This is a democracy, not a theocracy! is something I have heard more than once from both liberals and secularists, who are likely to be one in the same. Non-religious Americans are nearly twice as likely to be Democrat or Democrat leaning, and in my experience both more likely to be hostile and aggressively confrontational when confronted by views contrary to their own. For example, those in opposition to same-sex marriage are labeled hateful bigots. Pro-lifers are branded as haters of women who want them to die on the floor. Expressions of faith in schools is forcing religion down children’s throats, not to mention a violation of the sacred separation of church and state. Proponents of school prayer, traditional marriage, and opposers of abortion are seen as having an agenda to replace our democracy with a theocracy.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news — actually, I revel in it — but these malcontents don’t know how lucky they are that we do not live in a democracy here in America else we would be living in what they would disdainfully consider a theocracy. America is a representative republic. We do not enact policy based on majority vote of the populace, which would in essence be a democracy. We elect legislators to enact legislation on our behalf. So let’s see what America would look like if we were a democracy.
First, prayer in public schools would be policy.
76% of Americans favor “a constitutional amendment to allow voluntary prayer in public schools,” while just 23% oppose such an amendment. This is not new. In 1983, a similar poll showed 81% in favor, and polls in the past decade show about three-quarters of Americans consistently supportive.
Related to their support of school prayer, most Americans also believe that religion should have a greater “presence” in public schools. Just 11% say religion already has “too much” presence, and 27% say it has the right amount. A clear majority of Americans, 60%, believe religion has “too little” presence. These views are similar to those expressed in a 2001 Gallup survey.
In spite of the outrage from organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the vast majority of Americans favor public expressions of faith, not just in schools either. Whenever a new restriction on religion is attempted, the public responds with contempt for such restriction. The liberal non-religious are vastly outnumbered when it comes to faith issues.
Views on abortion are not all that different either. Despite 49% of Americans label themselves as pro-choice, an overwhelming majority (61%) of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, and 51% of those polled believe abortion is morally wrong. What this tells us is even some people who consider themselves pro-choice believe abortion is immoral and ought to be illegal in all or most cases. It would appear that if all the women haters had their druthers, abortion would be nearly impossible to access at the ease it is today.
If one pays attention to current events, one of the hottest issues today is same-sex marriage. State legislatures are passing measures legalizing same-sex marriage what seems like every few months, with Washington state being the most recent. But it is worth mentioning that it is state legislatures initiating these marriage amendments, not the people. If it were up to the people, one man/one woman would be the law of the land. In fact, every state in which the people were allowed to have their voices heard voted to define marriage as one man/one woman by an average margin of nearly 2:1. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in spite of the will of the people, not at their behest.
So if America were a democracy, the non-religious liberals would be at the mercy of those they label derogatorily as theocrats, not in charge of them. The views of their political and religiously minded opponents would carry the day without spilling a drop of sweat. It’s already apparent the country’s views are trending pro-life, pro-religion, and pro-traditional marriage. Personally, I hope the trends continue. But those afraid of a theocratizing of America ought to thank their lucky stars that America is not a democracy.