Sunday, November 24, 2013

An American Theocracy?

One of the left-wing bogeyman is the idea that Christians (at least conservative Christians) want to turn America into a theocracy. Of course, 'theocracy' is meant to conjure images of immediate repression - women in veils, a dictatorship, etc, etc.

But what if we're already a theocracy?

I'm not arguing that America was founded as a Christian nation. But it may well have been founded as a theistic one. In fact, given the Declaration of Independence, the prevalence of prayer and recognition of God's role in our fundamental view of laws and rights - out of fashion as it may be with some - it seems like there's an immediate open question about whether America can rightly be called a theocracy historically. It would just be a very generalized view of God - God as guarantor of certain fundamental rights of man. A God that, conceivably, many Christians and Jews and Muslims may go on to identify as their God. (Then again, maybe not.)

I think this possibility would short-circuit a lot of people's minds. Living in a theocracy where God is invoked to grant people the right of freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, free speech, and a generally non-intrusive government besides? It definitely turns the popular notion of theocracy on its head. On the other hand, people often think of 'secular government' in terms of particularly idealized societies - and leave North Korea and China (not to mention, Saddam-era Iraq) out of the mix. But that's clearly wrong.

Maybe we live in a theocracy already. Maybe the very things we value, including our perception of rights and freedoms, is fundamentally reliant on a certain view of God.

6 comments:

malcolmthecynic said...

Interesting little-known fact: "In God we trust was reaffirmed by Congress in 2011 as our country's official motto.

Craig said...

Cue the famous (well, relatively famous) Eisenhower quote:

In other words, our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply-felt religious faith, and I don't care what it is. With us of course it is the Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion with all men are created equal.

Crude said...

That does seem like the best fit with our nation's history and practices. (Well, ours meaning American. I know I've got non-US people here.)

Crude said...

To quote The Amazing Screw-On Head: "America is depending on me, Mister President. And by America, I mean the world."

BenYachov said...

I keep thinking of THE HANDMAIDEN'S TALE.

Terrible book & even more terrible movie. Specifically from an artistic point of view.

The whole "Christian Fundamentalist totalitarian state" mishigoss has been done too death.

It's just boring.

Crude said...

Ugh, it was. The media propaganda shit is just absurd.