the otherwhirled

where nothing is real, and nothing else is sacred.

Why A Theocratic State Isn’t Necessary

Blogswarm Against TheocracyOver the past couple of days, in preparation for participating in this Blogswarm Against Theocracy, I have had several conversations with friends and acquaintances on the subject of theocracy in general. As the majority of these friends are Christians, the conversation always got off to a bit of a rough start, but ironically, every single one ended with my friend’s assertion that indeed, a theocratic state wouldn’t be beneficial for this country, and quite often included an expression of exasperation at how various state legislatures, municipal governments, and even federal entities persistently attempt to hijack public forums and taxpayer monies to promote obviously religious agenda. For my experiences with my friends, and from what I read online, in the paper, and in national magazines, the Christian public at large doesn’t see a need for a theocratic state, and honestly resents taxpayer monies being used to promote such agendas. Personally of course, I believe they’re right to be offended by the actions of their own elected leaders and church leaders. There are two points that I believe to be the most fundamental to this issue:

1. Acting Against the Spirit of the Law. I know history isn’t everyone’s favorite subject, but think back to the reason why our “First Freedom” was written as: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” {emphasis mine} After having literally fled (in some cases) from persecution by the Church of England, our founding fathers saw fit to write this as the first Amendment to our Constitution. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to understand the impetus behind it. Religion is a highly personal thing that doesn’t require a separate branch of government. But while the responsibility is specifically vested in Congress by this Amendment, is there any doubt as to the intent of this Amendment? No one religion should hold sway over another.

So today, we have a theoretically duly-elected president who considers himself and the entire Executive Branch as a separate Rule of Law, unconstrained by the checks and balances found in the Constitution, and specifically believing that he is above the Congress. He, then, being a religious character, begins supporting the actions of specific religious organizations, providing funding for them under the cover of carefully-defined special projects exclusively awarded to religious organizations that meet his definition of religion—that is Christian. By recognizing that Amendment I doesn’t apply to him and believing that he is in fact above Congress, he has effectively jeopardized the spirit of the Amendment.

2. An Inherent Expression of Idealogical Weakness. The kids that throw rocks at other kids on the playground, or push kids out of their swings or off the merry-go-round, kick sand in other kids’ eyes, etc don’t really exercise their power. That they think they do merely connotes their lack of discretionary thinking, for what they really show is their weaknesses: their inability to confront their peers one-on-one, face-to-face, with a general courtesy that society expects us to show to everyone. As well, they obviously show their lack of self-control.

And while some will consider it puerile, I make this analogy because it is exactly relevant. The current administration won neither election legitimately, knowing full well that their weakness in the public vote would cost them an election. And their cowardice is just as transparent in its dealings with Congress. Think carefully on this for a moment. Our president is an outspoken evangelical Christian, and the example he sets for other evangelicals is to ram-rod their beliefs down everyone else’s throats instead of working in responsible and acceptable ways to sway the public opinion in their favor. The favoritism to Christian evangelicals creates an environment in which other religions are marginalized, if not alienated.

I think this is an important issue, again not because of anyone’s particular religiousness, but because of how those religious beliefs are being inflicted upon the population. Here in South Dakota, for example, prior to the mid-term elections, members of our State Legislature first attempted to have an abortion ban ratified with no public vote. Then naturally, when that was disallowed, the “pro-life” crowd used every tactic they could to strong-arm the vote in their favor—to the point that they lost the moderate vote and thereby the election, I might add. And what’s most embarrassing about all that is the fact that our State Constitution already carries a clause that if, at the Federal level, a reversal of Roe v. Wade takes place, our State will automatically follow suit. The entire year-long affair was an unconscionable waste of taxpayer money, promoted by legislators who refused to listen to their own constituents, just for the benefit of “making their mark” in State and national politics.

What We Can Do About It.

There’s no denying that the vast majority of our founding fathers were Christians, or at least believers in some religion. There’s certainly a lot of evidence in government traditions (swearing on the Bible as witnesses in court trials, swearing on some holy book when taking public office, “In God We Trust” on our currency, and so on and so forth). Obviously, religious sentiment is strong in our government, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. No rational person even resents government officials being personally religious per se. It is only when one religious belief is specifically promoted, encouraged, or supported above others that the problems begin.

Good people can do good things for their communities without any one religion being sanctioned to conduct any particular program. And in fact, the example provided by this administration in that regard is exactly the wrong one to be following. Its actions merely exemplify its disregard for the founding principles of this country and its inherent idealogical weakness. If you’re a religious person, do good deeds in the name of your Creator as you are bidden. But please don’t support legislation in your States and communities that would set one particular religion above another. Your contract with your God is unbounded by the dictates of your government, and the personal impetus is far more valuable than a state or federal sanction.

Would you really be a better worshiper if your government told you which faith to believe in?

{cross-posted to the Mock, Paper, Scissors}

<Technorati Tag: blog against theocracy>

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2007.04.06 - Posted by | anti-theocratic tendencies, political hegemony

8 Comments »

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  5. […] Against Theocracy” endeavor this past weekend went extremely well. my first post, “Why A Theocratic State Isn’t Necessary” (also here on Mock, Paper Scissors) was picked up nationally and included in a few […]

    Pingback by time goes by so quickly « perpetual dawnne | 2007.04.11 | Reply

  6. ‘There’s no denying that the vast majority of our founding fathers were Christians, or at least believers in some religion. There’s certainly a lot of evidence in government traditions (swearing on the Bible as witnesses in court trials, swearing on some holy book when taking public office, “In God We Trust” on our currency, and so on and so forth).’

    I just had to point out that the majority of our founders were deists, who did *not* believe in mixing religion in government. As a matter of fact, if the more religious members of the Constitutional Convention had had their way, this country would never have been formed. Why not? Because they disagreed with the “religious test” clause, afraid that “the jews” and “the catholics” would one day hold public office. Or, you know, have a part in that whole “everyone has rights” thing.

    “In God We Trust” was not present on any official US coinage until 70 years after the US Mint was established, and it was not present on US currency until ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS after the establishment of the US Mint.

    Comment by RvLeshrac | 2007.04.20 | Reply

  7. good points, RV. indeed, our founding fathers had ever so much more sense than we do. it’s amazing how far we’ve progressed on one hand, and how far we’ve regressed on the other.

    thanks for coming by! now, get back to testing!

    Comment by commander other | 2007.04.20 | Reply

  8. […] Why a Theocratic State isn’t necessary, wherein i provide my unsolicited two cents as to why i believe this country would survive quite […]

    Pingback by Notes on This Blogswarm Against Theocracy « the otherwhirled | 2007.07.01 | Reply


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