A theocracy is very bad.
It is bad because it dishonors God and elevates men. It is bad, because it does not work and it is bad because destroys a chance for liberty.
It is rare when an idea is impious, impractical, and imperious, but theocracy is one such idea.
As a Christian, I long for the rule of a righteous King: the God-Man Jesus Christ, but only the perfect, the omniscient, and the omnipotent can be trusted with such power. With many of the American Founders, I cry: “No king, but King Jesus.”
Theocracy without the direct rule of Jesus, however, must devolve into a regency of His servants. This side of Paradise a sane man does not trust Christ’s servants much more than His enemies. Being right about one thing, metaphysical truth, does not (after all) make a man right about other things.
Many a man worships the right God, but fails in consistency. When American Christians bought slaves, they were Christians, but inconsistent ones. When American Christians exploited American Indians, they were Christians, but wicked. When American Christians preach family values, but live libertine lifestyles, they are hypocrites.
Better rule by a pagan who is consistent in his few virtues, then a Christian hypocritical about acting out his total truth.
The power of priests or pastors must be limited, because they are limited as men. God set up civil, family, and Church authority to balance the abuses and encourage better rule. I have seen a family consolidate all power to the patriarch and so be corrupted. I have seen civil authority claim total lordship, even in the name of secularism, and slaughter millions. We have all seen Churches dominate every aspect of a man’s life and so become corrupted.
I would not vote for my priest; as good as he is, for President. I am glad my father and mother do not run. Why? There are three lines of authority in my life and I need not confuse any of them. As a result, I can live with maximum liberty.
Having said this, I will be asked why I seek to impose “my religion” on others in terms of marriage or the right to life, liberty, and property. I answer: “I seek only the minimum government needed to protect those very basic human needs.” The power to seek other goods, from health care to education, should not be with the state lest the state gain too much power.
If the a decision must be made for us all, then I must ask that this decision take into account all the truth, including truth I have learned through divine revelation, but I do not wish that to be a very big realm.
Our Founders were wise. They limited the state and this set free the family and the Church to check the state. I support marriage and life, because with the Founders I think Western society depends on protecting all human life and on setting as an ideal the sacred union between a man and a woman.
Much beyond these things, I would not go, but if theocracy is an evil then so is libertine morality that allows each person to do anything that is right in his own eyes. Such a culture will seem “free” at first, but will soon devolve into the rule of the strong over the week.
In the best society, the little man or woman has a chance for three powerful advocates: either his parent, his President, or his pastor. In a state that grabs too much power a man is reduced to hoping his political party wins.
The rule of a self-proclaimed “secular elite which pretends to “neutrality” in morals, a secuarchy, but which hides assumptions behind pseudo-science, is as dangerous as a theocracy.
God save us from both.