I have a question regarding book of Ezra 7:26-27 (see below). In these verses, religion and politics seems to be mixed, right? Why this mix seemed OK at that time?
I think it can be argued that when religion and politics are too close to each other, the minority suffers. Obviously, the minority could be Christians in a non-Christian country or could be non-Christians in a Christian country or could be atheists in a religious country or a BELEIVER in an atheist country. So, this politics-religion mix is unfair to the minority. Where do we draw the line?
Although this mix is happening in “religious” countries, such as Egypt, you still hear the slogans in Arabic, “Eldeyn Lelah wa ‘Alwatan Lelgami3” meaning “Religion pertains to God and the Nation pertains to everyone.” What is the Coptic Orthodox Church's position on this issue in light of Ezra 7:26-27, “And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem”?
At the time of Ezra the priest, the Jews had found favor in the eyes of King Artaxerxes as mentioned in verses 26-27. All the nations at that time were ruled by an authoritarian system, not a democracy. King Artaxerxes approved the Jews' agenda and was sympathetic to their cause. However, many other rulers were not, but rather demonstrated hatred toward the Israelites.
In light of the passages in Ezra 7:26-27, the purpose of the Coptic Orthodox Church has and always will be the salvation of all souls. The goal of Christianity is to preach salvation to all people, not to establish earthly kingdoms, as vividly illustrated by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone" (John 6:15). What is written in Ezra is explaining what was happening at that time, but the divine rule is to separate politics from religion, as the Lord said, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22).