What is a Theocracy?
I decided to find out what all the talk was about with the US and a theocracy. Every time I turn around, the newspaper, tv, or blogs claim that President Bush is turning the US into a theocracy. Is it true? Is it not true? And what exactly is a theocracy?
Wikipedia lists a detailed description:
The word "theocracy" comes from the Greek theos which means "god," and kratein which means "to rule." Hence, theocracy literally means "rule by god."
They continue with:
A more literal term for what is commonly meant by "theocracy" is "ecclesiocracy," which denotes the rule of a religious leader or body in the name of God, as opposed to the literal rule of God.
Another definition from the Catholic church itself here at the Catholic encyclopedia:
A form of civil government in which God himself is recognized as the head. The laws of the commonwealth are the commandments of God, and they are promulgated and expounded by the accredited representatives of the invisible Deity, real or supposed—generally a priesthood. Thus in a theocracy civic duties and functions form a part of religion, implying the absorption of the State by the Church or at least the supremacy of the latter over the State.
The funny thing is that the Internet is fraught with the accusations that Republicans and President Bush have turned the US into a theocracy. I see nothing in the above definitions about a "country leader that has religious beliefs". That is NOT a part of a theocracy. Also, I'm positive that those that make these statements have forgotten the Democratic President Carter and his beliefs. The Constitution never prevented a politician from publicly acknowledging a religious preference or trying to perform his job led by a Higher Power (as long as there's no overflow into the Separation of Church and State Federally.)
For a good laugh at the ignorance of these uninformed people check out the Theocracy Watch. This site is developed by the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy (CRESP) at Cornell University. CRESP claims to be a nonsectarian, action-based educational organization with its roots in religious dialogue, human rights advocacy, and ethical thought. TheocracyWatch also claims that they: "raise awareness about the pervasive role of the Religious Right in the U.S. government." These guys are off the wall. If a politician is any bit religious and speaks publicly about it, there is a problem. Especially if the person says he lives his [personal] life by what is written in the Bible and/or through the direction of his God's leading. If you look at the quotes on this site from these people, you see that they mean their personal life. Hence the bold above. It would be no different if they worked for General Motors and were Christian and say,
He [God] is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for a biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me.
Would that mean this man is trying to turn General Motors into a theocracy or a "Christian company"? I should think not. It would be narrow-minded to think so. I could no doubt find names of hundreds of Christian or religious businessmen who's company was not a Christian company, did not put out religious products, and whose workers were not forced or encouraged to become religious. Nor was the Human Resource department told to hire based on religious belief or status. Yet we are led to believe that this is the way the US government works under the Religious Right. The above quote is from Tom DeLay, by the way. And according to theocracywatch, DeLay and other Christians in Washington represent "an ultraconservative religious movement seeking to impose a narrow theological agenda on secular society."
It's sad that theocracywatch bases it's "witch-hunt" on the politicians that the Christian Coalition praises. This would have been a different lot of men and women before 1970 (they called them Democrats back then.) Then they try to get us excited to rise up against this evil and vote:
The theocratic right began to seriously mobilize politically in the United States twenty-five years ago, and it is being noticed only now!
This corroborates with evidence here of the religious, um I mean theocratic left. I would think if they did not "impose a narrow theological agenda on secular society" back then, why worry about it now? It's all a part of the anti-Bush hate-camp. They have no political reason to hate so they aim at social points. President Jefferson had this to say about these kinds of idiots:
"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions."
Hmmm. Sound familiar? A person who can't distinguish between political and social opposition hates a person's political opinions because of social differences. Nice. By the way, I have never heard anyone from the Left/Anarchist group use this quote.
Now the only thing missing from theocracywatch and anyone using the terms theocracy and President Bush in the same sentence is an example of a theocracy. Why? Because it proves wrong their theory. If I told you all apples were orange in color and then held up an apple, you would know who the fool was immediately. The one not holding up an orange apple. Or an Orange. So here are some current (2005) examples of real theocracies:
No US? These are lies! Wikipedia is controlled by the Authoritarian hand
of the Bush administration who is dumbing down the public by handing them
twisted lies with a Stalinistic control! Let us not forget about the former
Taliban in Afghanistan as well. If one were to break down these governments
you would see the link between the rulers and the religions of the countries.
Seeing the clips on television of Taliban justice according the Koran, should
be enough to show how much the US is not a theocracy.
--Just a side note: The word "pontiff" is taken from the word pontifex, which in Latin comes from "pontem faciens," meaning "bridge maker." According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, the title originated in Roman times. Emperors usually were designated pontifex maximus, or the highest priest of the Roman religion. Hmmm. That doesn't sound like the US either.....
About Iran: I see alot of 16 year old girls publicly executed by hanging for having sex with unmarried men in the US. Read about what the Iran theocracy did to a 16 yr old girl that did just that. The Iran government had given her imprisonment and 100 lashes to her 3 times already for previous episodes. The last time was execution in order to keep "society safe from acts against public morality". In fact the head religious/government ruler was the one who put the noose around her neck and ordered the crane to lift her up. Sound like the way the US government works?
So when you show an example of the real thing against what the media people are claiming about the Bush administration, you see they are very, very far from the truth. And by clicking on the links back at theocracy.org, you see that the Religious Right is "trying to":
--Eliminate sin from the country by imprisoning undesirables and the moral filthy and then using Capital Punishment to eliminate them,
--Take over the Republican party,
--Remove the Constitution and all present "secular" laws, and replace them with "Biblical" laws,
--Change the secular government to religious through "Faith-Based Initiatives" for everything,
--Ruin the environment, and deplete all our resources,
--Remove women's equality with men,
--Starve the Federal Government through removing all taxation,
--Control the State and Federal education system,
--Destroy State government control of anything,
--And other Authoritarian control of the debauchery, indecency, perversion, and abomination we call America.
At theocracy.org they show Nazis burning "homosexual" books in a anti-gay rally. Then they show a picture of church members in 2001 burning items they had possessed that they had come were not beneficial to their religious beliefs. They show both of these pictures under the heading of "Homophobia". So we are led to believe that the items being burned in 2001 are indeed homosexual in content. And this only because they show Nazis doing just that in the photo above the 2001 picture. Do they think that no one will catch this spin? Do they have no proof so they result to this charade of lies? Nice!
And how can the Religious Right eliminate funding for the Federal government and then still have a "big" Federal government those left-leaning folks are accusing the Bush administration of? With no funding there would be cuts. That would mean lack of control. There would be no control of the education system then. You couldn't control the state's problems either. How could you stretch the depleted Federal government in that way? You can't. But it sounds good in the way they have it listed on their page.
Ruining the environment is not Biblically supported. Another example of misquoting verses. And now that even Senator Clinton wants to eliminate abortion, I can't see how this is strictly a Religious Right (or Republican or Conservative issue).
The funniest part of this website is the obvious misquoting of individuals
for the spin on the context of the statement. And the out-of-context use of
Biblical quotations is even more priceless. It would be like me telling you
how NASA messed up the last shuttle mishap by quoting Scientific American.
I know nothing of the physics used to get into or out of orbit. Nor do I know
anything about maneuvering the space shuttle in and out of the atmosphere.
I assure you I could take facts and figures and write a torrid tale of horror
and give the "proof" from the science magazine. Must be true then.
Don't be fooled! I have seen many people who have no clue
about religion, quote the Bible. They look like fools. One course in Religious
Studies might even bring some enlightenment. One person told me that the main
reason the war in Iraq was wrong because one of the 10 commandments read,
"Thou shalt not kill". That gave me a good chuckle. Remember: You
can't use a History book to explain Physics. Namely: You can't explain and/or
study religion without quoting/studying the religious books involved.
For a site to claim they are an, "educational organization with its roots in religious dialogue", they should have a better understanding of Biblical scriptures. Although, "Religious dialog" is not "Religious understanding" by any means. Like I mentioned above, just because I read the article in the Scientific American doesn't make me an expert on NASA and their activities. Although, if I wrote an article on it using quotes from the magazine, I could easily fool the uninformed. Especially those who already hated NASA for the last failure of the space shuttle entry. Sound familiar now?
So, look at the definition and the examples, and make your decision. You shouldn't have to listen to spin from those on a hatred filled vendetta against a political figure to make your mind up. Like President Jefferson warned, don't let your political opinion of anyone become stained by hatred and opposition to their social and personal issues.