According to any standard encyclopedia, democracy is defined as a form of government in which all the people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Such decisions are arrived at through the ballot box as we vote for those whom we believe represent our economic, social and cultural aspirations. The term comes from the Greek, demos (people) and kratos (power). On the other hand, theocracy (theos, meaning God, and kratein, meaning to rule) describes a form of government in which the official policy is to be governed by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion. It seems to me that there is an inordinate amount of religious references in the current GOP primary campaign.
Recently, Anita Perry, wife of the Texas Governor Rick Perry, GOP candidate for president, gave a tearful speech in which she said her husband really didn’t want to run for the highest office, but she finally persuaded him. Her convincing argument included a message from the burning bush (a reference to the Biblical passage about what Moses saw when God told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt). “God was already speaking to me, but he (her husband) felt like he needed to see the burning bush,” she said. The First Lady of Texas told her spouse, “Let me tell you something: You might not see the burning bush, but other people are seeing if for you.” As for the governor, he hasn’t made any claims to have heard the Lord calling upon him to lead Americans out of their misery. It seems more likely that his wife is the one with the burning ambition to have him run. But, if the guy doesn’t have the fire in the belly, his wife shouldn’t have to invoke God to light the flame.
I’m sure Mr. Perry is a good man who is as familiar with the Scriptures as he is with his political aspirations. Furthermore, if he were to make that decision based on what his wife may have seen or heard during a moment of religious fervor, we’d have to wonder if those moments would be used to guide his decisions as president. Moreover, every candidate in the current GOP primary lineup is on record as a believer. Most of us adhere to the moral guidelines of a given religion. Yet, we recoil at the thought of people in power forcing us to subscribe to their chosen religion. I had that thought a few weeks ago when Dallas-based Reverend Robert Jeffress referred to Mormonism as a cult, saying that Mormons (Mitt Romney) weren’t true Christians. It turned out that Jeffress is a friend and supporter of Perry, making his statement, in addition to being an illustration of religious bigotry, a cynical attempt to use God as a pawn in the political process. Although Perry, when pressed, said he disagrees with the “reverend,” he didn’t repudiate him. That’s like saying my friend made racist comments that I don’t agree with, but he’s still a welcome supporter of my candidacy.
The irony in this is that while Mitt Romney was being brutalized by Jeffress because of his religion, Perry’s wife was complaining that her husband was being brutalized because of his faith. The fact is that mainstream Christians do not agree with the views of radical preachers like Jeffress. This clerical carper not only believes that Mormons are a cult from Hell, he also believes that Islam is an evil religion, Jews are doomed to never be saved, and that the Roman Catholic Church is an outgrowth of corruption. He feels that much of what comes from the Catholic Church emanates from “that cult-like pagan religion … Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”
In other words, this guy thinks that every other religion is wicked, sinful, and unworthy of respect because his is the only true faith. Sadly, this so-called reverend is an embarrassment to all decent people who feel they have the right to believe in the religion of their choice, or to not believe at all. I’ve often written about other “reverends” like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, both of whom are charlatans in my book. In my opinion, Jeffress belongs in the same book. I like what Bill Donahue, the President of the Catholic League said: “Where did they find this guy? When theological differences are demonized by the faithful of any religion, never mind by a clergyman, it makes a mockery of their own religion. Rev. Jeffress is a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.”
Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a writing career about 12 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. Bob went on to write and publish a total of seven novels, “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death,” and “Out of Sight.” He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human.”