Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Democracy is not about "Majority Rule"

From a lot of things I am seeing on blogs and written in Facebook and emails these days...I think a lot of people in the world have the wrong idea about the meaning of "Democracy" and "freedom".

A number of writings and even media blatherings lately have  included the idea that Democracy is about the majority of a country's inhabitants and that since a majority of America's founders (apart from the American Indians) were of "Christian" persuasion...that makes our county a "Christian" nation.

While obviously politics OR religion are in themselves a volatile, emotional subject...combining the two in my experience mostly causes reason and objectivity to fly out the window since emotions and traditions take so much control in mass consciousness.

I'm sure if you have read many of my blogs, you understand by now that intellectually I fall heavily on the side of individual freedom and sovereignty over one's life. I am a strong "Constitutionalist" and while not a political party member, I probably most fit in with the "Libertarian" political platform. Coming from those perspectives, it should come as no surprise that I strongly believe in separation of Church and State...which means that all legal religions should be protected by the "State", but that no religion should be taught, practiced or enforced by the "State".

Even from a theological standpoint, the idea of "Christian" and "nation" makes no sense at all. Religion is of personal and private pursuit and devotion. States should always stand up for the individual's right to believe as they wish as long as they are not trampling on any other person's rights...even if 99% of a "nation" believes otherwise. My understanding of Christianity and Christ' message was that faith was a matter of personal conscience and response to a message or personage. I think it is poor theology to think Jesus was about "nation building".

For those of you who disagree...I would just challenge you to think about this in reverse. If you chose or needed to live in a country that was majority Muslim, wouldn't you want the peace of mind that your personal choice or background was protected by law and that you would not be harassed socially or otherwise until you "converted"? This is what true democracy in a republic is all about. Even if the majority don't agree with me, I have the right to believe, act on that belief, and speak openly about my beliefs if I chose.  This should be the freedom for all on a global basis...and I challenge my American family and friends who are Christian to consider this and show respect for "otherness".  I think Jesus did...


Security Leaders Group said...

Have you read Lysander Spooner's stuff? He challanged the idea of democracy, even the idea of a constitution signed by "representatvies".

I agree with your premise Ed. After all it would be possible to have a free country under a monarchy. And a police state under a democratically elected government.

Eric Jackson said...

Implicit in the story of the Good Samaritan, the career of St. Peter and the acts of the ealy Christians generally, the ministry of Jesus Christ was meant for all nations. The concept of a "Christian nation" is an idea from the declining years of the Roman Empire and the rise of nation-states in Medieval times. Many of the first Europeans in America came during the wars of the Reformation to get away from those sorts of concepts. The founders of the United States -- most of them freemasons and many of the key people deists -- knew all about religious wars and holy inquisitions and wanted an institutional set-up to avoid those things.

Now it is my freedom of religion to think that the Scientologists are pretty weird or to mock the theology of the Moonies or the Nation of Islam. But people have a right to believe in whatever stupid thing they want, without being penalized by the government or physically attacked by people who hold opposing opinions.

And those who are most intolerant? They're gonna get a whipping when God calls them home.

edward said...

You clarify that point better than I did Eric. Thanks.