The church is, among many things, the primary place of gathering for believers, and it provides an important platform for them to speak into the culture. So what does the church actually contribute to society? In The Washington Post, Dominic Bouck says there’s one easy way to know: just look at those areas where the church’s role is being increasingly restricted.

The church is losing its former place of prominence and being forced into an ever more difficult and narrow cultural space – the effects of which are both innumerable and unmistakably destructive on society at large. Bouck focuses on one area in particular, pointing out that the silencing of the church removes a vital piece of the checks and balances to the state’s ever-increasing power:

Allowing conscientious objection is an acknowledgment that the state does not have all the answers. The state has an obligation to make laws, but the state has no obligation to be correct. The independent voices that critique the state make the state better, and should not be silenced. Lose churches, lose the independent voices that prevent the state from having an absolute say in complicated moral matters.

Either the State is transforming the Church or the Church is transforming the State. There is no third option. Read the rest of Bouck’s article here: “A Country Without Churches.”