Thursday, June 7, 2012

Democracy: Its Foundation and its Fungus

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave a speech in 1988 that represented the height of political incorrectness:

  • The truths of Judeo-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe, because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long…there is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves. Political structures, state institutions, collective ideals are not enough… [Democracy requires] the life of faith…as much to the temporal as to the spiritual welfare of the nation.
Although such a speech would be scorned in today’s West, its truth is quite obvious. If we lack the assured conviction that there are higher and transcendent realities – truth, democracy, integrity - which must be upheld, our personal pressures and desires exploding in our individual lives will overshadow these distant verities.

Several NYC officials have privately admitted that the real reason that the churches are being forced out of the NYC public schools is not because of the alleged violation of the “separation clause.” Instead, they simply don’t like what these churches represent. One admitted to me that her real reason for rejoicing in this decision was because these churches generally didn’t ordain women as pastors. Heck with the principle of equal rights and equal protection before the law! “If their beliefs offend me, then deprive them of their rights!”

The universities have traditionally been the care-takers for our freedoms of speech and inquiry. And they still are as long as your beliefs and expressions are politically correct. Two State universities expelled students from their graduate counseling programs because they expressed opinions that only favored traditional marriage. Likewise, many highly qualified speakers have been deprived of the microphone because of they expressed doubt about the prevailing Darwinian orthodoxy. Meanwhile, the California Senate just approved a bill that would that forbids a psychotherapist from counseling a minor who wants to leave the gay lifestyle.

Political correctness is trumping democracy and free speech across the broad Western landscape. One newsman confessed that he saw his role as a political activist for his liberal causes over balanced reportage of the news. His political orientation trumps truth.

Along with this break from truth and higher principles is the predictable justification that secular humanism is actually the supreme care-taker of the things we’ve come to value – democracy, the freedom of belief and speech, and our many other legal protections.

Along with this questionable justification comes the denial of the role of Christianity in securing democracy and all of its benefits. However, Indian scholar, Vishal Mangalwadi, proposes that the roots of Western freedom are found in a despised and rejected Book:

  • Some people ridicule the Protestant Reformers but relish the notion of human equality. They do not know that the Reformers paid with their lives to make the biblical idea of equality a foundational principle of the modern world. Today, we take it for granted that uplifting the downtrodden is a noble virtue. In Wycliffe’s England, the idea of raising peasants to the status of aristocracy was abhorrent. (The Book that Made your World, 146)
John Wycliffe had been the first to translate the Bible into English (cir. 1375). He was convinced that:

  • The laws made by prelates are not to be received as matters of faith, nor are we to confide in their public instructions, nor in any of their words, but as they are founded in Holy Writ.
It was the “Holy Writ” that would free the people from oppression and the “divine right of kings.” In contrast, the common people had been regarded as “swine,” unworthy of having the Bible in their own language. In this regard, Mangalwadi quotes from Henry Knighton, a “Wycliffe-hater” and a representative of the thinking of his age:

  • As a result [of Wycliffe’s English translation], what was previously known only by learned clerics and those of good understanding has become common, and available to the laity – in fact, even to women who can read. As a result, the pearls of the gospel have been scattered and spread before swine [- the common people]. (146
Mangalwadi writes that “Democracy followed in his [Wycliffe’s] trail.” Truth had been let out of the bag. The cleric no longer had a monopoly. The laity could now go right to God’s Word, and this dignified and empowered them. They could now have their own reasoning, thoughts, and convictions, and they were entitled to them. The “Holy Writ” taught them that they were all priests themselves (1 Peter 2:9-10), having their own special and intimate relationship with their Redeemer.

This ennobled the people. They could now even answer back to the king himself. However, as this conviction erodes in the West, and westerners fill the vacuum with their own “dignity” – their power, possessions, popularity and achievements – equality is deprived of its rationale basis from above. Without the divine perspective, there can be no equality. We differ physically, educationally, intellectually, psychological and also by any measure of performance. “Equality” and “human rights” are therefore becoming rationally insupportable, but few realize the implications of this brave new world of their creation.

We have smelled the gas chambers and have heard about the Gulags, but we’ve convinced ourselves that they had nothing to do with us.  We have even seen the insipient mind-control growing across the West as a hairy fungus, but it’s our fungus, and we feel at home, at least for now, until the fungus sends out its spores.

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