Look at the headline: this is increasingly the song sung by the proponents of theocracy in America. The first at least is a logical possibility: There are examples in history of atheist dictatorships – the Soviet Union and Communist China, for example (though these two are outnumbered somewhere on an order of magnitude by monotheistic – including Christian – theocracies).
But the second is an impossibility: Secularism is not a religion but the separation between government and religious institutions and theocracy is by definition government by divine guidance. If America must suffer a theocracy it will be a Christian theocracy, and a Christian theocracy led by the very seem people predicting the “evils” of atheistic and secular rule. The oldest game in the book, of course, is to accuse the other guy of doing what you’re planning to do yourself as Hitler did in Germany, using the Communists and Jews as his foils.
Here is televangelist James Robison, founder of Life Reach International, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, bemoaning the evils of secular theocracy:
We believe that our rights come from God: nature’s law; nature’s god. We really believe that. And by the way those of you who don’t believe it, I love you. I love you to pieces. I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to help you have a place where you can keep preaching your nonsense okay? Where you’ll be free enough to do it because in a crazy world that doesn’t believe in God you won’t have that freedom. But you’re simply wrong and we’re not going to give you the liberty and license to continually assault the word of God, to assault marriage, to assault family and to literally take your secular theocracy and cram it down our throats. We’ve had it. And people who believe in faith and family and freedom, we’re going to stand up and become a city on a hill that cannot and will not be hidden.
Yeah, feel that love. With love like that, who needs hate? Hear that? “We’re not going to give you the liberty…” Hmm mm. Secularism does give you the liberty. Religion? Not so much, as the past 2000 years have shown.
Unsurprisingly, as Right Wing Watch reports, Robison is co-author of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, a book about “how Christians can rise up and save America.” Or destroy it.
Here is the granddaddy of all televangelists, Pat Robertson, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, bemoaning the evils of an atheist dictatorship:
Interestingly enough the religious issue is there and it should be but think of the chorus of negative comments about rick Santorum who dared to bring faith into the arena. But it has been brought in by every other president we’ve ever had. And certainly he quoted John Adams but you can quote Thomas Jefferson or whoever and they all acknowledge that our freedoms come from God. And we take God out of our society and we have lost our freedoms and that is what will happen in a secular society and next thing you know we’ll have as secular atheistic dictatorship and that we don’t want. That’s the way it’s shaping up and we’ll see how it plays out.
Robertson’s words have little to do with reality; no surprise there. The God Jefferson spoke of was not Robertson’s God and for his trouble, Jefferson was called an “infidel” by the Evangelicals of the time. It’s convenient to overlook facts like this now.
Obviously, the United States is nowhere near being threatened by any “left-wing” dictatorship. The closest we have come to dictatorship was the Presidency of George W. Bush and that dictatorship would have taken the form of a Christian theocracy. We were very close. The threat was eal and it remains real. Each and every time somebody says the Religious Right is dead it comes back stronger than ever.
Look at Rick Santorum, who seems to think he is running for Pope of the United States rather than president. He says he does not intend to foist his beliefs on the rest of us but that is exactly what he is proposing nearly every time he opens his mouth. The threat of a Santorum presidency could not be more obvious.
Where Mitt Romney is concerned the kowtowing to the Religious Right is obviously more for show and they know that. As a Mormon, he will only ever be despised; Gingrich the serial adulterer also has very real problems in that department and Ron Paul carries with him too much libertarian (and anti-war) baggage to ever be embraced.
Ironically, Barack Obama is a Christian and very much a Christian-friendly president. He did virtually nothing upon taking office to roll back the Bush-era assault on the First Amendment. But he has two problems: he is black, and his theology smacks very much of the New, not the Old Testament. Claims that he is a radical leftist fall flat on their face: his policies are so moderate that he has even been identified as a moderate Republican by some analysts. And we have more accountability, more openness in government than at any time before 2001.
The possibility of an atheist or secular dictatorship of any type is virtually nil. Atheists are far from being a powerful demographic and contrary to fundamentalist fear-mongering don’t go in for forcing others to abide by their lack of belief, in contrast to the fundamentalists themselves. Secondly, secularism established this country through the U.S. Constitution, which should be seen as the highest development of the European Enlightenment. Secularism gave us modern democracy in place of theocracy.
But as with the tried and true “they’re coming for your guns” meme, fear mongering like this sells to the base. And you can bet that the more Santorum shills theocracy the more we’re going to hear about the dangers of left-wing dictatorship to deflect attention from fundamentalism’s love-child, the man who is the only real threat to our democracy in 2012: Rick Santorum.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.