(While I'm aware that the 'Taliban' is a loaded term, I'm not using it in the sense of an oppressive religious oligarchy, just a government that based its laws and policies on its interpretation of sacred text(s). Maybe I should come up with a different word, but right now I can't think of one.) As the ruckus over gay marriage continues, both sides have begun to solicit the support of Black churches. That is not surprising, given the importance of the church in the Black community. Interestingly enough, there are some churches that support gay marriage, while others contend that marriage should be between a man and a woman. For the purposes of this post, I'm not interested in the validity of either position, I'm looking at a larger question. That is, what would it be like if Christians had total control of the government and could run the country in the way that seemed best to them? (I'm a Christian, but for the purposes of this exercise, since I will be describing two groups of people who share the same religious beliefs (ostensibly), I will refer to them in the 3rd person. Furthermore, it's not my place to say whether somebody truly believes in Jesus based on his or her political beliefs. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that nobody has a monopoly on the truth.) I guess the first thing to do is acknowledge that even among self-professing Christians, there are differing political views. Some churches take more liberal views, others conservative. One group seems to favor a more contextual interpretation of the Word, while the other takes the Bible more literally. Given that, a short answer to my question would be, it depends on which Christians were in charge. The thing that really got me thinking about this was a book I read last week, The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad. One chapter lists the 16 rules the Taliban implemented when they took power in Afghanistan. That made me wonder how this country would be any different if the proponents of any religion had full control of the government. Here's the list: 1. Prohibition against female exposure 2. Prohibition against music 3. Prohibition against shaving 4. Mandatory prayer 5. Prohibition against the rearing of pigeons and bird fighting 6. Eradication of narcotics and the users thereof 7. Prohibition against kite flying 8. Prohibition against the reproduction of pictures 9. Prohibition against gambling 10. Prohibition against British and American hairstyles. (Would I be able to wear a 'fro?) 11. Prohibition against interest on loans, exchange charges, and charges on transactions 12. Prohibition against the washing of clothes by river embankments 13. Prohibition against music and dance at weddings 14. Prohibition against playing drums 15. Prohibition against sewing women's clothes or taking measurements of women 16. Prohibition against witchcraft. Because we live in America, our conditioned response is that the above list represents a draconian legal system. Certainly, some of the items are very foreign to our way of thinking. The injunction against kite flying seems ridiculous to us. The one against narcotics, however, is not too different from our official policy. One thing that makes any comparison between Christian groups difficult is that only the Christian Right has fully articulated their politics vis a vis their Christianity. In their case, then, it's relatively easy to anticipate some differences and what some of those differences might be. We know, for instance, that abortion would be illegal and that gays would not be allowed to marry. But what else? What about alcohol, tobacco, and firearms? For Christians on the Left, it's a little more challenging. I'm not sure whether they would make any changes. I can imagine that there might be some redistribution of the country's wealth and that there would be a conspicuous attempt to make a difference in the lives of the poor, but other than that, I can't think of much. Moreover, I don't know if I can really figure out how those types of changes would be any different than those that a humanist might make. I'm just not sure about the whole thing. If anybody has some opinons, I would be glad to hear them.