Secular Theocracy

Sometimes the truth stings – and Jeremy nailed it:

“We’ll soon have a new law (because you know that our big-government-loving governor will sign it) that will make us feel good, will give us a new source of revenue via law enforcement, and will give the finger-waggers another reason to rag on parents.”

Its not just the governor…it is all of our Republicans. These jokers stick us with more and more nanny government year in and year out yet Utahns keep going back to them.

Sorry Reach but any Republican who complains about too much paternalism in our government isn’t assigning the guy in the mirror enough of the blame. We need more libertarian minded leaders in both parties.

It used to be that I would hear people suggest that Utah is a theocracy and I would think they were just bitter because Utah is so politically resistant to secularism. Tonight I have concluded that what we have would qualify as a theocracy. It’s not a theocracy dictated by the LDS church as many would suggest (that’s what made me resist the idea for so long). Instead it is a theocracy based on an informal secular religion focused on enforcing kid- and family-friendly laws lest anyone face the possibility of making a wrong choice. While it is not dictated by the dominant faith of the state it is very palatable to many followers of that faith.

As I have watched our big-government Republican legislature I have clung to the notion that the state Republican party was out of touch with the residents of Utah and that they stayed in power because the state Democrats were too closely tied to the DNC to approach the majority of Utah citizens on some crucial issues. My new theory is that I am out of touch with the majority of Utah citizens and that most of them actually want the kind of government we have here – one that will do anything possible to “prevent” anyone from making any really bad choices (especially where children are involved), one that will solve our health care crisis since the LDS governor of Massachusetts has shown that it can be done, and one that will lead the way in fixing the global warming crisis so that they can drive everywhere they go knowing that the crisis has been averted by their wonderful government regulations.

  • RJ: That is an S.U.V; Humans ride in them because they are slowly losing their ability to walk.
  • Penny: Jeepers, its so big!
  • Lou: How many humans fit in there?
  • RJ: Usually, one.

(from Over the Hedge)

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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6 Responses to Secular Theocracy

  1. Jeremy says:

    I think your description of our political situation as a “secular theocracy” is very apt. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

    It isn’t Mormonism that dominates our political landscape it is Cultural Mormonism.

  2. David says:

    Cultural Mormonism is exactly the driving force in our state politics. I wonder what kind of response I would have seen if I had titled the post “Mormon-Culture Theocracy.”

  3. Reach Upward says:

    As I retorted to Jeremy on my blog, it appears that none of the legislature’s Democrats voted against the child restraint bill, while at least some of the GOP legislators did.

    It’s not just cultural Mormonism. This same kind of thing rules in states with no significant religious majority. It is, as you state, a secular religiosity. And it is pervasive throughout our nation.

    I do agree, however, that most Utahns are quite comfortable with the big government approach. Many Mormons easily submit to the secular religion, thinking that it somehow dovetails with their church. Perhaps the read the record in the Book of Alma regarding the sacred nature of liberty far differently than I do. Or perhaps they don’t read that book at all.

  4. David says:

    It’s true that this is not limited to cultural Mormonism. I wonder if so many people subscribe to these ideas of secular morality because they don’t understand what liberty is, or if it’s because they actually prefer bondage so long as it wrapped in a warm and fuzzy moral lining.

  5. Jeremy says:


    You’re right…no Democrats voted against the child restraint bill. So what? I’ll start holding Utah’s Democrats accountable for their foolish paternalistic behavior when they have at least enough votes in either of our legislative bodies to even partially obstruct the process. Democrats are a complete non-factor in Utah politics right now. Republicans deserve full credit/blame for everything done in every legislative session.

    The “secular morality/secular religiosity” we’re talking about isn’t common in most other Rocky Mountain states. Look all around us in the states not as heavily influenced by cultural Mormonism and you’ll see vibrant political systems with real competition. My favorite example is Montana where they have a governor who is brilliant and willing to take hard political stands and argue them forcefully in a manner citizens of his state can’t help but respect. He’s a libertarian leaning Democrat. Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico are also great examples of open, competitive political systems that have far better ethical standards among elected officials than participants in our state’s single party system.

    Sorry, but it IS cultural Mormonism that holds Utah back…not the LDS church and not “secular religion” (is that even possible?). Until Utah’s LDS decide good government is more important than the false but prevalent cultural belief that Republicans are morally superior to Democrats we won’t see any improvement.

  6. David says:

    I used the term “secular religion” to indicate a social system that is guided by religious or moral positions but not tied to a specific religion. Here in Utah it is clearly cultural Mormonism because the LDS church is the dominant religion but the term is meant to be applicable whether the dominant religion is LDS or something else.

    If you want to see evidence of secular religiosity you should look to states that do not have overwhelming LDS populations, but that are more politically like us – Texas, Alabama, Misissippi, or South Carolina might be good places to start.

    While Democrats are a non-factor right now in Utah politics they can’t expect to gain the support of those who are interested in good government if they won’t even provide a voice of opposition. If we are looking for people who will oppose junk laws like the child restraint bill we are not likely to look to the democrats who voted unanimously for it. We would be more likely to look towards getting more of legislators like those few Republicans who did oppose it.

    The reality is that we won’t have much of a voice in the Republican party until there is a chance that the Democrats can compete politically. We need a two party system in the state.

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