If one Goggles theocracy, they will find the following definition: “A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.”
Of course, the three main Abrahamic religions on the globe today each aspire to a government based around their understanding of God, Yahweh or Allah. Each religion in some way shadows similar descriptions of the same God, with Christianity even canonizing the Jewish writings, though drawing a line drawn in the sand as to who Jesus was.
My objective is neither to endorse all three, nor deny my strong allegiance to Christianity, simply to address the challenges that we now face in a country once predominately Christian though open to all faiths, now badly divided and ultra-religious. The latter is not a good thing for a democracy, which when Googled: “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”
“Government by the whole” requires compromise, debate and deep respect for each other’s beliefs, something that seems to be lost in America, even within the same religions. As an active politician, someone who has offered himself for public service through an elected position, it has become very apparent that the party system is struggling, even within our own ranks, with division surrounding the guiding principles that founded our nation. Compounded by eroding fellowship between citizens of different faith perspectives, and a growing distance even within the various religious sects generationally, this dissonance is now inflamed by the rhetoric of extreme terrorist states outside our borders.
Such religious tension, protected by the First Amendment, seems to pound away at our precious, now aging experiment with liberty; most evident during national elections.
So what lies ahead for America and other countries committed to democracy, as religious expression grows more pluralistic and the adherents themselves more polarized? One has only to look at the annals of time to know that war is the outcome of a course where compromise is limited by legalist religious law. The nation of Israel and its surrounding states are an example of the outcome of religious dissonance and are steadily at war, each professing their right to the Holy City. This is the plight of broken souls, though theocracy may have been the original plan of our loving God, it does not work among sinners.
America, founded at least initially as a nation that assured freedom of expression, with moorings principally Christianity, minimally Theist, proffered a citizenship based more on love, respect and orderly engagement than on religious law, even for our enemies unless liberty was truly threatened. With that came the American dream, and the right to prosperity, the practice of capitalism and free enterprise.
The latter seems to have worked, as our shores have always been teaming with men and women who are willing to die for the opportunity to bring their offspring into the citizenship in this great country.
Why all this early morning musing, I find myself alarmed at the division that seems to exist even among those who believe as I do, sincerely praying over their ballot and yet now unable to except what they profess: “I urge … that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
The biblical view regarding proper treatment of governing officials is founded on the truth contained in Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Accomplishing His will through a variety of physical means, God ordains people into worldly offices. All power comes from Him. (See also Daniel 4:17.).
Will we risk this great experiment (Democracy) in the name of God (Theocracy), when it violates our own Biblical doctrines, simply because we fear its demise? Fear is personally prophetic, bringing to reality what one most dreads unless conquered. The remedy for fear is repentance, changing of our ways. Otherwise, we have placed our faith in democracy more so than the God whom we profess, with lip service only to the motto on our coinage, “In God we trust.”