Settle Down, People! American Christianity Does Not Want A Theocracy.

Christian theocracy

The ongoing accusation that the “religious right” wants to impose a theocracy is so wildly ignorant that it has to be another political tactic. Like the political tactic of painting anyone who opposes redefining marriage as being hateful and anti-gay.

Accusing Christians of seeking to establish a theocracy is simply bizarre. It might be an understandable offense to accuse goat worshipers of promoting theocracy, because most of us don’t personally know any goat worshipers. But if one wants to find out what Christians believe, one could simply talk to a neighbor who is one, or visit a church on a nearby street corner. Or one could find a Bible and read the words of Jesus, or the letters of the Apostle Paul. Easy. The more theologically orthodox a Christian is, the less he or she will be in favor of an American theocracy.

Why? Because the Bible teaches that all human beings are naturally depraved. It follows then for Christians that human beings cannot be trusted with power.

This is a biblical principle. This is what those scary Christian homeschoolers are teaching their kids in history class. It’s why American Christians love our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It’s why our religious Founding Fathers established a system of checks and balances – our 3 branches of American government. It’s why we hold to being a nation governed by laws and not men. Because “fallen” people can’t be trusted with power.

In fact, Bible-believers have a compelling basis for believing these things, whereas secularists do not. It is secularists who tend to hatch idealistic, utopian political schemes and foist them onto the world. Even giving humanist totalitarians and oligarchs the benefit of the doubt – that they impose their systems “for the good of the people” – doesn’t change the fact that millions of “their people” in the last century ended up imprisoned or dead for the crime of resisting their utopian governments.

This should be common knowledge, yet somehow, we are now seeing a festival of uninformed fear-mongering from the Left crying that Christians want a theocracy. Those of us who are Christians need to start demanding proof.

So…prove it
I’m willing to be corrected. All I need is for someone to give me an example of ANY mainstream, respected, widely supported Christian leader, spokesperson, organization, politician, or theologian calling for an American theocracy. Just one. Please copy and paste your theocrat’s quote into the comment section below with a reference.

I’ll even help. Because we have lots of examples of religious people calling for and working toward theocracy. Scores. Masses of religious people are unapologetically and publicly opposed to democracy and freedom because of the “unrighteousness” these ideas allow. Unfortunately for those who might take me up on my challenge, these people are never Christians.

I got your theocracy right here:


…But I digress.

This is all Kim Davis’s fault
The latest round of fear-mongering comes because Kim Davis is a publicly elected official, who, for reasons of conscience, is refusing to carry out her job responsibilities to issue marriage licenses, and has attempted to keep clerks under her from doing so, as well. When privately owned businesses refused to participate with the Left’s novel and arbitrary redefining of marriage, that was intolerable. But for an elected government official to refuse to comply with an arguably unconstitutional Court decision, that apparently amounts to establishing a Christian theocracy. Who knew county clerks had such power?

But is that what’s going on? Is this religious freedom, or theocracy?

I’m not going to defend Kim Davis, because I have mixed feelings about some of what she has done. Instead, to my own surprise, I’m going to quote the Pope.

I’m not really a big fan of the Roman Catholic Church, or such a thing as a pope, but I have to admit that brother (“Pope”) Francis cut right through the rhetoric around religious freedom with a simple statement:

“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection … but yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right…”

Truer words were never spoken. This is especially heartening coming from the head of a 2000 year old religious institution that has a long and disturbing history of not allowing conscientious objection. Happily, brother Francis owned up to this as well when he said:

“…Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying “this right that has merit, this one does not.” It [conscientious objection] is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the Chanson de Roland when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights…”

If I were a person who used emoticons, I would do a whole page of little smiley faces right here.

Then, when asked if conscientious objection includes government officials as well, brother Francis replied:

“…It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right.”
It is disturbing to me that anyone could disagree with this. For example, do we not all now despise the reasoning of Nazi government officials whose excuse for committing crimes against Jews, gays, and others is that they were “only following orders”?

But the importance of brother Francis’s statement seems to be lost on the Left. I’m saddened to see Huffington Post commenters, and the like, fail to grasp the gravity of what is at stake in this discussion. Instead, like a new generation of Hitler Youth, they are saying things like:
“If you work for the government you are obligated to carry out your duties no matter what, or else resign.”

But they’re wrong, and brother Francis is right. If no conscientious objection is allowed, then aren’t we left with totalitarianism? Just because it’s “Progressive” totalitarianism doesn’t make it good totalitarianism. Both sides of the political spectrum should be well aware that human governments are often wrong. In a free and pluralistic society conscientious objection must be allowed.

When Kim Davis was elected, she had no conscientious objection to performing her duties whatsoever. It’s not her fault that the Supreme Court pulled a new, arbitrary definition of marriage out of its butt.

A very big deal
It’s important to remember that we are not talking about the Supreme Court telling Americans that they must now abide by a new definition of weed whacking. What the Court has attempted to do is as penetrating and monumental as it is foolish. Heterosexual marriage is a longstanding institution upon which the very architecture of civilization has always stood. In addition it bears enormous religious significance for a majority of Americans. Furthermore, it is not defined in the U.S. Constitution. Does the political Left really think it can force such a major ideological bias onto an unwilling population?

“Progressives” attempting to use government to force their beliefs onto an unwilling populace is no different than religious people attempting to use government to force their beliefs unto an unwilling populace. Except that Christians have no intention of imposing their doctrines, while “Progressives” apparently do.

Contrary to LGBT talking points, people of biblical faith are not interested in re-criminalizing homosexuality, or preventing LGBT people from loving and committing to whomever they want, or forcing anyone to do anything. We’re simply not going to agree to the redefining of lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Call it “civil unions” and this all goes away.

“Progressives” have said that non-compliant Christians are imposing their beliefs on gays by discriminating against them; that this amounts to theocracy. But it’s not true. These Christians are seeking non-participation, and it’s important that Christians not allow their motives to be redefined by the Left’s massive redefinition campaign.

There is no comparison here to America’s racial discrimination of the past. NO ONE is arguing that gays are subhuman, or that they are the property of heterosexuals, or that they should be denied fundamental civil rights. The proof is that these same people have been happy to serve gays so long as their service doesn’t require them to comply with the Court’s redefinition of marriage. The “right to marry” cannot be a fundamental civil right, because if marriage has any definition, then it necessarily excludes certain people. In fact the Court’s new definition is arbitrary and also excludes many U.S. citizens.

If there were ever an issue big enough, profound enough, and consequential enough to merit conscientious objection, the redefining of marriage is it. Bible believers are simply not going to go along with it, just as they have refused to be a part of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision. In the same way that promoting the sanctity of human life has nothing to do with being “anti-woman,” so promoting traditional marriage has nothing to do with being “anti-gay.”

People of faith are going to act according to their consciences whether the government accommodates them or not. Fortunately, our Constitution’s first amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 limit the reach of government coercion in matters of conscience, within the confines of American citizenship.


27 comments on “Settle Down, People! American Christianity Does Not Want A Theocracy.

  1. Wally Fry says:

    That was the bomb! Thanks for it.

  2. Thanks for taking time to read and letting me know!

  3. g.w says:

    Reblogged this on Ad-Infinite-item and commented:
    Rational reason is so – reasonable! “Come, let us reason together” Isaiah 1:18

  4. Incidentally, a “religion” is really just some ultimate view of reality (and is not necessarily a form of theism, since religions like buddhism are non-theistic), so even philosophical naturalism is a form of religion insofar as it is committed to some type of non-supernatural metaphysic.

    That said, all governments must reflect someone’s ultimate worldview, and in so doing are based on someone’s religion. So while a government may not be a theocracy insofar as it is not based on a theistic religion, it will certainly be based on a religion of one sort or another. Secularists may want to avoid a theocracy, but they certainly don’t want to avoid religion-based government. It’s just that they want it based on their non-theistic religion.

    The only other alternative is that we have a schizophrenic government whose laws are based on conflicting world views and, I submit, that’s precisely what we have. We have Leftist lawmakers who claim that God can have no part in legislative decision making or civil life, but those same lawmakers assume that citizens have some kind of duty to obey civil laws. Of course, apart from God, government has no objective, legitimate authority and citizens have no obligatory duty to obey anything dictated by government. Citizens might, for pragmatic reasons, obey some laws in order to avoid penalties dealt out by those backed by a police force. But (apart from God) we certainly have no objective duty to do so, and if we can avoid the legal consequences, we’re doing nothing wrong by disobeying civil laws (assuming we grant the secularist his desire to kick God out of civil and political life).

    In other words, Leftists want us to acknowledge God when it comes to our duty to obey the laws they pass, but they don’t want us to acknowledge God when we have a voice on deciding on legislation or when it comes to peacefully disobeying their wicked laws.

    • Frank, I certainly can’t argue with what you’ve said. Your point is proven, for example, by the hysteria surrounding Hobby Lobby’s decision to opt out paying for 4 out of 20 types of contraceptives for their employees. The Left was APPALLED that HL wouldn’t obey a new law forcing people to accept a “Progressive” ideological agenda. And now that Kim Davis has refused to obey a judges order, (not a law,) you would think we were on the brink of civil war. But really, we’re on the brink of celebrating diversity again.

      • Hobby Lobby had no problem handing out contraception until Obama came along. This is what points to the very stupidity of Theyre claims of being on a more moral life then the rest of the world. They are anti-Obama, that’s all.

        • Are you suggesting that Hobby Lobby “handed out” abortions ( a practice which is incorrectly lumped into the category of “contraceptives” by those who want to ignore or hide the fact that it constitutes the murder of an unborn human)? Do you have evidence to support such a claim?

  5. cpmondello says:

    ANYTIME a lawmaker uses his/her religion to create ANY law, that is Theocracy! So YES, MANY Christians in Congress, law makers, (NOT. Muslim, Wiccan, or any other religion at this time) want a Theocracy. It’s similar with racism when comparing extremes. You don’t have to support lynching black people to be a racist.

    • I would add that, not only is your use of “theocracy” in error, I suspect you have a myopic understanding of “religion” which conveniently excludes secular world views.

      If “religion” is not the basis of civil law, then what is? Why is it wrong to murder? Is it only wrong because a civil law prohibits it, or was it first wrong and subsequently prohibited by legislation? Since religious texts prohibit murder and since, according to you, laws should not reflect religious views, should we therefore allow murder?

      Finally, you observed:
      “You don’t have to support lynching black people to be a racist.”

      Yes, and you don’t have to believe in God to be guilty of attempting to force your religion on the rest of society.

  6. Hello CP – Thanks for weighing in.
    Please disclose where you got your definition of “theocracy.” Here’s what I had in mind: THEOCRACY
    1) a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.

    2) a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.

    3) a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.

    None of the several other respected dictionaries I checked agreed with your definition. So I think the first problem with your argument is that you have a bogus definition.

    I think the second problem with your argument is that you don’t understand what these Christian lawmakers believe. They want Constitutional government, and they feel that our founding documents are brilliant and unique in the history of the world. They believe in inalienable rights endowed by God for everyone, which means that those rights can’t be taken away by men. Such a “religious” foundation for law and civil rights, ironically, ensures the greatest degree of freedom for all people, both “religious” and “non-religious.”

    I would ask you, from where do you think human rights come? Does the government grant them? They certainly can’t be endowed by a purposeless, accidental, impersonal universe, can they?

    Nobody here wants a theocracy. Attempting to impose religious beliefs onto unwilling people is stupid and doesn’t work, and everyone knows it. The Left is just going to have to relearn that imposing ideology onto unwilling people is also stupid and doesn’t work.

    • Right for all people are supposed to be equal. You can’t deny gay people equal rights in on breath then say God gave us inalienable rights.

      As for human rights, they are given by humans.

      There is an old story about Ben Franklin stating they should say a prayer while they were working on the constitution. That part is correct, what the RIGHT forgets to tell everyone is, they decided against it, because they wanted the people to believe they, as humans, could do so. So no prayer, no god, nothing but humans with human minds created the constitution.

      As for theocracy, anyone who quotes the bible to argue a point for a law, that is theocracy.

      • God gave no one an inalienable right to pervert the institution of marriage, nor did anyone suggest that He did, so you’re attacking a straw man.

        Homosexuals have ALWAY had the equal right to marry, as long as they abide by the SAME rules as everyone else, e.g., you can’t marry your sister, you can’t marry a corpse, you can’t marry your cat, you can’t marry more than one person at a time, you can’t marry someone who doesn’t consent, you can’t marry your lawnmower, you can’t marry a baby, and you CAN’T marry someone of the same sex. What homosexuals want is NOT equal rights, but a SPECIAL right to violate the rules to serve their whims. Your argument is specious because homosexuals have NEVER been denied the right to marry, and, in fact, many of them HAVE married.

        You really should do your homework, because you’re incorrect regarding the outcome of Franklin’s suggestion that they pray at the Constitutional Convention. Not only did they pray, but it was entered into law such that meetings of Congress were to be preceded by prayer.

        Finally, civil law is to be predicated on objective morality, which is theistic by necessity. Without God, there is no objective basis for civil law and no state has any authority to impose its rules on anyone, nor does anyone have any moral or civic duty to obey the legislative dictates of man. As for “theocracy”, you’re obviously ignorant as to the meaning of the term.

        • Marriage in the USA and in the Bible has had many forms. From multiple wives, to not allowing Catholics to marry Quakers, from whites not being able to marry non-whites, to a woman abused, beaten and raped by her husband who legally cannot leave because some stated the bible says marriage is forever and the family unit is the most important thing, so even if a husband beats and rapes his wife, and children, that marriage cannot be broken.

          The old gays have always been allowed to marry is such an unintelligent cop out I won’t even bother, if you are that stupid to think that is equality you are a lost soul.

          The only group of people who have special rights in the USA, are Christians.

          As for our conversation, it will end now, I find you below me, not worthy of my attention. It is people like you who have always been on the wrong side of history.

          One more thing, there is no “god” or “gods”. Only weak minded people who don’t know how to think for themselves love a dictator like the gods of religion.

          • You’re engaging in an is/ought fallacy. Nowhere in the Bible does God condone polygamy and, in fact, forbids it. That people failed to obey doesn’t logically indicate God’s approval. King David committed adultery, but does the fact that he did so mean that God approved of it?

            Your example of certain people being forbidden to marry does not constitute a redefinition of marriage by any stretch of the imagination. Why? Because the marriages that did, in fact, occur in those climates remained normal, i.e., between one man and one woman.

            And how does an abused wife constitute a redefinition of marriage? It doesn’t. Nor does the issue of divorce have anything to do with God’s creating marriage to be between one man and one woman.

            As for “old gays”, your ad hominem is a sure sign that your position suffers for want of an argument. Surely if you had a cogent response you would have offered it, however, its absence speaks volumes.

            Christians don’t have “special” rights, though they should, since only a true worldview should serve as the basis of social policy.

            You opined:
            “I find you below me, not worthy of my attention.”

            Again we see that when left-wing extremists cannot win on the battlefield of ideas, they must resort to name-calling and infantile foot-stomping. You can’t have your way, so you express your intolerance and bigotry as you pout in retreat. How immature.

            Finally, atheists have yet to offer a rational defense of their absurd worldview. You see, atheists don’t “think for themselves”. In fact, they don’t “‘think” at all. They merely emote. How irrational.

  7. Ethan K says:

    I have spent a lot of time going back and forth on these issues. And if I am ever passing though CO again perhaps I will call you and see if there is time to pick your brain.

    I agree that conscientious objection should be respected. However I view it very narrowly (perhaps incorrectly). To me conscientious objection gives you the right to abstain from an order/directive/activity that you find objectionable. The key word being you. The way I see it, in both the Kim Davis case and the Hobby Lobby case, the objection was then imposed on people who have different views. This is where I take issue. That kind of action is similar to the government forcing the redefinition of marriage on people who don’t want it to be redefined. I don’t necessarily believe that Kim Davis should resign (although I would ague she can no longer effectively perform her job as a representative of the government), but I don’t think she should be preventing her clerks from issuing marriage licences. The Hobby Lobby case is something different entirely in my head, involving what “human” rights corporations have.

    Now I realize that there is a flaw in that logic. Who gets to decide the baseline that other people get to abstain from or participate in? Well like you said our government was built with checks and balances and we have bought into this system. It was the government, with its checks and balances that has refined what marriage is.

    As a Christian I do not expect the government to represent a biblical worldview. It is a human institution that is tasked with governing people of all faiths, and no faiths, in a broken world. As a Christian I believe that homosexual acts are sinful and that abortion is wrong, though my faith encompasses so much more than that. As a Christian I realize that not everyone thinks the same way that I do, and in fact my views will often be, and should often be contrary to society at large. But that doesn’t mean I can force everyone to conscientiously object.

    • Where or when has anyone attempted to “force everyone to conscientiously object”? Kim Davis wasn’t attempting to force her subordinates to “conscientiously object”. She was merely issuing a directive for them to follow, which, I don’t think was her prerogative to do, even though she herself should be free to abstain from participating in same-sex marriages.

      • Actually NO, she CANT abstain from doing her job in the public sector. It is more of a gray area in the private sector, however, once a law in enacted on a Federal level, it supersedes any power the States have to try and trump that law. There is a reason why “Statists” didn’t win the Civil War, you can’t run a “United States” if they are allowed to pic and choose which laws they want to abide by, especially those where religion is used to try and take away someone’s equal rights. If people want to live in a theocracy, they will have to revert to before the USA was the USA, before the Founding Fathers arrived. If you want that, then you are actually un-American!

        • There is a reason Nazis weren’t allowed to get away with their immoral behavior under the pretense of “just following orders”. We all rightly recognize that one has a moral duty to disobey evil laws precisely because God’s laws supersede man’s dictates, so, YES, she CAN abstain from obeying wicked laws that require her to engage in anything immoral like a perverse redefinition of marriage. Moreover, America has always recognized the Biblical understanding of marriage, so it is you who wish to live in a theocracy, i.e., a theocracy where the state is god and distorts marriage to suit the perverse whims of those in power.

    • Forcing the redefinition of marriage on people has been done since marriage was created.

      • Is there an argument or evidence to support your belief? Moreover, according to your logic, murder, rape, and theft are acceptable because they have existed throughout all of history.
        Nevertheless, if you’re going to use history as a precedent, the USA has ALWAYS held to a Biblical version of marriage, which is why it stopped mormons from practicing polygamy. It is the same-sex revisionists that are the Johnny-come-latelys.

    • Hi Ethan – I would love to hang out with you if you are ever in the area!

      Perhaps I could clarify a couple of things, as I don’t think we’re that far apart. I think that the critical issue is the ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT because government ALWAYS EQUALS FORCE. (Please forgive the caps for emphasis.) This is almost the whole deal for me. It’s the reason I’m a conservative. It’s the reason I’m pro-freedom and pro-pluralism and pro-free-marketplace of ideas.

      So I absolutely agree that we can’t “force everyone to conscientiously object.” I wouldn’t do it if it were in my power because it’s dehumanizing. Plus it doesn’t work anyway.

      So bro Francis (the “Pope”) is correct. If we have a gov that doesn’t allow conscientious objection, at least beyond very basic principles, isn’t that gov totalitarian?

      So it amuses and baffles me that the Left thinks Hobby Lobby is “denying women access to healthcare,” or that those who refuse to participate in the gov’s arbitrary redefinition of marriage are somehow “imposing their beliefs on gays.” It is the government that has the power to do the imposing and forcing. Individuals do not. The church does not. We can ignore individuals, businesses, and the church. We cannot ignore the government. Therefore conscientious objection must be a fundamental right in a free society.

      I think the free market can sufficiently address so much of this without the heavy hand of government.

      Regarding Hobby Lobby, my understanding is that the Court ruled that “closely held corporations” have the right to religious freedom. (I Googled the term, and I think their reasoning makes sense.) I think this is obvious. Otherwise, if this administration had it’s way, wouldn’t only people who are socially liberal, (or who are willing to behave like social liberals,) be the only people who could own businesses in America? I think it’s appalling that the gov was trying to fine HL over a million dollars a day for not participating in their pro-abortion agenda. If I’m wrong here, please explain how. I’m honestly troubled that the Left is so willing to force compliance, on a number of issues.
      I think it’s ridiculous.

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