A brief history of theocracy in the United States and the totalitarian dangers it poses

American Theocracy

What would an American Theocracy look like? If you want an idea, look no further than our elected Republican and Tea Party representatives. In recent decades, the right-wing has waged a personal war on America’s secular form of government and have attempted to shred the 1st amendment separation of religion and state. We can all see signs of theocratic tendencies within America’s religious right, which has caused drastic and possibly dangerous consequences for our secular Republic.

The Religious Right in America has been on the rise since the 1980’s, beginning with the so-called “moral majority” movement which was spearheaded by men like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Overtime the religious right has sought to eliminate the secular barrier in government protected by the 1st amendment. As Falwell once stated “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”

This belief has grown very strong among religious conservatives, so much so that they are now re-writing history (in more ways than one). It is well established that the founding fathers, especially the more famous ones, were mainly deists and not Christians in the evangelical sense.

Thomas Jefferson kept a personal bible in which he not only removed the entire Old Testament, he also removed all divine references in the New Testament including all mentions of the divinity of Jesus. John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 which declared the US to be “not founded on the Christian religion.” Benjamin Franklin was practically agnostic when it came to religion, and even George Washington refused to take communion.

In spite of the well known deism of many of the founders, the religious right in America completely disregards theseAmerican Theocracy statue of liberty facts and instead has launched a campaign to rewrite history. In fact a certain sect of the Christian right known as “Dominionists” have stated that the founding fathers intended the United States to be founded as a Christian Theocracy and that the Constitution was framed directly after the Ten Commandments. Yes, they seriously believe this.

The danger here is that these ideas are not just relegated to fringe groups, but in fact have gained wide traction among conservatives in America. Texas has in recent years altered its public school textbooks in order to spread this type of theocratic propaganda espoused by the religious right. For example, some Texas school books are teaching students about end-times theology and Genesis creationism.

It is very important to note that the religious right is not basing its theocratic tendencies on rational fact and understanding. Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent of the New York Times, wrote a book titled American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America in which he spelled out in detail the doctrines and dangers of the religious right. One solid point Hedges made was about the mode of belief over truth in the Christian right, which he spelled out as such in the book;

“In the promulgation of a totalitarian belief system, at first we are told we all have a right to an opinion, in short, a right to believe anything. Soon, under iron control of an empowered totalitarian movement, facts become worthless, kept or discarded according to an ideological litmus test. Lies become true. And once the totalitarians are in power, facts are ruthlessly manipulated or kept hidden to support the lie.”

What Hedges has laid out is not an original observation, however he manages to summarize very well the mindset of the religious right in so many ways. Indeed, when one looks closely at the religious right you will see a totalitarian apparatus and mindset spread among them. Facts are worthless unless they support well established religious dogma.

Believe me, if the 1st amendment did not clearly separate Church and State, conservatives would have imposed a State (Christian) Religion a long time ago and perhaps we would today be living in a world very similar to Margaret Atwood’s novel  The Handmaid’s Tale. For those not familiar with the novel, it gives a frighteningly accurate look at the type of system a Christian Theocracy in America would impose if given the chance.

Many states in America have seen the gradual progression of an American theocratic ideology pushed upon them. One by one, christian conservatives plan to take over local governments and have it serve as a domino effect to topple the separation of church in state.

North Carolina for example recently attempted to outright nullify the 1st Amendment to establish an official State Religion. As a parting shot to all religious theocrats, I will post the 1st Amendment’s clauses on religion to show how demonstrably clear the separation of church and state is;

-“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

– “No religious test hall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The Handmaid's Tale
“The Handmaid’s Tale”

25 COMMENTS

  1. I am surprised that the religious right has gone so far into this blind hypocrisy. The same people who think its apauling that Middle Eastern countries run their country based on the teachings of Islam and the Quran thump their Bibles at the constitution. They want an absolute theocracy (but only in the figurative teachings of the Bible, where only certain passages apply) just like them, only Christian.

  2. a christian theocracy in america would burn books,have christian morality police aka militia.
    free thought and ideas would be quashed and heretics real or suspect would be given punishment based on biblical laws.
    only christians that adhere to strict religous dogmad will be allowed to hold office.
    anyone who questions,riducles the state religion or protests whether in thought or word will be guilty of blasphemy and punished with death.
    non-believers will be forced to convert.
    only registered christians in good religious standing will receive goods or services.
    non- christian will not be allowed to marry christians without proof of conversion.

    sound familiar just switch christian for islam or any other totalitarian ideology such as Nazism, communism and you’ve got the BIG PICTURE OF THEOCRACY!

    • The theocracy in america will probably not come about for these reasons. ..
      1. There are two many christian factions with too many interpretations of what should be included in the said theocracy. The hardliners fighting with moderates similar to sunni and shiites in islam.(although extreme.fundamental Christians may resort to violence and use scripture to justify it similar to islam)
      2.The courts will be so jammed with supposed christian based legislation that become so odious and unconstitutional that main stream christians and secular citizens will block every attempt to pass their revisionist view of what the constitution really is.
      3.The.churches of any.denomination dont.have enough sway over their own let.alone to come.to a consensus of any kind as to who would be in charge. ..and most revered religious leades are generally in the FRINGE OF LUNACY…..PAT ROBERTSON,JERRY FALWELL FOR.EXAMPLE….PATS CHRISTIAN RIGHT FAILED TO GET HIM ELECTED…EVEN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN VOTERS WERE SMART ENOUGH TO NOT TO PUT HIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
      4. After 8 years of Born again George W Bush…,Who no one has heard.a peep from,the Tea party disowned their fair Haired boy…dropped him like a hot potato.
      5. The amount of misinformation the christian right puts out by pseudo christian/constitution revisionist historians like dave barton and glenn crybaby beck are debunked daily by real historians. …..and the public knows the difference.

    • Right. It was progressives that spent the nation’s future on tax cuts and two wars, while also supporting policies that stifled middle class growth in favor of wealth concentration policies directed to the 1%. It sure was those no good progressives that destroyed collective bargaining and are waging war against women’s rights in america. No good progressives….

    • The progressives that you call a “socialist mob” and that you hate so much, well, that is the real American Republic. Sorry about your childish political delusions, but if you enjoy them with out hurting other people, fell free to indulge in them. I don’t mind. Its your right as a citizen to express them as its mine to laugh at them.

    • Actually, I find that those who use the terms Socialist, Communist, Marxist or Fascist are the very people who have absolutely no idea of what those terms actually mean or how they are applied. And that indicates that they have, as a famous scientist once said, “been captured by the bamboozle.”

  3. The greatest threat to America, and indeed to therest of world, at this point in history, comes from the staunch advocates of rightwing ideology, and I must submit this warning to you: There is a grave problemwith the right wing movement, in that; they seem to possess a distorted senseof entitlement. They’ve set themselves apart, and seem to think that theirfaith gives them the right to view the world from a platitude of conceit,through condescending eyes, and with a false sense of superiority. Theyactually believe themselves to be superior beings, with a manifest destiny andsome strange notion that God is on their side. A people with a desire toconquer, under the false guise of Christianity, seeking to dominate in the nameof Christ, their view of humanity being reduced to nothing more than a matterof “us” and “them”.

    What they fail to realize is; if the Christ you believe inleads you to view other humans as lesser beings, then you are a follower of theanti-Christ. The plaintruth is; God doesn’t have a religion and God doesn’t discriminate. Anyreligion that professes to be the only true religion, or that they‘re specialin the eyes of God preaches false doctrine. If the Spirit of God is truly withyou, it will only be known by acts of “unconditional” love and charity. Noreligion can claim exclusive rights to God. He belongs to all that He hascreated, and to foster a belief in “us” and “them” is to divide humanity, notunite it.

    And so it will be, in The End, that those who have setthemselves apart from their fellow man will find that they have set themselvesapart from God. The worth of a soul will only be measured by how much it hasloved, nothing more, nothing less. Woe to those who have taken the widow’s miteand built castles and empires in His name. They have incurred a greataccountability, their suffering will be unending.

    Even Jesus will not claim to be Christian, but will onlyproclaim the glory of the Father. And when He returns they will shout:”Here we are Lord!” And He will respond: “I never knewyou”. They have forsaken the Word and have become prisoners of theNumbers.

    Thosewho have put themselves first will be last.

  4. The modern Christian Right appeared when southern states were forced to drop their state ideology of racism. Massive numbers of whites across the South fled into hastily set up all-white religious schools, and funding for public schools was cut. To this day, there are essentially no black people in the Christian Right, and it is much weaker in the North.

    • Yes indeed I witnessed this once racial discrimination in school systems began to be addressed in the 1970’s and 1980’s religious and home school movements popped up in the South and spread north. Originally is was to save their children from racial mixing but quickly picked up the cover stories of saving them from “secular humanism,” evolution, sex education, learning about the rest of the non-Christian world and a few other things. But the foundation has always been religious white flight in the south.

  5. It goes deeper than all this. Read “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet (2007).

    Also, just watch the news every day. Anti-abortion, anti-contraceptive, anti-gay marriage, teaching creationism, and public support for voucher schools (code for getting public funds for religious schools). These are ALL based on Judeo-Christian dogma. We even had a rep. from Utah last week (a Mormon) who thought it would be a good idea to make public education non-compulsory.
    We have a state AG in North Carolina who would bring back the old sodomy laws under the guise of “protecting our children.” LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Right.

    This country is under attack from within, but it’s nothing the NSA or Homeland Security needs to worry about. Hell, they probably wouldn’t care anyway.

    Now….add into this smelly mix the fact that our educational system is in a shambles and many of these same types of people are doing their level best to destroy it, and the outlook is quite grim. I shudder to think what this country will be like in twenty to thirty years if people of conscience and critical thinking don’t wake the hell up and DO something.

    • Read Sharlet’s second book on the subject as well. It’s dense reading… not a light afternoon snack, but the conclusions are frightening. You wrote an excellent article.

    • People who care greatly about the direction our country and world (planetary culture) are going and understand the threat of Dominionism have GOT TO PULL TOGETHER and ORGANISE an AGGRESSIVE EFFORT against the Dominionists. If we can not even do that, we might as well kiss our American Republic goodbye!

  6. This crucial information must be continually put out to open eyes! Theocracy, Fascism, Despotism are ALL happening NOW more than ever and it’s VERY dangerous in many ways!! Being ruled over with an iron fist is NOT ok and concerns me deeply !! Thank you for posting this Quiet Mike!!

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