Theocracy and rural Canada in the 21st century
An essay submitted by Reverend David Findley-Price
While this essay describes the situation in rural Canada, we suspect that it
is equally applicable to portions of the U.S. as well.
Theocracy and rural Canada in the 21st century:
Theocracy is always an unhappy marriage between religion and civil authority
by people of faith who take control of the civil authority and push their agenda
into law, mindless of the needs and aspirations of others. There is a sense of
smugness which suggests that "we know best and it is our God-given right to
make our laws this way for all people." This is true in parts of the Arab
world and in parts of the European world. Happily, Canada, since Confederation
has officially always had a separation of church and state. Sadly, this has not
always been true in practice. Any religious system, including Christianity that
needs the civil authority to uphold its doctrine and enforce its world vision is
a religious system in crisis. If our "God" be it Christian or
non-Christian is so weak that it needs to be propped up by the civil authority,
then this "Force" is no longer God and mankind has been blasphemous in
assuming that God needs our help through our lawmaking thereby making us more
powerful than God.
There are many rural parts of Canada that have been characterized as right wing
ghettos which have an effect been theocracies. Shifts the population from more
urban areas has begun to break down this ghetto mentality. Change is often
frightening, but individual citizens and individual Christians, as well as
people from other faith expressions within the broad context of Canada have a
right and responsibility to choose as well as develop their own moral codes.
These codes and faith patterns are all acceptable within the broad framework of
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Christian theocracy, which is often
praised in small-town newspapers, would have it that "one size fits all."
Modern complex societies such as the one reflected in the changing face of
Canada would gradually fracture if it was forced to conform to simple solutions.
One only has to look to extremely conservative societies to see this fracturing
taking place. Is only a matter of time before the fracture leads to brokenness!
The concepts of both faith and society are dynamic. Faith and society are always
in transition. A snapshot of either is always an historical document. Rural
Canada is no longer, if it ever was, a monolithic society with only one vision
of Christianity, one vision of faith and one vision of culture. The real change
that is occurring is that the base of power is moving from the hands of a few to
the hands of many. The various elected agencies will begin to reflect the true
diversity of rural Canada instead of being reflective of a minority point of
Conservative thought, moderate thought, and progressive thought will soon be
reflected in the decision-making agencies which rule our lives. This is how it
should be as this reflects the population who make up world Canada, with this
diversity of villages and small towns. What is important in this reality is that
each person will not only uphold their own point of view but work to both
intellectually and emotionally understand the other diverse points of view.
Together, we will build a city with a strong fabric in which a diverse city of
spiritual thought as well as political thought can be expressed openly and
constructively for the benefit of all citizens not just a few select people of
power and influence.