Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Christian Democracy?

All right, yall, it's September 11th. So, I'm not going to spread my nation's cyber bytes full of vitriol and snark today. But I do want to ask a serious question--or ask a question seriously--not sure about the grammar on that one.

Anyway, I'm reading this book, Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg, about the rise of Christian nationalism in the United States. It's an interesting book--and somewhat terrifying.

However, in KC Christian nationalists and fundamentalists declare that this is a Christian nation founded by Christians for Christians on Christian principles. It's nothing I haven't heard before, and Liberals try to PC-up the same claim by calling them Judeo-Christian values. But some on the Christian Right even claim that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written with the help of the Bible.

Now, secular humanist that I am, I've often thought that those glorious forefathers of ours founded this nation on the principles, theories, and beliefs of the French and Scottish Enlightenments. There sure is enough scholarship to back that up.

So, I'm wondering ... Are there actually any instances/passages/verses/etc. in the Bible that promote, predict, or prescript Democracy or the Representational Republic in which we live?

Seriously, is there anything other than belief to back up these Christians' claims?

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Speaking of "Christian values," I recently read that the early abolitionists had to stop arguing for the freeing of the slaves on "Christian" grounds because there were actually more passages in the Bible condoning slavery than condemning it and, in public debate, pro-slavery Southerners would constantly hand their ... hats to them.]


  1. Closest thing I can find in a searchable Bible concordance online, Isaiah 9:6: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the *government* will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, [a] Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Not exactly a specific mention of republic/democracy, though. Those keywords turn up nothing.

  2. Ah ... thank you, sir.

    I wish the blogosphere actually invited debate. I'd really like to hear what they have to say.

  3. In fact, at least one of our founding fathers fully expected that religion would have died out, and questioned the need for addressing it in the Constitution at all.

  4. I was going to say good luck getting any "serious" answers to this question, but it looks like you have it covered.

    Yves Smith had a tough time soliciting opinions of libertarians about the issue of concentration of corporate wealth. Took days for an actual libertarian to answer, but plenty of others were happy to answer on their behalf...

  5. Christians aren't stupid, and they can sense a trap. And there's nothing to be gained by entering into debates with hell-bound secularists. So they never engage in these things. Also, if you want to know what's in the Bible, ask an Atheist. Christians don't read the Bible. Christians sit in the same pew every week, hoping their boss will notice that they're there, and wondering what the football scores are. If they were to answer this question they would answer, "What do you mean? Everyone knows America is a Christian nation." By which they mean, everyone worth knowing asserts this fact, repeatedly and without question. We all hold certain facts to be true without question. We couldn't function without prejudice and shortcuts.

    That's what religion is--a group of people who use the same shortcuts to eliminate confusion. And it works. You can't have an assembly line where every worker is re-inventing the process. In an assembly line, everyone agrees that the process may not be ideal (or fair), but overall it is far more efficient to have these tasks broken up. On the whole, we all benefit, and someone, somewhere is in a position to see the big picture. Right? Right?

    To answer the question... in reality, I would say, "Which Bible?" Because there are thousands of versions. But somewhere, some yahoo in the Bible says something that could be interpreted (given the proper translation of a mistranslation of Aramaic into Greek into Latin into German into middle English back into Latin into English into American English) as meaning that America fulfills some prophecy. I will make something up. As that's almost precisely identical to what they do, "And Yezzuzelah looked into the rift, and there was an outpouring of great tidings. And yea, in the sky there was another rift, and in the rift there was a counting. The number upon the heads of the Hezekites was three. And yea, in the rift the counting was three. And Yezzuzelah asked, 'What is the counting of the Hebizzbolites?' and the counting was of nine. Yezzuzelah turned to the angel and gazed upon his countenance, and saw the head of an eagle, and in his left arm there was a spear, and in his right arm there was a branch of the Hepickspah bush, and in his left thigh there was a scroll, and in his right thigh there was a smoking as if of fire. And the angel spoke, 'Ye come unto the Lord and ask for tidings befitting that of a king. And I say that kings come before the Lord as a man approacheth the ox of new spring..."

    I could go on... endlessly.

  6. Wow, I could go OFF, but I won't ...
    I'll send the link/more info later, but a pastor here wrote a book recently about the supposed Christian links to the origin of this nation and the founding fathers. What his book seemed to be showing was more a recognition of an almighty God not necessarily a particular religion. After all, and someone may have pointed this out already, the pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution in England.

  7. I found the book, it's by Gary Kowalski, he's minister here in Burlington.

    There's a Publisher's Weekly review there as well.