Democracy’s Concept Is Accepted By All
The Definition Is Not
Democracy is one of those words that every American owns. We love it, embrace it, and repeat it ad nasueam but I question whether it is truly understood.
The definition is simple:
Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
On the surface, we get that. The people (you, me, and everyone else) are ultimately in charge but there is a downside. When we say the people are in charge, we are talking about all the people. Not the wealthiest, the smartest, the most attractive, the morally normative, or any other high profile group.
The people refers to all the people and as the culture becomes more diverse so too do the democratically legislated laws. The body of elected officials who legislate laws take into consideration the entire constituency when writing those laws.
Everyone has a say. Every group is represented equally and that is the Christian approach to governance. Democracy is a very comfortable form of government when everyone in the country agrees with you. As differences begin to accumulate and the laws expand accordingly, discomfort rises among the more religiously rigid.
Admittedly, my thoughts about democracy have moderated over the years. I’ve always considered it a Christian concept and it is, but how far can you extrapolate that idea?
Are Christianity and Democracy equal? Is one exactly the same as the other? Is Democracy the word we apply to government so we can make it seem like a religion? I would say no, no, and probably.
There are underlying Christian principles in a democratic form of government but democracy is neither sectarian nor religious. It can’t be because then it ceases to be a government of the people, for the people, by the people. Democracy is Christian but not in the way many Christians think. Democracy gives expression to those aspects of Christian doctrine that most Christians love to ignore.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors. Not some of our neighbors. Not the neighbors we think are the right class or look like we do or agree with our personal beliefs. We are to love our neighbors period. Even if we consider them enemies, we are to find a way to love them.
Jesus said that too, but it’s not easy to do mostly because it runs contrary to our natural responses. How can we love our neighbors if we don’t allow for their differences, distasteful though they may be?
With a community as large and broad as the USA, you’re bound to find people you disagree with, lifestyles you could never accept personally, and personal choices you aren’t comfortable with. But that is the nature of community.
It’s logical. The larger the community, the more pronounced and widespread the differences. [Read more…] about 5 Differences Between Democracy And Christianity