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Cruzing Toward Theocracy?
March 28, 2016
I have always thought that Ted Cruz is the most dangerous person in the current sorry crop of presidential candidates. Unfortunately, the reason is his particular form of religion. I am anything but anti-religious. I practice one religion and consider all religions to be valid paths to God. But I do not think Cruz would agree with me. I think he believes his version of Christianity to be the one true religion and the only road to heaven. And yet even that belief is not what makes him so dangerous. The real threat is that Cruz seems prepared, even eager, to force his religion and all its rules and requirements on everyone else. Ready, in other words, to establish an American theocracy.
I became aware of American theocrats back in the 70’s, when I was doing some research on religious freedom. Back then, the big proponent of making America a Christian nation run according to Christian law was R. J. Rushdoony. He published a newsletter called “The Chalcedon Report,” in which he promoted a movement called Christian Reconstructionism. The current name for essentially the same movement is “Dominionism.” Cruz seems to be at least ideologically connected to this movement.
Dominionism is almost the direct opposite of my own approach to religion and spirituality. I believe that all people should be free to follow any religion or no religion. I am also a strict believer in the separation of church and state. Many terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but usually when religion has been enforced by a government run by people who claim to be ruling in God’s name.
The appalling irony of today’s Christian theocrats is that what they want is essentially the same as what the Islamic terrorists, whom they so despise, also want. That is a government t dedicated to enforcing a particular religion and to imposing that religion on everyone else. And make no mistake about it, there are Christians who are as prepared as Isis to use force to spread the true religion. It was done in the Crusades and the Inquisition, and there are those who would do it again. The only difference between Islamic terrorists and Christian terrorists is which religion they would impose and whether the laws they would enforce would be based on the Koran or the Bible.
I do not know how far a President Cruz would try to go in the Dominionist direction. Certainly any attempt to turn America into an out-and-out theocracy would meet with huge resistance from traditions and institutions of democracy that are not present in most of the Middle East. But I do believe that Cruz is a theocrat at heart and that he and his supporters would present a real threat to freedom in this country, especially in such areas as abortion rights, LGBT equality, and