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Is theocracy good?
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Theocracy is an excuse for legitimised oppression

By working from religious doctrine, theocratic governments are given excuses to oppress their citizens.
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The Argument

In many states, theocracy an excuse for widespread legitimised oppression especially around gender, sexual orientation or race.[1][2] In many of the Islamic theocracies, the highly patriarchal and discriminatory laws and cultures, leave women with little political capital and agency. For example, only 6% of Iran's parliament is comprised of women, compared to 29% in the US’ House of Representatives. In Saudi Arabia, women only gained the right to drive in June 2019. [3] The compulsory wearing of burquas in places like Afghanistan is another sympol of oppression.[4] Theocracy does not allow citizens the freedom to make many personal life choices: for example, in Saudi Arabia it is illegal to convert from Islam to any other religion.[5] Other restrictions include where people who belong to a different religion might be asked to pay additional taxes, be forbidden to vote, or have other rights restricted that those who follow the faith do not experience.[6] From a business perspective, women leaders provide more consistency, innovation, and leadership compared to their male counterparts, yet their ideas are held back in almost every nation that is structured as a theocracy.[6]

Counter arguments

What religions or societies do not oppress women? Although the visibility of the burqua may be overt, the insidious undermining of women occurs in most countries.[4] Progressive countries like Switzerland didn’t give women the vote until 1971 and rape in marriage did not become a crime in the UK until 1991.[7] Atrocities such as female genital mutilation and foot binding have permeated the ages alongside voting, abortion and contraception rights. These oppressions all cheerfully occur or occurred outside of theocracies.


[P1] In a theocracy, the leaders have absolute rule and have to abide only with religious text. [P2] This leaves a large amount of opportunity for theocracies to contravene human rights.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Contravention of human rights is not unique to theocracies.


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 12:19 UTC

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