You think of crusading Christians. Middle-Eastern wastelands. But what is a theocracy? Must it be extreme and oppressive? The “separation of church and state” is much cherished in our country, but it produces a secular society in which we lose the soul of Western culture.
Try changing the definition of theocracy. You will start to see a society much like America at the turn of the 19th century, before Socialism took root.
America experienced historic growth because it was a theocratic system. Not the kind of theocracy that we see in the Middle East, but one that is inclusive and tolerant. Why do we think any kind of religious government will give us intolerant extremism?
Our nation is steadily decaying without religious foundation. The founding fathers saw religion as a crucial part of the American government. The problem is we define theocracy incorrectly today and unwittingly embrace the evil religion of Leftism.
True Theocracy Protects Religious Worship
Brigham Young described theocracy as tolerating a variety of religious beliefs:
“Erroneous traditions and the powers of darkness have such a sway over mankind, that when we speak of a theocracy on the earth, the people are frightened.
The government of the ‘holy Catholic Church,’ from which all Protestant churches are offshoots, is professedly theocratic, though it is directly opposed to the theocracy described in the bible. But few, if any, understand what a theocratic government is. In every sense of the word, it is a republican government, and differs but little in form from our national, state and territorial governments, but its subjects will recognize the will and dictation of the Almighty.”
We assume that religious governments will ban other religions. But this is often not the case. In fact, we can pretty much judge the worth of a theocracy by how much religious freedom it provides.
What makes a true theocracy?
- Laws derived from correct divine principles, as we find in scripture
- Rulers who execute the law righteously
- Preservation of the laws in purity
People think theocracy is a government that compels people to part of a certain religion and punishes those who aren’t. But true theocracy derives its laws from divine principles, executes those principles righteously, and preserves the laws in purity. The main principle is individual responsibility, which requires freedom of religion.
“The Constitution and laws of the Untied States resemble a theocracy more closely than any government now on the earth, or that ever has been, so far as we know, except the government of the children of Israel to the time when they elected a king. All governments are more or less under the control of the Almighty, and in their forms, have sprung from the laws that he has from time to time given to man. Those laws, in passing from generation to generation, have been more or less adulterated, and the result has been the various forms of government now in force among the nations.”
Brigham Young said it is not a question of whether a government is theocratic but how much theocracy it has. All governments are religious. Our Leftist government today is incredibly intolerant toward Christianity, which indicates that the Socialism which dominates our government is itself an intolerant religion.
There is a natural moral law which our nation’s laws resemble to some degree. The strictness of our laws according to natural law depends on how much personal responsibility the majority of the population can handle.
Some nations require stricter laws and less personal freedom, because the moment people are given an inch they turn to crime. The law of Moses, for example, precisely defined every part of people’s lives.
Some nations require looser laws, because they possess a great sense of personal responsibility and demand that higher level of freedom. Revolutions ignite if they don’t get it. This doesn’t mean the natural law is defunct, but the people follow the natural law without requiring government law to make them do it.
It is like the kid who is allowed to stay out late because his parents trust him to keep himself out of trouble. Some societies keep themselves out of trouble and others don’t. If the parents don’t trust a good kid, he will patiently bear it for a while. But there is a breaking point. At some point he leaves home.
Thus, the appropriate amount of personal freedom that our laws permit are determined by the maturity of the people, if the nation’s laws enforce natural law.
Socialists Disagree – This is different than what we popularly believe. Our Socialist education system has taught us that laws shape the people, not the other way around. Natural law doesn’t exist, and government shapes the people, which means personal freedom (specifically private ownership) leads to a stratified, unjust society.
They say private ownership exists under the incorrect notion of “eternal laws of nature and of reason.” Under Capitalism, each individual shapes a “will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.”
To some degree we are shaped by economic conditions, yes. But for all the sophistry in the Communist manifesto, this is overly simplistic.
J.M. Romney explained how Europe matured out of the Dark Ages:
“While the popes had thus gradually extended their spiritual dominion over nearly the whole of Europe, they were at the same time striving to become powerful temporal lords… But finally, under Gregory VII, a man of great energy and capacity, and one who made everything subservient to the aggrandizement of the papacy, enormous strides were made in this direction. His dream was to establish a great theocracy, over which the pope was to rule as the representative of Jesus Christ…
However we may be inclined to view the usurpation of power by Rome and its clergy, we are forced to confess that it was well for mankind, during the dark ages, that the pope did possess great spiritual power at that time; for it was then necessary that some powerful restraint be exerted to preserve the chaotic elements of society in something like seeming order. The Roman hierarchy answered this purpose.
But there came a time when men ceased to be children; when, in the nature of events, they began to reach the estate of manhood.”
The people lived under suppression, but this was appropriate because they could not yet handle more personal freedom. The push towards theocentric hierarchy was false theocracy, because it did not push the people toward greater personal responsibility. The government’s law did not enforce natural law to a great enough degree, so sometimes we saw anarchy.
The same can be said for Communism. It diminishes personal responsibility and swings either towards oppression or anarchy.
What “events” helped the Europeans mature from children into men?
Romney says it happened “when learning was reborn, and printing came to scatter it broadcast over the earth; when discovery was enlarging the world.” New technology spurred revolution as the quality of the people outgrew its government, like how a snake sheds its skin. Suddenly, the common man could print a book and distribute his ideas rather than relying on big powers to distribute learning. The two-edged sword of technology launched a movement towards scientific discovery and people became much more interested in personal excellence. Sometimes we saw theocracy.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1892, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
John Adams wrote: “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. ”
John Quincy Adams said: “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”
Our founding fathers drew radical principles of freedom from the holy scriptures, the principles of natural law found therein.
For example, freedom of religion can be found in Romans 14:1, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Freedom of speech can be seen Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.”
Until recently, the Ten Commandments hung in courtrooms to illustrate that we derive our laws from divine justice. The ACLU did not allow this, unfortunately.
The bible is not the only source of these divine principles. Greek philosophy was arguably an even bigger influence on our Constitution. Aristotle established the principles of the constitutional republic that gave us separation of powers and our Constitution. We see a similar constitutional republic in the Book of Mormon, which was developed separately from Aristotle. This indicates to me that the ideas of Aristotle in our government are divine. Natural law springs up in a variety of places throughout history.
Righteous Execution Of Law
When we consider the importance of good leaders, we must look at more than just our politicians. What about business leaders? Educators? Media personalities?
The media plays a huge role in righteous execution of the law. America saw this with the yellow journalism that caused the Spanish-American war. Business leaders and media today play a greater role than ever, as America is today more of an autocracy and less of a democracy.
B.H. Roberts said leaders in a theocracy are given divine power:
“I believe in a true republican theocracy, and also a true democratic theocracy… What do I understand by a theocratic government? One in which all laws are enacted and executed in righteousness, and whose officers possess that power which proceedeth from the Almighty…
What do the world understand theocracy to be? A poor, rotten government of man… Again the theocracy I speak of is the power of the Holy Ghost within you–that living and eternal principle.”
The federal Capitol Building in Washington D.C. originally provided Sunday worship services for America’s leaders. Did you know that? The nations leaders met for Christian church services even before it was used for government.
Sure, there are some charlatans who put on a religious face. But generally, one can tell if a leader is good for the country by their level of spiritual involvement. Barack Obama, for example, attended a racist, anti-American church in Chicago, and he went on to destroy personal responsibility and tear down America every chance he got.
Seek Better Leaders, Not More Laws
Brigham Young said:
“I repeat that the Constitution, laws, and institutions of our government are as good as can be, with the intelligence now possessed by the people. But they, as also the laws of other nations, are too often administered in unrighteousness.”
Why is it that every time there is a shooting that spreads in the news media, everybody screams for a new law, as if that will stop it in the future? Every time we see a tragic news story in our Facebook feed, we scream “Why isn’t there a law against this?”
Why do we need new laws? There are all kinds of laws that would prevent these tragedies if they were only enforced. The crime rate in America would plummet dramatically if the border laws were enforced and illegal aliens were deported.
According to Brigham Young, the law is just fine (or at least it was, until Socialists showed up). The problem is our leaders do not enforce nor abide by the law. The more we create new laws to solve society’s problems and tear down the structure that we had, the worse things get. More laws only make the problem worse, because those laws are not based on nature but on social justice.
A theocracy is like a well-crafted violin. If it doesn’t sound good, does that mean you need to take a chisel and make modifications to the violin, or is it because the person playing it is incompetent?
This is not to say we should go back to the original Constitution. Obviously, abolition of slavery was a good idea. A handful of other things were good. But the vast majority of changes has made people more dependent on government and less free.
Secular Nations Are Violent & Intolerant
Look at pretty much any conflict in America. They were all started by secularism, when we drifted away from divine law. The Spanish-American war. The slaughter of American Indians. Internment camps in WW2. The Iraq War. Slavery. In each case, America “progressed” away from the founding classic principles.
But what about the degenerate Islamic nations in the Middle East? Aren’t they theocracies, based on what they consider divine principles?
No. These nations may wear a mask of religious leadership, and they cling to a set of rules, but their religion resembles Leftism more than it resembles classic divine principles. For example, the “secret police” in Saudi Arabia resemble the shadow government set up under Barack Obama which spy regularly on American citizens. The Mutawa “moral police” in Saudi Arabia agitate and punish people for violating their form of political correctness in much the same way as SJWs.
Good morals and exceptionalism do not come from Social Justice, but from religious conviction, and they drive people toward greater personal responsibility as they accept more personal freedom. The false theocracies of the middle east do not afford people personal freedom, but oppress them with an arcane strict law, much like the increasingly strict laws that the Left push onto America.
Europe’s “progressive” secularism thrives off the backs of slave labor in third-world countries. They import immigrants to be their maids and lawn care providers, paying them practically nothing. They pursue wars for natural resources. This economic system does not follow divine laws, and results in the moral suicide we see today in the West. Social justice led them there, and will continue to lead to societal collapse.
The Socialist solution to societal ills pushes us away from divine law, and inevitably toward oppression or anarchy. It is foolish to pretend divine law does not exist or that God does not control.