Talk:Theocracy

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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 http://www.wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.org or www.dorjeshugden.com 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!! (88.97.23.194 (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 93.97.246.209 (talk) 20:40, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

But it seems there is currently a new disagreement, with User:SemanticMantis supporting a section and another oppoosing it. 92.10.236.106 (talk) 05:51, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
In short, I think it's fine to have borderline or edge case theocracies listed. The thing about Buddha not being a God is well known, and a problem that comes up almost whenever Buddhism is discussed. So 93...209's comment is not a concern for me. Clarifying language can certainly be added about the non-god nature of Buddha if it is desired.
Consider this question: is it better for our article to have some current examples, that some editors feel would fail a strict test, or is it better to have the article contain no examples other than the Holy See, which is perhaps the only theocracy in the modern world whose status as theocracy stands mostly uncontested? My opinion is that the first case is much preferable, especially due to the inherently problematic nature of dealing with conflicting definitions of religion, government, etc. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:42, 4 March 2016 (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. 76.117.1.254 (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.68.164.0.45 (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 203.10.111.38 (talk) 00:07, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

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

Consider:

  • "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. 12.184.149.67 (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 207.164.79.48 (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)

Andorra[edit]

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)

Portugal[edit]

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 188.81.173.171 (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 46.5.184.243 (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 109.238.72.226 (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 98.202.115.18 (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)
Assuming that there are no legal impediments to non-LDS-members holding high public office in Utah (which there cannot be under the US Constitution), then I agree that Utah does not qualify as a theocracy. The LDS is not the 'Officially Established Religion' of the state of Utah, and does not support the Church with tax dollars levied against the entire population, nor presume to make Church Policy decisions legislatively. - Netizen_James — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.106.197.121 (talk) 23:10, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
At one point in the Utah Territory there was actually restrictions that kept Latter-day Saints from holding political office, in part because of the perceived dominance of the LDS Church in that area (see: Edmunds Act & Edmunds–Tucker Act). Something similar happened in the Idaho Territory as well, where Latter-day Saints were striped of basic political rights (could not hold office, vote, or sit on a jury), and when the matter was referred to the US Supreme Court, the court upheld the restrictions (see: Davis v. Beason). Asterisk*Splat 00:52, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

How about the fact that Brigham Young University is a LDS (Mormon) church university with a police force that has state-wide authority? 08:29, 28 May 2016 (UTC)~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Noel Ellis (talkcontribs)

Andorra[edit]

Wouldn't Andorra be considered a theocracy, as its co-prince is a bishop? We should add it. --172.0.112.152 (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 62.25.109.197 (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)

China[edit]

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 special 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. Lycurgus (talk) 05:39, 24 December 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)

Canada[edit]

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 91.210.234.23 (talk) 17:54, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

I have to disagree. Any official recognition of any deity by a government, especially in the form of a Constitutional Article, makes that government a theocracy. Even if that deity is intentionally amorphous and allegedly 'generic'. God is not gods. God is not goddess. God is not no-God. Any such official designation of a deity is, in my opinion, an infringement of the natural human right of religious freedom. - Netizen_James — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.106.197.121 (talk) 23:16, 7 October 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)

Another contradiction[edit]

The opening paragraph states: "Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity is officially recognized as the civil Ruler and official policy is governed by officials regarded as divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group."

A subsequent paragraph states: "Having a state religion is not sufficient to be a theocracy."

These two statements are contradictory.

Any state which has an Official State Religion is necessarily a government in which the government subsumes itself to the doctrines of that Official Church.

In a country like Norway, where a majority of the cabinet ministers must be members of the Official Church,[1] that's clearly theocracy in action - as it is legally presumed that non-members of the Official Religion are necessarily 'less-than' full and equal citizens.

Netizen_James — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.106.197.121 (talk) 23:02, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you, NJ. That's correct and you've highlighted the narrow and wide sense of the term. I've redacted appropriately. The article is mainly about historical theocracies, as the Pope and Dalai Lama are anachronisms and today "theocracy" mainly applies in usage to states like Iran and Saudi Arabia which are, strictly, ecclesiocracies/feudal states with high religiosity . Lycurgus (talk) 07:35, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Neurotic Tagging[edit]

The current tags, placed last month appear to be a) baseless and b) unexplained/discussed. Opening this thread for same. Lycurgus (talk) 10:32, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Both elements, neutrality and ref count seem baseless, and no comment for a month so will remove if no explanation of the POV complaint, the ratio of refs to text being a flat fact/non issue. Lycurgus (talk) 05:26, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Lede messed up/ungrammatical[edit]

Not fixing though, as I don't wish to overburden the article with my contributions. A redact for grammar/comp alone is in order though, ideally by a native speaker or someone with appropriate skill/attention to detail. Lycurgus (talk) 09:05, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

VC vs Iran[edit]

I feel like the list of theocracies should emphasize that VC is miniscule and and its status as a real country, as opposed to a courtesy country, is debatable Dingsuntil (talk) 10:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Should the Fictional theocracies section be split off into a separate article?[edit]

Or should it stay in here? Many articles split off their "In fiction"-sections once they grow to considerable length. Currently List of fictional theocracies redirects to that section.
What do you think? --Fixuture (talk) 16:35, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

I would deleted it, and nothing good will be lost. Bertdrunk (talk) 16:43, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
What an ignorant and hasty attitude to this. --Fixuture (talk) 17:11, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Well I just went ahead and moved over to that article. That section was way too long to stay in here and isn't as important as the historical and conceptual description of theocracy for the article (which should be the focus of it of course).
I removed the whole section and placed a wikilink into the see-also section - alternatively one could also feature a "In fiction"-section with a simple description (which is now in the lead of the list), with the list being linked via {{Main|List of fictional theocracies}} --Fixuture (talk) 18:50, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

ISIL[edit]

I have removed ISIL from this list. It is not a government, it is not a state, therefore it is not an theocracy. It's basically just a bunch of heavily armed severely mentally handicapped people. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 05:11, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

says who? Try a RS. Christian Science Monitor 6/15/2014, "Over the past few months, large parts of Syria and Iraq have fallen to the extremist militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Now this terrorist group, which formed only last year, plans to take Baghdad and create a theocracy that cuts across borders in the Middle East." Rjensen (talk) 10:22, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Like I wrote on your talkpage: I plan to rule the world. Does that make me ruler of the world, or just an ambitious potato? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 10:29, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
"In September 2014, The Wall Street Journal estimated that eight million Iraqis and Syrians live in areas controlled by ISIL." from ISIS. Also "In Mosul, ISIL has implemented a sharia school curriculum." Also "One US Treasury official estimated that ISIL earns US$1 million a day from the export of oil.".
So ISIS controls a lot of territory and people, makes a bunch of rules, changes school curriculum, profits/taxes oil production, and does lots of other things we associate with government. They may not be a good government, and many of us don't like them, but it seems to be a bit petty to claim they are not a theocracy. See also Islamic_state#ISIS. I will not revert at the moment but I think that consensus will eventually put ISIS back in to theocracy. SemanticMantis (talk) 15:43, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
If you have a reliable source that says that it is currently an active, functioning theocracy then I would gladly take a look. Preferably a bunch of reliable sources, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 15:57, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
No that is not how Wikipedia works. You should know you need to cite your RS before you start erasing a RS. Rjensen (talk) 16:03, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
No, that is not how Wikipedia works. Sources are not like Magic cards. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:05, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
No need to get testy folks. This is how WP works: QP was WP:BOLD, I saw the removal and skipped the R and went to D in WP:BRD. Somewhere in there Rjensens and QP got into some revision wars. Let's just discuss this reasonably. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:27, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Warning: Nationalturk.com, the second link out of the three below, contains malware. Clicking this link is a bad idea if you are running Windows and your virusscanner sucks. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:31, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
This URL scanning service has no problem with the link, and indicates that Google, PhisTank, and Web Of Trust have no known issues with the site: [4]. I is possible that you have some other malware on your system. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:04, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't know, this isn't my computer, but I'll check. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:45, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Here are some sources that refer to ISIS as a theocracy [5] [6] [7]. Those are just the first few news-paper-like hits I got from googling /ISIS is a theocracy/, and many more secondary journalistic sources can be found in a similar vein. Now, QP, do you have any RS that say it is not a theocracy in particular, or not a government in general? I do appreciate a WP:BOLD move like this, but let's also make sure your opinion on what is and isn't a government isn't having WP:UNDUE influence. Maybe the thing to do is to put in some caveat language, e.g "While not universally recognized as a sovereign state, ISIS (cites) and others (cites) regard ISIS as a theocracy." This gets across the idea that there is some contention over classification, while still putting covering this highly relevant putative example of modern theocracy. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:27, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Also, QP this:
-- is really not something you can expect to remove unilaterally [8] without some pushback. That is a completely reasonable and statement sourced to an RS, and even includes the hedge words "some publishers".
We now have several sources calling ISIS a theocracy. No one of them is sterling but there are many. I am going to stop now because I really don't care that much about this and I think we need more people looking at this, I have left a note on the ISIS talk page to that effect. If we can't get something figured out within a few days, I'll ask for WP:3O. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:31, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You are a bit late, I am already bored of talking about this, but I have explained my position here: User_talk:Rjensen#Revert. If you have a reliable source for the claim that ISIL is a currently an active, functioning theocracy then feel free to make an edit, but so far there were no sources (reliable or otherwise) that even claimed that ISIL is a theocracy. Chrome claims that nationalturk.com contains malware. I tried it in Firefox and my virusscanner warned me about the JS/Kryptik.AZS trojan horse. DePaulia is a student newspaper of DePaul University, and Xan Mandell's LinkedIn says that Xan Mandell is a student at DePaul University. Hamad S Alomar describes himself as a "Peace Loving Saudi Citizen" and he created an account on opednews.com (which accepts user-submitted stories). Using the words "While not universally recognized as a sovereign state" is a bit weird when you are describing something that is not a state, not sovereign, and that pretty much no one on the world (other than they themselves) recognizes as a sovereign state. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:42, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

It would be much less confusing if you would keep discussion on this topic at the talk page where you started discussion on this topic. Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant#Groups_expressing_support_for_ISIL lists many supporters who I think would claim (along with ISIS) that ISIS is sovereign. I acknowledge that my refs are not great. I spent all of one minute looking for them. How long did you spend before you came to the conclusion that this referenced material should be removed? Do you have any reason not to trust the citation to the book given above? You cannot just say ISIS is not a government because you say so. You also cannot use reason. You have to have a source. We have many sources saying ISIS is a theocracy. Admittedly not all of them are great. We have so far no sources saying that they are not a theocracy or that they are not a government. So at the moment the sources are pointing towards including ISIS in our article on theocracy. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:04, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
If you check the history you'll see that I did use the talkpage and Rjensen didn't, which is why we ended up at his talkpage. In order to be a country the support of various terrorist groups is irrelevant, you need to be recognized by at least one other country. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:52, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Here [9] is a little paper called New York Times that says ISIS is offering government services. Here are some quotes: "the Islamic State’s administration", "The group has issued declarations banning dynamite fishing", "The Islamic State’s territory". So we have an administration that makes rules about what can be done in a territory. The group "give some stability, punish thieves and put in place a legal system," and finally "many Sunnis in Iraq trust the Islamic State more than the Shiite-led government in Baghdad." This piece does not quite explicitly say that ISIS is a government, but it sure treats it that way, and the last quote strongly implies that ISIS is a government. The main point is, you have removed cited material without a good reason. Unless you can produce the book and show that it was cited faultily, I think this material needs to go back in the article. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:13, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
The NYT does not state that it is currently a theocracy. And "many Sunnis in Iraq trust the Islamic State more than the Shiite-led government in Baghdad." is similar to saying "Many people in %random location where many people support the Grey Wolves% trust the Grey Wolves more than the Turkish government". The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:28, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
  • "Starting last fall, ISIS began imposing its theocratic rule " [10], Boston Globe, not a disreputable paper. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:25, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Like I wrote before: "I am already bored of talking about this [snip]. If you have a reliable source for the claim that ISIL is a currently an active, functioning theocracy then feel free to make an edit, but so far there were no sources (reliable or otherwise) that even claimed that ISIL is a theocracy." The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:28, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
You don't think Boston Globe is reliable, or you don't think that "theocratic rule" is grounds for calling something a theocracy? I don't care if you're bored, I just don't like to see good, reasonable, referenced content removed at the whim of one user. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Please re-read what I wrote (I was referring back to my comment at 15:57). The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:33, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
  • "ISIS ... is a theocratic proto-state." [11], from a well-referenced, scholarly work hosted by an open-access publisher [12]. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
You are using this source to support your argument. That is Adèle Bélanger-McMurdo. She was 18 in 2014, the article was published in 2015. "an undergraduate in the International Relations Department". But I see you have reverted me, so we can stop this boring conversation. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 13:46, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Why are you showing me an unlabeled photo of someone? Yes, I am using the source I linked above, and also right here [www.e-ir.info/2015/10/05/a-fight-for-statehood-isis-and-its-quest-for-political-domination]. I don't care how old the author is, or what their gender is. I do see that the author has cited many references to support the claims being made.
I don't know why you have such a hard time calling a group a theocracy when they 1)provide government-like services, 2) makes laws, 3)enforce laws 4) raise armies, 5) collect revenues from populace, and 6) do this all via religious doctrine. Do you honestly dispute any of these specific points 1-6? I will still look for other sources. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:50, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Not sure what gender has to do with anything. I'm surprised that my insistence upon using reliable sources for controversial information surprises you. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:54, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Not sure why you'd remove information without checking the source. I agree that we should use the best sources possible. I do not agree that we should remove material that is sourced. I do not think we should say nothing on the topic until some ultimate best source is found. We seem to be talking past each other, and I'm not sure if your problem is with categorization or with sourcing. So let me ask again: do you disagree with any of my points 1-6 above? If not, then we have no content dispute. I agree that the source I put in the article could be improved, but it's enough to justify what is otherwise a very obvious claim - these guys do rule something, and they think they have divine right, and that makes them basically a theocracy. At the very least, let the book cite stand until such a time as you can assess the book. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:37, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
You seem to believe that you can use sources that say that an organization is theocratic to support the claim that this organization has created a theocracy.
Do you understand the difference between an organization that can be described as theocratic and a theocracy?
In the Wikipedia article Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs it says: The organization is said to be theocratic, "ruled from the divine Top down, and not from the rank and file up". Source: The Watchtower
Do you interpret this to mean that the Jehovah's Witnesses have started their own theocracy?
"The word theocracy originates from the Greek θεοκρατία meaning "the rule of God". This in turn derives from θεός (theos), meaning "god", and κρατέω (krateo), meaning "to rule." Thus the meaning of the word in Greek was "rule by god(s)" or human incarnation(s) of god(s)."
Every organization that claims to understand and follow Gods wishes can be described as theocratic. But that doesn't mean that they are a theocracy!
You are allowed to add opinions to articles if they are notable. Adèle Bélanger-McMurdo's opinion is not. A "theocratic proto-state" is not the same thing as a theocracy. That is why the word "proto" was used, and that is why "theocratic" was used instead of "theocracy".
You wrote: "these guys do rule something, and they think they have divine right, and that makes them basically a theocracy". I disagree. It may make them similar to one, but I don't think that that is enough to be an theocracy. I believe it is not as easy as saying "We have military control of this area at the moment, and we declare it to be our country. And because we are religious extremists our country is a theocracy."
Imagine if that was the case, then you and I could start our own theocracy in my backyard with my waterpistol if we wanted to! Even the Black Panthers provided government-like services at some point in space and time. I use the Merriam Webster definition:
  • a form of government in which a country is ruled by religious leaders
  • a country that is ruled by religious leaders
The article did too. While ISIL is in some aspects state like, it hasn't been recognized as a state by any country or non-terrorist organization. ISIL has no country, and it isn't a (form of) government. It's just a terrorist organization that temporarily has military control in some areas, but the land is still part of the country it is in. If they would be a country then we would have to redraw our maps, and recalculate the size of the countries affected.
The Theocracy article contained:
  • Current theocracies
  • Historic states with theocratic aspects
It did not contain potential future theocracies nor did it contain speculation about which groups are likely to achieve their goal of establishing a theocracy (a goal that is shared by many groups worldwide).
To me, the claim that a terrorist organization has succeeded in their goal of creating a new country and/or forming a government is a very controversial statement, the kind that you need a lot of very reliable sources for. It seems to me that you use a much looser (incorrect) definition of the word theocracy, which would include groups like ISIL, but also (for example) Boko Haram. That article contains the text: "In mid-2014, the militants gained control of swathes of territory in and around their home state of Borno, estimated at 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) in January 2015" and also "Boko Haram seeks the establishment of an Islamic state in Nigeria." so I think that you would argue that they are also a theocracy, right? If not, then can you please explain the difference? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 21:59, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Right, I think Boko Haram is vaguely similar to ISIS in this regard, and I personally would not remove sourced material in this article if it commented that some writers have called Boko Haram a theocracy. Maybe we just disagree about how to tread edge cases for the purposes of WP articles. I do not think there is any one perfect and unassailable definition of what it takes to be classified as a theocracy, nor can there ever be. Same for government for that matter. These things are fuzzy, this is not math or computer science or any of the (relatively few) fields where definitions are seldom challenged. If you think there's exactly one "correct" definition for a nebulous concept like theocracy then we may have to disagree forever. I think it's totally fine if our article on theocracy contains some examples that are debatable, especially if they are supported by references. It would be totally fine to include our backyard water pistol theocracy in this WP article, if our hypothetical club had subjects, laws, tax revenues, military, and of course WP:NOTABLE coverage in the world-wide media, the way BH and ISIS have. Obviously ISIS and BH are notable. I agree that they are not the same as many other theocracies of the past, and I agree that some people don't think they are theocracies. But why not let it stay in the article? This is ultimately just a semantic debate we're having, I'm not espousing anything WP:FRINGE. Take another analogy, and look at our page list of child prodigies. Shall I remove hundreds of people from that list for lack of citations to RS and the fact that they don't fit my preferred definition of prodigy? No, I shall let Raúl Chávez Sarmiento stay there, even though his accomplishments merely merit "great student" by my accounting. So I guess that's my main position - it's ok to include debatable and edge cases as examples in WP articles, especially when there are plenty of references to support the categorization, and especially when is clearly explained that this categorization is not universally agreed upon. I suppose I might also feel differently if there were hundreds of theocracies covered in our article, and one more would just be adding cruft. As it is, I think ISIS adds an important bit of modern currency to an article whose topic is otherwise largely extinct. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:36, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why do you keep repeating the claim that this is "sourced material"? There is no source that says that ISIL is a theocracy. There are only sources that describe it as theocratic. You have added ISIL to the "Current theocracies"-section, despite the fact that there is no source for this claim, reliable or otherwise. Check out the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, a theocratic organization that tried to create a theocracy and failed. This means that not every theocratic organization automatically has a theocracy. In fact, only a tiny minority of theocratic organizations that have the goal of establishing a theocracy accomplish that goal. Do you have a reliable source that claims that ISIL is currently an active functioning theocracy? I have asked you and Rjensen multiple times to show me a source to back up this claim. I am not interested in sources that claim that the organization is theocratic, I am only interested in sources that say that this organization has created an active functioning theocracy. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:44, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Have you looked at the book that is cited? I didn't add the material de novo, I merely reinstated what you deleted, and added a ref in an attempt to improve the article. I'll be the first to admit that the ref I added is not great or amazing or perfect, but I figured having one not-great-but-online-and-freely accessible ref was a nice addition to the one ref that is only available as a physical book. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:28, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, this discussion is a waste of my time. Too much time has been spent on offtopic stuff, and I have a long todo list. Again, do you have a reliable source to support the claim that it is currently an active functioning theocracy? If so, please show it to me. If not, then lets focus on something more productive. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 21:37, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I suggest you go to a library and check out that book if you want a reference that says ISIS is a theocracy. As for the rest:you're the one who keeps talking, you don't have to respond, right? First you say you're bored, then you write up a long post and notify me about it, then you tell me you're wasting your time. Well ok, but don't act like that's my fault. I happen to find this very interesting, and I always love a good classification debate. Of course you can WP:VOLUNTEER wherever you like, and your to-do list is indeed long. My WP to-do list is much less formal, and involves me participating in whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. I do hope you won't keep any hard feelings about this dispute. I do like and value your contributions at the ref desk, and I'll look forward to seeing you around there. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:01, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I am a grumpy person (not by choice!), but I am far too easily distracted to hold grudges for a long time. Also, we probably agree about most other things. It was funny to hear a mathematician talk about edge cases, the stereotype is that mathematicians think in black and white. One of my math teachers in school was (in)famous for saying: "almost... is not at all" (in the context of a grade retention for a pupil who scored one point less than the amount required). I don't live in an English-speaking country so I doubt that my local library has that book, but if it is a reliable source and if it contains the claim that it is a theocracy then feel free to add that to the article. If it is properly sourced to a reliable source and if the claim is supported by the source then I won't delete it. I think the discussion about me not having access to the book is a waste of time, because the edit contained the quote, and you are free to pick another one. I know that I am a nitpicker, but I think that it is really important that Wikipedia accurately reflects what the sources say. I recently had a discussion about the article Arnnon Geshuri because I deleted sourced information from a reliable source; and in that case the source actually supported the claim made in the article. See Talk:Arnnon_Geshuri#WP:SYNTH. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:43, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia could not have articles on religious subjects if they have to be true to the contradictory tenets both of adherents and of non-adherents in a belief system. I see the following arguments for and against inclusion of ISIL in the article.

For inclusion

  • ISIL is a self-declared theocratic state
  • ISIL has forcefully usurped and now implements government of the region it controls

Opposing inclusion

  • ISIL is not acknowledged as a rightful state by other countries
  • Wikipedia should not acknowledge ISIL as being anything more than a terrorist force

Editor SM provides multiple sources that speak of the theocratic nature of ISUL but editor QP is unconvinced and stated "sources do not support the claim that this is a current theocracy". I have followed QP's lead in surveying multiple English dictionaries for their definitions of theocracy. While this dictionary states that "The definition of a theocracy is a government or country that is ruled by someone who has religious authority or divine right." other dictionaries provide typically 2 or even 3 alternative definitions.

Different definitions of THEOCRACY
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
1. a government led by religious leaders
2. the belief in government by divine guidance

1. a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided)
2. A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god

1. Government ruled by or subject to religious authority.
2. A country or state governed in this way

1. government by a deity or by a priesthood
2. a community or political unit under such government

1. a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided)
2. the belief in government by divine guidance

1. a form of government in which a country is ruled by religious leaders
2. a country that is ruled by religious leaders

1. government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
2. a state governed by a theocracy

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
n. A government ruled by or subject to religious authority.
n. A state so governed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
n. Government under the control of a Church or state-sponsored religion.
n. Rule by God.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
n. Government of a state by the immediate direction or administration of God; hence, the exercise of political authority by priests as representing the Deity.
n. The state thus governed, as the Hebrew commonwealth before it became a kingdom.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
n. A form of government in which God is recognized as the supreme civil ruler of the state, and his laws are taken as the statute-book of the kingdom.
n. A state so governed: usually applied, with the definite article, to the Jewish commonwealth from the time of its organization under Moses until the inauguration of the monarchy under Saul.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
n. a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided)
n. the belief in government by divine guidance

• government by a person or persons claiming to rule with divine authority
• a country governed in this way

[Countable noun] a country that is ​ruled by religious leaders
[Uncountable or singular noun] government by religious leaders

1. a form of government in which a god or gods are acknowledged as the ultimate authority.
2. a system of government by priests or others who claim a divine sanction.

1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission. 
3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.

This survey showed me that there is no consensus among dictionaries that a theocracy must have standing as a country. The essay WP:NOTTRUTH should free us from worry that calling ISIL a theocracy might be validating or condoning its claims and actions. I therefore support inclusion, specifically these edit by SM and edit by N56 which I find to be verifiable and cautious. Furthermore, the etymology of THEOCRACY has developed over time, beginning as theo- + -cracy from Ancient Greek θεοκρατία (theokratia, "rule of God"), a term coined in the 1st century by Josephus (Against Apion 2.17) in reference to the kingdom of Israel. Attested in English from the 1630s, first by John Donne in a 1631 sermon, (The Jews were onely under a Theocratie, an immediate government of God., cited after OED). (Wiktionary) More recently, the meaning "priestly or religious body wielding political and civil power" is recorded from 1825 and says no more than is indisputable about ISIL. AllBestFaith (talk) 01:05, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Corrected spelling of ISIL. AllBestFaith (talk) 14:33, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Hi! You need to find a reliable source that claims that ISIL is a theocracy before it can be included in the article. Thank you, The Quixotic Potato (talk) 07:26, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
A good article that is well written, contains factually accurate and verifiable information, is broad in coverage, and neutral in point of view, is best achieved by editors willing to work in consensus, which demands more competent engagement than merely assembling literal quotations from sources. One editor who calls discussion a waste of time and repeatedly deletes sourced material [13] [14] [15] is now acting against consensus. The article Theocracy should not suffer censorship by this or any other editor when it documents the notable theocratic claims of ISIL. AllBestFaith (talk) 15:13, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
That is a straw man argument, I did not call discussion a waste of time, I called one specific potential topic of discussion a waste of time. The information I have deleted was not sourced, that is the problem. Do you have a reliable source that claims that ISIL is a theocracy? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:10, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
I have indented your post. You called this discussion on this page "a waste of time". That attitude to consensus editing, together with your monotonic demands that only one exact choice of word must be provided to satisfy you, is evidence that you have no agenda here except to delete information that, if you had bothered to look, is given with explicit references. When you have nothing constructive to offer, your involvement here is wasting the time of others. AllBestFaith (talk) 23:08, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
Comment on the content, not the contributor. The words "this discussion" refer back to the sentence: "Have you looked at the book that is cited?" (like I explained at 22:43). Of course I demand only one exact choice of words, specific words have a specific meaning. You cannot use a source that says that Doink the Clown is a "wrestler" to support the claim that he is an "astronaut". The Quixotic Potato (talk) 23:17, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
I understand that you think that the reliable sources should say that ISIL has created a theocracry, because you think that ISIL has created a theocracy, but so far we do not have any reliable sources that say that ISIL has created a theocracy. On Wikipedia, we try to follow reliable sources, even when we personally feel that they are incorrect, see Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 23:26, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't think that it needs to be decided here whether or not ISIL can be considered to be setting up a theocracy. Actually I think that this would be irresponsible. Instead one should check the public debate on it and accurately portray it here. If there are reliable sources calling them theocratic and others which aren't - and both sides exchanging arguments with each other - all of this should be the content of the respective section. This article featuring a section about ISIL as theocracy does not imply Wikipedia categorizing them as such. --Fixuture (talk) 20:37, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
It seems you haven't read the conversation above. If you add them to the section called "Current theocracies" then that does imply that Wikipedia categorizes them as such. And the fact that there are people who call ISIL theocratic is irrelevant. The Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses is also described as theocratic, but the Jehovah's Witnesses have not started a theocracy. There is a very big difference between an organization that can be described as theocratic and a theocracy. There are (so far) no reliable sources that claim that ISIL has succesfully created a theocracy. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 20:45, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, sorry. It's pretty clear then that the section can't be added to "current theocracies". Even if no reliable source claims that ISIL has succesfully created a theocracy their activity and intentions however might be relevant to this article otherwise. This means that one might think about a new section such as "Similar structures", "Organizations with theocracy as goal", "Theocratic organizations in modern society" etc.
>There is a very big difference between an organization that can be described as theocratic and a theocracy
"Theocratic" redirects to this article so one probably should think about ways to make sure that the definition of theocracy is adhered to while also not missing out important information of public interest.
I'm not all for adding a section on ISIL to this article - I don't have enough expertise for that. I just want to make sure that a) if it's done it's done correctly and that b) no appropriate information of public interest is left out on Wikipedia. E.g. one could also think about a new article such as "religious governing" or alike that could feature such info. Ultimately I'd like to be able to look up things such as how society looks / can look like when it gets structured by religious doctrines etc. (and contemporary structures/events are of special importance here).
--Fixuture (talk) 22:04, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
I will write a more detailed reponse later (it is 2:24 AM here), but for now I just wanted to say I love you! Thank you, The Quixotic Potato (talk) 00:26, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Sorry for being so slow; I got distracted by real life and forgot about this. I agree; Wikipedians are not the right people to decide what is and what is not a theocracy, we should follow reliable third-party sources. A "list of organizations that attempt(ed) to create a theocracy" would be very interesting, but that seems to be outside of the scope of this article so it is probably a good idea to start a separate article with a title similar to that. A new religious governing article sounds like an excellent idea to me, and that can include both existing theocracies and attempts to create them. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 13:12, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Removed picture of Roman Emperor[edit]

I really don't think the fact that (at least some of) the Roman Emperors were considered "gods" makes the Roman Empire a theocracy. I'm sure a much better picture could be used. Kitfoxxe (talk) 22:36, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Formal tone[edit]

I flagged the synopsis for formal tone (easy target: the second paragraph contains 470 words). This section is a solid contribution and I'd like the thank the original contributor. Nevertheless, it would presently benefit from a less scholarly tone. — MaxEnt 17:05, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

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