He fully understood the first principle of statesmanship--that religion is stronger than the state.
Since I believe that a statesman does more than help run a government I might be inclined to disagree with that statement in part, but I don't because from the author's point of view a statesman is just that a man of the state. That aside, the part about religion really struck me. Durant brings up very clearly that Cyrus conquered many different peoples and that the reason he was successful in this endeavor was because of his support for their group religions. He allowed all the people he conquered to continue practicing their own religions, even to the point of using government money to assist them. There is a great truth here. For people in ancient days their religion was their culture. It was what defined them as a people and set them apart from others. Cyrus seemed to understand that if he took that identity from them he would in essence be killing them and who can be the king if there are no subjects to rule?
Now I look at this country today. When it was founded I believe the religion was stronger than the state. After all religion was the reason people came to this land in the first place, well, also the second and third places too. (think Jaredites, Nephites, then pilgrims) The main, group religion of our country has always been Christianity. There are many offshoots, different groups, but above all the majority of them believe in Christ. Those that don't hold a sacred belief in another god, or gods. Each religion has codes by which its followers are expected to live by. Some do and some don't. So why does that matter? Well, if those who don't choose to follow their religion religiously (i know, punny, but it just happened!) become more numerous than those who do, I fear for this country. I know without a doubt that this is God's country. It is a promised land given to us as long as we are faithful. I believe this extends outside of those who are of my own personal faith. I believe that God loves and accepts the prayers and good works of anyone who is as righteous as they know how to be. We need to band together as people in very ancient times did and draw on our combined and similar beliefs. We need to hold strong against the forces of those who oppose God and anything remotely related to Him, which by the way would be every tangible and intangible thing and concept ever created.
At some point, that no one knows, Christ will return to this earth. He will be crowned King and rule all people. Will he adopt the same principle that Cyrus used? Yes, yes He will. How do I know? Simple. Allowing various people to continue worshipping in whatever way they choose, even if you know its wrong, is allowing them their agency. Christ will never take our agency from us. We will always be free to make the wrong choice if we want to. I imagine that may be why Cyrus was so successful as a conqueror, he allowed the people their God-given right to choose for themselves. Just as Christ will.
So Who Rules? We all do. The whole point of agency is that we get to rule ourselves. So when I tell my kids "I Rule!", I'm seriously right:)