Theocracy is a form of government in which the clergy of the main religion dominates governmental policy and everyday life.


I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber barron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.

And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme -- whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence -- the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.[1]



  • Iran
  • The Vatican State
  • Mount Athos
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Those parts of Afghanistan that are Taliban controlled
  • Parts of Somalia controlled by the Islamic Courts Union and their supporters
  • Utah


  • Most early medieval European kings (c. 6th - 10th centuries)
  • Afghanistan under the Taliban (1996-2001)
  • The Holy Roman Empire (962-1806)
  • Florence under Giacomo Savonarola (1494-1498)
  • State of Deseret (1849-1850, never recognized)
  • Calvinist Geneva (16th century)
  • Early (And most of modern) Utah
  • Puritan Massachusetts


  • The United States, if reactionary Christian fundamentalists such as those who believe in Dominionism have their way, especially with the GOP showing their far-right true colors.


Adapted from RationalWiki and Liberapedia