11
"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.
Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.
In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."
So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:
"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.
The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."
So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.