I used to joke about the "American Taliban" -- fundamentalist Christians who say they want to make this country into a Bible-based theocracy.
But now that every Republican presidential candidate has endorsed this crazy notion in one form or another, it isn't nearly as funny to me. Losing our constitutionally-guaranteed right of freedom from religion is a serious matter.
And one worth fighting hard to prevent.
I've voted for Republicans in the past, and would consider doing so again if moderates of the sort we Oregonians used to elect came back into G.O.P. fashion. But nowadays Governor Tom McCall, Senator Bob Packwood, and Senator Mark Hatfield wouldn't have a chance in a Republican primary.
It's disturbing that Rick Santorum, who either has a national lead in the Republican presidential race or is close to Romney's polling percentage, has said that the United States should follow God's law, not secular laws.
Unlike Islam, where the higher law and the civil law are the same, in our case, we have civil laws. But our civil laws have to comport with the higher law. … As long as abortion is legal—at least according to the Supreme Court—legal in this country, we will never have rest, because that law does not comport with God’s law.
Santorum also has criticized President Obama for not aligning his policies with Christian theology. Hey, Rick, wake up! The President of the United States isn't supposed to do this, according to our constitution.
You and your fellow Republican theocrats are the ones who should be roundly chastized for ignoring our nation's history.
Columnist Joe Nocera notes that early on, Roger Williams and other like-minded believers fleeing from religious persecution wanted to insure that immigrants to America would be free to either believe in God, or not believe.
However, John Winthrop was the Rick Santorum of his day. He wanted America to be a theocentric state founded on strict Puritanism. Fortunately, the Williams ideal prevailed. Unfortunately, the 2012 Republican presidential candidates show strong signs of wanting to resurrect Winthrop's dream of an authoritarian Christian nation.
Nocera concludes with:
I don’t doubt that if Winthrop could see America today, he would be horrified — just as, in many ways, Santorum is. Americans are free to do things that Santorum — and Winthrop — would view as deeply sinful. Individuals can believe what they want and act as they wish, without caring about what Rick Santorum — or John Winthrop — thinks.
By the time Roger Williams was an old man, Quakers had largely taken over the political structure of Rhode Island. “Roger Williams despised the Quaker religion,” Barry writes. But he did nothing to prevent their ascent, because he believed so strongly that one’s religious beliefs should not matter in the affairs of state.
Unlike Winthrop, if Williams could see the America his central idea gave us, he would likely be pleased. We should all be.
I think Franklin was an atheist and Washington and Jefferson were more deists than theists and not too fond of christianity.
The founding fathers tried very hard to ensure the seperation between state and religion. The declaration of independence is a secular document.
Posted by: George | February 27, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I think Blogger Brian is wrong when he says "Republicans want to establish a U.S. theocracy". Rank and file republicans aren't into that. Santorum seems to be, but he won't be the candidate. Romney, the likely candidate, has not expressed such views.
Posted by: tucson | February 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
tucson, I was going to put "Republican presidential candidates..." at the start of the title to this blog post, but it would have made the title too long.
So I figured that the context of the post itself made clear that I was talking about the candidates. I agree that Romney isn't quite as overtly theocratic as the other Republican candidates, but there's some evidence that he leans that way. See:
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Churchless - are posts spilling over here from your political blog?
Well, since you bring the subject up, I'd helpfully point out that President Obama gave a National Prayer Breakfast speech a couple of weeks ago in which he said - "as a Christian" - that his drive for higher taxes on the rich “coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’”
So wouldn't you say it's pretty clear that the current leader of the Democratic party already sees government as the instrument of sweet Baby Jesus here on earth?
Posted by: Brian from Colorado | February 27, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Romney was quoted as saying: “You expect the president of the United States to be sensitive to that freedom and protect it and, unfortunately, perhaps because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda, they have fought against religion,”
--I don't see that statement as promoting a religious theocracy. There is a secular agenda that would remove any trace of religion from public view like indecent exposure by a flasher in the park. Romney was addressing that kind of radicalism.
Posted by: tucson | February 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I can attest to the scariness of a theocratic state... in this case the state was Texas. My buddy and I decided to skip the obligatory baccalaureate service before graduation. It was hardly inter-faith in those days; more like hard-core Christianity with the faint smell of brimstone. My parents had to appear before the principal and beg, argue, and finally threaten before they allowed me to graduate.
Posted by: Dungeness | February 28, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Theocracy is superior to the rule of man; for it is God's rule of the earth that he created.
In the light of Deuteronomy 28 of the King James Version, and other scriptures, I advocate theonomy and theocracy.
Posted by: Edward McCartney | August 17, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Here is what Mitt Romney (33rd degree Freemason) wants to establish.
Posted by: Mike Williams | August 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Edward, I hope you're joking. But I'm afraid you're not.
Posted by: Brian Hines | August 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM