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The Theocracy

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"If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations."
C. S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment"

Simply put, a theocracy is any society that is ruled by God or by gods, which in practice usually means The Church is the government. Often the laws of a theocracy are based off religious law, or claims that God (or Gods) is the supreme ruler of their state with the temporal ruler almost always being the High Priest. This is especially prevalent in pre-modern settings.

This trope exists on a wide spectrum, ranging from 'the Church is the government and their mandate is from God' to 'the country has an almost entirely ceremonial state religion'. Many countries around the world acknowledge religion in their constitutions and have politically-involved religious movements and organisations, but this doesn't necessarily equate to a theocracy or even an especially religious country. For example, in England the head of state (the monarch) is also the head of the Protestant Church of England, bringing an overtly religious aspect into the governmental system. The United Kingdom's House of Lords also dedicates 26 of its seats to Church of England bishops (known as the 'Lords Spiritual'), giving a specific religion a constitutional role in everyday governance. With that in mind, despite these theocratic elements it would still be a big stretch to call England or the UK a full-on theocracy, and in terms of population they are much less religious than neighbouring, officially secular Ireland and France.

The term was first used by Flavius Josephus, a Romano-Jewish author, who used it positively to describe the Israelite system of government.

In settings where God or gods definitely exist and have powers above and beyond any mortal government, it could be argued that every society would be a de facto theocracy whether consciously modelled on one or not, especially if worship of such deities was the main religion, but normally that is not what this trope means.

Note that true theocracies, where secular government is virtually non-existent, are fairly rare. Most often the Church will simply have a lot of secular power and sometimes a parallel government: authority over religious/moral laws, its own bureaucracy, its own army, etc.

Theocracies, in both fiction and Real Life, have a rather bad reputation (at least in the modern, post-Enlightenment era) — as such, the Theocracy is almost always portrayed negatively, and is often portrayed as The Empire and/or a brutal, authoritarian Dystopian Dictatorship that preaches The Evils of Free Will — a secular government is run by theoretically fallible mortals, but if the government is ostensibly appointed by and speaking for a god, then saying they made a mistake is effectively saying that god was wrong, making the dissenter a heretic. Thus a Corrupt Church is often the head of a Theocracy, but not always. See also God-Emperor, where the rulers go one step further to proclaim themselves living gods with a personal religion. Compare Church Militant, where the clergy is badass, but not necessarily the rulers of a country.

Not to be confused with the Christian Rock band Theocracy.

Examples of this trope in media:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Prussia from Hetalia: Axis Powers was once the child embodiment of The Teutonic Knights, who were in real life a militant Catholic monastic order who happened to run their own realm...which would serve as the basis of their Prussian descendants. Although it's subverted in that the Nation seems to shed at least most of his piety once he drops the knight act.
  • Overlord (2012) has the Slane Theocracy and the Roble Holy Kingdom, both nations run by priesthoods, though the latter also appoints a monarch.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The Holy Empire of Ruberios is the seat of power from which the Western Nations' major religion of Luminism was founded, and is the main base of the Holy Knight Order. It does have an emperor, but he's only a Puppet King and vampire subordinate to the True Demon Lord and Vampire Monarch Luminous Valentine...who is also the true identity of the god Luminous, having established the kingdom and religion with the aid of human co-conspirators to create a safe haven for vampires and humans.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Holy Terror takes place in an alternate timeline where Oliver Cromwell survived a decade past his death to establish an theocratic empire over Britain and the United States called the Commonwealth. Puritanism is the state religion and other forms of Christianity like Catholicism are considered heretical.
  • In Conan the Barbarian, this is depressingly common with evil cults that worship eldritch abominations being turned into nation wide-state religions. The most triumphant example would be Stygia, which adopts Set as its patron god and is pretty much governed by its high-priest, who outlaws any other religion and uses it to terrorize the populace to keep it in line. Other than Aquilonia under Conan's rule (who institutes freedom of religion), its hard to find a nation with a division between the king and the clergy.
  • A particularly unpleasant one rules the city of Migdal Bavel in The One Hundred Nights of Hero. We mostly see them executing women for being able to read.
  • In Pathfinder: Worldscape, the capital city of Shareen is governed by the Martian cult of Issus brought by the Holy Therns when the city's ruler converted to their faith, gaining their loyalty and enacting their religious rules, even though that Shareen is a lawless Wretched Hive and the only rule they care to enforce is a Ban on Magic due to regarding it as blasphemy since it draws from a source other than their goddess. After Camilla is backstabbed by her lieutenants, the Cult's high priestess Phaidor takes direct control of Shareen.
  • In the DC Comics miniseries World of Krypton it's shown how the government of Krypton came to be science based. There were three competing factions: one for science, one for democracy, and one for a Theocracy. They decided to let the Kryptonian gods decide. One representative from each faction went out into a thunderstorm with a rod; whichever one didn't get hit by a bolt would be the chosen. Science won after theocracy and democracy's reps each got hit. In The Stinger of the story the scientist admitted to a time-travelling Kal-El that he had used a non-ferrous metal in making his rod. He didn't consider it cheating since the gods told him to do so - or so he claimed.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): While the Sangtee Emperor is not technically part of the Empire's clergy their most important advisor is and they cannot make any decisions which contradict the State Church. It is implied they've wanted to legalize women as actual citizens rather than enslaving them for some time but were unable to until the Empire was thrown into a civil war.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Subverted in Kapitan Bomba. The Kujwdubie galaxy is ruled by the Alien Pope and his congregation of cardinals, but despite their titles and clerical clothing they wear, religious matters are never discussed.

    Fan Works 

  • The Beastmaster: Maax, the high priest of Aruk, makes himself its ruler, instituting human sacrifices.
  • Blood of the Tribades: Although it's not explicitly stated, the priests pretty clearly rule Bathory.
  • In Cube Zero, the omniscient dictatorship controlling the Cube is strongly implied to be a theocracy. "Crimes against country and God" is a notable transgression and anyone who survives the Cube is asked whether they believe in God — if they answer "No" they are incinerated. No one has ever answered "Yes" (possibly implying atheists are sent there as a punishment).
  • In Escape from L.A., the President Evil turns the United States into a virtual theocracy. He makes Christianity mandatory country-wide and religious heterodoxy punishable by death, while enforcing a set of new moral laws for the 'new America'.
  • Hail Satan?: Satanists see themselves as fighting this being established in the US, with Christian symbols or prayers monopolizing public spaces, which violates the First Amendment, and protests they stage aim to combat this (along with lawsuits when necessary). It's hard to argue with the fact that the Christians they're facing want this or something like it given they often proclaim the US is a Christian nation (which a historian notes has never been the case), and want to enshrine Christianity in the government by various means.
  • Martin Scorsese's Kundun shows Tibet to be this and portrays the 14th Dalai Lama as an Internal Reformist who seeks to transform and devolve his government.
  • In Perfect Creature, the government is handled by the Brotherhood, an all-male vampire clergy that is revered as more perfect version of humans and therefore closer to God. Among their edicts is outlawing genetic research to prevent humans from gaining independence from their power.
  • In Priest (2011), humanity lives under the authority of the Church that controls mega-cities with an iron fist. The regions outside their control are lawless wastelands where the people that chose to not live under the Church's heel are preyed upon by bandits and vampires.
  • Starship Troopers 3: Marauder: The United Citizen's Federation was already a far future People's Republic of Tyranny with incredibly overt militaristic and fascistic tendencies in the first two movies. Then after the alien Hive Mind brainwashes (and later kills) the current Sky Marshal by claiming itself to be a god, the leadership of the Federation, impressed with the blind obedience that religion can instill, establishes its own mandatory state religion with propaganda campaigns declaring God a citizen of the Federation!

  • After the Revolution: The Heavenly Kingdom is a very clear-cut example, being a fundamentalist christo-fascist nation-state-to-be which is ruled according to strict biblical literalism under the command of a leader known only as "Pastor Mike" (Mike is The Ghost of the book and never makes a direct appearance). The Heavenly Kingdom was heavily inspired by the Real Life ISIS/Daesh. The United Christian States of America (made up of most of the Deep South) isn't sufficently characterised by the book but is implied to be more of an oligarchic republic ruled according to bible-inspired law; the fact that Pastor Mike is officially persona non grata in the UCS implies the UCS is insufficiently Christian to the Heavenly Kingdom (though the UCS still unofficially backs the Heavenly Kingdom). Utah has come under the control by the Mormon Church (to the degree that it's known as 'Mormonland' to much of the US), and the city of Albuquerque has a God-Emperor (though little is known of his actual religious decrees outside of his love of boiling people alive).
  • In the Archangel Protocol, access to the LINK (the virtual reality implanted internet) is reserved for members of a religion. And since the LINK is required for operating in society... Every government in the world (except for Russia) has a state religion, and citizenship is conditional on being religious. Essentially, the atheists got the blame for World War III, and this is the result.
  • Caliphate takes place in a distant future where most of Western Europe has fallen under fundamentalist Islamic control and has strong-armed German courts to institute sharia law where homosexuals are stoned or hanged, Christians are reduced to second-class citizens whose sons are turned into Janissaries and their daughters are forced to be sex slaves. The United States has similarly adopted Christianity as its state religion in order to oppose the European Islamists, though ironically it was once described as more tolerant of other faiths that weren't Islam such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism until the President Evil burned away the Constitution securing religious freedom.
  • The premise of Christian Nation is that President Sarah Palin and her successor Steve Jordan imposes a dystopian theocracy on the United States.
  • The country of Omnia on the Discworld, seen mostly in Small Gods, is ruled by the Church of Om, with the Cenobiarch or Supreme Iam as head of state. While at the time of Small Gods it was a Church Militant empire that covered a large chunk of the continent, by The Compleat Discworld Atlas it mostly consists of the Citadel of Kom (i.e. Discworld Vatican) and some surrounding farmland.
  • Bulikov and its Continental neighbouring cities in The Divine Cities all were theocracies during their Golden Age. Their individual gods were highly involved in the lives of their followers and provided leadership, guidance and infrastructure, with Bulikov being neutral ground ruled by all six Divinities equally. The Continent's been a bit of a mess ever since all the Divities died as it turned out that not only did they provide societal laws, but the Continent's entire infrastructure relied on their existence.
  • Arden in Dragon Queen apparently is one of these, as the priesthood had the legal authority to execute Sajag.
  • David Eddings has two examples in The Elenium. The first is the city of Chyrellos which is more or less an expy of the real life Vatican example below, an independent city state ruled by the head of the church and run by church officials of a much larger religion. And despite not having a distinct homeland and only a single city to call their own, the Styrics probably also count since their highest body, capable of making decisions for all Styrics regardless of where they reside, is composed of the High Priests and Priestesses of the Younger Gods of Styricum.
  • The title of Frank Herbert's God-Emperor of Dune gives something of a hint about where it falls under this trope.
  • The Republic of Gilead in The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments is a theocratic military junta established by a far-right Christian group that assassinated the President of the United States and established a fundamentalist regime that follows a brutal interpretation of the Old Testament.
  • The Lands of Holy Order the Arkanar Kingdom in the ending in Hard to Be a God.
  • Honor Harrington:
  • The Cult of Issus in John Carter of Mars is the state religion of most nations in Barsoom, but the most explicit examples of this trope are the Therns (White Martians), which are ruled by an Holy Hekkador that interprets Issus's divine edicts, and the First-Born (Black Martians) who are directly controlled by her. The few exceptions not under her control also qualify as theocracies of their own such as the city of Phundahl where its empress controls her subjects using fear of their god Tur.
  • In Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite, the overclans are all priest clans, ruling by religious right. Basically, the whole world is a theocracy, although given the harsh conditions of survival on Geta, a fairly pragmatic and not-very-hierarchical one.
  • Knowledge Of Angels: Grandinsula is one. Severo (the Cardinal) is also Prince, due to both his father and older brother dying so that he inherited the position. The Catholic Church is thus also the state religion, with Jews and Saracens (Muslims) relegated to special city quarters and atheism banned (however, this was the case even for countries where the clergy didn't rule then).
  • Left Behind: The Millennial Kingdom government consists of God as ultimate ruler, Jesus as the ruler of the world, King David as the ruler of Israel, and the apostles as the rulers of the twelve tribes of Israel. It's portrayed as the most benevolent theocracy that ever existed, with God and Jesus Christ permitting freedom of speech and freedom of religion, allowing those who would not become believers in Christ to live either as unbelievers or as members of the Other Light for only 100 years before they die and are sent to Hell.
  • The Legend of Drizzt: In most Drow cities, females rule and this includes the priestesses (males are barred from clergy positions), so there are strong theocratic elements (which includes outlawing worship of any other gods but Lolth).
  • Orphans of the Sky: The Crew's society is effectively a theocracy by fact if not by name. While a Captain nominally serves as a monarch, the current one is an indolent and ineffective figure who leaves matters of rule to his subordinates. Instead, the Scientists — nominally descended from the Ship's old scientific and engineering personnel, but now a priestly caste — are the main arbiters of morality and social direction, study old texts that lower ranks are not permitted to see, oversee the Converter that produces the Ship's energy, and conduct the ritualized maintenance of shipboard systems. Below them are the Officers, petty nobility who see to most day-to-day affairs, and the common Crew.
  • Parable of the Sower: In Parable of the Talents, the U.S. is on its way to becoming a theocracy. The Glorious Leader, Jarrett, is a member of the Christian America sect which blames all non-Christian "heathens" (and sometimes Christians of other denominations) for America's problems. They have significant power over the country, with their own army and POW camps.
  • Pebble in the Sky, by Isaac Asimov: Earth is ruled by the Society of Ancients, a theological group who utilize Secret Police and Dystopian Edicts to enforce their rule and belief in the superiority of the Earth.
  • Ravelling Wrath: The entire city is organized around the temples of the five gods. In particular, both the schools and the police are run by the Stern Temple, the followers of the Stern God (yes, that's the actual name of the god).
  • The Reluctant King: Tarxia is ruled by its clergy, with many laws forbidding sensual pleasures. Other religious beliefs are also outlawed, with foreigners that follow them only allowed briefly in the city state.
  • Safehold, by David Weber: The Temple Lands is one disguised by a very flimsy legal fiction. Technically they are ruled by the Knights of the Temple Lands but every single member of that groups happens to be a member of the church hierarchy and church groups are used to enforce their rule, so it is a de facto if not de jure Theocracy.
  • Brandon Sanderson likes these:
    • In Elantris, the Fjordell Empire is a theocracy controlled by Shu-Dereth and its leader Wyrn Wulfden IV is both High Priest and Emperor, considered the only living human who has a direct connection to Jaddeth.
    • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy brings the Final Empire, a post-apocalyptic dystopia ruled by the Lord Ruler, an immortal who presents himself as a living god. His priests, the Obligators, actually handle the administration side of things.
    • Warbreaker has a less antagonist version. Hallandren is ruled by the Court of Gods and their priests; though there's certainly corruption to go around and the gods themselves can be rather out of touch with the world, they're not really any better or worse than most governments. The God King himself is actually quite a decent guy, if a powerless figurehead, and his High Priest, though he initially appears to be the Big Bad is actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist opposed to the real villains.
    • Inverted in The Stormlight Archive. Vorinism is the dominant religion of the nations the protagonists come from, but its priests (called ardents) have next to no political power and are kept staunchly under the thumb of the aristocracy and are even denied personal property to make sure they don't try to extend their influence beyond spiritual matters. This is because the Vorin nations were a theocracy (called the Hierocracy) centuries ago, and it was supposedly extremely corrupt- when the nobles seized power back, they wanted to make sure the Hierocracy would never return.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Norvos is ruled by its Bearded Priests, who strictly control every part of its citizens' lives. Bell tolls tell them when they must pray, eat, work and even have sex (this last is said to be infrequently, as the Bearded Priests believe in it only for reproduction-not that everyone obeys).
    • Qohor is likewise ruled by the priesthood of the Black Goat.
    • Lorath used to be a theocracy as well, ruled by the priests of Boash the Blind God. But after they grew hopelessly corrupt, the people eventually overthrew them, and the religion died out.
    • The Seven Kingdoms is slipping into this by the events of A Feast for Crows. To forgive the debt the kingdom owe to the Faith of the Seven, Cersei Lannister is manipulated into reviving the Faith Militant, the military wing of the Faith. The organization quickly set about to stamp out "deviancies" from the kingdom in the name of defending the faith, including prostitution, homosexuality, and adultery. And unlike ordinary septons, who are just as corrupt as anybody, they are very principles-based, and do not bow to the wishes of anyone, including the monarchy itself. The previous Faith Militant, which were disbanded during the early years of the Targaryen dynasty, started a seven-year war over a succession they did not bless, so one shouldn't be surprised by their stubbornness.
  • The Star Fist series has a Story Arc set on the human colony world Kingdom (officially "The Kingdom of Yahweh and his Saints and their Apostles"), which was apparently established by religious immigrants from other parts of the Confederation, who set up a government run by their religious hierarchies. While officially multi-religious, the planet's ruling body is dominated by the various Christian and Muslim factions, leading to unofficial persecution of other religious groups. Not to mention, there's an Inquisitional force that will arrest, torture, and execute anyone accused of heresy. In the chaotic aftermath of the repelled Skink invasion, the head of said inquisition seizes control of the planet, ditching the theocracy in favor good old fashioned fascism.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Galactic Empire and several Sith states featured in the Legends material technically qualifies as this trope since its based around the Force rather than any specific deities, and their dogmas are based on Might Makes Right. As such, everyone and everything in the Empire is under the complete domination of the Sith who can do anything they please to non-Sith (rape, kill, enslave, torture), with the military backing up their power. On paper, they are the absolute authority. In practice, the Sith don't care about much outside their own power plays against each other, the military and government officials are too busy kissing up to the Sith or trying to backstab each other to climb the hierarchy in line with Sith ideals of "strength" and "power," and the Intelligence Services are left to be glorified janitors. It's no wonder that the Sith Empires tend to implode as soon as they gain any power in the wider galaxy.
    • The Yuuzhan Vong from the New Jedi Order play this trope straighter, since they have a fantasy pantheon with their supreme leader being revered as something between High Priest and God-Emperor with religion serving as the driving force of their society. Though the priests are only one of the four higher castes, Nom Anor (who knows a thing or two about how governments work, since his job is to subvert them) explicitly notes that their influence is the only thing keeping the other three (warriors, shapers, and intendants) from turning on each other.
    • Also from Legends, the Galactic Republic itself experienced a time as this in supplementary material when it was taken over by a human supremacist cult known as Pius Dea. Their first Supreme Chancellor was a fundamentalist who launched a series of military campaigns against aliens initially to fight off aggression from the Hutts, but they soon decay into an all-out war against all non-humans and their rallying cry was "The Goddess Wills It". Their actions end up alienating most of the Jedi Order except for a few dissidents who join the crusades as the Order of the Terrible Glare, while the others left the Republic completely. Democracy was eventually restored in the Seventh Alsakan Conflict by a Jedi-led alliance composed of Alsakan (a world that had disputed Coruscant's supremacy in numerous wars) with its traditional allies, the Republic alien species, the Pius Dea Renunciates with much of the Republic Navy (who had seen the Pius Dea and their Republic for what it actually was), other dissidents, and the Hutts.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Religious Feudalists are one of these, with their ruler being a High Priest.
  • Ward: A parallel Earth, Earth Cheit, is known to be a global theocracy, with the state religion being some variant/derivative of Christianity. Details on their government and belief system are scarce, but they are shaping up to be an antagonist after several of their citizens were killed in an accident on Earth Gimel, and it's later revealed that Teacher has more or less secretly taken over their ruling body.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob): America elected a hyper-religious president in 2036. In addition to his blatant religious agenda, he had no political skill whatsoever, breaking laws left and right to appoint his hyper-religious idiot friends to key positions, claiming God would sort it out. This, predictably, resulted in a horrific recession, and the next president elected was an atheist. That drove the religious right into a frenzy, and they launched a successful coup, replacing the United States with the Free American Independent Theocratic Hegemony. By the time Bob is awoken, FAITH has dozens if not hundreds of factions fighting each other over dogma, and do far more damage to each other than their enemies. Bob manages to keep them satisfied long enough to escape in the probe.
  • In the aftermath of World War Z, Russia has become an expansionist theocracy called the Holy Russian Empire, with the Russian Orthodox Church reigning supreme and a Tsar implied to be Vladimir Putin as head of state. As of the time of writing, it has reconquered most of the former Soviet Republics and is pushing its way into Ukraine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7: In "Cygnus Alpha" High Priest Vargus serves as the absolute ruler on the planet. He wants to expand his rule onto other worlds too, with the use of the Liberator.
  • Foundation (2021):
    • Synnax seems to be one, with a planetary pogrom against scientists being declared when they started raising warnings about flooding from the ice caps being melted, which the Seer priests wished to deny.
    • The desert moon named The Maiden, which is at the center of the Luminist faith, is ruled directly by Luminism's leadership.
    • Siwenna appears to exist in a state of anarchy, but armed mobs ruthlessly persecute anyone who is perceived to be undermining the planet's unnamed god of lightning.
    • The Foundation itself is perceived as one by some outsiders in Season 2 due to the rise of the Church of the Galactic Spirit, which espouses Hari Seldon to be a prophet with psychohistory as his prophecy. In truth, while the Church is officially endorsed by the Foundation's government, its leaders are secular and see the religion and its adherents as just another tool to spread the Foundation's influence.
  • Game of Thrones: King's Landing turns into one when the Faith Militant is armed by Cersei Lannister to impose the order from the gods in the streets and get rid of her political rivals, only for their leader the High Sparrow to completely back-stab her, throw her in a dungeon and then convert her weak-willed son, King Tommen, into his puppet. During this time, he effectively ruled the city and by extension, Westeros (or whatever remained loyal to the Iron Throne) until his reign comes to a fiery end when Cersei blows up the Sept of Baelor with the High Sparrow and all his followers inside.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The fundamentalist regime rules the Republic of Gilead according to its own Biblical view, which is very harsh.
  • Lexx: The League of 20,000 Planets is governed by the Divine Order, which serves as the universe's main religion in the far future. Its leader and subject of worship is His Divine Shadow. In reality, the Shadow is the last survivor of the Insect civilization, which has been at war with humanity and he engineered this theocracy to control them and ultimately destroy them.
  • Kandor City in Krypton is ruled by the theocratic dictator, the Voice of Rao, with the Council carrying out his orders. Notably, saying there's life in the universe other than on Krypton is considered treason and worthy of a death sentence along with the rest of the family being stripped of privilege, and gods other than Rao are now considered lesser. Following the Season 1 finale, it has ceased to be a theocracy and turned into a military junta dictatorship instead.
  • The Orville: The bio-ship in "If the Stars Should Appear" is being ruled by a theocratic dictatorship who have misinterpreted the word of their former Captain Doral as divine scripture over the years.
  • The Outpost
    • Fourteen years before the start of the series, a religious group known as the Prime Order overthrew the monarchy and took total control over the realm, with the Three (their leaders whom they believe are divine) ruling.
    • Yavalla is the leader of the Blackbloods in Season 3, and also their high priestess. She then starts taking over people's minds to become ruler of them all.
  • Pandora: Adar is ruled by its religious leader, the Seeker. However, in an unusual example this is an elected position and Seekers run for office, so it's a kind of theocratic republic.
  • Tehran: Iran is one, and it overshadows much of social life there, with Iranian dissidents against religious restrictions imposed upon them which the Islamic Revolutionary Guards enforce. Many of the Iranian expats make it clear it's what they hate about Iran, while loving the country itself (and the people).
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" Yonadan society is run by the Oracle, a computer whom they believe is a god, and their High Priestess.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Technically, Bajor has a secular government led by an elected First Minister. In practice, however, the Kai (essentially the Pope) has considerable influence over the people, reaching its peak when Kai Winn made herself interim First Minister following the previous one's death and fully intended to make it permanent. Fortunately for Bajor, La Résistance hero Shakaar Edon won over the people and got elected First Minister, torpedoing Winn's plans.

  • The Bible: The country of Israel was originally a nation ruled solely by God, with judges as His representatives. It was only when the nation of Israel wanted an actual king that Saul was crowned one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy has Albidion, that is pretty much the game's setting equivalent of Real Life Vatican (see further) having apart the clerics of the Church of Abel little more than a small nobility.
  • Jarzon in Blue Rose.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Eberron: Thrane is ruled by the Church of the Silver Flame. Nominally it is still a monarchy, but after a series of events during the Last War the monarchy's actual power ended up limited to more or less just ruling their own household. Actual power in Thrane is split between the Keeper of the Flame (the mortal avatar of the Flame's divine power, currently a pre-teen girl) and the Council of Cardinals (a group of theoretically equal church officials). The Keeper is generally left to manage the more spiritual aspects of the nation, while the cardinals have the more practical and pragmatic duties.
    • Forgotten Realms:
      • Until the Time of Troubles, Mulhorand and Unther were ruled directly by avatars of the Mulhorandi and Untheric pantheons (by Word of God, the actual Egyptian and Babylonian gods), and the countries functioned as theocracies with the priesthood also forming the bureaucracy. Mulhorand continued to be one after the avatars were allowed to return to their home plane, but Unther collapsed after all its gods were killed, had already left (the avatars could leave before being allowed to, but due to the circumstances of why they were there it would cut them off from Toril and their worshippers there) or had ended up dropping out of the Untheric pantheon into the Faerûnic pantheon.
      • Firenewt society is dominated by the worship of the elemental lord Imix, and their tribes are ruled by his clerics and warlocks.
    • Greyhawk: The Theocracy of the Pale. In the Living Greyhawk campaign, the real-world region assigned to it was Utah.
    • The Drow are ruled by a theocracy of Lolth. Other gods are present, but considered subordinate to her.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The ginormous Imperium of Man is very much a theocracy, given that they have a crippled Physical God as their supreme ruler with a galaxy-spanning religion, the Imperial Creed, in His name. His cult has a formal church, the Ecclesiarchy, as well as an Inquisition. However, ever since a prominent High Priest went mad and started what is remembered as the Reign of Blood, the Ecclesiarchy itself is no longer allowed to keep "men under arms". Hence the Sisters of Battle.
      • The leaders of Chaos warbands tend to be those who the gods most favor. However, they aren't really priests, as the Chaos gods would much rather their followers kill loyalists and aliens instead of holding masses. The Word Bearers are the purest example. Most other Legions' hierarchies are based at least partially on Might Makes Right and Klingon Promotion, but the Word Bearers' leaders are all taken from the priesthood and then expected to murder each other for position; the Chaos Lords who would be the leaders of, say, a Black Legion force are more like tactical advisors who command the troops in service of the priesthood's objectives.
      • The Adeptus Mechanicus, a seperate political body within the Imperium, is this trope by way of Machine Worship. Their Forge Worlds are overseen by robed tech-priests, with every aspect of production dedicated, through ritual and prayer, to the Machine-God known as the Omnissiah.
      • In a twist of Irony, The Emperor of Mankind himself never wanted for this to happen, having come to view Religion as a whole to be antithetical to the further development of Mankind due to how many conflicts and wars in the past for Humanity were entirely attributed to Religion, and as such when he took control and installed The Imperium of Man he sought to destroy all other religions in order to spare the people from the hardships and fears of dogmatism in order to work together towards one unified goal.
    • In Necromunda, the Cult of the Redemption is effectively the state religion of House Cawdor and the Cult's rules are strictly enforced by the House's ruling council. Lord Mormaer Cawdor, the current head of the council also considers himself the highest and most pious servant of the God-Emperor on Necromunda, something that causes friction with the Imperial Governor Lord Helmawr.
    • Warhammer:
      • The Lizardmen are led by their Skink priests, who interpret the wills of their gods. The Slann technically overrule the Skinks by virtue of speaking with the de facto voice of the gods, but the Slann's mindset is alien enough that day-to-day operations are outside their remit, so the Skinks run the culture on their behalf.
      • The Skaven are ruled by the Council of Thirteen, a group of twelve ancient Skaven warlords and priests who rule their race in the name of their Omnicidal Maniac god, The Horned Rat, who holds the symbolic thirteenth seat on the Council.
  • Iron Kingdoms has the Protectorate of Menoth, a small region that is the heart of the Menothite church. It's notoriously harsh in its approach to theocracy, given that Menoth is Lawful Evil and a giant asshole; you can be burned alive for saying the wrong thing. To a lesser extent, there's the Circle Orboros, a semi-druidic cult which has de facto control over a number of wilderness tribes and also some hulking wolf monsters.
  • The Legion of Dusk in Magic: The Gathering is an nation of vampire crusaders formed from the union between the Church of Dusk and its iron-fisted monarch, as such there is no distinction between the two. They are an ever-expanding empire always seeking to feast on the blood of its enemies, as their religious commandments demand.
  • In Rocket Age the secret Martian city state of Hasvarval has no royal caste, instead being controlled entirely by the priest caste.
  • Star*Drive has two theocracies amongst its major Stellar Nations, the Hatire Community and the Orlamu Theocracy. The Hatires are a semi-Space Amish society where there is no meaningful difference between church and state and conversion by the sword has become an accepted option (if not actually one that is practically possible or desirable in the current galactic situation). The Orlamists hold intellectual and religious freedoms as well scientific research in the highest regard, in particular drivespace research, and consequently the only actual rights not granted to citizens not of the Orlamu faith is holding the highest positions in government (because the highest positions in government is also the highest positions in the Orlamu church).
  • In TORG there is the Cyberpapacy, which evolved when a 'classic' pseudo-medieval inquisition-pope got infected by a cyberpunk artifact.
  • In Traveller, theocracy is a possible government when generating worlds. Type D (13) in the original Universal World Profile hexadecimal system. In the officially produced books, some like Tonopah/Albadawi (Solomani Rim 0723), are relatively benevolent. Others, like Pavabid/District 268 (Spinward Marches 1238), are just as unpleasant as the reputation of theocracies has. It is worth noting that under the rolls in Traveller for system generation mean that theocracies will frequently have repressive law levels.
  • In Talislanta, both Aaman and Rajinistan are particularly unpleasant theocracies.

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock Infinite, Columbia is run by a theocracy with its state religion's prophet Zachary Comstock as the head of state. In an alternate timeline that Booker DeWitt travels through, Elizabeth takes over as the head of state, tortured into playing the role of the prophesied "Lamb" and eventually leading Columbia into an aerial assault of New York City circa 1984.
  • Blasphemous takes place in the ruins of a fallen theocracy known as Cvstodia, which worships the power of the Grievous Miracle, which is a Jackass Genie if there ever was one, answering people's prayers in the most twisted and horrifying manner possible. Since Cvstodia is a Martyrdom Culture that is obsessed with the idea of physical suffering as penance for sin, and the people there often pray to the Miracle for heaps of it, this actually works out rather well.
  • A government choice in Civilization in several games. Namely, the Second as Fundamentalism, Fourth, Fifth as Piety, and Sixth.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth has the Kavithan Protectorate from the Indian subcontinent. Its leader Kavitha Thakur is both political and spiritual.
    • The Lord's Believers in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, led by Sister Miriam Godwinson. The Alien Crossfire expansion also gives us the Cult of Planet, led by Prophet Cha Dawn.
  • The Chantry in Dragon Age. Being the state religion of Southern Thedas, it has been responsible in influencing the setting's traditions and customs specially in regards to magic. While there has been a separation on paper between the state and the sect, the Orlesian Empire (which serves as the Chantry's seat) waged a expansion campaign in order to spread the Chantry's dogma across the known world and in some cases, religious members have step up to administrate as seen with Kirkwall in Dragon Age II where the Templar Commander Meredith assumes the free city's control following the Viscount's death, with a Grand Cleric (arch-bishop equivalent) to rein her in.
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • In Far Cry 4, Kyrat is a dictatorship that made all religions illegal and replaced them with Pagan Min's Cult of Personality. If you sided with Sabal at the end of the game, he intends to restore the good old days back to Kyrat and establish a theocracy revolving around their spiritual beliefs — which includes embracing the worst aspects of this religion like forcing little girls as young as six into Arranged Marriage.
  • For most of the humans in Spira, the world of Final Fantasy X, the only government is also the only (apparent) religious institution, the Church of Yevon.
  • The Holy See of Ishgard in Final Fantasy XIV is a theocratic city-state ruled by the Archbishop of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church, Thordan VII.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Theocracy of Rausten from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is exactly what its name says, ruled by the Divine Emperor Mansel, who is also its religious leader.
    • The Begnion Empire from Path of Radiance/ Radiant Dawn is explicitly a theocracy, where all the members of government hold religious ranks and the Empress is also head of the church.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening features the Halidom ("Holy Kingdom" in the Japanese version) of Ylisse, devoted to the worship of the Divine Dragon Naga, as well as a more sinister version in its neighbor Plegia, which is led by the Grimleal, which worship the Fell Dragon Grima (though most Plegians are not themselves Grimleal).
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
      • The Church of Seiros. While ostensibly a neutral power meant to keep the three nations of Fódlan in check, it wields considerable political power and has its own standing military that answers only to the archbishop. The archbishop Rhea is also Seiros herself, having faked her own death in order to continue watching over Fódlan in over a thousand years since the church's founding, effectively making her a shadow ruler. Edelgard isn't very happy with this state of affairs for various reasons and decides to kickstart a war to rid Fódlan of the Church's influence.
      • The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus was founded due to mediation from the church to end the war that the first king Loog von Blaiddyd initiated to fight for its independence from the Adrestian Empire. That said, it is noted that the country's rulers are long-time supporters of the church and this automatically puts them at odds with the empire when Edelgard initiates her plan to destroy the church's grip on Fódlan. When Dimitri dies on the Crimson Flower route, the country rallies around Rhea and the Church and install her as their new leader, becoming a truly proper version of this. This is reinforced in Three Hopes, as Dimitri notes that even though he personally agrees with many of Edelgard's reforms, if she's allowed to dismantle the Central Church it would declare the Blaiddyd line's Divine Right of Kings illegitimate and topple what stability the Kingdom had left after his father King Lambert's demise.
  • In Guild Wars: Prophecies the Charr invasion of Kryta led to the complete collapse and disappearance of the previous monarchy. The White Mantle took their place in stopping the invasion and then ruling Kryta once peace was restored. They were eventually deposed when a legitimate heir was found to challenge the increasingly corrupt and exploitative actions of the Mantle.
  • The Covenant in the Halo franchise worship the ancient, unfathomably powerful alien race known as the Forerunners, and want to activate the Halos because they think it will allow them to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence (in actuality, the Halos are weapons the Forerunners used to commit a species-wide Heroic Suicide in order to contain the parasitic Hive Mind known as "the Flood"). They follow a strict caste system divided by species, with the ruling caste outright referred to as "Prophets". The Prophets declare a crusade to exterminate humanity after learning that humans are the prophesied "Reclaimers" who the Forerunners designated as their rightful successors, which threatened their status as the Covenant's rulers. They later attempt to commit genocide against one of their higher-caste species, the Sangheili "Elites", after several of their leaders learn the truth - leading to an Enemy Civil War that ends with the Elites allying with humanity against the Prophets.
  • The antagonists of Iconoclasts are the One Concern, who worship a being called the Starworm (usually referred to simply as "Him") as a creator god, and harshy enforces "Penance" for stepping outside of whatever assigned role they give you. It turns out that all their faith and worship was meaningless, as the Starworm isn't a god at all, but merely a weird-looking spaceship belonging to an alien bird-man trucker, who has no idea what humans are or why there are suddenly so many of them living on what is essentially just a gas station.
  • In the backstory of Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, Taryn Arkor, despite being a descendant of the hero who killed God, established himself as the head of a theocracy before being rebelled against (and then backstabbed by his Chancellor). This made religion more enemies than ever, and the Inquisition, a militantly atheist faction which bans religion (and which the protagonist belongs to), has its origins in the resistance to the Theocrat.
  • The New Order Last Days Of Europe: A potential unifying outcome for warlord Russia is the Divine Mandate of Siberia, under Orthodox faith preacher Alexander Men. This is actually presented as one of the best outcomes for Russia, as the resulting new nation is remarkably progressive and egalitarian - ethnic, sexual and religious minorities are treated as equals and Orthodoxy is not forced on anyone.
    • Conversely one of the worst outcomes for Russia is the Aryan Brotherhood under Zigfrid Schultz, creating an even more openly batshit society than Gutrum Vagner. Renaming himself as High Priest "Velimir", Russia is transformed into Hyperborea, a brutal, Slav-supremacist neopagan dictatorship that models itself as the heir to a lost Aryan civilisation and claims to reconquer land that was historically "Slavo-Aryan" (most of eastern Europe and Palestine), crush the weak races of Asia and the "Jewish Citadel" of the United States. The news event for Hyperborea's formation notes the leader's insane ramblings are "cause for significant alarm among the international community".
    • The Holy Russian Empire under Sergey Taboritsky of Komi is an absolutely screwed-up monarch-theocracy where Taboritsky rules as a regent preparing the nation for the return of Alexei Romanov by cleansing it of its "impurities". Of course, this can never happen as Alexei was murdered by the Soviets as a boy and is never coming back, despite Taboritsky's deranged insistence. This is explicitly stated by the developers to be the absolute worst outcome for Russia, as even Velimir is prone to some bouts of Pragmatic Villainy, whereas Taboritsky is utterly batshit loopy. And then things get even worse when Taboritsky dies suddenly.
  • Pandora: First Contact gives us Divine Ascension, led by Lady Lilith Vermillion.
  • Path of Exile: Oriath, the small island nation which you were exiled from, are ruled by the Templars. They're highly corrupt, exiling would-be criminals to a forsaken continent to die or be used as experiments, and practice slavery. They also have a strong aesthetic resemblance to the Nazis.
  • Rebuild 2: One possible ending is the Church of the Chosen Ones, where a Zombie Advocate preaches that zombies are in fact the next stage of human evolution and that their loved ones are waiting for the survivors to join them in undeath. Agreeing with their views in the early game gives a small happiness boost, but once you fully go over to them (by capturing the big graveyard) you're basically done playing as the residents take almost every day off to either bask in the wisdom or their leader, throw themselves over the fence to the zombies, or celebrate that someone else has joined the Chosen Ones. Oddly enough, defending against zombie attacks is still part of the game after you join them, so it's possible to get a Game Over while trying to get the ending.
  • Theocracies are a possible government type in Stellaris, which are available to a species with the Spiritualist ethic. Depending on the other ethics and civics picked, the actual form of government can range from a democracy with politicians drawn from several religious sects to an autocracy ruled by a divinely-ordained (or outright deified) king or emperor.
  • By Tears to Tiara 2, The Empire is de facto Theocracy. What the Corrupt Church says counts.
    • Also discussed. Monomachus suggests drumming up religious fervor to turn the entire thing into a war of religion to solve their manpower shortage, with the people of Hispania warshipping Asharte and the Ba'al gods fighting against The Empire who worship Watos. Despite frequently voicing her desire for followers, Tart says she will not go along with the plan, as people so forced and/or brainwashed are not true believers. Hamil agrees, and decides to form The Alliance to solve their manpower shortage.
  • The Paranid Empire in the X-Universe are ruled by one Priest-Emperor Xaar, and each Paranid settlement or station by a priest-duke. Their (rather bizarre) religion permeates every aspect of Paranid life, making Holier Than Thou the species' hat.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the Indoline Praetorium, housed on the Indol Titan, is the central church of worship in Alrest, and is governed by Praetor Amalthus. Notably, Amalthus' ability to 'cleanse' Core Crystalsnote  gives the Praetorium disproportionate control over their supply and distribution to the other Titans' nations, and, thus, over the world's military matters.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: The Kingdom of Khura'in is a hereditary theocratic monarchy, and the queen being a descendant of the Holy Mother (their patron deity) is the grand priestess, the highest religious authority of Khura'inism and the country's temporal ruler. To be a priestess, the royal women must have the ability to commune with the dead. Only a handful of state officials are secular leaders.

  • Chitra follows the adventures of a 21st century high school student who gets Isekai'd into a medieval-eqsue world where each kingdom is dedicated to the worship of a different deity. The rulers are a class of priest-royalty, whose titles are religious in nature but whose duties more closely resemble those of a feudal lord — e.g. collecting taxes, determining the punishment of criminals, allotting land to farmers, and directing military forces. The protagonist winds up with the body and memories of Chitra, a priest-princess whose family served as the apostles of the God of Beauty. Other major Kingdoms in competition for resources (and citizens/ devotees) with the God of Beauty's kingdom include the Kingdoms of the God of Lightning, the God of Plague, and the God of War.
  • Gobbotopia in The Order of the Stick is technically a theocracy founded and ruled by Redcloak, a Cleric and chosen prophet of his god, the Dark One.

    Web Original 
  • Mike Winger of the YouTube series The Bible Thinker addresses this issue in one of his teaching videos, answering the question of whether Christians should seek to have a theocracy. His answer: yes, but only if the Lord Himself sets it up, because to him all other theocracies would be lies. In another video, he says that Christian governments will eventually fall under the sway of "the evil one".
  • The United States under The Christian Values Party in the sequel series to Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72 has become this. Under the command of Douglas Coe, the Ten Commandments added to the constitution, several landmarks in D.C. have been demolished for being idolatrous or to make room for statues devoted to their idea of Jesus, the resisting congress has been destroyed (literally), everyone who opposes their rule has been declared a Satanist, and, worst of all, they have no qualms about using WMDs to crush resistance or outside forces. Several states have already broken away and a second civil war has begun.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Godslayer takes over the kingdom of Aison after the Cataclysm and gathers a group of followers, the Grey Cult, which begin ruling the country in the Godslayer's name with the High Prophet as the Godslayer's spokesman.
  • The timeline Malê Rising has a few theocracies bubbling up across the world as various religious come into contact with liberation theologies and ideas of freedom from oppression, such as the Kingdom of Samuel the Lamanite (Mormon) in eastern Congo as well as the Fraternal Republic of Honduras (Catholic). It is worth noting that both states arose from poor and/or conflict-ridden regions.
  • A More Personal Union has the Most Christian Republic of Naples, formed after that city-state breaks free of Spanish rule.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender the Fire Nation was originally ruled by the Fire Sages, who performed administrative and religious duties, thus becoming an example of both theocracy and magocracy. Until one of the Fire Sages gained enough power to declare himself Fire Lord.
  • Wallachia in Castlevania (2017) is portrayed as an de facto Christian theocracy where the Church acts as cultural head with the Arch-Bishop, Bishops and lesser priests wielding power over the citizens. There is no mention of an sovereign like a prince or a king to keep the Church under control (the final season reveals that most of the royal court died early on in Dracula's rampage), and the one secular official we see like the Mayor of Targoviste lives in terror of upsetting them since they could charge him for heresy. Following Dracula's genocidal purge, the Church has taken direct administrative with the Bishop of Gresit serving as both the religious head and acting governor with his secret police made up of his corrupt priests.
  • Downplayed in The Owl House. Emperor Belos justifies his claim to the throne by claiming it to be the will of the Titan, the dead monster whose country-sized corpse forms the show's setting. He also claims that many of his more controversial politics, such as the execution of Eda Clawthorne and his ruthless enforcement of the Coven system, are commanded by the Titan. However, religion doesn't appear to be a major factor in Boiling Isles politics beyond Belos. Belos' claim of wielding the Titan's magic is technically true, but only because he stole it, and he can't actually speak to the Titan, who in truth hates Belos and aids the heroes in overthrowing him.

    Real Life 
  • As of 2022, there are a few full-on theocracies left in the world plus one unclear case:
    • The Vatican City is a theocratic monarchy ruled by The Roman Catholic Pope elected by the council of cardinals, and has its government staffed by clerics. Its predecessor, The Papal States (at least in theory) had a similar form of government as well.
    • Iran is, since 1979, a Shi'a Islamic republic, which in Iran translates into a weird system that combines theocratic and democratic elements. There are other states who claim to be "Islamic republics", but the clerics are nowhere near as powerful as they are in Iran. Similarly to the Vatican, it is headed by a religious authority (called the Supreme Leader), elected by a council of high clerics (called the Assembly of Experts). However, unlike the Vatican Conclave, the Assembly is (at least formally) democratically elected (of course, you have to already be a high-ranked cleric to be nominated), and there exists an entirely separate layer of secular government under the Supreme Leader headed by a subservient president. The resulting system is complex to say the least (although it's generally agreed that the most power is held by the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council under him): the Iranian government on paper looks like this after you simplify things, and even the more complicated theoretical structure doesn't fully take in all of the weird shapes the system has taken in practice.
    • Since the end of the Afghanistan War, the Taliban have turned Afghanistan into a Theocratic Emirate, but as such this has limited connotations for the time being due to the new situation of Afghanistan and the recent Taliban Victory. Regardless, the country is a self-declared Islamic Emirate which attempts to follow full theocratic rule (or at least, their theocratic rule).
  • The Roman Empire had become this by the end of the 4th century. Following Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in AD 337, successive emperors of the Eastern and Western Empires fell under the influence of the patriarchs of the Nicene Church, whose power only grew as the empire became more and more Christian. An attempt by Emperor Julian in the 360s to restore secularism and resuscitate the old Roman polytheism note  only failed and further tightened the church's grip on the empire. It was when Emperor Theodosius I declared Christianity the state religion of the empire in AD 391 that Rome fully became a Christian theocracy, with the emperor taking the role of God's representative on Earth, and pagans, as well as Christians who did not adhere to the Nicene Creed, being either forcibly converted or persecuted in accordance with the church's strict interpretation of Biblical law. After the theocratic west fell less than a century later, the eastern half managed to survive, albeit with a more equal balance between the power of the church and the emperor. However, the theocratic model of the Western Roman Empire was preserved largely by the Papacy, which continued to control the kingdoms of Europe for more than a millenium.
  • Mount Athos is a small peninsula in the Balkan Sea which is home to a collection of ancient Othodox monasteries. The monasteries were granted autonomy as the "Monastic Republic of Mount Athos" by the Eastern Roman Empire, which largely continues to this day. It is officially part of Greece, with a civil governor appointed by the Greek government, but it is to all intents and purposes a self-governing territory lead by the monks and ultimately the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. The monasteries' privileges and autonomy are written into the Greek constitution and it's treaty of accession to the European Union, most notably it is the only region in the EU which does not have full freedom of movement- women, and indeed females of any species, are not permitted to enter.
  • The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded on Puritan ideals, allowing no other denomination and permitting "visible saints" (righteous Puritans with sufficient property) only to vote or hold office.
  • When the Mormons first settled in the Salt Lake area, they established the short-lived State of Deseret, a theocratic state headed by Brigham Young. Following the Mexican-American War, the area became part of the United States and the Utah Territory was founded in the region. The Utah Territory then spent some time being a de facto Mormon theocracy, with Young being the governor of the territory and the president of the LDS Church. In 1857, the U.S. government decided this wouldn't do and sent in federal troops to force the establishment of a secular, or at least non-Mormon, government. Even after, the church still had major power, having a political wing, the People's Party, an economic wing, the Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution and even a military wing, the Nauvoo Legion. The last traces of official theocracy were eliminated when Utah became a state in 1896.
  • The nation of Tibet was this from its de facto independence in 1912 to the Chinese invasion in the '50s. The country was ruled by the Dalai Lama and his deputy the Panchen Lamanote , and Buddhist clerics held the role of being feudal overlords over the peasantry. After the exile the current Dalai Lama stayed on in charge of the Central Tibetian Administration but then relinquished political power to the democratically elected leaders of the CTA in 2011.
  • Portugal was technically this between 1578 and 1580. The king died young, unmarried and childless, and the only other living legitimate male member of the royal family was his great-uncle Henry, who was a Cardinal. Cardinal-King Henry ruled for two years and then died (obviously) without heirs, the last monarch of the House of Aviz.
  • Makarios, the first President of an independent Cyprus, was also the Archbishop of the Greek-Orthodox Church on the island.
  • The Bogd Khanate of Mongolia was a Buddhist theocratic absolute monarchy and one of the many states that broke out of Imperial China during the Civil War whose Khan was crowned as spiritual leader as the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu. It didn't last long before Communists overthrew the regime.
  • The city of Zion, Illinois in the early 20th century. It was founded by an evangelical Protestant group that enforced the belief, among many others, that the Earth is flat.
  • The Caucasian Imamate (located in modern-day Chechenya and Dagestan, Russia) was a state run and organized by imams (as the name indicates) during the 19th Century, established to resist Tsarist Russia's expansion into the region.
  • During the prelude of Three Kingdoms and before his surrender to Cao Cao, Zhang Lu's territory Hanning was based around his Taoist movement, Way of the Five Pecks of Rice/The Celestial Masters.
  • The Republic of Florence under Girolamo Savonarola after he had driven the Medici rulers out. Christian practices became formal law, and books, statues and works of art he deemed "un-Christian" were burned (this is where the term "bonfire of the vanities" originated-all things deemed "vain" were destroyed). In time the Papacy overthrew him, with Savanorala ultimately burned as a heretic.
  • Despite being extremely short-lived, the Anabaptist Dominion of Munster is the only example ever of this trope associated with the movement. It was set up by a particularly radical and crazed group that had millenarian views, and whose leaders claimed to receive visions from God and declared themselves descendants of King David and the town a "New Jerusalem". This is particularly notable since Anabaptists in general reject participating in political matters or using violence under any circumstance, which this group certainly did. The regime was soon crushed by the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Bhutan was ruled by the so called Dual system of government with a Druk Desi (somewhat of a secular administrator) and the Je Khempo (the religious leader) however this system was dropped in 1907 to a full monarchy with the Je Khempo loosing all political (yet not the religious) power.
  • The Chogyal or Dharma Kings as the name implies, were the monarchic rulers of modern day Sikkim and Ladakh, now part of republican India, with both political and religious powers.
  • Ireland has been described as a de-facto theocracy in the early decades of independence despite being officially a democratic republic. The Catholic Church played a significant role in drafting the country's constitution and the Archbishop of Dublin wielded immense political power and had an effective veto over any legislation. Also, the vast majority of schools, hospitals and public assistance in Ireland were run by the Church rather than the state, which gave them immense control over what people were able to think and do. A number of scandals from The '70s through to The '90s destroyed the Church's credibility and moral authority, and Ireland is now a generally secular and very liberal country.
  • There is archeological and documented evidence that some of the first true civilizations that emerged in the Bronze Age (such as Egypt and Sumer) were heavily centralized "top-down" economies with religious officials being indistinguishable from bureaucrats. Their temples weren't so much temples as they were storehouses where various goods (primarily grain) were stored and later redistributed to the masses as needed. While the leadership may have been some kind of monarchy, the day-to-day affairs of the kingdom or the city-state were run by priests.

Alternative Title(s): One Nation Under God