Theocracy Quotes

Quotes tagged as "theocracy" (showing 1-30 of 39)
Christopher Hitchens
Who are your favorite heroines in real life? The women of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran who risk their lives and their beauty to defy the foulness of theocracy. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi as their ideal feminine model.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
“The great majority of us are Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him). We are members of the brotherhood of Islam in which all are equal in rights, dignity and self-respect. Consequently, we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it.”
Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Christopher Hitchens
“When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Sandra Day O'Connor
“Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”
Sandra Day O'Connor

Christopher Hitchens
“Indeed, it's futile to try and use Holy Scripture to support any political position. I deeply distrust anyone who does. Just look at what an Islamic Republic is like.”
Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens
“Like the Nazis, the cadres of jihad have a death wish that sets the seal on their nihilism. The goal of a world run by an oligarchy in possession of Teutonic genes, who may kill or enslave other 'races' according to need, is not more unrealizable than the idea that a single state, let alone the globe itself, could be governed according to the dictates of an allegedly holy book. This mad scheme begins by denying itself the talents (and the rights) of half the population, views with superstitious horror the charging of interest, and invokes the right of Muslims to subject nonbelievers to special taxes and confiscations. Not even Afghanistan or Somalia, scenes of the furthest advances yet made by pro-caliphate forces, could be governed for long in this way without setting new standards for beggary and decline.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Enemy

Christopher Hitchens
“Every November of my boyhood, we put on red poppies and attended highly patriotic services in remembrance of those who had 'given' their lives. But on what assurance did we know that these gifts had really been made? Only the survivors—the living—could attest to it. In order to know that a person had truly laid down his life for his friends, or comrades, one would have to hear it from his own lips, or at least have heard it promised in advance. And that presented another difficulty. Many brave and now dead soldiers had nonetheless been conscripts. The known martyrs—those who actually, voluntarily sought death and rejoiced in the fact—had been the kamikaze pilots, immolating themselves to propitiate a 'divine' emperor who looked (as Orwell once phrased it) like a monkey on a stick. Their Christian predecessors had endured torture and death (as well as inflicted it) in order to set up a theocracy. Their modern equivalents would be the suicide murderers, who mostly have the same aim in mind. About people who set out to lose their lives, then, there seems to hang an air of fanaticism: a gigantic sense of self-importance unattractively fused with a masochistic tendency to self-abnegation. Not wholesome.

The better and more realistic test would therefore seem to be: In what cause, or on what principle, would you risk your life?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Hitherto, the Palestinians had been relatively immune to this Allahu Akhbar style. I thought this was a hugely retrograde development. I said as much to Edward. To reprint Nazi propaganda and to make a theocratic claim to Spanish soil was to be a protofascist and a supporter of 'Caliphate' imperialism: it had nothing at all to do with the mistreatment of the Palestinians. Once again, he did not exactly disagree. But he was anxious to emphasize that the Israelis had often encouraged Hamas as a foil against Fatah and the PLO. This I had known since seeing the burning out of leftist Palestinians by Muslim mobs in Gaza as early as 1981. Yet once again, it seemed Edward could only condemn Islamism if it could somehow be blamed on either Israel or the United States or the West, and not as a thing in itself. He sometimes employed the same sort of knight's move when discussing other Arabist movements, excoriating Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, for example, mainly because it had once enjoyed the support of the CIA. But when Saddam was really being attacked, as in the case of his use of chemical weapons on noncombatants at Halabja, Edward gave second-hand currency to the falsified story that it had 'really' been the Iranians who had done it. If that didn't work, well, hadn't the United States sold Saddam the weaponry in the first place? Finally, and always—and this question wasn't automatically discredited by being a change of subject—what about Israel's unwanted and ugly rule over more and more millions of non-Jews?

I evolved a test for this mentality, which I applied to more people than Edward. What would, or did, the relevant person say when the United States intervened to stop the massacres and dispossessions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo? Here were two majority-Muslim territories and populations being vilely mistreated by Orthodox and Catholic Christians. There was no oil in the region. The state interests of Israel were not involved (indeed, Ariel Sharon publicly opposed the return of the Kosovar refugees to their homes on the grounds that it set an alarming—I want to say 'unsettling'—precedent). The usual national-security 'hawks,' like Henry Kissinger, were also strongly opposed to the mission. One evening at Edward's apartment, with the other guest being the mercurial, courageous Azmi Bishara, then one of the more distinguished Arab members of the Israeli parliament, I was finally able to leave the arguing to someone else. Bishara [...] was quite shocked that Edward would not lend public support to Clinton for finally doing the right thing in the Balkans. Why was he being so stubborn? I had begun by then—belatedly you may say—to guess. Rather like our then-friend Noam Chomsky, Edward in the final instance believed that if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not by definition be a moral or ethical action.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Wafa Sultan
“Why does a young Muslim, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up in a bus full of innocent passengers? In our countries, religion is the sole source of education, and this is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources—I am referring to scientific sources—to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist, and killed his humanity; it was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings, and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim. When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse 'They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternative sides cut off,' regardless of this verse's interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed, or its time, you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist.”
Wafa Sultan

Gore Vidal
“Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god's purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family at home.”
Gore Vidal

Gustavo Gutiérrez
“The denunciation of injustice implies the rejection of the use of Christianity to legitimize the established order.”
Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation

Christopher Hitchens
“As he defended the book one evening in the early 1980s at the Carnegie Endowment in New York, I knew that some of what he said was true enough, just as some of it was arguably less so. (Edward incautiously dismissed 'speculations about the latest conspiracy to blow up buildings or sabotage commercial airliners' as the feverish product of 'highly exaggerated stereotypes.') Covering Islam took as its point of departure the Iranian revolution, which by then had been fully counter-revolutionized by the forces of the Ayatollah. Yes, it was true that the Western press—which was one half of the pun about 'covering'—had been naïve if not worse about the Pahlavi regime. Yes, it was true that few Middle East 'analysts' had had any concept of the latent power of Shi'ism to create mass mobilization. Yes, it was true that almost every stage of the Iranian drama had come as a complete surprise to the media. But wasn't it also the case that Iranian society was now disappearing into a void of retrogressive piety that had levied war against Iranian Kurdistan and used medieval weaponry such as stoning and amputation against its internal critics, or even against those like unveiled women whose very existence constituted an offense?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Edward genially enough did not disagree with what I said, but he didn't seem to admit my point, either. I wanted to press him harder so I veered close enough to the ad hominem to point out that his life—the life of the mind, the life of the book collector and music lover and indeed of the gallery-goer, appreciator of the feminine and occasional boulevardier—would become simply unlivable and unthinkable in an Islamic republic. Again, he could accede politely to my point but carry on somehow as if nothing had been conceded. I came slowly to realize that with Edward, too, I was keeping two sets of books. We agreed on things like the first Palestinian intifadah, another event that took the Western press completely off guard, and we collaborated on a book of essays that asserted and defended Palestinian rights. This was in the now hard-to-remember time when all official recognition was withheld from the PLO. Together we debated Professor Bernard Lewis and Leon Wieseltier at a once-celebrated conference of the Middle East Studies Association in Cambridge in 1986, tossing and goring them somewhat in a duel over academic 'objectivity' in the wider discipline. But even then I was indistinctly aware that Edward didn't feel himself quite at liberty to say certain things, while at the same time feeling rather too much obliged to say certain other things. A low point was an almost uncritical profile of Yasser Arafat that he contributed to Interview magazine in the late 1980s.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Raif Badawi
“Any religion-based state has a mission to limit the minds of its people, to fight the developments of history and logic, and to dumb down its citizens. It’s important to stand in the way of such a mentality, to deny it from continuing its mission to murder the souls of its people, killing them deep within while they are still alive and breathing.”
Raif Badawi, 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think

“London is one of the world's centres of Arab journalism and political activism. The failure of left and right, the establishment and its opposition, to mount principled arguments against clerical reaction has had global ramifications. Ideas minted in Britain – the notion that it is bigoted to oppose bigotry; 'Islamophobic' to oppose clerics whose first desire is to oppress Muslims – swirl out through the press and the net to lands where they can do real harm.”
Nick Cohen

Christopher Hitchens
“It can certainly be misleading to take the attributes of a movement, or the anxieties and contradictions of a moment, and to personalize or 'objectify' them in the figure of one individual. Yet ordinary discourse would be unfeasible without the use of portmanteau terms—like 'Stalinism,' say—just as the most scrupulous insistence on historical forces will often have to concede to the sheer personality of a Napoleon or a Hitler. I thought then, and I think now, that Osama bin Laden was a near-flawless personification of the mentality of a real force: the force of Islamic jihad. And I also thought, and think now, that this force absolutely deserves to be called evil, and that the recent decapitation of its most notorious demagogue and organizer is to be welcomed without reserve. Osama bin Laden's writings and actions constitute a direct negation of human liberty, and vent an undisguised hatred and contempt for life itself.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Enemy

Christopher Hitchens
“Suppose that we agree that the two atrocities can or may be mentioned in the same breath. Why should we do so? I wrote at the time (The Nation, October 5, 1998) that Osama bin Laden 'hopes to bring a "judgmental" monotheism of his own to bear on these United States.' Chomsky's recent version of this is 'considering the grievances expressed by people of the Middle East region.' In my version, then as now, one confronts an enemy who wishes ill to our society, and also to his own (if impermeable religious despotism is considered an 'ill'). In Chomsky's reading, one must learn to sift through the inevitable propaganda and emotion resulting from the September 11 attacks, and lend an ear to the suppressed and distorted cry for help that comes, not from the victims, but from the perpetrators. I have already said how distasteful I find this attitude. I wonder if even Chomsky would now like to have some of his own words back? Why else should he take such care to quote himself deploring the atrocity? Nobody accused him of not doing so. It's often a bad sign when people defend themselves against charges which haven't been made.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Christopher Hitchens
“Shrouded as he was for a decade in an apparent cloak of anonymity and obscurity, Osama bin Laden was by no means an invisible man. He was ubiquitous and palpable, both in a physical and a cyber-spectral form, to the extent that his death took on something of the feel of an exorcism. It is satisfying to know that, before the end came, he had begun at least to guess at the magnitude of his 9/11 mistake. It is essential to remember that his most fanatical and militant deputy, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, did not just leave his corpse in Iraq but was isolated and repudiated even by the minority Sunnis on whose presumed behalf he spilled so much blood and wrought such hectic destruction. It is even more gratifying that bin Laden himself was exposed as an excrescence on the putrid body of a bankrupt and brutish state machine, and that he found himself quite unable to make any coherent comment on the tide—one hopes that it is a tide, rather than a mere wave—of demand for an accountable and secular form of civil society. There could not have been a finer affirmation of the force of life, so warmly and authentically counterposed to the hysterical celebration of death, and of that death-in-life that is experienced in the stultifications of theocracy, where womanhood and music and literature are stifled and young men mutated into robotic slaughterers.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Enemy

Raif Badawi
“States that are built on a religious foundation limit their own people in a circle of faith and fear.”
Raif Badawi, 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think

“But Mather's smile faded as he thought of what other provisions the charter contained. What would the godly say when they learned that the electorate was no longer to be limited to members of the Covenant but broadened to include propertied members of every Christian sect this side of papistry? This was a revolutionary innovation, whose consequences would be incalculable. Hitherto the limitation of the privilege of voting to the elect had been the very corner-stone of theocracy. It had been a wise and human provision designed to keep the faithful in control even when, as had long ago become the case, they were heavily outnumbered by lesser men without the Covenant. God who had not designated the majority of men to salvation surely never intended for the damned to rule. Yet now, under the new charter, it very much looked as if they might.”
Marion L. Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials

“Our First Amendment rights are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights. The Free Exercise Clause is both an individual and a collective liberty protecting a right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Therefore, we strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.”
Republican Party, Republican Platform 2016

Raif Badawi
“My biggest fear is that the enlightened Arab thinkers are gong to leave the Arab world in search of fresh air: somewhere far away from the sword of the religious authorities.”
Raif Badawi, 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think

Criss Jami
“Civic duty? Perhaps it would be a little naive to try to coerce me into voting. I assure you my basic standards of healthy living are very different from yours, which is the reason I do not vote. You should note that, as nonsensical a scenario, if forced to choose I would most definitely rather live in a failing, Christ-honoring, God-fearing nation than a flourishing one that mocks said Creator. Beware of my personal ambitions.”
Criss Jami, Healology

Chuck Klosterman
“The men and women who forged this nation [USA] were straight-up maniacs about freedom. It was just about the only thing they cared about, so they jammed it into everything. This is understandable, as they were breaking away from a monarchy. But it's also a little bonkers, since one of the things they desired most desperately was freedom of religion, based on the premise that Europe wasn't religious enough and that they needed the freedom to live by non-secular laws that were more restrictive than that of any government, including provisions for the burning of suspected witches.”
Chuck Klosterman, But What If We're Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

“All power has its derivation from God; the Russian Czar, however, was granted a special significance distinguishing him from the rest of the world's rulers…. He is a successor of the Caesars of the Eastern Empire,…the founders of the very creed of the Faith of Christ…. Herein lies the mystery of the deep distinction between Russia and all the nations of the world.”
Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov, Modern Nationalism and Religion

“Given the religious nature of the Middle Eastern culture, how might a Middle Eastern democracy [be] structured? Will there be three or four branches of government? Should a religious branch be added to the executive, legislative and judicial branches to ensure that Islamic beliefs and law are followed? A simple answer might be yes, but that is probably not the best means. Ideally, the legislative, executive and judicial bodies should all take Islamic beliefs into consideration when carrying out their duties. As such, there should be no need for a separate religious branch. However, to codify the major tenets of the Islamic faith, they should be represented in the constitution or similar document. This does not mean a theocracy will be established, rather it means that a democracy will be established built upon Islamic beliefs.”
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Democracy in the Middle East

Philip Yancey
“Ironically, (the church's) respect in the world declines in proportion to how vigorously we attempt to force others to adopt our point of view.”
Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey

Christopher Hitchens
“Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse. And if we chance to forget what that must have been like, we have only to look at those states and societies where the clergy still has the power to dictate its own terms. The pathetic vestiges of this can still be seen, in modern societies, in the efforts made by religion to secure control over education, or to exempt itself from tax, or to pass laws forbidding people to insult its omnipotent and omniscient deity, or even his prophet.”
Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Robert Sirico
“Theocracy is the destruction of human freedom in the name of God. Libertinism is the destruction of moral norms in the name of liberty. Neither will do.”
Robert Sirico, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy

Stanley Hauerwas
“Jesus is Lord' is not my personal opinion. I take it to be a determinative political claim.”
Stanley Hauerwas

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