I’m on Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s email list and received an alert today regarding a “Blog Against Theocracy” blogswarm and, since I don’t support a theocracy, I decided to join the blogswarm.
But then, in reading more about the event, it seems my suspicions about AU being misguided in their entire underlying philosophy are true. This anti-theocracy blogswarm, is also meant to show support for separation of church and state, which of course, I oppose, as did the Founders and the rest of the country until about 1947.
Despite the conflict, I decided to send a link to this post to the blogswarm coordinator and see what happens.
Liberal readers are wondering how can you oppose separation and theocracy? If you oppose theocracy, doesn’t that make you pro-separation by definition? Not exactly.
Wikipedia defines it this way: a theocracy is a form of government in which the divine power (for example, in monotheisms, the one God) governs an earthly human state, either in person (e.g., as incarnation in a human being) or, more often, via its religious institutional representative(s) (e.g., church, temple), either replacing or dominating the organs of civil government as clerical or spiritual representative(s) of god(s).
Contrast that with Webster’s 1828 definition: Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul.
While the Wiki definition is bit extreme, I reject both as the alleged goal of the Founders and the religious right in politics. The widely known conservative groups such as Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, etc. all reject theocracy as a form of government in America. Webster, a highly influential Founder who was very familiar with the new Constitution and it’s intent, understood what a theocracy was and that America was not it. For those of you wondering about his definition, Saul was Israel’s first king and followed by David.
So, if conservatives do not desire a theocracy, then what is it called? David Barton answers:
The form of government entrusted to us by our Founders was a republic, not a democracy. Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not to. In fact, the Founders made clear that we were not, and were never to become, a democracy:
“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” –James Madison–
“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way. The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.” –Fisher Ames, Author of the House Language for the First Amendment–
A pure democracy operates by direct majority vote of the people. When an issue is to be decided, the entire population votes on it; the majority wins and rules. A republic differs in that the general population elects representatives who then pass laws to govern the nation. A democracy is the rule by majority feeling (what the Founders described as a “mobocracy”); a republic is rule by law. If the source of law for a democracy is the popular feeling of the people, then what is the source of law for the American republic? According to Founder Noah Webster:
Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.
So, the Founders gave us a republic. If conservatives want to simply keep it that way to avoid a democracy or worse, where do these false accusations of theocracy come from? Perhaps these are rooted in a colossal misunderstanding of the original intent of the Founders’ and the Constitution.
The republic we live in has its basis in the Bible. This does not mean our leaders will dominate civil law by “forcing Christian beliefs” on every citizen, as alleged by liberals. Consider the stability the Bible offers. For example, in our republic, murder will always be a crime because God’s Word says it is. On the other hand, in a democracy, if the majority decides murder is not a crime, it becomes legalized.
Abortion is the case-in-point here. Except, it was not a democracy that decided it should become legal. It took an activist group of judges instead of the vote of the majority to legalize baby-killing. These judges didn’t listen to the voice of the majority. They just heard the loudest voices, which certainly does not excuse conservatives, who should have spoken louder.
Government should only make laws when the Bible has not already ruled. For example, Blackstone’s Commentaries explained:
To instance in the case of murder: this is expressly forbidden by the Divine. . . . If any human law should allow or enjoin us to commit it we are bound to transgress that human law. . . . But, with regard to matters that are . . . not commanded or forbidden by those superior laws such, for instance, as exporting of wool into foreign countries; here the . . . legislature has scope and opportunity to interpose.
The Founders echoed that theme:
All laws, however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human. . . . But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God. . . . Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine. –James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice–
The law . . . dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. –Alexander Hamilton, Signer of the Constitution–
The . . . law established by the Creator . . . extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind. . . . This is the law of God by which he makes his way known to man and is paramount to all human control. –Rufus King, Signer of the Constitution–
A republic is the highest form of government devised by man, but it also requires the greatest amount of human care and maintenance. As John Adams explained:
Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination
of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.
Were it not for the efforts of a few conservatives, it seems John Adams’ nightmare would be true. And, it appears from the last two Presidential elections, that a wave of conservatives are awakening to a new understanding of the original intent of the Founders and a keen awareness of the work of secular humanist liberals to undermine the very fabric of this country and replace it with an anarchy.
7.62mm Justice trackbacked with: Conservatives & Theocracy