Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Theocracy and Why It's Not Christian

Although I'm a couple of days late with this, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to participate in the Blog Against Theocracy.

I thought I'd take a different tack this year and explain why embedding "Christianity" into our government is not a Christian thing to do. There are several reasons for this, straight out of the Bible.

First of all, Jesus said His kingdom "is not of this world." He also told His disciples to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." To me, these statements mean that the teachings of Jesus were separate from what the government was doing; He never expected people to revise the government's laws to reflect His teachings, but instead wanted His followers to live by them in their personal lives.

The other reason theocracy isn't a Christian idea is that it shows a lack of empathy for others. Jesus' teachings also include "love thy neighbor as thyself" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This means having empathy with people who are different from you and trying to see things from their point of view. Obviously people who have rigid beliefs that they want to enforce on everyone in the country are not thinking of the other person's point of view at all.

The Bible, and sadly, Christianity itself, have been used as an excuse for everything from outright war (the Crusades), to bigotry (saying the Bible forbade interracial marriage, for instance, in the past - and gay marriage now). Jesus never talked about any of this. He said "turn the other cheek." If He were here today He would be horrified at much of what is done in His name.

There is a distinct lack of imagination on the part of those who want to make THEIR "Christian" beliefs part of our federal laws. They perceive that their way is the "right" way and that all other beliefs are wrong. They are unable to imagine being in the other person's shoes, the person who is the minority, who has a different belief.

They don't realize that the separation of Church and State was created to protect the minority believers. If these good "Christians" lived in a Muslim country, their beliefs would be the minority beliefs and their freedom to believe would be threatened. But they can't imagine themselves in that same place so they are unable and unwilling to understand.

The founders of our nation separated Church and State for good reasons. They realized you can't have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion. Only when religion is not part of the governing body can religious people, of all kinds, thrive and believe (or not believe) as they wish.

10 comments:

JollyRoger said...

Roger Williams had his taste of Jesusistan almost 400 years ago, and he founded Rhode Island to escape them. Ben Franklin was unlucky enough to encounter the Puritan remnants as a child and a young man. Those men knew what the Jesusistanis were all about, and they believed in rules to keep them restrained-as I do.

Organized religion, it's all about power and control. All of it. Some flavors may be more benign than other ones, but none of them are to be trusted.

proudprogressive said...

Very very Nice Post - excellent

one day i write pretty too. :) like you do -

we the people will keep this country from becoming a theocracy - the Jesustanis be damned. And yeppers organized religion in every stripe has always ALWAYS been about power and control - my but we humans are gullable - skuze me i gotta go hug a tree and kiss some ground. The earth is my temple.

Liz said...

An interesting and sensible post. I'm sure God cringes (at least!!) at some of the things done in his name.

Jill said...

Amen sister! :)

Reamus said...

That all works for me. Good post!

Bee said...

Very nice post, MauiGirl, very nice indeed. Too bad the other christians don't pay attention to those who understand, like you, what the separation clause is really all about.

Suz said...

Well said! It's very unfortunate that the religious right is blind to the purpose of separation of religion and government. It does protect BOTH.

Fran said...

***applauds***

Annette said...

Great job.. I think you have hit all the points needed and done it with reason and calm. So many times this is a subject that can't be done without screaming and arguments. Why, I don't know. Emotions always seem to get in the way of sanity mostly.

Comrade Kevin said...

And being good Englishmen, they were afraid of centralized religious control of both the Catholic church and the reign of Oliver Cromwell and his protectorate.