Earlier today, I happened upon a piece called “Mike Pence, your friendly neighborhood theocrat” over at Think Progress, and I have to say, it really got me thinking about if there’s even any difference between Republicans in general and theocrats.
As a refresher, the dictionary defines theocrats as individuals who govern and make policy decisions on the basis of their religious views, imposing these views on a whole nation of individuals whether they share those religious view or not. Which… sounds familiar, to say the least.
“[M]any evangelicals uncomfortable with Trump say they take comfort in the counsel of Pence, who they see as one of their own. In a recent roundtable discussion on CNN, a voter from Ohio noted that as ‘a Christian,’ he is seeing ‘hope’ in Trump’s administration for restoring ‘values’ he believes in,” Think Progress stated.
After all, evangelical voters probably found Pence’s deeply removed views of evolution comforting and relatable. Have a listen to them for yourself:
In his own words, at last year’s cringe-inducing, cult-like Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence in his own words called himself “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican — in that order,” a wide, proud grin on his face.
And Pence’s actions — which include promoting oppressive gay conversion therapy and proposing to reallocate funding for HIV research and relief to fund gay conversion therapy, and defunding his state’s Planned Parenthood and contributing to a mass HIV outbreak in one county, as it lacked access to HIV testing and treatment — tell a similar story. That is, a story of promoting personal ideology — fundamentalist Christianity — over public health and the well-being of constituents. Pence’s response to the aforementioned HIV outbreak was literally a call to prayer.
While most Republicans would (hopefully) oppose devoting taxpayer dollars to gay conversion therapy, try asking why they oppose marriage equality. Try asking why they oppose abortion and access to birth control, which essentially enable women to *gasp* have unwed sexual relations for reasons other than procreation, forbidden by the Bible.
And, specifically, try asking why they oppose the Hyde amendment, which strips low-income women of their human rights to bodily autonomy and portrays abortion as a violation of decency and morality by prohibiting federal funding of the procedure, but still support billions of taxpayer dollars paying for wars that kill born, living humans. Whose ideology is being prioritized above everyone else’s by Republican lawmakers? Certainly not that of anti-war pacifists.
To put it lightly, there’s definitely some similarities between Republicans and theocrats. But where they differ is certainly not to Republicans’ credit.
If Republican lawmakers like Mike Pence were, indeed, solely guided by the Bible and their Christian values, they would adhere to their faith’s demands for charity and public assistance for the impoverished. I imagine they would spend a lot less time vigorously working to portray poor people, many of whom are working 40 hours a week to feed their families, as monstrous drug abusers, liars, cheats, and criminals.
At the very least, for all their violent shoving of religion down our throats and marginalization of women and the LGBTQ community, committed theocratic lawmakers would respect and show compassion for the poor. Frankly, that’s more than most Republican lawmakers can say.