Various Christians have had various views about the relationship between church and state throughout Christian history, but Baptists have always been a people who have called for separation. In fact, the Baptist founders John Smyth and Thomas Helwys may have been the first to ever call for complete religious liberty for all-- Christian or not. Although at times, we seem to have forgotten these roots as we climb the ladder of political power, we are a people who believe in freedom for all.
This stance, again, comes from the Baptist view of the individual. All people are made free before God and as such are free and responsible for their own religious convictions. It is no one's place to coerce that decision.
After all, for much of their heritage, Baptists were asking for religious freedom as a right they did not have. But they did not ask only for themselves. In 1791, John Leland wrote on the subject,
"Let every man speak freely without fear, maintain the principles that he believes, worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in so doing."Baptists have long been a people who empower other with rights and responsibilities, not simply tolerance. As we have long been people who know that Jesus is lord, and not Caesar, faith is no matter for Caesar to decide, whether for us or against us.
Again, this may not be directly related to our situation at OBU. But it does continue to highlight what kind of people Baptists have been historically.
Baptists are the kind of people who believe that every person-- no matter what they look like, believe, act like, dress like, or think like, is made in the image of God. Every person is just as valuable in God's eyes as we ourselves are-- no matter how different they are from us. We have always petitioned not only for our own freedom, but also for the freedom of all people.
Baptists do not believe in toleration with preference towards some, but in equal rights for all. We need no government or any other body to defend our faith for us.
And above all, we are a people of radical freedom. We will not tolerate any person or institution trying to define for us what faith must mean.