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The latest Blog Against Theocracy, organized by Blue Gal and host of coconspirators is nigh. The Blog Against Theocracy is a blogswarm during the Fourth of July week, July 1-4. The theme is separation of church and state, but Blue Gal is flexible.

Our loosely framed topic for this swarm is "the separation of Church and State is patriotic." But this is about blogging, and we're not trying to herd anyone. Post on church/state separation, against theocracy, and you're participating.

The simple instructions on how to participate are here.

There are certainly aways plenty of things to write about, but if it's not something you think about all the time, you might find yourself needing to be reminded of why you might be concerned -- or  maybe you just need some fresh material. There are of course, many fine organizations and books to draw on -- but here are just a few.

Theocracy Watch is good source of recent news stories, blog posts and background analysis.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a blog and a must read monthly magazine.

Political Research Associates and their quarterly magazine The Public Eye is a reliable source of progressive analysis on these things.

And of course, home for me is Talk to Action, where we blog against theocracy every day -- and we wouldn't miss this!

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 07:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The last Blog Against Theocracy (17+ / 0-)

    was a huge success.

    I have no doubt that this one will be as well.

  •  Coming some time tomorrow evening: (4+ / 0-)

    "Blog Against Theocracy: 'To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance'"


  •  Mostly I've fought against theocracy... (7+ / 0-) existing.

    Teacher's Lounge: Reunions is now open.
    Gender Workshop XVIII tomorrow afternoon/evening.

    by rserven on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 07:06:08 PM PDT

  •  We will never have a thocracy here.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    simaramis, TL Eclipse

    and I wonder if using the term isn't counterproductive. What we will, and maybe do have now, is Christianity as a conceptual ally of the right wing.  There will never be a time when decisions will be made overtly on religious principles, as in a true theocracy.

    This is more dangerous for our country.  As we have increased the influence of Christianity under Bush, rather than there being a vocal anti-religious movement in this country, the opposition party, that us, has softened any objection to this.

    This is classic reverse Overton Window, in that it is working for the Republicans.  There is not a Democratic Candidate who does not pay obeisance to the alter of Judeo-Christianity. Oh, sure, they say they will stop the trend toward the expansion of faith based initiatives, but they will not boldly stand up for a secular rationalism as model of intellectual life.

    To the contrary, they join in the walking out to the Senate Steps to shout out the words "under God" after the Ninth Circuit had the effrontery to say that this was contrary to the establishment clause.

    Theocracy would be easy to counter.  But this abrogation of the secular enlightened naturalistic,  foundation of our country is a silent scourge that seems about be beyond challenging in this country.  

    •  you are defining the problem away (12+ / 0-)

      You are playing the horse race game. You are predicting that there cannot be a theocracy, by defining it (albeit in an unstated way) such that you can believe that it can't happen here.

      In fact, we have active theocratic movements in the U.S., and although most would not use the term, we have many members of Congress whose views are certainly theocratic and hold great power.

      Using the term is not counter productive. Using it well informs our political thinking.

      •  You miss my point completely.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, TL Eclipse

        What we have is worse than a theocracy, since a real theocracy would not be tolerated.  What is going on, is a shift away from defending non theistic rationality is more insidious, because it is below the radar of most Americans.

        This is the Webster's definition of theocracy:

        government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided

        What is occurring in the Democratic party, with acquiescence on this site, is a shift to an acceptance of vilification of those who reject religion.

        It is interesting that no one responded to my criticism of the Democrats who stormed out of the Senate. This was right after passing a non binding resolution condemning the ninth circuit for their decsion.  This include all of the Democrats in the Senate.

        Perhaps you are not aware of the event, or is it that you agree that those atheists are just causing trouble by upsetting the apple cart.

        I accept the reality that the Republican are the Christian Conservative Party.  But in a two party country, the fact that the Democrats are not the secular party, with a strong proud emphasis on this position is cause for despair.

        If you need further clarification of my position I will continue to attempt to do so.

        •  You are still defining the matter away (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          groggy, moiv, irishwitch, Cassandra Waites

          It doesn't much matter what you think a "classical definition" of theocracy is, or what Webster's says.

          Many of the Arab countries are theocracies in so far as they conform to Sharia law. Iran is a Constitional democracy that is also a theocracy for that reason.  Israel is nominally a secular democracy but has theocratic political parties that weild great influence. Many non-middle eastern countries share a similar situation.

          Many of American Christian rightists believe in constitutional democracy, as long as it conforms to their particular notions of Biblical law. I agree that many Republicans and Democrats pander to them.

          But whether or not you think that what is currently going on in government is "worse than a theocracy" is not the point of this diary or of the Blog for Theocracy. You are entitled to your opinion.

    •  Well, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      groggy, moiv, irishwitch, Temmoku, TL Eclipse

      what would it take you to be convinced that we're capable of having a theocracy here?

      Don't get me wrong - I don't believe for a second that Bush and his miserable entourage are motivated principally by religion, but nevertheless the Republican Party was taken over by the Religious Right, and there's a strong case that can be made that the influence of the Church on government has breached the boundaries of what we're comfortable with. This alliance was a political convenience at first, but as Kevin Phillips says, in their attempt to conquer the religious south, the GOP got conquered themselves. The GOP, by courting and organizing the fundamentalist Christians into what is effectively a monolithic voting block, had to feed the beast -- as it were -- to keep them showing up for elections. As such, the GOP is the first religious party in American history, in that the vast majority of people who attend service, regardless of denomination, vote for the GOP. This party is now in power, and being led by a True Believer.

      But consider the influence of the religious right on American politics... what would it take to convince you that a political theocracy could emerge here?

      Take the issue of embryonic stem cells - Bush says that they're destroying life, and that's immoral. The implicit argument is that, because a human embryo has the potential to grow into a full living person, that it must be endowed with a soul. But listen to Sam Harris' debunking of this logic:

      Of course, the argument doesn't get had... we show undeserved deference to religion in this country. As was pointed out, the so-called culture of life only applies to life in utero.

      The most recent statistic that I heard about the role of the Christian Right in government came a few months ago, and it was that there's about 150 political appointees working in the executive branch that came out of Pat Robertson's Regent University...could it be that some of them might have a different understanding of what the separation of Church and State might mean? Might some of them be working in our Dept of Justice?

      I could go on and on... Blackwater is a private mercenary army run by a Christian fundamentalist fighting Muslims in a country where Bush has, twice, said we're fighting a crusade. The Religious Right is pro-Israel because they believe that Jesus will only come back if Israel is a Jewish nation, and they've kept up the pressure on our government to support Israel in the face of calls for a Palestinean state. Abortion. And then there's the biggest 'fuck you' to the reality-based community: Intelligent Design. The pseudo-science that demands equal time that negates everything we know about evolution, cosmology, geology, biology, molecular biology, anthropology... Nope, they don't need any of that, but they're happy to use their computers with their fibre optic connections to blog about how a T Rex was shitting in the Garden of Eden and the great flood of the book of Noah was what carved the Grand Canyon.

      Much like you don't need to believe that America is a de facto empire to believe it has imperial tendencies, one doesn't need to believe that America is a de facto theocracy to believe that it has theocratic tendencies... Call it a theocracy or call it an abrogation of the secular underpinnings of the  Republic - it's a difference of semantics, as far as I'm concerned.

      Chris Hedges, a graduate of Harvard divinity school and former war correspondent for the NY Times goes even further, saying that the Christian Right are 'Islamic Fascists', unamenable to reason and building power and influence so that they can take over the country... and the evidence suggests that he may be right.

      •  Btw, if this sounds angry, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, sc kitty

        it's because writing this got me worked up... certainly not angry at your post arodb.

      •  Please read my comment above.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, Temmoku, TL Eclipse, dantyrant

        What we have is more insidious since the religious values are covert, and incorporated with other interests, that amplify as well as disguise the influence of religion.

        The point of my original comment is that the democrats are competing for the votes of the same fundamentalists as the Republicans, with the hope of moderating their influence.

        I gave the example of every Democrat in the Senate choosing a particular Circuit court decision to condemn.  Not one that limits rights to abortion, or expands the power of the executive, but one that dared to question whether use of "under God" in public schools is consistent with the establishment clause of the first amendment.

        I guess I am as disgusted with our Democratic party, as I am with the participants of Dailykos, as I am with myself.

        We think we as a party can prevent the theocratic tendency, which is a term I can accept, without clearly articulating support for a non religions naturalistic perspective.  As a party we claim to be able to fight the influence of the Christian right, but not by offending those of belief by actively avowing support for non believers.

        I read sections of Al Gores book, which are appalling in his deference to believers, including such statements as, "While we may believe we are endowed by our creator...."  And decrying the fact that his father was accused of being an atheist, with a tacit acknowledgment that this is an unacceptable taint for a politician.  And yes this is the same Al Gore who during the 2000 election said when faced with a difficult decision he would think , What would Jesus Do.

        So, dantyrant, I'm aware of all that you wrote about, and maybe some more.  But the Democratic party is the Christian Democratic party.  There is no secular party in this country. And that makes me angry.

        •  I too found that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          groggy, Temmoku, TL Eclipse

          there were certain lines that stuck out in Gore's book like sour notes in an otherwise good song... I took those as a strong indication that he's giving serious thought to another run at the presidency; his choice of topics was very careful to avoid stepping on certain toes, in what's basically a polemic. (Though, being a Southern Democrat in those days, the charge of atheism must have caused quite an uproar?)

          I too share your concern about the Democrats - for some reason, this country has not gotten to where the rest of the Western World has, which is the view that a country ought to be run based on the principles of the Enlightenment. America is a more religious country than Israel, and we hear nothing from the secular democrats even in the face of rank hypocrisy from the Republicans(Terri Shiavo, to give the most obvious and shameful example).

          The particular stripe of American protestantism is one that's obscenely intolerant, and I agree that we ought not to tolerate their intolerance as a party or pay lip service to their beliefs... Basic probability says that many of the congressmen/women who say that they believe in God are in fact lying, and so those who are believe that going to Church for a couple of hours will endear them to voters. But it horrifies me that someone would need to lie and spend 2 hrs/week doing something so mind numbing as sitting in church against their will, and that we as a society accept that as a litmus test for public service. It's institutionalized, and doesn't rest within just one party regardless of its concentration.

          If anything good has come out of the Bush administration though, I think it may be the shattering of that fundamentalist Christian block, be it out of disgust for the war, or the corruption scandals, or Ted Haggard, or the environment('Creation'). And many of those Christians are even starting to reject the politics of the Right as they see that the rhetoric of the GOP is completely divorced from reality, so there's hope arodb, though I admit I'm not comfortable placing my hope in Christian fundamentalists...

          But I fear we've drifted too far from the deism of the Founders and the 'naturalistic perspective' derived therefrom... The founders were learned in philosophy and theology, and fundamentalist Christianity doesn't provoke debate within either of those realms - it is an absolute, undebatable, almost hallucinatory doctrine and it's been long understood that fundamentalist Christians are a group that are both attracted to and  easily controlled by power(Phillips has an apt quote, but I can't seem to find it...)

          Anyhow, it seems like we agree on much of what matters in this debate... I'm just not sure that I see a way out at present. It may take a generation or two, but I fear that the influence of religion on politics is so poisonous that that's too long to wait.

    •  Never say "never." (5+ / 0-)

      We will never have a thocracy here

      Really? Read Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" and see how close we've come.

      Or read Robert Heinlein's "The Past Through Tomorrow" series, particularly his novelette "If this goes on--" from his  "Revolt in 2100" collection, and then tell me that conditions aren't in place for a working theocracy--not in the form you imagine it, perhaps, but a theocracy nontheless.

      You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. --Albert Einstein

      by Sharoney on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 08:29:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are crossing comments here... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharoney, groggy, moiv

        in reality we are not that far apart at all.


      •  so how close have we come.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and when will we know if and when we have arrived (or when we have been delivered)?  I am theocracy just an abstract idea to kick around, or would it require legal process to officially become a theocracy?  If it is just an idea, we are well on our way, if not already to the finish line.  I don't read a lot, so I am hoping you can clear this up for me. Thanks.

    •  Don't live in GA, do you? (4+ / 0-)

      Cannot get elected without a HIGH Christian Coalition score.  Every election cycle,t hey trot out their TV ads mentioning their tenure as a Sunday school teacher or bragging about how Robertson loves them. And people vote based on this, and laws (usually stupid ones) get passed on this basis. Damned close tot heocracy alredy in thsi area.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 09:26:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are very close to a Theocracy here (0+ / 0-)

    Good sites....
    If the Republicans manage to win again with their control of the SCOTUS and their Diebolt machines and their "caging lists", then we can say that we do have a theocracy. I hope not. If poll results indicate anything, there is a rise in "nonbelievers". These guys' efforts are backfiring and people are voting with their feet, away from church, or at least, being more "honest" about how they feel.

    All I want from Congress is...IMPEACHMENT!

    by Temmoku on Sun Jul 01, 2007 at 06:28:59 AM PDT

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