Last week the United States was stunned when Iowa governor Terry Branstad signed a bill into law that effectively ended the separation between church and state in Iowa. If you missed it, you can read different views on it here, here, here and here.
People are saying Iowa is now a theocracy. I wanted to know what a theocracy was. So I went and looked it up. A theocracy is a government run with the idea that God (or whatever deities you worship) is the supreme civil ruler, his laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities. Now, I'm not entirely sure Iowa has taken it that far, but what it did is very disturbing. It has broken the Constitution and declared something that will probably end up in the Supreme Court when a motion is filed by people in the state.
I think one of the most noted theocracies in history has been when the Pope and the Catholic church dominated a good chunk of Europe. The Pope granted the right to rule to kings and queens, but it held the right to revoke that and name someone else in their place if they didn't approve of what they did. Priests held the power through the nobility, and those among the peasantry were left in their charge. Even the poorest couldn't escape the power of the church.
One thing I would hate to see is the United States become a theocracy. I can see what it would become: a Christian country. There are more Christians in this country than any other religion. I am not a Christian. I do not claim to be one nor will I ever conform to a society that demands it of me. What do you think would happen to me, to my husband, to many of our friends? Would we be left in peace? Or would something else happen to us?
There are still countries in this world that are ruled by religion. Some are quiet, not bothering their neighbors and living out their lives with peace in their borders. As much as there can be in this world these days. There are others who are violent, torturing and killing people who don't believe as the rulers do. These countries wage war on those who don't follow the same religion, aiming to destroy the “unbelievers”, the “infidels”.
I wish the world would stop relying on religion for everything. That just because I don't worship your god doesn't mean I'm a bad person. It just means that I don't have a set of rigid guidelines to live by and instead am judged solely by my actions. There are people who do not claim to worship any god who do good in this world. There are those who claim they are Christians who do harm. There are worshipers of Islam who would rather live in peace. While there are others who would destroy the rest of us.
I could go on and on with this. It is my opinion that if you want a theocracy, write a story about it. Don't impose your religion on people and say it's the “one true way”. Let people make up their own minds. Let them exercise that free will so many religions say we've been given.