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Leftist pundits continue to raise fears about a Taliban-type Christian theocracy. The evangelical and moral vote scared the daylights out of a cabal of frenzied popping jays who have had a near monopoly on the flow of editorial comment over the last 20 years. There’s even a "theocracy watch" website for those who care about such things. Maureen Dowd, Garry Wills, Bill Moyers, and Gary Hart have used the "T" word to scare the bejabbers out of ignorant voters. Dowd is one of the worst of the irrational offenders. She wrote that the Bush administration is about “replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We’re entering another dark age,” she writes, “more creationist than cutting edge.” Liberal columnist E. R. Shipp is equally disturbed when he writes that conservatives want a “Christian Jihad.” Village Voice declared that Bush had a “mandate for theocracy.” And where do these theocrats live? In a place derisively called “Jesusland.” The people at www.Jesusland.com have even come up with what they describe as a “crypto-fascist theocracy” national anthem called the “Star Spangled Bible.” Read it, and then ask who are the real fascists.
Theocracy is an inescapable concept. The rejection of one theocratic government leads to the choice of another theocratic government. Even democracy is theocratic. Have you not heard the phrase vox populi, vox dei? “The voice of the people is the voice of god.” Francis Schaeffer described democracy as “the tyranny of the 51%.” In a pure democracy, whatever the majority says is right becomes the law for that moment in time.
Libertarianism is theocratic. Each and every individual is a god unto himself. I’ve heard the claim that libertarians believe people can do what they want as long as what they do does not hurt other people. Who says? What is the origin of this ethical standard? Arthur Leff, writing for the Duke Law Journal (December 1979), believed that napalming babies is bad; starving the poor is wicked; and buying and selling each other is depraved. But he could not say why. If there is no God, then who says that hurting people is a bad thing? Maybe it’s really good, but we just don’t know it. Libertarianism hangs by a moral thread. This “do unto others as they would do unto you” ethic is borrowed from the Christian worldview. If Christianity were ever displaced, libertarians would tear each other apart with a smile.
The Supreme Court is theocratic. Five justices decide life and death issues without any reference to a law higher than the prerogatives of the court. The seven justices who made abortion legal in the United States have the blood of tens of millions of preborn babies on their hands. They were and are a law unto themselves. Liberals don’t see the theocratic nature of the Court because they have generally agreed with its decisions.
Secularism is theocratic. In California, a fifth-grade teacher has been prohibited by school authorities from giving students documents from American history that mention God. This includes the Declaration of Independence. I suspect the Constitution would have to be included as well since it states that it was drafted in 1797 “in the year of our Lord.” For the religiously impaired, “Lord” is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we see religion—the secular religion of humanism—being forced down the throats of captive students. We just learned from the Attorney General’s office of California that schools cannot inform parents if their children leave campus to receive certain confidential medical services that include abortion, AIDS treatment, and psychological analysis. The key word here is “cannot.” This is the modern version of theocracy in action.
Christianity is viewed as a rival theocracy by liberal theocrats. That’s why these guys are so angry at the prospect that Christians might have a moral and cultural voice in society. They have a worthy opposition that sees through the facade of secular neutrality and objectivity. Secularism, in the name of reason and progress, has a bloody history. As Alister McGrath writes in The Twilight of Atheism, “The reality of the situation is bloody, messy and brutal. The eradication of faith tends to involve firing squads and gas chambers.” The world suffers under the supposed rational faith of atheism. Since atheism is said to be rational, there cannot be an appeal to an outside authority. What’s rational is defined by those in power. So if those in power declare that it’s rational to exterminate people, then there is nothing wrong with it. McGrath continues:
It is only fair to point out that those who planned the Holocaust, and those who slammed shut the doors of the Auschwitz gas chambers, were human beings–precisely those whom Ludwig Feurerbach declared to be the new “gods” of the modern era, free from any divine prohibitions or sanctions, or any fear of future divine judgment.
If you would like to see the cold rationalism of a secular theocracy in action, I urge you to view Conspiracy a real-time enactment of the Nazi plan to eradicate the Jews. The horror is in knowing that it really happened.
So then, when Maureen Dowd and her anti-theocratic friends start pontificating over the horrors of a Christian theocracy, remind them of the bloody history of their own secular theocracy.