Is America a Veiled Theocracy?

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Wolverine18:
How is it disproportional when the majority of americans identify as christian?

It might be more than you want to see, but that isn't the same as disproportionate, it would seem representative.

If the US congress had the same levels of religiosity as the general population there'd be 80 non-religious congresspersons. It is not even close to being proportional.

if the US was truly a Theocracy you wouldn't need to ask.
...indeed you probably wouldn't be able to ask.

you're not far off tho.

you're clearly seriously flirting with electing crazy religious people, the military is well entrenched in society and the founding principals and effectiveness of the representative government are under question.

but if and when you end up with your version of cromwell by gawd you'll know...

BiscuitTrouser:

Wolverine18:

How is it disproportional when the majority of americans identify as christian?

It might be more than you want to see, but that isn't the same as disproportionate, it would seem representative.

"As well as that id also like to point out that while 15% of Americans see themselves as non religious only 3% fit the "other" slot for religion in congress. That 3% isnt all atheists either, its just "other". Not very representational."

Read the rest of my post. Sure its right MOST of them are christian. But there are too many for it to be representational.

Representative doesn't have to be an exact match. You will never get an EXACTLY statistically matching group or you would have to find the correct number of blind Spanish speaking women.

ten.to.ten:

Wolverine18:
How is it disproportional when the majority of americans identify as christian?

It might be more than you want to see, but that isn't the same as disproportionate, it would seem representative.

If the US congress had the same levels of religiosity as the general population there'd be 80 non-religious congresspersons. It is not even close to being proportional.

The amazing part of this thread is everyone keeps throwing out widely different stats. Bisket in the post above for example, who is on your side of the argument, thinks it should be 85% religious to be proportional.

His number at least looks more sane than yours.

Wolverine18:
The amazing part of this thread is everyone keeps throwing out widely different stats. Bisket in the post above for example, who is on your side of the argument, thinks it should be 85% religious to be proportional.

His number at least looks more sane than yours.

85% religious means 15% non-religious. There are 535 members of the US congress. 15% of 535 is 80.25. Spend more time on your math homework and less time on internet messageboards.

Well, I can't really name a politician that is also a clergyman, and while many lawmakers claim to be guided by God, God Himself is not the head of state. Also, being governed by mostly religious people does not always mean that religion is the government.

So no, the U.S.A. is not a Theocracy.

ten.to.ten:

Wolverine18:
The amazing part of this thread is everyone keeps throwing out widely different stats. Bisket in the post above for example, who is on your side of the argument, thinks it should be 85% religious to be proportional.

His number at least looks more sane than yours.

85% religious means 15% non-religious. There are 535 members of the US congress. 15% of 535 is 80.25. Spend more time on your math homework and less time on internet messageboards.

Oh, a personal attack. Yes, that really helps your cause lol

I misread your comment, for some reason I read that as you claiming 80% non religious. In that case go read what I said to him.

I think it might have already been said, but Theocracy may be the wrong word. While a large section of our government is based on religious norms and mores I have a hard time believeing that it is run by the church, or any church for that matter.

The pluralism in the US does an adeqite job of ensuring that no laws be enacted which would promote any one religion over another. While that doesn't always work out in practice, there are several organizations (the ACLU comes to mind) who activly oppose evidence of favoritism of any one theology to the detriment of an individual or group of people.

To be fair though I'm not sure that having laws based in religious norms is completely improper. Not killing, stealing and lying all seem pretty valid guidelines regardless of which religious text you find them in (and I am pretty sure they are in most).

With regards to politicians I don't really consider them religious. They use their claims of religion to sway voters, but I find that very few of them are a just and forgiving as the texts they say they respect would ask them to be.

Wolverine18:

Representative doesn't have to be an exact match. You will never get an EXACTLY statistically matching group or you would have to find the correct number of blind Spanish speaking women.

Id say 15% of the population is large enough to be represented while if 15% of the population was blind and spanish speaking they would need representing too. And seeing as ZERO congressmen are openly atheist the real value is anywhere from 3 - 0 percent since if any are atheist they selected "other" on the poll. The difficulty with a country where the vast majority are the same and opinion of atheists is very low (least trusted group in the USA) is representing those groups that the main group doesnt tend to like.

BiscuitTrouser:

Wolverine18:

Representative doesn't have to be an exact match. You will never get an EXACTLY statistically matching group or you would have to find the correct number of blind Spanish speaking women.

Id say 15% of the population is large enough to be represented while if 15% of the population was blind and spanish speaking they would need representing too. And seeing as ZERO congressmen are openly atheist the real value is anywhere from 3 - 0 percent since if any are atheist they selected "other" on the poll. The difficulty with a country where the vast majority are the same and opinion of atheists is very low (least trusted group in the USA) is representing those groups that the main group doesnt tend to like.

Non religious people ARE represented. It's just not exactly the same percentage, which of course is silly to expect.

Plus some people may say one thing on a survey and another when they run for office. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of those "christians" in the US government answer something else on an anon survey.

Wolverine18:

Non religious people ARE represented. It's just not exactly the same percentage, which of course is silly to expect.

Plus some people may say one thing on a survey and another when they run for office. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of those "christians" in the US government answer something else on an anon survey.

Seeing as the number of atheists is anywhere from 3% to 0% we have no idea if that is true. No open atheists are known to be in congress. We have no idea if we are represented or not.

While its true we might have some ninja atheists isnt the fact that they would lie about this tell you something?

Id say 0% and 15% are very different.

ten.to.ten:

Wolverine18:
The amazing part of this thread is everyone keeps throwing out widely different stats. Bisket in the post above for example, who is on your side of the argument, thinks it should be 85% religious to be proportional.

His number at least looks more sane than yours.

85% religious means 15% non-religious. There are 535 members of the US congress. 15% of 535 is 80.25. Spend more time on your math homework and less time on internet messageboards.

BiscuitTrouser:

Wolverine18:

Representative doesn't have to be an exact match. You will never get an EXACTLY statistically matching group or you would have to find the correct number of blind Spanish speaking women.

Id say 15% of the population is large enough to be represented while if 15% of the population was blind and spanish speaking they would need representing too. And seeing as ZERO congressmen are openly atheist the real value is anywhere from 3 - 0 percent since if any are atheist they selected "other" on the poll. The difficulty with a country where the vast majority are the same and opinion of atheists is very low (least trusted group in the USA) is representing those groups that the main group doesnt tend to like.

well chances are those non religious people voted for someone they agreed with, sure that person may not be an atheist or agnostic, but the person they voted for still reflects and represents most of their views, so they are represented just not by people with non-religious association.

keiskay:
well chances are those non religious people voted for someone they agreed with, sure that person may not be an atheist or agnostic, but the person they voted for still reflects and represents most of their views, so they are represented just not by people with non-religious association.

If they have no non religious candidate to vote for and all religious candidates appeal to their religion to gain religious votes needed to win (85%) then what happens when the non religious people have no one who represents their views to vote for?

ten.to.ten:

Wolverine18:
How is it disproportional when the majority of americans identify as christian?

It might be more than you want to see, but that isn't the same as disproportionate, it would seem representative.

If the US congress had the same levels of religiosity as the general population there'd be 80 non-religious congresspersons. It is not even close to being proportional.

Not when you account for voting. You'd expect a 9 to 1 religious to non-religious ratio with a random sampling, but when you consider that our politicians are elected by popular vote and the nonreligious are one of the more distrusted recognized demographics, the dearth of [openly] nonreligious representatives is actually very much in line with what we could expect. After all, a person who gets only 10% of the vote is not going to be elected.

Though that's perhaps a bit unfair. Let's look at what the Gallup polls say on the subject of electibility. More recent Gallup polls showed a slight majority of ameicans would vote a well qualified atheist into office. Mind you, 54% of those polled saying they would is an all time high, and 43% outright refusing to consider the possiblity an all time low. With that in mind, you're already looking at an uphill battle considering that just under half the voting population doesn't care about your qualifications and would vote against you simply because you are an atheist/agnostic. It's not impossible to get elected under such circumstances, but you really need to have the remaining 57% of the population solidly in your favor if you want to win. And again, that's the all time high for the polls. Turn back the clock to 1958 (the first time Gallup asked) and 75% said they wouldn't vote an atheist into office, and 18% said they might. Under those circumstances, the chances of an atheist/agnostic representative are virtually nonexistant due to how strongly the general voting population is against them.

Long story short, it wasn't until very recently that atheists and agnostics stood a real fighting chance for major elections, so we shouldn't be surprised that we've seen so few in the positions in question. It's sad, but not unexpected.

BiscuitTrouser:

keiskay:
well chances are those non religious people voted for someone they agreed with, sure that person may not be an atheist or agnostic, but the person they voted for still reflects and represents most of their views, so they are represented just not by people with non-religious association.

If they have no non religious candidate to vote for and all religious candidates appeal to their religion to gain religious votes needed to win (85%) then what happens when the non religious people have no one who represents their views to vote for?

ah so your arguing using black and whites, as if theist and non-theist could not possibly ever have the same views, silly. the thing is though its 15% of people spread out all over the country so each state has less then 1% of a non-religious community. making them have very low voting power for that state. they are in, if there was a larger amount of non-religious people the voting power would be evened out and allow for better representation. but for a non-religious person will just have to vote for a guy who he agrees with and feels represents his views on everything, except you know a belief in god/s. ( i should note that there are secular religious people so i feel many non-religious are fairly represented as far as views and issues are concerned).

seriously though this would be the equivalent of someone bitching about japan having pretty much zero representation of Christianity in their government even though Christians make up at least 5% of the populace.

keiskay:
well chances are those non religious people voted for someone they agreed with, sure that person may not be an atheist or agnostic, but the person they voted for still reflects and represents most of their views, so they are represented just not by people with non-religious association.

In the last presidential election year 43% of those eligible to vote didn't even turn up, it seems like for a lot of Americans there's no one to choose from who they feel would properly represent them.

keiskay:
the thing is though its 15% of people spread out all over the country so each state has less then 1% of a non-religious community. making them have very low voting power for that state. they are in, if there was a larger amount of non-religious people the voting power would be evened out and allow for better representation.

I'll avoid being rude again, so instead I'll just recommend that you think about exactly what it is you just posted and see if you want to make any corrections.

ten.to.ten:

keiskay:
well chances are those non religious people voted for someone they agreed with, sure that person may not be an atheist or agnostic, but the person they voted for still reflects and represents most of their views, so they are represented just not by people with non-religious association.

In the last presidential election year 43% of those eligible to vote didn't even turn up, it seems like for a lot of Americans there's no one to choose from who they feel would properly represent them.

thats an entirely different issue then the one being discussed though, all though it does raise many questions. although i believe voter turnout is always really low or has been recently. it seems the US turn out has been hovering around 50% for a while now. so is it a non-representation of views? or just lethargy?

keiskay:

Ah so your arguing using black and whites, as if theist and non-theist could not possibly ever have the same views, silly. the thing is though its 15% of people spread out all over the country so each state has less then 1% of a non-religious community

Erm no. First of all that isnt how math works. If 15% of America is atheist it means 15% of every state on average will be atheist. Otherwise using that math we have 85% christian between 50 states which means in each state we only have 1.7% Christians which obviously isn't true.

Its a two party election. Im not saying that theists and non theists CANT have the same views. Its just pretty likely that they wont considering they pretty much cant vote republican unless you happen to get someone fairly sensible (I mean seriously what atheists would vote for Rick Santorium or Virgil goode?!). That means if you want pure secularism you're sometimes forced to vote democrat in some states and quite a lot of the time for the presidency. But if you don't like democratic policy on everything else tough luck. You basically have to roll a dice on if you agree with ONE person every 4 years. Which is pretty low. A two party system makes it difficult enough to find someone to agree with as 43% voter indifference proves. When one party often has candidates that are VERY MUCH AGAINST secularism it makes it even harder.

ten.to.ten:

keiskay:
the thing is though its 15% of people spread out all over the country so each state has less then 1% of a non-religious community. making them have very low voting power for that state. they are in, if there was a larger amount of non-religious people the voting power would be evened out and allow for better representation.

I'll avoid being rude again, so instead I'll just recommend that you think about exactly what it is you just posted and see if you want to make any corrections.

seems i botched my math and will fix it whenever i feel like doing so, but i consider it odd we are using 15% when the most recent poll puts americans at 32% non religious.

BiscuitTrouser:

keiskay:

Ah so your arguing using black and whites, as if theist and non-theist could not possibly ever have the same views, silly. the thing is though its 15% of people spread out all over the country so each state has less then 1% of a non-religious community

Erm no. First of all that isnt how math works. If 15% of America is atheist it means 15% of every state on average will be atheist. Otherwise using that math we have 85% christian between 51 states which means in each state we only have 1.6% Christians which obviously isn't true.

Its a two party election. Im not saying that theists and non theists CANT have the same views. Its just pretty likely that they wont considering they pretty much cant vote republican unless you happen to get someone fairly sensible (I mean seriously what atheists would vote for Rick Santorium or Virgil goode?!). That means if you want pure secularism you're sometimes forced to vote democrat in some states and quite a lot of the time for the presidency. But if you don't like democratic policy on everything else tough luck. You basically have to roll a dice on if you agree with ONE person every 4 years. Which is pretty low. A two party system makes it difficult enough to find someone to agree with as 43% voter indifference proves. When one party often has candidates that are VERY MUCH AGAINST secularism it makes it even harder.

i guess huntsman doesn't exist, and we are not talking about just republicans are we?, did i say just republicans, also many dems are religious as well so don't assume the only party with high amounts of religious people are the REPS. considering are discussion was about low representations of non-religious people with non-religious people in government.

keiskay:
i guess huntsman doesn't exist, and we are not talking about just republicans are we?, did i say just republicans, also many dems are religious as well so don't assume the only party with high amounts of religious people are the REPS. considering are discussion was about low representations of non-religious people with non-religious people in government.

Oh republicans can be secular. Its just quite a few serious candidates this year for republicans were strongly against the separation of church and state. Which made the option for non religious people to vote for democrats or no one for some states. Not to say democrats and republicans CANT represent your views AND respect your non religiousness but in the event they dont do one of those things you have no other option. You need both to vote for them. Theists are pretty much secure in the fact that all candidates will respect christian views and seek to keep them protected while we definitely saw some candidates against the separation of church and state. 50% of Americans have no candidate they feel represents them enough to vote. When one party often has candidates against secularism (although some ARE secular) it makes the chances of finding that candidate even lower amongst the two parties.

The fact is that Atheists of america are in a pretty bad position as far as numbers go. There are not enough of them to make appealing to them worthwhile for candidates looking for votes. But there are enough to make their opinions valid and worth representation. Its a fairly delicate position to be in.

Danyal:

GunsmithKitten:

Theocracy is a form of government in which official policy is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as (or claim to be) divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group.[1][2][3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theocracy

President Bush:

I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/07/wf081507.htm

Bush is not ordained clergy. At best, he was a wanna-be dominionist, not a theocrat.

Theocracy - form of government in which official policy is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as (or claim to be) divinely guided

Bush - God told me to fight terrorists in Afghanistan and invade Iraq

How is 'Bush is not ordained clergy' relevant?

May I please have an actual dictionary citation of your definition of Theocracy? Because it doesn't match any that I know of or have.

and it's relevant because a Theocracy's laws are made by officials of the church. Bush is not ordained by any religion as far as I know.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
A "veiled" government is an actual government being hidden by the illusion of a different one. Since that explanation couldn't get more obtuse if I tried here is an example:

Many African nations will claim their nation is a democracy to get aid from the U.N. or specifically the United States. Yet it is a Veiled Military Dictatorship, since invariably military suppression controls the voting.

Some states are claimed to be in "anarchy" after a government takeover, but they are simply "Veiled (Whatever they're gonna be)" with anarchy as the excuse to execute their takeover.

That being said, it is my theory that the United State is a "Veiled Theocracy" very cleverly disguised as a democracy. Or at the least a Theocratic Representative Democracy.

Come on, you can't be serious.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

EVIDENCE:
There are no members of Congress that are not part of a religion, the overwhelming majority (More than 95%) are Christian or Catholic.

Only one atheist or agnostic has ever been elected to congress, or made governor of a state, or served as a Supreme Court judge.

First off, Catholics are Christian, why you would differentiate between Orthodox/Protestants and Catholics is beyond me.
Second off, the majority of the US population is some kind of Christian so it makes sense that the majority of those in politics would be Christian.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Many laws are created based on religious law only, or defeated by religious law only.

I highly doubt that, please name these many laws.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

78% of the people in this country identify as religious.

Right, wrong, evidence misleading?

Ok most of us are religious, so what?

Wrong, your very wrong in thinking that I live in a theocratic country. As others have pointed out, we don't have an official religion or Church. Places like England are more of a theocratic country than the US.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
-snip-

I'm not so sure about right now, but I believe that there are many who are striving for a theocracy. For example, there is absolutely no objective reason for gay marriage to be illegal (well, no objective reason that stands up to debate). Yet many continue to fight for it, using flowery language and euphemisms to dance around their real intentions.

While they will never say they want a theocracy--and will always argue how much they value the US being a democracy--as long as they continue to argue that laws should be made according to religious values, what they want is by definition a theocracy.

Also, I hate to tell you, but people in power being religious does not necessarily mean a nation is a theocracy--even if it favors one religion. What determines a theocracy is the laws being passed, not the individuals who pass them. It doesn't matter if they are religious, as long as the laws they pass are secular it's not a theocracy.

Wolverine18:

BiscuitTrouser:
While i agree it isnt a theocracy its actually illegal for Atheists to hold positions of government in a few states. Here is a list of them:

The laws are on the books but unenforceable.

A law is still a law until it is deemed unconstitutional. Until the specific state's supreme court rules, or it gets taken all the way to the SCOTUS, a law must be abided by. Asking for an injunction is another story, but that is a legal maneuver and only changes the current state of the law for purpse of examination; the law is still on the books.

l0ckd0wn:

Wolverine18:

BiscuitTrouser:
While i agree it isnt a theocracy its actually illegal for Atheists to hold positions of government in a few states. Here is a list of them:

The laws are on the books but unenforceable.

A law is still a law until it is deemed unconstitutional. Until the specific state's supreme court rules, or it gets taken all the way to the SCOTUS, a law must be abided by. Asking for an injunction is another story, but that is a legal maneuver and only changes the current state of the law for purpse of examination; the law is still on the books.

While theoretically true, everyone knows it would fall flat and no one would try to enforce it. Thus, it is as if it doesn't exist. Lots of remanent laws exist, they don't hurt anything.

Go to 1:25

Got to ask! Is this the general political temperature in the US? I for one think it is.
Some leaders you have.

Now the way I see it, there are elements within the USA that would love nothing more than to bring theocracy about, but right now, the country isn't theocratic.

Wolverine18:

While theoretically true, everyone knows it would fall flat and no one would try to enforce it. Thus, it is as if it doesn't exist. Lots of remanent laws exist, they don't hurt anything.

Now, this is one thing I've wondered for a while now. What happens in common law if/when such a law is brought up in one legal proceeding or the other?

Vegosiux:

Wolverine18:

While theoretically true, everyone knows it would fall flat and no one would try to enforce it. Thus, it is as if it doesn't exist. Lots of remanent laws exist, they don't hurt anything.

Now, this is one thing I've wondered for a while now. What happens in common law if/when such a law is brought up in one legal proceeding or the other?

Short answer...

If no one ever tries to press a charge under an old law that is probably unconstitutional, it just sits there and does nothing and never goes away. If someone tries to use it..

1) If it's a criminal case, the defense raises the unconstitutionality of the law and asks that the charges be dismissed. In a civil case (eg - where you were denied something because of a law you feel is unconstitional and then sue) the plaintif raises the issue in their notice of claim.

2) The trier of fact (in most cases in the US, a judge) determines if they agree the law or action is unconstitutional. If they agree, they rule the law/action unconstituional, if not, the case continues.

3) If either side of the case above feels the first trier of fact made an error in law in the ruling on the constitutionality, they can send it to an appellate court, and then the circle continues until both sides conceed, it reaches the highest court in the land, or a court with authority to refuse to hear a case refuses to hear the case.

4) Until a law hits an "authoritative court" the decision can be considered by other judges as case law, but is not binding. What is an authoritative court depends on where you live. But, as an example, in Canada, the first authoritative court is the Superior Court for each province and their rulings are binding on their province. The highest authoritative court is the Supreme Court of Canada, where rulings are binding country wide.

In some countries laws may be moved through the court system without a complaintant, but generally a complaintant is needed (ie - someone specific has to have been "wronged" to complain to a court).

The government itself can sometimes send a bill/law to an authoritative court for an opinion (eg - the Canadian federal government may send a draft bill on which they are uncertain of the constitutionality of section 4, clause 2 and ask the court for their opinion before the law is past)

NameIsRobertPaulson:

78% of the people in this country identify as religious.

Down to around 60% according to a recent Gallup poll, actually.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19262884

Raesvelg:

NameIsRobertPaulson:

78% of the people in this country identify as religious.

Down to around 60% according to a recent Gallup poll, actually.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19262884

hey don't post facts here, we want America to be the most religious and theocratic looking nation so we can affirm our biases.

scotth266:
What, are you fucking serious?

Off topic, your profile pic is hilariously approporiate to that line, and by now I read all your posts in the Soldier's voice. :D

Anyway, back on topic - nope, not really. While certainly influenced by it, it's not governed by this alone, and how much is religious seems to be on the decline. So not really, until the president officially bans atheism (And Obama is WAY too chill for any of that stuff.).

keiskay:

Raesvelg:

NameIsRobertPaulson:

78% of the people in this country identify as religious.

Down to around 60% according to a recent Gallup poll, actually.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19262884

hey don't post facts here, we want America to be the most religious and theocratic looking nation so we can affirm our biases.

Ironically the fact we still have Zero congressmen who are atheist to represent 40% of the nation makes America look worse than if it had less atheists. The more atheists you have the worse it looks because representation is even worse than we thought.

BiscuitTrouser:

keiskay:

Raesvelg:

Down to around 60% according to a recent Gallup poll, actually.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19262884

hey don't post facts here, we want America to be the most religious and theocratic looking nation so we can affirm our biases.

Ironically the fact we still have Zero congressmen who are atheist to represent 40% of the nation makes America look worse than if it had less atheists. The more atheists you have the worse it looks because representation is even worse than we thought.

It's good to read more than the headline. The actual number in that report that was linked for atheists is 5%.

And if you think there should be more atheists in office, go run for office. It's not like the system doesn't allow you to run.

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