A reader recently sent me a constitution he drew up for a monarchy that would be applicable for the United States, where no one religion stands in the majority. I found his hypothetical constitution intriguing, and was impressed by the depth he went into. While I do not necessarily endorse his proposal in its entirety, I did want to post it for my readers to look over and to comment upon it. (Note: the author of this constitution wished to remain anonymous due to "the current political situation.")
Recognized Churches Must Adhere to the Following Precepts:
Belief in a single God, the Father Almighty, who is eternal and unchanging, the sole creator and master of the universe
Belief in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, who is co-eternal with the Father, partaking fully in both the human and divine essence
Profession of the Trinity: belief that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist as three separate and distinct persons while sharing a single essence
Belief that salvation comes only through the redemptive sacrifice of Christ
Belief in the literal existence of Heaven and Hell
Belief in the Revealed Truth of Scripture
Promotion of Proper Morality: condemnation of abortion, euthanasia, fornication, polygamy, homosexuality, bestiality and artificial birth control
Rejection of Modern Heresies: condemnation of Marxism, racism and/or ethnocentricism, dispensationalism, relativism, pantheism, and pacifism
Recognition that the mandate to rule comes from God, not popular acclamation
Possession of 10 million adherents within imperial domains
While the constitution allows for complete freedom of religion for all inhabitants of the imperial domains, not all religions are equal in the eyes of the state. Subjects are those people who do not belong to Recognized Churches; they are divided into those with religion (Moral Theists) and those without it (Heathens), both groups are free to practice their belief systems in privacy and without interference from imperial authorities. Moral Theists may vote for and hold the office of Tribune of Subjects, an officer who represents them in the Senate. Both Moral Theists and Heathens are barred from all other elections and elected offices, the military officer corps, teaching positions at government schools and the practice of law.
Those Without Religion (Heathens)
Those Apathetic to Religion
Pagans, Muslims, Wiccans, New Age Spiritualists, Satanists
Heretics: Pseudo-Christians not conforming to any one the first nine precepts
Those With Religion (Moral Theists)
Monotheists/Deists: must conform to seventh, eighth, and ninth precepts
Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Zoroastrians
Theravadin and Mahayana Buddhists
Independent Christians: Christian sects with less than 10 million adherents
Citizens are those people who belong to Recognized Churches; the constitution recognizes two classes of citizens: plebeians and patricians. Though all inhabitants of the imperial domains stand equal before the law, the extent to which one can participate in political life is determined partly by one’s social standing. Citizens, however, possess rights that Subjects do not: these include the freedom of assembly, the right to imperial petition, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Children born to Citizen Families attain citizenship with a proclamation of faith and featly on their 18th birthday in the presence of the County Magistrate; those who decline to make this statement are demoted to Heathen Status.
Plebeians, or commoners, are citizens who hold no official titles; they are divided into two classes: Proletarians and Equestrians. Citizenship is a gift, not a right, and is awarded to those who conform to certain moral standards. As such, Plebeians may be stripped of their status by judgment of the Country Magistrate should they engage in manifest public sin.
Proletarians are Plebeians who hold taxable assets whose net worth is less than $500,000; they are barred from all elected offices and may only vote for one official: the Tribune of Plebeians, who must be a member of the Equestrian class.
Equestrians are Plebeians who hold taxable assets whose net worth is more than $500,000; they may vote in any election and hold any elected office. One may be born to the Equestrian class if one’s father is also an Equestrian but this status may be lost if they fail to accumulate $300,000 worth of taxable assets before their 35th birthday. All officers in the military automatically attain Equestrian status upon their commission which cannot be lost regardless of the value of their assets.
Patricians, or nobles, are Catholic citizens whose families have been endowed with titles and estates by the Emperor or higher orders of nobility; they are divided into three classes: Dominates, Magnates and the Imperial Family. Both the imperial and provincial governments include appointed offices which are reserved exclusively for Patricians. To be born into the Patrician class, one’s father or grandfather must also have been a Patrician; one’s status as a Dominate or Magnate is inherited from their father or grandfather as well. As with Plebeians, one can also lose Patrician status if they engage in manifest public sin; this demotion results in automatic Heathen status with the loss of all endowed property and inheritance rights.
Dominates, or lesser lords, are Patricians who have been ennobled by individual Magnates; these appointments must be ratified by the provincial Council of Magnates. Certain positions at the provincial and imperial levels of government are reserved exclusively for Dominates; among these are those of Censor, Legate and Lictor. Dominate status may be revoked, along with all hereditary titles and property rites, should the individual be found guilty of manifest public sin by the regional Council of Magnates.
Magnates (Great Lords)
Magnates, or great lords, are Patricians who have been ennobled by the Emperor in recognition of their extraordinary achievements or exemplary service to the state. Certain positions at the imperial level of government are reserved exclusively for Magnates; they alone are permitted to assume the offices of Aedile, Dux, Quaestor, Senator and Princeps Senatus. All senior Magnates in a province also belong to the Council of Magnates, responsible for electing Senators to represent them in the Comitia Magnus; the leader of this body is given the honorary title of Dux. Magnate status may be revoked, along with all hereditary titles and property rites, should the individual be found guilty of manifest public sin by judgment of the Emperor.
The Imperial Family consists of the Emperor, his wife, his children and grandchildren, his siblings and their spouses, and their children and grandchildren. These people possess Magnate status at birth and may be appointed to any position normally reserved for members of that class. Upon his ascension to the throne, the Emperor designates his own successor from among his sons, brothers, nephews, uncles or male cousins over the age of 25; a new successor may be chosen at any time when circumstances demand it. This choice must be verified by the Council of Duxi and the consent of the Papal Tribune.
The imperial government operates at five levels: municipalities, counties, provinces, eparchies, and the imperial government; with the exception of eparchies, at every level there are both elected and appointed offices open to members of the Plebeian or Patrician class. Any official may be removed from office should he be found guilty of manifest public sin, which could also result in the loss of his citizen status; the court which tries him is dependent on the status of his elected or appointed office. With the exception of Tribunes, only Equestrians and Patricians may vote in elections or hold elected offices; the particulars are listed below.
The Mayor acts as the municipal executive and may be a member of the Equestrian or Patrician class; terms of service, executive powers, age restrictions, and election particulars are determined by individual provinces and municipalities.
Municipal Councilors act as advisors to the Mayor and may be members of the Equestrian or Patrician class; terms of service, councilor powers, numbers, age restrictions and election particulars are determined by individual provinces and municipalities.
The Prefect acts as the municipal judge and may be a member of the Equestrian or Patrician class; he is appointed by the county Magistrate and has the power to appoint further municipal judges beneath him if necessity demands it. The Prefect serves for a term of five years and may be reappointed indefinitely though the associate judges he creates may be dismissed at any time. Prefects must be at least 35 years of age at the time of their first appointment.
The Magistrate acts as both the county executive and judge and may be a member of the Equestrian or Patrician class. He is responsible for appointing municipal Prefects, approving mayoral appointments, overseeing public services and facilities and hearing appeals from municipal courts, deciding which cases will be heard by higher courts. The Magistrate is appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Censor and serves for a term of five years; he must be at least 35 years of age at the time of his first appointment and may be reappointed indefinitely. Other powers and duties are determined by individual provinces.
The Governor acts as the provincial executive and may be a member of the Equestrian or Patrician class; he is elected by popular vote and must have held county or municipal offices prior to his election as Governor. His primary duties are to appoint county Magistrates and oversee public facilities and services. Other terms of service, powers, age restrictions and election particulars are determined by individual provinces.
Provincial Councilors act as provincial legislative officials and belong to a body called the Provincial Council; they may be members of the Equestrian or Patrician class and are elected by popular vote in proportion to the population of individual counties within the state. The powers of the Provincial Council, numbers of councilors, age restrictions and election particulars are determined by individual provinces.
Praetors act as the provincial judges and may be a member of the Equestrian or Patrician class; they are appointed by the Censor to a ten year term and must have held county or municipal offices prior to their appointment to Praetor. Three Praetors sit on the High Court of each province and are responsible for hearing appeals from lower courts.
The Censor acts as the eparchial representative in each province and must be a member of the Dominate class; he is appointed to a life term by the Viceroy and is subject to no age restrictions. Censors have the power to appoint Praetors and Dominate Triumviri and veto any law passed by the Provincial Council or any decree from the Governor; their decisions may be appealed to and overturned by the Viceroy.
The Viceroy acts as the imperial representative in each eparchy; he must be a member of the Magnate class and is appointed by the Emperor with the approval of the Senate. The Viceroy holds the position for life and has the power overturn the decision of any Censor in his eparchy and recommend cases for the Legate Court to hear. He presides over meetings of the Provincial Councils within his eparchy and has the responsibility of appointing Legates and Censors.
Legates act as eparchial judges and must be members of the Dominate class; they are appointed by the Viceroy and serve for life. The five Legates serving on each eparchial Supreme Court are subject to no age restrictions and have the responsibility of hearing appeals from lower courts; they are not obligated to accept every case.
The Dux is the mostly honorary position held by the leader of each of the eparchial Councils of Magnates according to their own parliamentary rules. The position is held for life; each Dux is also a de facto member of the Council of Duxi, responsible for electing the Princeps Senatus, approving Quaestor appointments and determining imperial succession.
Seven Quaestors, or judges, are appointed by the Emperor to officiate on the Imperial Court; all seven must be chosen from among the Magnate class and are subject to no age restrictions. It is their duty to hear appeals from lower courts, though they are not obligated to hear every case; Quaestor appointments, however, must be ratified by the Papal Tribune and the Council of Duxi. Quaestors serve for life and the longest-serving member of the Imperial Court is granted the honorary rank of Quaestor Magnus; at official functions, the Quaestor Magnus carries the Hand of Justice, symbolizing the triumph of law over chaos and the subservience of human law to the divine order.
Three Triumviri represent each province in the Comitia Minor; of these three representatives, two must be Equestrians and one must be a Dominate. All Triumviri must be at least 25 years of age. Equestrian Triumviri are elected by a majority vote of the provincial legislature with the approval of the Viceroy while Dominate Triumviri are appointed by the Censor of each province; they occupy their office for a term of five years and may be reelected or reappointed indefinitely.
Elected by the Dominate Triumviri of the Comitia Minor; those holding the rank of Lictor must be Dominates themselves and at least 35 years of age. In this largely ceremonial role, the Lictor presides over all meetings of the Comitia Minor and carries the Fasces of State, symbolizing imperial power, at all official functions.
Two Senators are elected by each Council of Magnates according to their own parliamentary rules. Those holding the rank of Senator must be Magnates themselves and at least 35 years of age. Senators are barred from holding any other governmental office and serve in the Comitia Major for life.
Elected by the Council of Duxi according to their own parliamentary rules; the one holding this office must be a Magnate himself and a Dux. The Princeps Senatus is subject to no age restrictions and holds the title for life. It is his duty to preside over all meetings of the Comitia Major and to cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. At official functions, the Princeps Senatus is granted the honor of carrying the Sword of State, representing the duty of government to protect its people.
Tribune of Subjects
Elected by a popular vote of Moral Theists over the age of 18; the one holding this office must be a Moral Theist himself and be at least 35 years of age. To attain the position, candidates for this office must gain a simple majority of votes; in the event that one of the candidates fails to achieve a majority, another election will be held between the two leading contenders. The Tribune of Subjects serves a term of five years and may be reelected indefinitely; he has the power to veto any legislation he feels is detrimental to his constituents, but this veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in the Comitia Major or by imperial proclamation.
Tribune of Plebeians
Elected by a popular vote of all Plebeians, both Proletarians and Equestrians, over the age of 18; the one holding this office must be an Equestrian himself and at least 35 years of age. To attain the position, candidates for this office must gain a simple majority of votes; in the event that one of the candidates fails to achieve a majority, another election will be held between the two leading contenders. The Tribune of Plebeians serves a term of five years and may be reelected indefinitely; he has the power to veto any legislation he feels is detrimental to his constituents, but this veto can be overridden by a four-fifths majority vote in the Comitia Major or by imperial proclamation.
The Papal Tribune is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff and holds the position for life; the one holding this office must be a Catholic clergyman holding the rank of bishop. The Papal Tribune has the power to veto any legislation that betrays the principles of Christian morality; this veto is final and may only be overturned by imperial decree.
The Emperor acts as the chief executive; his succession must be ratified by the previous Emperor, the Council of Duxi, and the Papal Tribune. It is his responsibility to defend the rule of law and Christian Civilization from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Though his power to declare war, appoint certain officials, and use state monies is abrogated by the Senate or the nobility, the Emperor may overrule the decision of any court, create new Magnates and preside over all meetings of the full Senate.
The author of this also gave these additional disclaimers:
I have divided the people living in any hypothetical imperial realm into subjects and citizens, based on their religious creed. Basically anyone adhering to the seventh, eighth and ninth precepts is considered a moral theist, as are Christian groups which conform to all the other nine precepts but have less than 10 million members. Only state-recognized churches receive tax-free status; by requiring 10 million members for this I hope to force the myriad of independent Protestant churches to combine into larger organizations with a more strict emphasis on doctrinal orthodoxy. Catholics of course get preeminent status in the government. As you can see, people may lose their citizen status or office should they be found guilty of manifest public sin.
Upon their 18th birthday, young people from citizen families will be required to take an oath in which they adhere to the first nine precepts; those converting to one of the Recognized Churches can apply for citizenship and, after a period of political and spiritual instruction, will be administered the same oath. Young people from citizen families who refuse to take the oath will be demoted to heathen status, as are people who leave one of the Recognized Churches; this may be appealed only after 10 years and the testimony of credible witnesses attesting to that person's conversion.
The government operates on five levels: municipalities, counties, provinces, eparchies, and the imperial government. The day to day governance is mostly conducted at the municipal/county/province level by elected officials. The eparchies are mostly judicial units consisting of several provinces designed to provide direct imperial oversight of lower offices. This system tries to allow people to run their own affairs as much as possible with limited interference but nonetheless has safeguards to ensure that new laws passed do not conflict with Christian morality. Hence the division between citizens and subjects/nobles and commoners. You'll also notice a distinction between Proletarians and Equestrians based on wealth; I do not hate the poor, but I do recognize that people without wealth and education tend to support destructive policies, hence the reason they are banned from all but one election.
The Imperial Senate is the legislative body of the Empire and is divided into an upper house (Comitia Major) and a lower house (Comitia Minor). The latter is at least 1/3 noble at all times, limiting the power of commoners to make direct policy at the highest level of government. The Tribunes exist to ensure that the people's voice is at least heard, but they can still be overruled by the Comitia Major. Basically the Comitia Major has the powers we Americans would associate with the Senate while the Comitia Minor is comperable to the House of Representatives.
Officially the Emperor's powers are comparable to that of a US President insofar as his ablility to declare war, raise taxes, and appoint certain officials is concerned; but he is capable of exerting far more influence over the government should he have the backing of the Church or other circumstances demand it.