|I would not have you feel that
democracy is the only acceptable way of government, and that
morally you have to force it on people. Democracy involves a
structuring. While structuring
is an important part of anything, structure is not what makes a
government go. It is trust.
If the government is trusted, it will work. If it is not trusted, no
matter how it is structured,
it will be dysfunctional.
Trust is the test of things. Do not be theory bound. Theories usually do not work as they were planned to anyway. They have to be adjusted to circumstances. But the imposition of strange theories of idealism foisted upon the counter living and naming that “morality” is neither true, intelligent or workable. There is no grace in that.
If the media try to imply that not to have a democracy is immoral, and an army should be sent to set up a democracy, that being the true solution, I would question this. There are certain things to be considered. One is violence is not the Christian strategy of doing things, though at times it might just be justified. Two, if a democracy is set up, and the government is not trusted, what good will that do? Trust is the key to government, not structuring. Three, some countries have been not perfectly but reasonably happy with a non-democratic form of government. I would suggest you think on the good kings of Israel. While Joseph was the prime minister of Pharaoh, would a war against Egypt have been morally justifiable? (I do not tell anyone what to think, but I suggest you think on the grace in these issues.)
I have reservations about imposing democracy or any other form of government on a country by spiritual aliens, outsiders who cannot fully understand it. It was the Mahatma Gandhi who told the English rulers of India very clearly that Indians would prefer possible injustice by native judges to better justice by aliens and outsiders. Gandhi was asking the English to get out of India even if they did bring advantages to India that an Indian government did not and would not. The real question might then be: Is it worth better justice and technology if you must be patronized by aliens? I suggest the conclusion from the outside will be different than the conclusion reached from inside the magic circle of country and group. (I would suggest a parallel in America with the too liberal “liberalism” that is alien to our native thought and the origins of the country. It is now being superimposed on us by spiritual aliens in courts, bureaucracies and government at all levels)
Then there is the similar question of: Do the people involved want to risk the possibility of having their homes broken into, their sons killed, their houses burned and their country laid waste in the name of democracy. The modem tendency seems to be to devastate the country with an army for a freedom it has not been consulted about. The people, we are told, must suffer if there is to be more democracy. A question then arises of how much suffering and devastation equals how much more freedom. And how poor are the people called to suffer for it. Freedom often seems to be a toy for the rich paid by an insufferable torturing of the poor in war. As the Romans were said to make a desert and call it peace, so modern wars often seem to make a ruin and name it Freedom, idealism or nationhood. Of course ruins can be rebuilt but how are the number killed to be replaced.? I know of no way to replace a child.
The Old Testament prophets were always concerned with the plight of the poor. Can we be less so? The poor people of Israel grew tired of the rhetoric of kings and the possible claptrap of idealism while the armies marched over them, killing, burning and ruining. Should we, like they, be equal dupes of a rhetoric justifying itself with violence? If idealism requires great violence, do we need it? Should we want it? Think about it! Should we not be conservative on this. I certainly do not tell you how to think, but suggest you do think on issues of grace and truth, as did the Apostle in Philippians 4:8, saying: “whatsoever things are true... think on these things” I stand with the Apostle: Think!
However, while I might suggest not forcing strange and alien beliefs on others as a matter of sane thinking, I do stand behind American democracy, not necessarily as we know it now, but as we have known it in the past.
The reason I support traditional democracy the way we once had it, is that it seems to me by the irony of it to be a means of grace. As you may be aware irony is a sign of the activating grace of God. Now God juxtaposes things. According to the common sense of this world, God works upside down. He turns things upside down. If you recall at the surrender at Yorktown, the British army band played a tune about the world being turned upside down.
God’s irony is seen in I Corinthians 1: 27 where the Apostle has written “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Democracy is based on irony: the unequal are made equal by certain rights, the majority that was lorded over is now made the ruling majority. Providence pulled down the high and the mighty from their seats, and the world was with great irony turned upside down. Power was delivered from the kings to the people. The weak of the world were given rights and made strong. (Now the masses were not always right, but neither was the king. Which would you rather be wrong with? I suggest the people who are nearer to God because they allow themselves to follow the dictates of their hearts by believing in God and practicing religion.
In a democracy people are given more power to rule. And that is good because the people are more in touch with themselves. They are more likely not to deny the soul because of artificial constructions of the mind. The people are not perfect, but I think the “good” will be more likely to come out of those grounded in God than from demagogues, compromising politicians, and plutocrats.
The great message of the Old Testament was telling the people that in departing from God, they are ruining their quality of life. They might find some hurdles in obeying Jehovah, but what were they to mass amorality, materialism, false gods and non-spiritual values? By not believing in God or accepting some moral limits for themselves, were they not ruining the quality of life for themselves and also the nation? Should we not be saying the same things today?.
We should work on spreading belief. If belief is in the people, the democratic country will be more inclined to goodness and good government. Things will not then be perfect, but they will be better than they were.
In spite of the drawbacks of contemporary democracy: the compromising of politicians, the frustration of the public will on every side, the brutal commercialization of the spirit of the people, the morally sick appointed by the politicians to rule over us through bureaucracies and government departments in every detail of our lives; yes, in spite of my naming of only a few of the drawbacks today, democracy still offers extensive powers to the people.
The people are more likely to believe in God. Although many have sold out to contemporary atheism and moral corruption, not all have. Are you not my witnesses that not everyone today though tainted by living in a decadent society, are not therefore completely corrupted by it. Yet when I look around I am made to shudder. But I am sure you as I have often felt like Abraham sent by the angel into the wicked city to find ten good people to validate its existence. (Genesis 18:32) Abraham was not able to find enough of the righteous to validate the existence of the city. The amoral city was destroyed. Now the point that is being made is one of natural law: Moral ruin will be followed by material ruin. I can show you ruined business forced by moral bankruptcy into actual bankruptcy. And for many world cities, I wonder when and if the bombs will not eventually drop.
George Washington, the first President of the United States, not being a fool, said that religion was the helper of democratic government. If good people influenced the government, then the country would be able to offer a better quality of life for all! But of course the chain of things Washington spoke favorably of is broken. If you do not believe me, count the horrors where you are. Do not feel just because a president is known for giving oral sex to his aides in the White House that means nothing. If that were all, it might not be. But it is a representative symbol of so much. Who is going to write the “Washington Satyricon?” Our laws, our policies, our lack of fiscal responsibility come from there. Consider that.
Now we must face sinners as sinners but not erase them as people. To recognize is grace. To demonize is evil. Let us recognize but not demonize. Nevertheless, it may be questionable what we can do to improve this decadent nation set in the ways of anti-grace. We must do what we can, but leave it to Heaven. Lest we forget, we have before us a largely unconverted nation. It is up to us to follow the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:16, “Go therefore and teach all nations.” This includes the many spiritually ignorant at home.
Go out into the world. Only you as believers carry the the true seeds of change, spiritual change. A Great Spiritual Change is needed. You know this. If you are a Christian, you know this by grace. If you are not a Christian, you know it through natural law.
As it says in Isaiah 43: 8, we need to bring forth a blind people with eyes and a deaf people who have ears. Only grace can give light and hearing, but you may be an instrument of His grace. The Greek philosopher, Protagorus, said that man was the measure of all things. Flush that. Let the grace in man be the measure of all things. There are things made whole by grace, and things degraded by lack of grace, which is not God’s fault, but man’s for frustrating grace. The true measure of a person is the grace there. This is also true of a society. This society is seriously lacking in grace. It is a land of plenty dying of spiritual starvation. It is up to us as Christians to try to bring about an attitude of deep spiritual change. The country needs a change in attitudes that calls for new but old spiritual attitudes. Anyone can see the need for spiritual change. I suggest if you wish to spread democracy, which is based on the people, you reinvigorate the people by an awareness of God.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.