by David Barton

In 1945, George Orwell penned Animal Farm. One of his characters was Squealer the pig, who arbitrarily redefined words so that they would mean what he wanted. As Orwell explained about Squealer, “he could turn black into white” as part of his attempt to get the other animals to accept his message. [1] It appears that Secular Progressives are the modern Squealer.

According to them, Donald Trump has now shown us who he really is: a Theocrat.[2] Never mind that leading up to the election, we were all fed a steady diet of how irreligious he was. [3] That doesn’t matter anymore. Now he’s a Theocrat!

Ironically, they don’t even call the Pope a theocrat, and especially not their Sharia Supremacist friends seeking to install a global caliphate. The term “Theocrat!” is so repulsive that it is reserved solely for Donald Trump and those who support him.

They are so repulsed by traditional religion that they exploded in derision after First Lady Melania Trump recited the Lord’s Prayer at a rally in Florida. [4] And then when a public meeting in Louisiana was opened with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, it was repeatedly interrupted with vocal outbursts and heckling. [5] All of this was nauseating to them, but then—horror of horrors!—Trump promised to restore constitutional protections for the rights of religious conscience and to level the political playing field to allow people of faith to have the same constitutional free speech rights that secular folks have. [6] That announcement was so terrifying it caused a Washington Post columnist to warn the nation that “Much-dreaded ‘sharia law,’ or something resembling it, may well be coming to the United States.” [7] Wow.

Let’s see if I get this right: if you want to restore the constitutional free speech rights of all citizens, including pastors (rights which were unconstitutionally removed by Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1954 [8]), and if you want to protect the constitutional rights of religious conscience (which, historically speaking, is America’s first-protected, most-important, and longest-cherished politically-protected right [9]), then you are establishing a “Theocracy”?

To quote a famous line from Inigo Montoya in the popular movie Princess Bride: “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I understand that it might be difficult for Secular Progressives to know the meaning of a word as simple as “theocracy.” Most of them probably went first to public school and then attended an “elite” academic college afterwards, and study after study affirms that most of those who attend such institutions no longer receive even a rudimentary knowledge of basic historical facts [10] (and they certainly don’t get much logic or common sense).

So just for clarity, here’s the simple definition of “theocracy”:

·         “A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God, or a god.” (Oxford Dictionary) [11]

·         “A form of government [with] the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.” “A system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.” ( [12]

·         “Government ruled by…religious authority.” (American Heritage Dictionary) [13]

Do they really believe that Trump is a priest, or an ecclesiastical authority? How silly! And a theocracy also uses coercion and force to enforce its beliefs and dogmas. Furthermore, it excludes input from the people—no elections. So by definition, a constitutional republic with open elections, such as America has, cannot be a theocracy (but let’s not confuse them with something so simple).

However, there is one other important fact that Secular Progressives ignore: just as religion can be the basis of a theocracy, according to the US Supreme Court, so, too, can non-religion. Back in 1965, the Court held (and reiterated many times since) that all that is required to be a “religion” is “whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God.” [14] The Court has therefore repeatedly ruled that Progressives, Humanists, Satanists, Atheists, Evolutionists, and other such secularist groups are just as religious as Bible-based groups, and so each of these secularist groups now receives the same religious tax-deductible standing as traditional religious groups.

So, if what Trump believes can represent a theocracy, so, too, can what Secular Progressives believe. In fact, Secular Progressives are more likely to be truly theocratic, for they regularly exercise coercion to force dissenters to adopt their beliefs. If you doubt this, just ask the bakers, [15] florists, [16] photographers, [17] clerks, [18] chaplains, [19] and others [20] who have tried to avoid participating in the Progressives’ religious rites to their great goddess of the Sexual Revolution, whether abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, or other manifestations of the LGBT agenda. (Significantly, Romans 2:21-23 in the Bible points out that critics are often guilty of the very crimes and shortcomings they accuse others of. That certainly appears to be so in this case.)

So how does the charge of “Theocracy!” relate to what Trump and his administration is doing? It doesn’t—unless you are Squealer the pig.


[1] George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946, 1st American Edition), p. 16.

[2] See, for example, David Leonhardt, “Trump Flirts With Theocracy,” The New York Times, January 30, 2017; Catherine Rampell, “Religious law may be coming to America. But it’s not sharia; it’s Christian,” The Washington Post, February 2, 2017. 

[3] See, for example, Steve Benen, “Trump’s religious talk causes unease among social conservatives,” MSNBC, July 21, 2015; Jack Jenkins, “The Real Reason Trump is Winning Evangelical Support: They’re Just Not That ‘Religious’,” ThinkProgress, January 27, 2016; Rebecca Kaplan, “Pope Francis: Donald Trump ‘is not Christian’,” CBS News, February 18, 2016.

[5] Tim Morris, “‘Won, they booed the name of Jesus’: Sen. Cassidy town hall,” The Times-Picayune, February 23, 2017.

[6] Ryan T. Anderson, “Mr. President: Don’t Cave to Liberal Fearmongering. Protect Religious Freedom,” The Daily Signal, February 2, 2017; Sarah Posner, “Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination,” The Investigative Fund, February 1, 2017.

[7] Ian Tuttle, “Donald Trump, Theocrat?National Review, February 3, 2017.

[8] Michelle Terry, “How the Johnson Amendment Threatens Churches’ Freedoms,” ACLJ (accessed February 27, 2017).

[9] David Barton, “Biblical Christianity: The Origin of the Rights of Conscience,” WallBuilders, December 29, 2016; David Barton, “A God-Given Inalienable Right,” WallBuilders, January 4, 2017.

[10] See, for example, Jennifer Kabbany, “Top 30 Liberal Arts Colleges in Nation Don’t Require U.S. History Survey Course,” The College Fix, January 28, 2014; Douglas Belkin, “Study Finds Many Colleges Don’t Require Core Subjects Like History, Government,” The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2014; W. Gardner Selby, “Don Willett: Elite universities mostly don’t require history majors to take American history,” PolitiFact, January 30, 2017.

[11]theocracy,” Oxford Dictionaries (accessed on February 27, 2017).

[12]theocracy,” (accessed on February 27, 2017).

[13]theocracy,” American Heritage Dictionary (accessed on February 27, 2017).

[14] United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 166 (1965).

[17] Ted Olsen, “N.M. Supreme Court: Photographers Can’t Refuse Gay Weddings,” Christianity Today, August 22, 2013.

[18]Clerk Defies Order, Won’t Issue Gay Marriage Licenses,” CBN News, August 13, 2015; “Clerk Who Said ‘No’ to Gay Couples Won’t Be Alone in Court,” The New York Times, September 2, 2015.

[20] See, for example, Billy Hallowell, “Sportscaster and Former NFL Player Who Says He Was Fired Over Anti-Gay Comments Vows to Fight Back: ‘Own Up to Making a Mistake’,” The Blaze, October 1, 2013; and see many more examples in the annual report “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America,” First Liberty, January 27, 2016.