Systematically Distorted Communication as Opposition to Freedom: The Case of Theocracy in America

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Ed McLuskie


Renu Dube


Dan Morris


There is a theocratic movement that is afoot in the United States government. This is apparent when religious doctrine is used as the basis by which to develop and change public policy. This movement results in systematically distorted communication because such an administration promoting theocracy views the world through one rigid religious lens and creates policy based on religious principles alone. Actions like these reduce the opportunities for citizens to have equal rights and to voice their opinions.

The movement is discussed in terms of being a communication problem. Critical theory aims to articulate forms of domination which, in this case, is systematically distorted communication. Habermas' theory of communicative action is also applied because it helps to articulate the communicative repression in a theocracy and to explain that citizens are in a democratic state only when they are able to freely examination and critique truth claims. The theory of systematically distorted communication is applied to articulate the impact of religion on policymaking and how it distorts communicative action.

Suggestions are made as to how the United States can avoid actually becoming a theocracy. Included is a discussion of Habermas’ suggestion to use secular language and rational thinking. This is a possible solution for demonstrating respect for everyone’s religious beliefs while maintaining a democratic state. It is possible to avoid systematically distorted communication by removing religious influences from the public policy making the process and integrating secular language into the political realm.

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