Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Antireligious Paranoia On Parade

Mark Lowry addresses the nonexistent threat of Christian theocracy in America:

The theocracy charge relies mainly on blowing Christian conservative positions out of proportion. Do Christian conservatives oppose the public funding of embryo-destructive stem-cell research? Well, then, Calvin's Geneva can't be far behind. Never mind that in opposing such funding, they are usually supporting the status quo. It's a little like saying that because Democrats oppose cuts in Medicaid, they favor a dictatorship of the proletariat...

The truth about Christian conservatives is that they support public-policy goals infused with a certain view of morality. This isn't unusual. The greatest reform movement of the 20th century - the civil-rights movement - was explicitly Christian. Today, the opposition to torture is based on a moral view that trumps all practical considerations (the inviolable dignity of the human person). A moral sense is often behind the liberal opposition to the Iraq War and to the death penalty.

Lowry notes a worst-case scenario, which isn't bloody likely to happen:

National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru has pointed out that you can take all Christian conservative positions - including far-fetched ones like banning sodomy and contraception - and if they happened overnight they "would merely turn the clock back to the late 1950s. That may be a very bad idea, but the America of the 1950s was not a theocracy."

Here's something else to think about. Never mind coming up with a series of events by which such a revolution could occur in the US. Tell me - which branch of conservative Christianity could pull off establishing a theocratic United States? You think the Catholics would sit back and allow the Baptists or the Assemblies of God to take over? Or vice versa?

"Why not all of the Religious Right collectively?" Because multichurch theocracies can't exist. A theocracy seeks to impose the One True Faith, and there's too much disagreement between Protestants and Catholics (and between different Protestant camps) for a coalition theocracy to work.

If conservative Christians were serious about imposing religious totalitarianism, they'd abandon school choice; no true theocrat would trust the masses with picking and choosing their own education.

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