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Gary Hart on Republic and Empire

John on August 25, 2006 at 11:42 am

Over at Powerline I came across a link to this story at the Huffington Post. Gary Hart makes an explicit comparison between President Bush and the rise of Caesar Augustus (Augustus was a title of Supreme authority given to him some time after his rule began).

Hart attempts to identify the forces that led to the end of Republican rule in Rome. He says it comes down to three things:

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the Roman Empire.

Regarding Augustus’ use of religion, Hart says:

[L]ike his adoptive father Caesar, Augustus was “imaginative and innovative in his exploitation of religious sentiments.” Augustus understood that the integration of the state with religion was the key to control of the nation’s culture.

And the connection to today:

[T]he Republican party has been imaginative and innovative in its exploitation of religious sentiments. The unprecedented submission of social policy, and foreign policy in the Middle East, to religious fundamentalists violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and has weakened America in the world.

He concludes:

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the American Empire.

Putting aside the fact that this article will almost surely provide ammunition for our enemy in the current conflict, let’s consider the similarity between Augustus and Bush when it comes to religion.

son-of-divine-augustus.jpg Augustus declared his (adoptive) father Julius Caesar a god and demanded that he be worshipped. Temples were set up around the Empire to insure that Caesar worship would be carried out. Octavian (Augustus’ real name) later had coins minted with a picture of his own face and the title “Divi Fil” or “Son of God.” A cast of priests (called augers I believe, but I’d have to look it up) adminstered the appropriate sacraments for both Octavian and his father.

Check your pockets, Mr. Hart. Do you see any coins like this one? No? Then please give it a rest.


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Category: Religion & Faith |

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