Whether you believe in God or you don’t, if you are American, you should understand the profound difference which our theory of government makes for us from all other theories and forms of political organization. The fundamental idea of America is this: Our liberty, our sovereignty, our equality, our rights, our justice and our human dignity are bestowed upon us by our Creator and are guaranteed by the Constitution. All that may not be violated or taken away by laws, court decisions, executive orders or social majorities intending to do so. Rather, the primary role of government is to protect all that from anyone who seeks to harm it or override it. As the Declaration of Independence puts it, governments are instituted to ensure those God-given rights.
If God is the foundation of America, we can rightly say America is a theocracy. But it is a democratic nonsectarian theocracy operating through a constitutional republic rather than an autocratic religious junta such as the Taliban or a monarch with a divine right to rule. Our Founders wisely separated church and state to prevent just that.
Unlike the former condition of Afghanistan with the Taliban and unlike the former condition of China or Japan with their emperors, clerics and divine-right monarchs do not rule here and the First Amendment assures they never will. The individual comes first, not the state, not an establishment of religion, not a clerical caste, not a ruler regarded as semidivine. By virtue of what the Declaration of Independence says is our spiritual nature and our moral equality, in American society every citizen is a direct representative of God. And by virtue of the Constitution, every citizen is a full and equal member of the ruling body known as “we the people.” We the people rule America.
Yes, we have a religious society—one can even correctly say, historically speaking, a Christian society. But thanks to the wisdom of our Founders and the Framers of the Constitution, we have a secular government. On one hand, that government is circumscribed in its power by the First Amendment, which prohibits it to meddle with the free expression of religion by the public. On the other hand, that government has its delegated authority protected by the Sixth Amendment, which prohibits any religious test for public office.
Ideally speaking, therefore, America is a theocracy because it is governed by God through the total population of our divinely guided citizenry who are the true heads of state and who are educated in the religio-moral ideals, principles and values of our society. They provide the governance of our society from which the representatives of our government are elected. Our national character is the seedbed from which our public officials grow.
(To be continued)