'Celebrating Freedom' Series

July 11, 2006
From Democracy to Theocracy: Replacing the Torch of Freedom with the Cross


marty Kleva

It is likely that every American will recognize the words of Patrick Henry: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

The following quote from Samuel Adams may not be so familiar: “The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.”

Thomas Jefferson, in his distinguished understanding of the demands of freedom, said, "Above all I hope that the education of the common people will be attended to so they won't forget the basic principles of freedom."

All of these are fine words from the mouths of passionately patriotic men during the times of the formation of our country. But do they apply to us today?

We have no doubt that they were words from the heart and that their actions would compare equally. Bring that up to present time. Are we willing to fight for our liberty? Do we as the common people educate ourselves to know what we have inherited, and have we increased our knowledge of these inherited liberties and freedoms?

I mean personally. I mean no matter your situation; whether you are man/woman, rich/poor, old/young/or in between, university/high school educated, Catholic/Jew, atheist/Christian, Southern Baptist/Mormon, Mexican/Chinese, Texas Rancher/immigrant worker, Corporate CEO or the MacDonald’s drive-up window operator.

Each one helps to make up America, and not any of us is either more, or less important, to the dynamics of this country than the other. Each is needed in order for the entire system we have based on freedom, to work.

When the CEO forgets the responsibility of his/her position, then we have the cascading effect throughout the company, and eventually the worker at the drive-up window also forgets his/her responsibility. The net effect to the public is illustrated at the place where the company and the public make contact — the drive-up window. Part of the cause of that effect began at the position of the CEO!

My neighbors who include Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Mormons, Korean Baptists and Christian Scientists, all attend their respective services on Sunday.

None of these services are the same, but they do have similarities. All of them are part of a religious group that calls themselves Christian, so it is also safe to say that they all believe in God.

But is their description of God the same in every case? I would bet not. Some have more affinity to the righteous God, and others a compassionate God. Their teachings, although they may be based out of the Bible, in fact do not use the same version of the Bible. And every person inside of those places of worship will be hearing and seeing something different. Even the persons sitting next to each other in the same church, in the same pew, will be hearing with different ears.

And who am I or you to naysay those differences, except to invite a discussion, where everything holds the same credence as coming from the source of that person’s truth.

Where it gets sticky is when we think that we ought to believe as someone else tells us to believe without a single question; without asking, “Why should I believe it simply because the pastor says so?” “Why should I believe that the pastor is infallible in his teaching?” “Why should I believe that the Bible is complete, when we already know that there are missing Gospels, namely The Gospels of Mary, Philip, Thomas, and Judas?”

This is not to say that after I put the question to the test that the answer I arrive at may not be the same. The difference is that now it is my own conclusion, and because of that, I am stronger in my conviction of it — until the next question arrives. This creates a dynamic spiritual search of the individual soul. Nothing is as personal as one's relationship with the Creator.

Too many Americans today rest on the laurels of the liberties our forefathers fought to establish. We believe it is a done deal — that we automatically, as if by some magic, are given those same freedoms, without realizing that if we do not understand where they came from, what created them, then we don’t have them!

We cannot assume these liberties. Each one of us must personally achieve freedom, know freedom, embrace freedom, and bend with it like the blade of grass that is heavy with the morning dew. And like that blade of grass, we must be prepared to bounce back the moment that the dewdrop slides off the tip or evaporates into thin air.

This is how tensile strength is forged.

We cannot be the same thing all the time and expect to be strong. It is foolish to be only one thing all the time, just as it is foolish to place all our resources in one place.

Presently in America, there is an outcry of groups who wish to take God out of the Government, those who wish to put God in, and those who say that God was always part of the Constitution.

It is a very emotional issue, and there are some points to consider.

The guidelines or “teachings” of our present day government were established by the Constitution, and now also include the corporate doctrines from the UCC Code. In neither place is the word “God” used. If God were used, then these rules, principles, regulations would be a religion, which indicates that we now have a governmental religion or a theocracy, not a democracy.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it state what God is or how we are to relate to that God.

This is the reason all my neighbors are going to a different church on Sunday, because under the auspices of supposedly the same God, they cannot agree on what or who that God is, or how they are to interact.

To take God then, and to expect that we can bring this conundrum and mix it into a governmental system that is in itself full of contradictions, is like taking grapes and avocados, both of which provide delicious nourishment when prepared separately, but mashed together produce a result that is inedible and therefore serves no one.

We have wasted the essence of each of these wonderful resources because they do not mix, nor were they designed to combine with each other.

There is no harmony in the final product.

May I respectfully suggest that this is the same with the American form of government?

Combining our democratic form of government and religion waters down both, so that what results is actually weaker than either of them separately.

This is the point that I believe that the designers of our democracy held when they drew up the papers for a new government. They were not drawing up the structure of another religion and they were clear about this.

What they envisioned was the opportunity for many men and women to move this country forward to be a leader in the world. They envisioned representatives and senators who would have the freedom to worship their Creator as each saw fit, and strengthened by that, bring a type of moral fortitude and ethics to their governing duties.

They saw that the many and diverse faces of the Creator would be the underlying principle that would guide and strengthen this country, and that by keeping alive the freedom for all those elected to government to worship at the face of the Creator they most felt was true to them, that it would fortify the workings of this democracy.

Nowhere does it state that an elected official should be a Catholic, Jew, atheist, Christian, Southern Baptist, Mormon, or that they also may NOT be any of those.

It is wise counsel to keep those who do not think like us close by rather than alienate them to be separated from us and to make them the enemy.

It is wise counsel to determine where everything we believe in originated from by questioning why we act as we do. This may then help to determine exactly who is doing the talking and acting for us.

The man or woman who thinks God is only all good or all righteous because they were told it is so, and who have never really questioned the validity of it personally, will be rigid in their view of God. Due to their inability to bend and quiver, their belief will be based on a fragile thread that at any moment can snap or disintegrate.

So the opportunity arises — Do we want to have a government based on the many and diverse faces of the Creator, which is stronger by that plurality, or would we rather separate and divide people by demanding that only our one view of God be commanded by the legislation and regulation of a government?

Who are we to think that we can do the latter and not face major consequences?

Which of these truly places God/Creator in the elevated position?

The only place that I am aware of in the major world countries where a government is a true Theocracy is the Vatican. Most people do not realize that the Pope is actually the Head of State of a country called The Vatican, and simultaneously he is the Head of the Roman Catholic religion.

Do we wish to create another such theocratic state in America? If so, then we need to create a system of priests ruled by one Titular Head who will decide for all what we should believe in, and how we should worship our God. In the meantime, we still have scores of different Christian factions.

Which faction will decide who God is? Which will insist that their head bishop shall be Pope to our country?

And then we will have no need of the Constitution, for we already have the Bible and The Ten Commandments!

If you think this is too far out to be realistic, be aware that according to the Memphis Journal, a church in Memphis has built a giant replica of The Statue of Liberty and replaced the Torch of Freedom with a large gold cross.

My friends, I am saying that to mix religion with politics in a so-called democracy, will lead to its demise. We have got to put our skewed minds to order here. It is not a matter of one OR the other, but rather that by keeping them in their proper place we actually have BOTH!

con amore,

~ mek