Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Against Theocracy

Ed Brayton at Talk to Action makes a very reasoned plea for critics to be more careful in their use of the word theocracy.

I also don't think we should use the term theocrat to describe all conservative Christians, evangelicals or fundamentalists; that is simply painting with too broad a brush. A theocrat is someone who wants the country to be ruled by the rules of a particular religion, in this country nearly always Christian of course.

I appreciate reasoned approach and his concern about the correct use of words. However, I cannot support his definition of theocracy. Theocracy is the "rule of God", not the rule of any old religion. Ed makes theocracy sound like the rule of Pat Robertson or James Dobson. What is feared bymost of those who fear theocracy is actually FocusontheFamilocracy, MoralMajorocracy or 700Clubocracy. These do sound scary. They scare me. They probably even scare God (actually nothing scares him, but he is horrified by some things said and done in his name).

We must be clear about one thing. God does not want to rule the world through the church. He does not want to rule the world through Focus on the Family, or through Pat Robertson. He is no interested in forcing his will one the people of the world. He created us to be free responsible and wants us to freely choose to love him. If we love, him we will probably choose to obey him, and that will change things on earth, particularly in the political scene.

God is not interested in is any "ocracy" where one group of people attempt to force their will on the rest. He is not interested in forcing people to become Christians. He is not interested in using the law to force people to live like Christians. More here.

Ed Brayton goes on his comments to say that "accomodationists" are okay. These are "people who support non-coercive public propping up of religious belief in general". He includes George Washington and John Adams in this group. Brayton is very generous in allowing accomodationism, but I have to disagree with him on this one too. The truth is that God does not need anyone to prop him up. He does not the support of the state. Whenever, the church has sought the support of the state it has been on the verge of becoming dangerous, or becoming useless. If the church needs the support of the state, it has probably lost the support of God. We do not need the state propping up a church that is "over the hill".


Steve Scott said...

The "separation of church and state" that we so often hear about in the US has many misconceptions. Seeing the disasters in Europe, where the church controlled the state in Rome and the state controlled the church in England, I believe that God created each for a limited purpose and that their duties are separate.

Propping up of God? Would that be called Dagonism?

Ron McK said...

Dagonism. Thats very good. :-)

Aaron said...

Ron that's a great post.