Lately, there has been a lot of talk in the political arena about the desire to create a theocracy here in the United States. Yet, only those with little knowledge on the history of such governments would ever want such a thing. Being a student of history, and of current affairs and current government forms, I know that becoming a theocratic state is a bad idea. In the following expose, I shall show you why.
Although ancient history is riddled with theocratic states, only one stands out as a beginner’s look at how a theocracy runs. Ancient Egypt. Yes, Egypt was the land of the god-kings. Though it lasted for centuries, it did not remain unified. Nor did their religion remain singular. Each pharaoh raised his own deity.
In the end, this instability, and the constant infighting between contenders to the throne, destroyed Egypt. Ancient Persia was also theocratic. They also were guided by the worship of their deities. Though Persia rose to greatness, it collapsed after the failed attempt to conquer Greece.
Ancient Israel. Rome. Greece. To a certain extent, each were theocracies. They all failed.
Fast forward to Europe in the Middle Ages. Though Europe was headed by monarchies, the main leadership was the church. This standard had been started by Charlemagne and his “Holy Roman Empire”. Though a theocratic monarchy, the kings of these kingdoms were far from being the best examples for their subjects. Greed, envy, infidelity, and lust ran rampant.
Between 1232 and 1833, the notorious Inquisition took place. This, spurred by ethnic biases and greed, not to mention a few unscrupulous and very lecherous priests, killed millions of innocent people based solely upon their religious differences or their opposition to the corruption of some priest. But those were not the only people to die at the hands of the Inquisition. Rape victims, both male and female, were slaughtered to silence them from outing any priest who had seduced or forced themselves upon them. Those who were rich, if they refused to cede land to the church or the government, were executed as heretics simply to get their wealth and lands.
But the nightmare did not end there. Theocracy once again reared its ugly head in the American colonies. This time, people who had come across the ocean in search of religious freedom now restricted the very freedom they had south. None could disagree with the Puritan Church’s authority. To do so was to be branded an outcast.
By 1620, the Inquisition had spread to the colonies in the form of the fear of witches. Seizing upon this fear, a small group of young girls began acting out. They began acting as if they were having seizures, then accused innocent people of witchery. The clergy of the day, being as superstitious as they were, took the word of these girls and, by 1622 had imprisoned hundreds of people. Even thousands. Of these at least 100 were hung innocently of charges that were later revealed to be false.
This collapse of the social structure, then forced the hand of the British authority to take control of the colonies. For the 100 years that spanned between the witch hunts and the Revolution, England had slowly tightened its control until the colonists were basically impoverished through taxation. This, along with forced conscription into the British military, pushed the colonies to revolt.
Our forefathers, 100 years removed from the incidents of the 1620s, resolved that those events should never take place in this country again. Their vision for their states was one where both church and state could thrive, but separately. This separation was meant to deter those who would use political intrigue as a reason to effectively cause inquisitions or witch hunts simply to erase their rivals from the running.
Now. Let us look at a couple of theocracies that now exist. Most would agree that the Arab monarchies, for the most part are theocratic monarchies. In recent years, these have become much challenged by their subjects and laws demanded to be changed. Iran, once known as Persia, is also a theocracy. We have, since the seventies when the Ayatollah rose to power, vilified this government as being evil.
The terrorist organization ISIS (IS) is also a theocratic regime. So was the Taliban. So why would America want to join these so-called evil groups and countries and form its own theocracy? With the track record of failure, I am still left wondering.
Finally, the reason theocracy does not work. Much like communism, theocracy works wonderfully on paper. But the implementation and follow through is what causes it to be simply an “ideal” form of government rather than a “practical” form of governance. Ideally, one belief is a great and wonderful thing. Yet, from the practical standpoint, it defeats the very reason this country was formed: the freedom of religion, which is stated very succinctly in the bill of rights, along with speech, bearing arms, and several other points.
Theocracy only works when the leadership is pure of heart. This means no greed, no envy, no lust, no hate, and no desire for personal gain. Not one of those who are crying out for a theocracy have any of these qualities. Not even the mainstream “Christian Fundamentalists” who rail against blacks, gays, and the poor. Fundamentalism, you see, is actually fundamentally wrong. They focus on everything but what actually would show people what they believe: their examples.
Right now, the drive for a theocracy is born out of hate, fear and ignorance-not out of true concern for the peoples’ faith, belief or wellbeing. There is no common welfare in their desire to create a strict “religion” based government. Many who are clamoring for it do not realize that their ways of belief would also soon come under attack if they did not side with those in control. The instance they disagreed would be the instance they would be removed from society.
To claim that history has nothing to teach us is to close our ears to wisdom and to close our eyes to the lessons of those who came before. Ignorance is not bliss, and following the crowd is not always the best for all. Those who fail to learn are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Those who keep their eyes open and refuse to take someone’s word as truth until they have tested it beyond any doubt will always be the wisest. For once, America, open your eyes. The truth is being hidden from you. The truth is always within your reach, all you have to do is be willing to accept it as such.
I wrote the above article and sent it, as my resume, to a newspaper in hopes of securing my first reporter gig. I can do the best investigative-and in depth-articles I know. I search out every possible side, every possible source, and every possible tidbit of information. I can compare and contrast, though not with total perfection, anything.
Had I been given the job, I would have brought a knowledge of history that most journalists seem to lack. I also have a better knowledge of religion and faith than those currently ‘reporting’ the current propaganda of the day. I have a better handle on objective politics, meaning I am from neither party and can quickly point out the errors of thought on both sides.
But, apparently, you still need a journalism degree to become a reporter…even though many have fewer brains than I do and just tend to look really nice as an office ornament. Or maybe I threaten the current view that a twisted view of history is the best. I don’t know.