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NPOV Issues - Tibet[edit]

The section on Tibet seems to be suffering from some NPOV issues. It identifies Tibet as a theocracy based on the position of the Dalai Lama, and tyh5thtgghthjngfnbbnfghtfgbhgbhe controversy over the banning of a particular religious practice now primarily associated with the New Kadampa Tradition. First of all, since the Tibetan government-in-exile is being discussed, I'm not sure that it really matches the definition at all- Tibet-in-exile isn't a country in any ordinary sense, and I'm not sure what, if any, legislative power the government in exile has to create 'Tibetan laws' in accord with Tibetan Buddhist religious laws- they are really guests of India, which I would imagine does all the governing. Second, we need a neutral source that identifies the government in exile as a theocracy (just like we need the same thing for Bhutan, Andorra, Norway, and a bunch of others- see below). Third, it's not clear if the Shugden decision really fits the definition of a 'theocratic' action- the Dalai Lama, as the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist faith, certainly can make pronouncements about religious issues; it's theocratic only if they are being enacted and enforced in some way by the government in exile civil administration- that may be the case given that there is discussion of parliamentary procedure here, but it's far from clear. In any case, for this to be neutral and not a POV push, we need sourced better than a YouTube video identifying the modern Tibetan exile state as a theocracy. --Clay Collier (talk) 21:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I have read what you said carefully, and need first to point out that this has nothing to do with the New Kadampa Tradition actually, please check or or a whole array of Tibetan Buddhist websites to find out more about this issue and how it affects thousands of Tibetans in exile. There is plenty of evidence that the TGIE implemented the spiritual ban using their political power, which indicates that they are functioning as a theocracy. Regardless of where you stand on this issue of Dorje Shugden, it cannot be argued that the TGIE is a democracy, nor that it has no power over the Tibetans in exile. Documentaries by Al Jazeera and France 24 have shown the opposite is the case, as have an increasing number of other news articles and research articles. To add to this, the Dalai Lama is not the head of the Gelugpa tradition (the Ganden Tripa is) and therefore is interfering with Gelugpa practices only with the aid of the TGIE, of which he is still the head -- he is in the process of jostling himself into the position of "overall head of all Buddhist traditions on this earth" according to a recent declaration from Dharamsala, but this is in fact unprecedented in Tibetan history, where all four schools always had their own religious heads. The Dalai Lamas of Tibet were always part of the Ganden Podrang i.e. they exerted political power (in a clearly clerical/feudal/theocratic rule), but individual religious schools were allowed to follow their own traditions (even if this often depended on the geography of Tibet and the distance from Lhasa.) The referendum in the monasteries, which subsequently ejected all Dorje Shugden practitioners, was both enacted and enforced by the government in exile -- and it was a travesty but it has had the power to cause huge division in the great monastic universities of Ganden and Sera and elsewhere. This is all explained also in the Wiki article on Dorje Shugden controversy and many places elsewhere on the Internet, so I suggest the readers are pointed to the other related wiki articles, rather than we have to bring out all the same references and argumentation here. Better to keep just a summary of the situation here. As this has nothing to do with WP:NPOV I suggest removing that label now that the you tube video has been replaced with a more reliable source.(Truthbody (talk) 22:52, 4 April 2009 (UTC))
I should point out that the Dorje Shugden issue is one example but there is also the Karmapa problem and umpteen other problems with choosing reincarnated Lamas (which the Dalai Lama now does almost all himself). Moreover, there is nothing at all to stop other religious freedoms from being denied to other members of the Tibetan exile community because they have absolutely no recourse if they disagree with the Dalai Lama, even though he was never elected, and while they remain Tibetan he has power over their temporal lives. (Truthbody (talk) 23:05, 4 April 2009 (UTC))
This is missing my main objection, actually; the primary problem here, as I pointed out below, is that we have no neutral reference identifying the contemporary Tibetan government in exile as a theocratic system. Again, the emphasis on the contemporary exile government, not the government before the Chines invasion. A non-English language source is really not a great improvement here, either. If the current consensus in neutral third party publications is that the contemporary government in exile is a theocracy, then finding an English-language source that states that shouldn't be hard. Presenting arguments for why the current government should be considered a theocracy, rather than reliable sources that state that it is, is original research. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I re-wrote this section to improve the sourcing. My concern now is that including this criticism, and using it to characterize the CTA as a 'theocratic' government is giving WP:Undue Weight to the position of a party involved in a dispute with CTA policies. Again, what is really needed to get that NPOV tag off is a citation from someone with no involvement in the dispute over Dorje Shugden who says that the CTA is a theocracy. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:32, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Spacemonki/Clay Collier, please let us not simply remove the whole section. That does not solve the problem nor follow wiki rules. There has to be consensus. There are two valid points of view presented here on the talk page. You can re-add the NPOV tag if you like, but you can't simply delete a whole section!! ( (talk) 11:06, 19 July 2009 (UTC))

Another (quite major) flaw in the whole Tibetan theocracy thing: the article (and others linking to it such as Political System) defines Theocracy as rule by "an alleged representative of God". Buddha was a spiritual teacher, not a God, and arguably any translation of eastern religious concepts to the western word "God" is a very lossy translation anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Sourcing and POV Issues with the Nation List[edit]

Too many of the countries listed as having 'theocratic aspects' have no references, or appear to be attempts at original synthesis. There's no source for Andorra or Bhutan. There seems to be some confusion between having a state church and being a theocracy. What is needed is clear, unambiguous statements from a reliable source that 'Country x is a theocracy', not a few examples of how someone thinks that a religion is exerting influence in the country. Has any modern sociologist, historian, or political scientist really identified Norway as a theocracy??? --Clay Collier (talk) 21:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I rewrote this section, largely sourced from the CIA World Factbook. I deleted Norway and Bhutan, because in both case I couldn't find something that said clearly that it was some sort of theocracy; having a state church isn't the same thing. Calling these 'theocratic aspects' seems a little POV-ish to me, particularly in the case of something like Andorra, where it isn't clear that the situation is much different from a Prince Bishop with a parliamentary government instead of a feudal one. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:29, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Removed some more countries. We need sources that speficially say that a country is a theocracy, or has aspects of a theocracy. Just digging up some laws that are influenced by a religion, or if nominally the country is ruled by a religious figure (in the case of Andorra) is not enough for inclusion in this section as it violates WP:OR. And if we go that way we could probably include every country on earth as most laws are to some extent influenced by religion. (talk) 18:17, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Japan Disputed[edit]

I'm unsure about the identification of Imperial Japan as a theocracy. While the Emperor was believed to be divine and was the nominal head of state, actual government was carried out not by the Imperial family, but by the military aristocracy. References are the main need, but I don't see a ton of difference here between Japan and any other monarchy where the king is believed to be divine or semi-divine. Feudalism has religious elements, but is generally held to be distinct from theocracy, I believe. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:41, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree. Imperial Japan had a state religion with the Emperor as a semi-divine figure, but you're right in the sense that it was a modern form of feudalism with some religious elements. Theocracy usually implies that the country was ruled by clerics, and Japan was definitely not. Alexthe5th (talk) 03:32, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
No, that's not the definition ('ruled by clerics') and is not necessary in the other examples. Defining a person as god and than let him rule is theocratic. It's just another definition of god/theo, as there are several other possibilities in the examples. And if you dispute this, than be consequent: Egypt (farao), Japan & China (emperors) apply the same concept of divine rulers. If one isn't, the others aren't either and vice versa. Furthermore a nation can be defined on multiple axes like feudal AND theocratic, the one doesn't exclude the other. --Eezie (talk) 23:04, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Byzantine Empire etc[edit]

For the term to have any meaning, a distinction has to be made between true theocracies (where the state is subservient to, or unified with, the church) and caesaropapist systems (where the church is subservient to, or a mere arm of, the state). The Byzantine Empire, mentioned in the last sentence of the lead, was more or less a strongly Caesaropapist state, not a theocratic one. (There have been relatively few Christian theocracies: the Puritan colonies in America are one of the only pure examples, but in the early Protestant Reformation period some places - like Geneva and Florence - were briefly theocratic. The Amish communities could be called theocratic, in a sense, too - but my point is that theocratic elements have never been mainstream in Christianity.) Medieval Catholic Europe had strong conflict between church and state, so it can't be considered a theocracy.) I'm a little happier calling the Carolingian empire theocratic, but it's still quite a poor example - Charlemagne was hardly a puppet of the religious authorities. The problem is that 'theocracy' has become a term too easily hurled around as an accusation, so you can find plenty of sources applying to the98.194.47.147 (talk) 03:16, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Steven Runcinman, in his book The Byzantine Theocracy, considers the Byzantine Empire a theocracy because, according to the platonic political theory introduced by Eusebius (an attempt to christianize the Roman god-like, priestly position of Caesars), the empire was an image of the archetypal Kingdom of God and the Emperor a representative of Him. In other words, the Emperor had religious significance and ecclesiasical authority and his rulerlship was an extension of the Divine Rulership.--Vassilis78 (talk) 20:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

CTA (Tibet), again[edit]

An anonymous user removed the section on the Central Tibetan Authority earlier. Another anon reverted this as vandalism tonight. I agree with the original editor that it should be deleted, and was considering doing so myself, though I earlier re-wrote the section to attempt to make it more compliant. Major problems with listing the CTA in the 'Current States' section:

  1. The CTA is not a state.
  2. The CTA is not self-governing in significant respects. It relies on the apparatus of the Indian government as its means of lawful policy enforcement.
  3. The CTA does not identify itself as a theocracy.
  4. The only identification of the CTA as a theocracy comes from a group engaged in a protracted dispute with the CTA. This is clearly not neutral. Putting the CTA in the same category as, say, Iran, on the basis of a criticism from a single religious group gives undue weight to this criticism.
  5. The head of state of the CTA is a religious figure (the Dalai Lama), but it has been argued in several places on this talk page that simply having a prince-bishop or a religious figurehead as a senior member of a state body is not sufficient for us to call something a theocracy.

-- Clay Collier (talk) 11:29, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, actually, the Dalai Lama, as nice as he is, IS just as much a theocrat as the Pope is. (talk) 21:36, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Historical Sikh Theocracy[edit]

Is this section real academic work based on cited sources, or a flight of fancy? There has not been a "Sikh Theocracy". Any Sikh institutions are based on "Gurmatta" or "Plebiscite". It is done by consensus, and votes. Even Sikh institutions today are done by this method. I move this section be deleted unless a credible source can be found.Even Jd Cunningham describes any past Sikh institutions as a Sikh Democracy thanks.--Sikh-History 14:24, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Ok, no discussion. Unless someone can up with citations as to how Misls were a theocracy, I am going to kill that section. Thanks --Sikh-History 14:35, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with SH. Just because leaders have and actively follow a religion does not make the state they rule a Theocracy.- sinneed (talk) 15:22, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I am going to wp:Be Bold. Cut from the article to avoid its loss:

Sikh Confederacy[edit]

The Sikh Confederacy was a collection of small to medium sized independent sovereign Sikh states, which were governed by barons or sardars, in the Confederacy. There was not much political movement in the Confederacy but all the barons were very strongly linked with the principles established by Guru Gobind Singh[citation needed], the founder Chief of the Khalsa Army. The nation lasted for span of a century and a quarter. The first 50 years, the nation was governed by the barons meeting together once a year in an all faith-wide meeting called Sarbat Khalsa in which not just the respective barons of the states were allowed, but anybody was allowed to participate. Even today, the tradition lives on as once in a while Sarbat Khalsa are called and people in large gatherings come to join them.

- sinneed (talk) 14:44, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Mount Athos[edit]

Though it's a semi-autonomous state, couldn't Agion Oros be considered a theocracy? Kostantino888Z (talk) 02:49, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Florence under Savonarola[edit]

I'd question that Florence under Savonarola was a true theocracy. Clergy did not hold executive positions in government, nor did they vote on legislation or officers of state. It would be more accurately described that Florence was a democratic republic with a state religion in which clerical opinion was held in high esteem by legislators. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:07, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

The "God" / "god" thing. Again. Again.[edit]


  • "He is the patron god of both smiths and weavers."
  • "The temple in Rome dedicated to all the major gods was called 'The Pantheon'."

and others. The usage in the lead sentence is not a title/name, but a noun.- Sinneed 14:55, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Muhammad's theocracy?[edit]

According to who is this in the article believed to be true:

In Islam, the period when Medina was ruled by the Islamic prophet Muhammad is, occasionally, classed as a theocracy

--Faro0485 (talk) 20:49, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

This quote is incorrect:

starting from the time when Muhammad established the Muslim empire in Medina in the 7th century

The First Muslim Empire actually began with Abu Bakr and his successor Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Abu Bakr conquered Iraq and Umar went on to conquer Persia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eamonlahrach (talkcontribs) 16:27, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

origin of the term[edit]

I am surprised that there is no history of the term's usage. I think that th term was first coined by Flavius Josephus. Can anyone who watches this page and who is presumably an expert on the concept help me by providing the origin of the term, and confirming whether it was Josephus? Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 15:40, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Israel again[edit]

Israel is not a theocracy. It's a representative democracy with seats for both Arab, Jews, and mixed parties. It has instances of law that favor Jews over non-Jews, but grants freedom of religion and equal rights to all its citizens. To claim Israel is a theocracy because of the "God promised it to us!" Zionist-types (not all Zionists justify the existence of Israel with divine command. Some, for example wanted to built a socialist state), you may as well claim the US is a theocracy because of the Christians who think the US is a nation blessed by God and say its law is based on Judeo-Christian law (e.g. 10 Commandments). I've read in previous archives that Israel has certainly been called a theocracy, which is true, but I think just leaving it here as a fact is inaccurate.--Louiedog (talk) 16:59, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

"The organs of government and state power neither derive their legal authority from religion or church nor their legitimation from any divine source." [1]--Louiedog (talk) 17:00, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

The page must make better distinction between state religion and theocracy. Israel employs a representative government, government officials do not have corresponding religious duties or obligations. Power does not derive from a deity. Including Israel under the same heading as the Vatican and Iran hopelessly muddles the definition of Theocracy. A more sophisticated and less interpretive discussion of the Israeli Rabbinate appears in the Additional Notes section on the page for State Religion. Editors should consider reorganizing or deleting. (talk) 18:40, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

I've fixed it. Israel is now included in this article on the basis of it's being accused of being a theocracy, while not actually being one.--Louiedog (talk) 23:19, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Accused by who? From Israels history its no more influenced by belief in god then the USA. The right of return law in Israel is like many countries have German were spread from France to the Volga River in large #'s as well further east in smaller #'s after WWII most German in the East were expelled and Germany wrote a law for there return after the Cold war the flow jumped again case israel is unfairly targeted . After all Jews in the holocaust who were atheists were not spared even the ones who converted to christianity66.66.4.198 (talk) 23:15, 14 August 2010 (UTC).

This needs more fixing. In no way should Israel be included in a category that includes the Vatican or Islamic states where sovereignty is expressly vested in God. Israel is no more, and probably less, theocratic than the United Kingdom, which is not put into the same category. The Basic Laws of Israel vest sovereignty in the people, not God or any religion. The fact that it is "accused" of being a theocracy is not sufficient to put it into the same category. According to the introduction to the article: "Theocracy should be distinguished from other secular forms of government that have a state religion, or are merely influenced by theological or moral concepts, and monarchies held "By the Grace of God"." This principle should be applied to Israel no less than any other state. ~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:33, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

The UK doesn't have a religious body certifying its food, dictating the Sabbath as an official holiday. It's a little more theocratic. I was considering moving Israel to it's own category, but decided in the interests of fairness that you could still call these "theocratic aspects" and left it.--Louiedog (talk) 20:46, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I would point out the the state does not have the food certified by the Rabbinate but rather the Rabbinate certifies certain food out of a personal choice and a large part of the Jewish population chooses to follow this certification while a large part does not. And regarding the Sabath, this, once again, is inaccurate as this is not a Rabbinate decision but rather a cultural Jewish one. In the same way that Sunday is considered the Sabath in the US and Christmas is considered a state holiday. This is less religious as much as cultural. Proof of this is the fact that many businesses still operate on Saturday in Israel. Gidi from Israel, 13:13, 17 Feb 2012 UTC.
The section on Israel is weakly sourced and full of weasel words (e.g., Israel "can have the semblance of", Israelis "find themselves frequently accused of"). It's also inaccurate, stating that "the country only grants instant citizenship to Jews" - in fact both Jews and non-Jewish relatives of Jews can claim citizenship under the Law of Return, but in neither case is it instant. Since Israel is the only country in this "not really a theocracy but people call it one" category, and the section itself is of such poor quality, I'm going to go ahead and delete it. Joe in Australia (talk) 09:22, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Savonarola vs. the Byzantine Empire[edit]

For all of the sumptuary and moral laws in Savonarola's tenure, he introduced democratic reforms which restored the rule of the people after the Medicis had subverted the government to gain power. His republic was based on a citizens council of 3,500 members, and the 'bonfire of the vanities' was entirely voluntary. Savonarola's influence over the city and the government was due to his charisma and the fact that there was growing criticism in many circles over the influence of wealthy interests like banks and over the corruption of the Pope. His oratory galvanized those who were discontent. It could be considered a theocracy, but democratic governments will always have the option of voting for strict sumptuary laws versus laxer laws. In a technical sense, though, its not very literal to call it a theocracy in the way that its not very literal to call a socialist a communist.

On the other hand, in the Byzantine Empire, the church was part of the state, and Biblical writing was integrated into the law of the land; they sought to append Christian law to Roman law in order to correct its errors. Wars were fought over theological doctrines. So by what logic is Savonarola's Florence discussed as a theocracy but the Byzantine Empire isn't even discussed at all? User:Brianshapiro

Edit: I agree with the above discussion, about the Byzantine Empire being caesaropapism, though to say that the church was merely an arm of the state I think downplays its role in Byzantine government, compared to say, in England after Henry VIII. My main point though is to question the choices made, ie the inclusion of Savonrola vs the Byzantines —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brianshapiro (talkcontribs) 04:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC) Agree.Feran (talk) 18:31, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


I agree that Andorra should not be listed as "theocracy", but at least it should be mentioned that a Catholic Bishop is its co-head of state. Alinor (talk) 13:54, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

But since neither the powers of the executive or the justice system in Andorra derive from church law or any other religion-based legislation, it is not a theocracy. ♆ CUSH ♆ 20:00, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Jehovah's Witnesses[edit]

"Theocratic" redirects here. Is there a reason that use of "theocratic" by Jehovah's Witnesses isn't covered here? --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 00:25, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Scrap this article, start over[edit]

The article's definition of theocracy , ""Theocracy is the rule by people in positions of political authority all of whom share the same religious beliefs and preferences" is patently absurd. That would mean that all religiously homogeneous societies are theocracies! It would make America, Mexico and Canada theocracies, since almost all those in positions of political power profess Christianity.

Theocracy is a specific form of government, not a matter of the degree of common belief in the ruling class. In a theocracy, the state is governed by the religious institutions or by individuals who rule simply by virtue of their religious standing. The definition of theocracy used in the article on state religion, is the correct one: "State religions are official or government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, but neither does the state need be under the control of the church (as in a theocracy), ..."

Given that the definition at the beginning is wrong, yhe list of theocracies is also largely wrong. Iran is a theocracy, the other Islamic states mentioned are not, although in Pakistan and Somalia there are opposition movements with a theocratic agenda. The same goes for the discussion page here - it is discussion between people who do not know what a theocracy is.

The article on theocracy should begin with a sourced definition of the term from a political science textbook. A dictionary definition is: " A government ruled by or subject to religious authority, or a state so governed." Then the history of the term, and the difference between theocracy and the establishment of religion, and state religion, and Caesaropapism. It should include a section on the polemic misuse of the term, to label religiously-dominated governments one does not approve of (as in the present Wikipedia article). It should also include a section on the (intended) positive use of theocracy and theonomy as terms by Christian groups particularly in the United States. Sen McGlinn (talk) 08:38, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Agree.Feran (talk) 18:31, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


The following section is clearly flawed on what regards Portugal: 'A number of countries, including Andorra, Argentina,[18] Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Italy,[19] Indonesia, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay,[20] Peru,[21]Philippines, Poland,[22] Portugal[citation needed], Slovakia, and Spain,[23] give a special recognition to Catholicism in their constitution despite not making it the state religion.'

The Portuguese constitution clearly states that separation between church and state is one of its fundamental principles (articles 41/4 and 288/c) and it guarantees religious neutrality of the educational system (article 44/2 and 3). In fact, there are not even any references to catholicism or any confession in particular in the text of the constitution. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

good sources[edit]

The article on theocracy in the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography provides three definitions of theocracy and much more.

[2], eg, p 256

[3] eg especially pages 43 and 77. --Espoo (talk) 00:23, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

"theocratic aspects"[edit]

This is vague and should be excluded. Cite me a Wikipedia article where aspects are discussed rather than the thing itself. Talking about "theocratic aspects" is merely an attempt to smear any state with a whiff of religion as a "theocracy".Feran (talk) 18:31, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

yes it's fishy (and i an atheist) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:02, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Few theocracies[edit]

There have been few theocracies.

Regarding Salem, we now believe that people cannot project harm from a distance supernaturally. In old Salem, people believed otherwise, and were quite smart to take action against such people. Though they did so in an ambivalent manner. (How do you restrain a being who can project evil anytime they want?). The second mistake they made was in the taking of evidence at a pre-trial. Because of their amateurishness, they allowed new evidence to be observed at the pre-trial and did not keep the witnesses separate from each other and from the accused. So it was mainly a judicial catastrophe. It was never a theocratic problem. If they had judges from Boston, the judicial farce never would have happened.

Other states have established a religion, such as Sweden, but they hardly allowed them to rule. The main point of Protestantism was that the rulers didn't want to take direction from Rome. Having gotten rid of Rome, they were hardly going to allow religious direction from locals, which is why the Monarch was generally head of the church, as well. Student7 (talk) 13:54, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

God's own country[edit]

Let's not forget God's own country, with "God bless" in every message uttered. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:48, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Yorkshire? Iapetus (talk) 15:43, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Utah is not a theocracy[edit]

I removed the section on Utah from "Current Theocracies" because it is absurd to have it there. It should probably just be removed from the entire article, but seeing as I'm loath to delete someone else's work, I created a new section: Alleged theocracies. Under the U.S. Constitution, Utah is a representative democracy and does not share the definition of a true theocracy taken from the article: "Theocracy is a form of government in which official policy is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as (or claim to be) divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group." Utah is no more "pursuant" to Mormon doctrine than Mississippi is pursuant to Evangelical Christianity or Israel pursuant to Judaism. "Theocracy should be distinguished from other, secular, forms of government that...are merely influenced by theological or moral concepts..."

It isn't a stretch to wonder that whoever included Utah in "current theocracies" is probably just not a fan of the state or holds a grudge against the Mormon Church. I can't imagine why else it would have been placed there. This is an encyclopedia! Facts first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Agree that Utah is no theocracy. However, editors have citations for the remaining comments on LDS. Those cites can be examined for reliability. But other than that, I don't really see any anti-Utah stuff remaining. "Just" anti-LDS!  :( Student7 (talk) 20:01, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Now I am thinking this is trivia. Rhode Island has a predominance of Roman Catholics in their leadership positions. Does that make them a theocracy? The Baptist South has..(etc.). Just a slow news day. The papers may be reliable but the whole idea is WP:FRINGE and nonsense. Repeating the same source. I've been to Salt Lake City and was surprised (should I have been?) how little LDS intrudes into urban life except for the various religious structures. Student7 (talk) 03:06, 19 January 2013 (UTC)


Wouldn't Andorra be considered a theocracy, as its co-prince is a bishop? We should add it. -- (talk) 12:33, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Rule by a Cleric or Clerics does _not_ Make a Theocracy[edit]

In places in this article there is an assumption that the status of the rulers as laypersons or clerics is decisive, but there is more to it than that, otherwise the various prince-bishops of the Holy Roman Empire would have been theocrats.

A key feature is surely the claim to legislate - almost as a matter of routine - in accordance with the precepts or laws of religion. If a prince-bishop of the HRE ruled in much the same way as neighbouring lay princes, with just an occasional nod in the direction of religion, then there's no case for calling the country a 'theocracy', and the same goes for Andorra. Norvo (talk) 23:08, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Byzantium was a theocracy[edit]

The following statement is erroneous: "The Byzantine Empire however was not theocratic since the patriarch answered to the emperor, not vice versa;"

The Byzantine Emperor was not just a secular ruler because he had religious position as priest over the church, he was the highest ranking cleric above and uniting all patriachates. He could enforce doctrine and call ecumenical councils, not by force of political power but because he was 'second to the apostles'. (The Byzantine Theocracy: The Weil Lectures, Cincinatti; By Steven Runciman - Cambridge University Press) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:36, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

The Emperor was as close to a European established church model as they would ever get in the Middle Ages. Whoever was Emperor told the church what to do. But attendance at church was not enforced, "sins" were not published along with repentant sinners, the Emperor did not lead services, take Holy Orders, administer Chrism, etc. Student7 (talk) 00:34, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


Ancient China seems like a poor addition to this list. Not in articles. Even last paragraph with "thearchy" seems to equivocate. Maybe this section should be rm. Student7 (talk) 17:20, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Contradiction in article?[edit]

The lead states: 'The Byzantine Empire however was not theocratic since the patriarch answered to the emperor ...' However, later in the article (3.3) Byzantium is listed under 'Historic states with theocratic aspects' with this comment: 'In the Byzantine Empire (324-1453 AD) the Emperor was the head of civil society. He also exercised authority over the ecclesiastical authorities, or patriarchates. The emperor was considered to be God's omnipotent representative on earth and he ruled as an absolute autocrat.[28]' Note 28 in turn refers the reader to The Byzantine Theocracy: Steven Runciman.

So, is the article saying that Byzantium was or was not a theocracy? It's rather confusing, to say the least. And by the way, surely there are more up-to-date scholarly works than Runciman, or not? Norvo (talk) 22:44, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

It seems easy to assume that a theocracy exists when the leader controls the clergy. But this was the case in England until the 19th century. Germany, France and Spain usually had their own "agreements" with the Pope, so they ultimately had control.
A theocracy is clear when the Dalai Lama ran everything; the mullahs have veto power over the parliament in Iran, that sort of thing. In the other cases, the leader merely appointed the Patriarch, not a trivial task. But once appointed, not necessarily easy to rm. The Emperor did not make theological decisions. In the Nicean Council, the Emperor supported the Arian side when he entered the council, but upheld declaring Arianism a heresy when he exited. Trying to control the clergy, but not trying to control "morals" per se. An exercise in politics, not theology. Student7 (talk) 15:37, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. The general view, as far as I can tell, seems to be that Byzantium was a caesaropapist state, though the emperor did not always make full use of his power over the Church. Perhaps the title of Runciman's book is just plain unfortunate. Norvo (talk) 01:53, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

rm Galactic Empire (Star Wars)[edit]

False, given the § lead, inasmuch neither the Old Republic, nor the Empire, neither in canon, nor fanfic, is a theocracy nor even officially heavily influenced by religious authority. In the Republic, the Jedi Order were just like a spiritual police force, and the Republic was a secular representative democracy. In the Empire , Palpatine/Sidous was not openly a Sith and in fact the Sith Order is constituted to have only 2 adherents. Palpatine ruled as an Augustus but without the Pontifex trappings. (talk) 13:57, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Roman Empire[edit]

(Started to write this before reading ..223's comment).

Anyway, we seemed to have skipped the Pontifex Maximus function, technically separate from the Executive function during the Roman Republic, but collected by the Caesars into the Emperor's title afterward until Christianity took over. I agree that this was usually "incidental" when compared with the power of (say) the Roman Censor. But was really useful when the auspices weren't looking too good but the generals were looking to strike! Answer: look for new/improved auspices or find fault with the old ones!

Having said that, the auguries sometimes led to stupid decisions even with the otherwise usually pragmatic Romans. Student7 (talk) 00:30, 10 August 2014 (UTC)


The first sentence of the Constitution Act, 1982 is, "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law".

There are many countries that recognize God in their laws and constitution and they should be included in a section. While most of silent as to the specific religious organization that their God subscribes to, they explicitly acknowledge the existence of these specters of the imagination or faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:54, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Das Erdbeben in Chili[edit]

Neither the Kingdom of Spain/Castile, the successor states in South America, nor even (famously) the Holy Roman/German Empire were theocracies, despite varying elements of Religiosity. Kleist's novella is about a dramatization of (actual) events in the 17th century like Thornton Wilder's later (fictional but occurring in the same real world culture) The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Religiosity is distinct from Theocracy and no matter how fervent doesn't amount to it.Lycurgus (talk) 01:31, 10 September 2014 (UTC)