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The distinction would lie in exactly what a theocracy is and what we mean by the term “Christian nation”. What we have always meant by the term “Christian nation” is what Alexis De Tocqueville found when he came here. When Tocqueville came to the United States, believe it or not, he wasn’t terribly interested in just the leadership of the US. He was pre-occupied with the people of the US. He said, “Everywhere I go they disagree on theology, but they don’t disagree on what is right and wrong that flows from the worldview that comes from their theology.” It is a Christian nation in the sense that the people—we the people—were Christians. And the ideas that flowed and founded policy were ideas flowing from the Judeo-Christian worldview.
Compare, then, what Tocqueville said with the definition of theocracy. A theocracy is a government that is set up with a religious leader as the de facto and infallible leader/dictator of the country. That looks nothing like the United States of America. Indeed, even in our Constitution and Bill of Rights we said that is never going to happen. You are never going to have an official religion in the US, never going to have the state telling you what you must and must not believe. You are never going to have a high priest who becomes the chief executive at the same time. Those things are just not going to happen, they are not constitutional.
So, to take those two—the argument that Christians want a theocracy—is really non-sensical in the American sense. What the argument should be is that Judeo-Christian values were the ideals that gave birth to the constitution.
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