Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Let's imagine a worst-case scenario where the United States, through internal factors, disintegrates and splinters.  As a result, different states and regions band together to form new nations.  One natural fit would be for the people of the "Mormon Belt" to form an alliance and create a new nation, let's call it Deseret.

Now imagine a choice between creating a democracy, similar to the one established in the Constitution, and a theocracy where the prophet was the head of state, similar to the institutions created by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  Which would you choose?  I'm not sure that is such an easy choice for Mormons.

Now, how does this effect your views on the revolutions taking place in the Middle East?  There is considerable hand-wringing by conservatives, given voice by Fox News, and hilariously parodied by Glenn Beck, that the revolutions are distinctly bad because Islamists may take power.  After all, Palestinians elected Hamas and in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has some amount of popularity and political organization.  It is certainly not a perfect analogy, but how critical can we be of Muslims choosing to create a theocracy when we, as Mormons, would likely be inclined to do the same?


Anonymous said...

For me, the reason for concern comes from the fact that the stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist Islamists is the forced Islamicization of the entire world, through bloodshed if necessary. Last I checked, we Mormons don't have such goals.

I would have no problem with Muslims creating a theocracy if they weren't intent on shoving Islam down the throats of those they deem to be infidels and wiping the Jews off the face of the earth.

Jacob S. said...

That is a completely distorted description of mainstream Islam. There are those extremists in the religion, of course, but they are such a small minority compared to the billion or so Muslims that live peaceful lives.

And the Brookings Institution, among others, has shown that the Muslim Brotherhood is actually much more moderate than Americans are generally lead to believe, despite the occasional heavy rhetoric:

There are certainly extreme Islamist factions that we should be concerned about if they take power, such as the Taliban, but it is folly to ascribe such violent and extreme motives to all Muslims.

Josh said...

Yes, I guess the "extremists" could be the minority you claim them to be. Does it matter? No. Those are the ones blowing up embassies, and flying planes into buildings. The war between Islam and Christianity has been going on since long before this country was established. You want to preach acceptance and brotherhood. The problem is that allowing the Muslims to have powerful theocratic governments and then showing acceptance, which they perceive as weakness, only encourages the "extremists."

So, what we, as a nation, need to decide is who we will be. Will we be a strong Christian nation, like we were founded to be. Or will we be accepting apologetic fools and let them walk all over us. No amount of acceptance will ever change the beliefs and feelings of the Muslims.

Jacob S. said...

"So, what we, as a nation, need to decide is who we will be. Will we be a strong Christian nation, like we were founded to be. Or will we be accepting apologetic fools and let them walk all over us."

Josh, these clearly aren't the only choices for America. We can be a strong multi-cultural democracy that respects all forms of belief and also show strength against oppression and terrorism and the like. Just because we accept that Muslims have the right to create Muslim-based governments doesn't mean we have to allow them to "walk all over us." In fact, we have excellent relations with some Muslim theocracies.

The point of the post was not to say that it is preferable for America for Muslim nations to create theocracies, stable democracies are obviously what America should be encouraging, but simply that Mormons with a history of support for theocracy should at least understand where they are coming from.

Finally, I couldn't help but point at the irony (probably used wrong) of you decrying the formation of Muslim law based governments while extolling the virtue of America being a "strong Christian nation." You can't have it both ways, I think.

Architect said...

I think that you may find the results of this speculation in the Book of Mormon. Tribes. When the federal government falls, all the states since they are utterly dependent on it, will fall with it. We will be reduced to tribes. Better make lots of friends now so your tribe will be large enough to protect you and yours.