My gut instinct is the intertwining of religion and politics:
It is also worth asking why America is behind the curve compared to Europe. “Why are so many Baby Boomers atheists” was something being asked 40 years ago in the UK and other Western democracies.
I’m pretty sure that’s because of our “separation of church and state”. The older churches (catholic, episcopal) are having as many problems here as in Europe. It is the newer churches (particularly the charismatics) that have had more vigor. And, in my opinion, it is the non-establishment clause of the first amendment that has made this possible. But the churches seem to not understand this dynamic, as they now attempt to undermine that clause.
That’s what I am seeing as well, on a more anecdotal level. I know of several new churches that have been started by younger age groups for the simple purpose of breaking away from more “traditional” (i.e. old and conservative) congregations. These younger congregations tend to be more charismatic and socially aware.
I would suggest that the reason things are different in the USA is the lack of an Established Church.
Perhaps, you could very well be right on this point. However, rarely do these phenomena boil down to one thing. Although separation of church and state was there from the start of American governance, there was a de facto weak theocracy for a long time in US politics. Many of the big church-state court decisions are from the mid 1900’s.
While the US has constitutional requirements for church-state separation, there is no such line culturally. This is why we see such stark religious lines drawn across political partisan lines. That may be changing with the youngest generation, but who knows.
I think you are over-stating the situation. Calling America a weak theocracy doesn’t make much sense (even with the “weak” thrown in) because there was no single priesthood.
There were multiple sets of clergy - - some of them with opposing views on matters.
There was an interest in religion, yes. But there was almost certainly no THEOCRACY.
The closest we come to it is the odd “NATIONAL CATHEDRAL” built in Washington DC, which wasn’t built until 1891 !!!
It was a weak theocracy because there was no single priesthood. What made its way into law were the broad agreements, such as teacher led prayer in public schools.
I disagree, but that’s fine. I will note that a certain elected official is threatening to bring teacher led prayers back into public schools as a way of drumming up votes for the next election. I think that says a lot.
Theocracy is “rule by priests” … not “rule by disembodied religion”.
Which priests were in charge of America’s “weak theocracy”?
Hence the adjective “weak”.
So… were there ANY countries in the world, in either the 1700s or to the mid 1800s that were NOT “weak theocracies”?
The influence of the church seemed quite strong in the West. I’m guessing that majority Islamic countries saw the same thing. I don’t know what it was like in the East.
The state I happen to live in is strongly influenced by religion. About 30% of state legislators are Mormon, and it has an impact on what laws are considered and/or passed. While they may not be part of the priesthood, they aren’t that far removed.
And lest we forget in our appeals using ad populum fallacies,