Skip to comments.Christian evangelicals want to make US a theocracy: true or false?
Posted on 11/07/2019 6:50:36 AM PST by SeekAndFind
In May, Americans United (AU) for the Separation of Church and State highlighted a poll conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in partnership with the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University. They used the survey to argue that people on the Religious Right were a threat to America because they are the people most eager to base U.S. law on their understanding of religion.
They noted that the poll found seventeen percent of white evangelicals want their faith to be the main source of U.S. law, and a whopping 54 percent want it to provide the source of some of our laws. Only 27 percent said that evangelicalism shouldnt be the source of our laws at all.
AU concluded, The next time someone tries to scare you with stories of creeping sharia in your town, think twice. The Christian fundamentalist theocrats among us pose a much more serious threat.
If AU had anything other than a revisionist view of American history, they would know that if the Founders were living today, they would be counted among that seventeen percent, which said they believe Judeo-Christian principles should be the primary source of law.
In his exceptional book, Our Sacred Honor, William J. Bennett, who served under the administrations of two Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has rightly contended:
America, in the eyes of many of our Founders, was a New Israel. American exceptionalism what made this country truly unique was not its long history or established cultural traditions, for we had neither. What made this country different from all others was a prevalent belief that God played a direct and active hand in founding a people. Like the Jerusalem of old, Americas New Jerusalem was to become Gods promised land to the oppressed an example to all humankind. In short, without Gods blessing, many of the Founders, especially Washington, believed that this country would never have come into being.
This conviction was so prominent in American life that, by the beginning of the 20th Century, when President Woodrow Wilson said, America was born a Christian nation for the purpose of exemplifying to the nations of the world the principles of righteousness found in the Word of God, nobody even winced.
Bennett also added and qualified that the Founders believed, By worshipping and conducting ourselves in such ways that are pleasing to God, we would ensure that the American experiment would continue to thrive... But if there was a Biblical fragrance to America, it was not to be a theocracy.
The Founders werent theocrats, but they did believe that our laws were best drawn from the Christian religion. Christian evangelicals of the present are no different, and entirely in sync with the American tradition.
There may be a fringe element among Christian evangelicals today who believe America should become a theocracy. But most think the theocracy described in the Old Testament applied only to Israel and another dispensation. Most hold that the New Testament doesnt call for a theocratic form of government. Instead, the New Testament emphasizes principles and moral values that are relevant to all types of government. What Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles taught provided a tremendous amount of direction on morality and liberty. These Christian assertions are as relevant for totalitarian regimes as any democratic form of government.
The primary objective of most Christian evangelicals is not to construct a theocracy. In recent years, the involvement of Christian evangelicals in the political realm has mostly been a resistance movement to the insistence that religion in general and Christianity mainly, should be consigned to private life.
Bruce L. Shelly, in The Gospel and the American Dream, beautifully states the case:
The assumptions of the keep-religion-out-of-public-life people have deadly consequences. If selves are defined by their preferences, but those preferences are completely arbitrary, then each self constitutes its own moral and religious universe. There is no conclusive way to reconcile conflicting claims about what is good. In the absence of any transcendent standard of right and wrong, good and evil, the self and its feelings become our only moral guide.
The naked public square will not remain naked. If the traditional Jewish Christian case for transcendent standards for American public life is rejected, something else will move into the sanitized space. Human beings are incurably religious, and their political life never remains neutral.
While religion has often been linked with oppressive regimes, and our Founding Fathers had the good sense to guard against such a development in the United States, it is also true that non-religious regimes can be oppressive. Have we forgotten the meaning of Stalinism? What about the French Revolution? These are bloody examples of thoroughly secular governments attempts to govern without regard for the religious needs of the people.
When the state attempts to confine religion to the private sphere, it soon reveals totalitarian inclinations to oppress religion. And that is what we have seen in recent years in the United States. The churchs rights to express itself, and to conduct its own affairs, have been insidiously eroded.
Today, the state poses a much greater danger than the church of upsetting the constitutional balance between republican government and religious freedom, because people have come to equate the state with society itself. The answer lies with Christians who, even as a dedicated minority, will clearly affirm our democratic governance and bear witness to the transcendent purpose to which society is held accountable.
If what Shelly describes is the same as being a theocrat, then its also what the Founders believed. If this is what it means to make America a theocracy, then generations of previous Americans were attempting to do the same. But it doesnt.
Christian evangelicals are realists. They are abundantly aware of the religious, cultural, and social pluralism of political life. They are willing to work with everyone. Nevertheless, they are also sufficiently aware that without a shared standard set of values that rises above self or the state and forms the basis for morality and freedom, the American experiment is destined to implode.
Robert Charles Winthrop, once the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, summed it up quite well when he said:
It may do for other countries, and other governments to talk about the state supporting religion. But here, under our free institutions, it is religion that must support the state.
No. Nor do we want a country where the state is god...
The First Amendment is the FIRST amendment for a reason.
We have freedom of religion — no theocracy is possible.
Our opponents want Freedom FROM religion and they actively seek to stomp out Christianity. Not OK. They engage in projection (as always) and declare us to be Bad Guys and theocrats when the reality is that they are oppressive atheists who want to crush freedom.
That’s just the narrative used by the God haters to advance their anti-God agenda.
It’s an excuse with no basis.
While I neither advocate for nor want this type of government. It would be better than what we currently have. The current ‘no God’ interpretation is an abomination and evil.
The left in this country knows full well Christians ever said or desired a “theocracy” as that is only used to scare people. Their real reason, their joy in fact, is that anything anti-Christian is to be supported. If it will undermine and harm Christianity regardless of how much it will harm this nation, the rule of law or peoples lives, then they are all in feigning that they actually care about rights in the process.
They know that Separation of Church and State is not in the constitution or any founding document.
They know that the term was only used for the first time in 1947
They know that the term was only used successfully for the first time in 1962
They know that we had 174 years with a town nativity scene being no problem at all
They know that we had 174 years with the bible being taught in schools
They know that for 174 years we had zero problem with the Ten Commandments everywhere....
Its only recently in our history that the hateful left has done, successfully, all that it has done in hatred of the God of Christianity.
It is not a theocracy if a man ... or men .... govern with the teachings of scripture in their hearts.
People miss the point that the commies operate with THEIR scriptures, thoroughly memorized and in THEIR hearts ....
Mao, MeinKampf, (etc.)
There WERE some in our founding who were of a theocratic bent — Calvinists, Puritans in particular. They were serious about establishing Christ’s Kingdom here on this continent, the new Israel, the Millennium. That was pre-Revolutionary New England (ironic, huh?).
But post-war, in the hammering out of vast differences among colonies, New England joined in with the others, reluctantly, in the Bill of Rights. The very first amendment contains that “Congress shall make no law” in this regard. I believe they figured, “OK, sure, Congress can’t; but in the last amendment in the Bill of Rights, it leaves plenty of room for the states to make laws about religion.” So they, being the earliest revolutionaries, went along.
In more recent times, notably in the 80s, there have been movements and spokesmen (D. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell, even Francis Schaeffer, come to mind) who advocated for raising up Christian champions to run for office at all levels, from school boards to Commander in Chief, to Christianize the nation once again. There was even a hint that this would be a precursor to the Second Coming of Christ. But these movements have been swamped by the tsunami-like inundation of most of this country’s institutions’ growing secularism.
Now, the statists have no rhyme nor reason to fear Christianity coming over their imagined “wall of separation” to twiddle in their realms. Instead, it is the secularists who have climbed over that same wall to try to neuter the Gospel.
Well said. Many seem to forget that the First Amendment, indeed all of the Bill of Rights, are restrictions on Government, not the people. So the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses restrict the Government from interfering in religion, but do NOT restrict the Church or Citizens from injecting religion into government. SCOTUS has not always seen it this way, of course, but they are wrong.
The universe is a theocracy ruled by the one and only God.
So, it’s already been done. A “fait accompli”. (a thing accomplished and presumably irreversible)
Another idiotic article from “Christian Post”.
THIS Christian does not. There are just as many frauds and scammers in the pulpits as their are in Congress.
RE: Another idiotic article from Christian Post.
What part of the article do you disagree with?
It is at present the religion of secular humanism that seeks to create a theocracy in the U.S., and like a theocracy seeks to have it’s orthodoxies installed as law and as standard values indoctrinated through public education.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are ninth and tenth for a reason, too.
Because if you stop and think about it - see the example of the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th - the most recent amendments have priority over the earlier ones.
Im going to shock you: the First Amendment is overrated. It certainly was overrated by Justice William Brennen in his (unanimously decided) New York Times Co. v. Sullivan decision.Scalia argued his view on textualism was the ultimate defense of the First Amendment. In March 2012, an Associated Press report said he told an audience at Wesleyan University that the Courts early justices would be astonished that the notion of the Constitution changes to mean whatever each successive generation would like it to mean. In fact, it would be not much use to have a First Amendment, for example, if the freedom of speech included only what some future generation wanted it to include. That would guarantee nothing at all.Id like to find the link to the video where Scalia expounded on the Bill of Rights in a most interesting and convincing way. Scalia noted that:
That opinion didnt prevent Scalia from harsh criticism of what is widely viewed as one of the essential court rulings protecting free speech and a free press the 1964 decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.
At the Newseum in the Aspen Institute 2011 Washington Ideas Forum, Scalia said the landmark ruling meant you can libel public figures without liability so long as you are relying on some statement from a reliable source, whether its true or not.
Now the old libel law used to be (that) youre responsible, you say something false that harms somebodys reputation, we dont care if it was told to you by nine bishops, you are liable, Scalia said. New York Times v. Sullivan just cast that aside because the Court thought in modern society, itd be a good idea if the press could say a lot of stuff about public figures without having to worry. And that may be correct, that may be right, but if it was right it should have been adopted by the people. It should have been debated in the New York Legislature and the New York Legislature could have said, Yes, were going to change our libel law.
But in Times v. Sullivan, Scalia said the Supreme Court, under Justice Earl Warren, simply decided, Yes, it used to be that George Washington could sue somebody that libeled him, but we dont think thats a good idea anymore.
- the Ninth and Tenth amendments to the Constitution throw the courts back on common law. If your greatx grandfather had a right before the ratification of the Constitution, he had the same right after the ratification of the ninth and tenth amendments. Which is precisely the intent of the initial absence of a bill of rights.
- The Bill of Rights was a promise on which the ratification of the whole Constitution was premised; break the promise of a bill of rights, and free and independent states would have seceded instantly - much easier in the Eighteenth Century even than in 1861. In that milieu you couldnt shilly shally around trying to reinvent the wheel of what is and what is not a right. You want no controversy at all.
- The Second Amendment is in that sense a template; it says that the right of the people shall not be infringed. It doesnt try to define any parameters of the right, it states that the right is not changed by the Federal Government.
- The First Amendments freedom of the press clause has the same sort of rationale embedded in it: it doesnt just say freedom of the press, it says the freedom of the press. The difference being that the freedom of the press is freedom as it existed prior to the ratification of the Constitution. Freedom, that is, within accepted limits on libel and pornography &c.
The Sullivan decision asserts that the First Amendment affects the right to sue for libel. The First Amendment, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, are structured to deny that claim.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caeser’s, and unto the Lord those things that are the Lord’s.
It's quite instructive, and prophetic in regard to the U. S. outlook.
That would be our current US Constitution but with no Omars or Obamas.
All laws are based on someone’s morality. The question is upon whose morality will those laws be based upon?
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