Friday, November 09, 2007

Enlightened Democracys

I'm a big fan of participatory democracy. However, I don't think that democratic ideals can serve as the basis of political ideology (or even of good church government). Why? Because they assume too much to stand on their own.

Some people seem to think that if we just spread the values of the Enlightenment to other countries, that they will become freer by default. As Chuck Colson examines the discrimination against Dalits in India, he has some excellent thoughts about the necessary presuppositions that lay the substratum of true political liberalism (the good kind).
The situation in what’s called the “largest democracy in the world” reminds us that “democracy” and elections are not enough—there needs to be a commitment to the “first freedom”: freedom of religion. There needs to be a recognition that all freedoms grow out of what one of our founders James Madison called “the act of freedom by which each responds to the call of his Creator.”
Without an understanding that there is a Creator to whom we are accountable, and that that Creator made all people, freedom quickly loses any real meaning. Freedom from religion is impossible...we are homo adorans. We will worship ourselves or our ideals, our money or our power, sex or trees if we are not worshiping the true and living God. Freedom in its fullest sense cannot occur in unconverted lands...including our own.

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