Theocracy is a hard sell. While for a small minority of Christians it would be manna from above, for everyone else it would be a non-starter. It means that a Christian sect and the State would be one and the same. That’s theocracy.
For the people who thirst for a Christian nation, it fits nicely inside a Trojan horse. But why hide it if it’s so great? Theocracy would be tough sell. So welcome to the stage, autocracy!
That means having one supreme leader serving as a dictator. It’s as oppressive as socialism so that might not sell very well either. What to do to get support of an entire country? Vilifying those not like “us” is always a good first step used by wanna-be dictators in acquiring power. Once in power, why bother with those niceties and go straight to using brute force, the go-to for every dictator.
If autocracy is not an everyday subject for Americans, it is quite familiar to many of them in their gut. In fact, it resonates quite strongly with 26% of the public (identified as highly right wing authoritarians) in a survey cited by the Business Insider in June of 2021. In surveys sited in Politico, 18% of the public are RWA’s and 23% are just a notch below the highest level of authoritarian tendencies. 18% + 23% = 41% of the public has strong authoritarian tendencies.
People with these inclinations like the idea of having somebody, a “strong man”, completely in charge of their lives. This is so appealing that people with these inclinations can mindlessly put aside all the distasteful side effects of a dictator totally in charge.
More than distasteful though, it horrifies me. Let’s start with no freedom of expression, torture, death and other forms of enforcement of the autocrat’s goals. It’s amazing to me that someone can so easily trade their own liberty and safety for the comfort of having someone in charge. That’s not me. It scares me to death. But then I’m not part of the 40%.
Some Christians, though not all, would jump at the chance to blend a Christian theocracy with an autocracy. Christian Nationalism in other words. Does such a thing even exist? Sadly, it’s more than a concept.
“In Christian nationalist circles today, every election is a contest against absolute evil, and the consequences of failure almost too dire to imagine”. The Shock Troops of the Next Big Lie, The New Republic, Katherine Stewart January 10, 2022. The “transition from the Christian nation myth to radical free-market doctrine is seamless.”
Mix together old-time religion, free market reverence, and masculine military virtue; Stir in lots of generalized fear and talk of stolen elections; Put in in the oven to bake. And out pops a powerfully motivated group to use the ballot box to create a Christian Nation in the image of its makers, though not the Maker.
It’s an impressive use of the ballot box to gain power with the help of the Republican Party, merrily shrinking the electorate to their advantage.
To those with sympathies for a Christian Nation, however, is this what you really want? It can sound good in general. As always though, the devil is in the details. What if you get your Christian Nation and your brand of Christianity is pushed aside? What is your recourse then?
To read Part 1 of this extended essay, click here on Medium.
Ken Grotewiel is a Founding Member of the None of the Above Society.