Whatever the reason, it is clear that pandering to religiousity is a popular thing to do in political circles these days. Sure, it took us the Bush presidency to really see that fact for what it was, but it was acknowledged immediately, as Alan Dershowitz noted in the LA Times on January 24th, 2001:
The very first act of the new Bush administration was to have a Protestant Evangelist minister officially dedicate the inauguration to Jesus Christ, whom he declared to be ‘our savior.’ Invoking ‘the Father, the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ’ and ‘the Holy Spirit,’ Billy Graham’s son, the man selected by President George W. Bush to bless his presidency, excluded the tens of millions of Americans who are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics, and atheists from his blessing by his particularistic and parochial language.
The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that George W. Bush’s America is a Christian nation and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as fully equal citizens. In effect, Bush is saying: ‘This is our home, and in our home we pray to Jesus as our savior. If you want to be a guest in our home, you must accept the way we pray.
Now, I’m not completely sure what Bush himself actually believes, as he’s so hidden by an aura of Rovian bravado. Bush may actually think that he became president by divine plan, with his faith-based initiatives, but we have David Kuo’s testimony as to who the administration’s special interest champions are: the Religious Right (aka the Theocons, Dominionists, Christianists, “Fundagelicals,” etc.). That there are many Americans who actually want a theocracy is not a question – the merger of faith and nationalism, or Christianity and fascism, is alive and well in America today.
So what do we do? Well, there’s always the democratic response: protest by blogging against theocracy. And so I am.
Do I really want to live in a country ruled by religious authority, where I am free to pursue happiness only if it doesn’t conflict with doctrine? In a country where groups like “Focus on the Family” have overwhelming influence on domestic policy, as it does today? In a country where the disaster of our foreign policy as a good sign, because Rapture/Apocalypse is a something to look forward to? In a country where decent education and healthcare are seen as bad things? In a country where… oh, you get the point – theocracy isn’t good.
We must use our values and beliefs in voting our conscience in a democracy, without a doubt. But merging religion and politics takes that reasonable truism, and perverts it, until we are no longer allowed to vote our conscience, if it dissents from authority.
For more reading, I’d direct you to Bora’s, which addresses not theocracy, but theism itself, from the scientist’s framing perspective.