Theocracy: Is this the Future?
The Constitution of the United States clearly defines the separation of Church and State. Throughout America’s storied history controversies have arisen regarding what is and what isn’t acceptable for the government to make a law. For example, in 1954 President Eisenhower asked Congress to add “one nation under God” to the pledge of allegiance. Christianity was the undisputed prominent religion, but the addition of “under God” blurred the lines set by the Constitution. Today, the country faces an ominous future as a minority political party governs the majority.
The current minority political party, the Republicans, came to power in the 2000s because of gerrymandering, redistricting counties, and states in their favor. The majority, the Democrats, have some control over legislation introduced by the Republicans, but cannot pass a piece of legislation without having a few Republicans vote in their favor. To understand the situation the country is in and the impact one political party has on the future of America it is necessary to look at the influence religion has on the Republicans.
The Republican Party gained influence over the South in 1968 because of evangelicals and traditional Roman Catholics.1 Both groups believe in social conservatism. In 1980 President Reagan changed the face of the Republican Party by welcoming the evangelicals’ influence into the White House, Congress, and legislation. Clyde Haberman wrote a comprehensive overview of the influence evangelicals have on the Republican Party titled “Religion and Right-Wing Politics: How Evangelicals Reshaped Elections.” (The New York Times October 28, 2018), Views on issues such as birth control, abortion, and the right women have to access healthcare were influenced by religious beliefs. The potential for a Theocracy was created.
A Theocracy, a form of government in which a religious institution is an authority from which all authority derives, has invaded legislation on all levels of government. In 2018, over 13 states adopted restrictive anti-abortion laws. The Trump administration has enacted several restrictive abortion and contraceptive laws, two of which were signed into law two days after the mid-term elections. Erin Corbett’s discusses the Trump administration’s “execution of more anti-women’s healthcare laws than any other administration since 2017” (Fortune Magazine November 8th, 2018). This alone is troubling because these laws do not reflect the opinion of the majority. The majority of Americans believe access to women’s healthcare is a right that should not be restricted or banned by the government. However, evangelicals and other conservative Christians, with the support of the Republicans, passed laws that affect the majority. Another worrisome aspect is the evangelical and conservative Christian continued support of a President who by all reasoning defies the religious and moral beliefs of the evangelicals. Some have said Trump is ordained by God.
The Republicans' willingness to capitulate to the wishes of a religious group and spurning of the Constitution throws the government into disarray. The adoption of conservative Christian beliefs, the creation of legislation which reflects religious beliefs, and the idolatry of politicians by said religious group lay the groundwork for a government in which all laws are derived from that religion’s moral laws.
The possibility of a Theocracy is not impossible. The rights of women are being stripped, reflecting religious codes the majority doesn’t believe in. Women are losing autonomy, the right to have say over their body, because of religious beliefs. Government bodies are ordaining laws from the moral laws of a religious group. Is America becoming a Theocracy? I say yes. The legislation being passed, the rulings by courts, which have judges appointed by Republicans, and the refusal of all forms of government to vote according to the wishes of the majority and their constituents is proof America is losing the right to call itself a Democracy.
Matthew D. Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013).