Most religious conservatives aren’t theocrats

Bill Vallicella thinks the Obama administration’s decision to require employer provided health insurance to include contraception is an example of how “The Left is totalitarian by its very nature.” That is, of course, completely insane. But when I read it, it made me pause and consider how liberals must sound to conservatives when they accuse conservatives of being “theocratic.”

Ed has done some good blogging on this. There are genuine theocrats in America who want to impose Old Testament law on the country. But this isn’t most Christians, even most “fundamentalists.” Indeed, I’ve seen actual theocrats get snippy about the fact that more mainstream fundamentalists (it’s not an oxymoron) like Norman Geisler want nothing to do with them.

And part of the reason it’s a mistake to be calling people theocrats indiscriminately is that it’s a much more powerful critique to point out the incoherence of most of the people who pass for fundamentalists these days. The typical position is something like, “I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and the Bible says that if two men have sex with each other it’s an abomination and they should be put to death, and therefore I believe gays shouldn’t be able to get married. Civil unions, maybe, but not marriage.”

It’s so much more worth our while to laugh these last vestiges of orthodoxy out of existence, than to imitate the overblown rhetoric of the right wing.