Democracy, Theocracy or Both? The Politics of Cheon Il Guk

Religion and Politics Artistic

By Michael Mickler

Mickler full-sizeMore than 20 years ago, in an unofficial Unification publication titled Currents (Fall 1989), Bruce Casino asserted that Unificationists hold four distinct positions on democracy:

  1. Some members, he said, believe that a republican democratic form of government is required in God’s ideal.
  2. Other members believe God alone knows what the ultimate political system is, but democracy is the best way to get there and is certainly the political system God wants at present.
  3. A third group believes a democratic, constitutionally limited monarchy after the British model is the ideal.
  4. A final group believes the ultimate goal is a non-democratic monarchic feudalism patterned after the movement’s internal polity — the “Korean kingdom” approach.

Casino argued that “close examination of fundamental Unification concepts leads inescapably to the conclusion that democracy is mandated by the religious doctrine of the Unification movement.”

He went further, stating that Unification religious tenets “support a republican, democratic system modeled after the American constitutional system, with elected representatives and a separation of powers between legislative, executive and judiciary.”

What the movement sought, he contended, was not to alter the republican, democratic system, but to focus it on “higher ideals,” a “greater spirituality” among citizens, a stronger sense of community, and to combat immorality, materialism, and racism.”

The question is whether Casino’s conclusions apply in the Cheon Il Guk (CIG) era.

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