Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Question of Liberty.

This article appeared Monday at Christianity Today. The author poses this question near the end:

This hits on what I think is the biggest question for western Christians
right now: Should Christians in democracies work to make governmental actions
reflect biblical priorities? If God loves human "freedom," should we then get
the government to act for "freedom" worldwide? If God loves the poor, should we
get the government to enact polices aimed at reducing (or eliminating)

The answer is that we should be preaching the Gospel. The Bible does not speak of human freedom in terms of individual liberty and democratic government. The freedom spoken of in the Bible refers to the freedom Christ's sacrifice has given us over sin. That is, if we accept God's gift of salvation through Christ, we are free from the bonds of sin and death forever. We should keep this in mind when we discuss spreading liberty throughout the world. Does the President understand this?

I honestly don't know, but his critics apparently think he doesn't. Dreher, Sullivan, and Douthat point out that that just because God wants us to be free does not mean we should impose our form of government on other countries. Yet they also seem to think that Mr. Bush is implying that the spread of liberty is inevitable. There is evidence to suggest that they are right, but that idea is troubling to me. The inclination of man is toward tyranny. Our Founding Fathers understood this, as did Tocqueville; he detailed several ways in which government in America was designed to prevent a tyranny of the majority. Our Constitution ensures that power is not concentrated in one part of the government, nor is it concentrated in either the Federal Government or the States. Tocqueville also points out that given a choice between tyranny and democracy, people will naturally choose democracy, since democracy better protects individual liberty.

Mr. Bush's critics also point out that our form of democracy may not be suited to all cultures. True, especially in the case of Iraq, but Arab culture is no stranger to self-government, and I don't see that we have imposed our form of democracy on them. We merely insisted that their new form of government be established with the consent of all the Iraqi people. I'll not address justification for the invasion in this post; I'm for it, and I think we should finish the job but I'll not go into detail now.

I think it is admirable to encourage democracy and liberty wherever it struggles to take hold, but Christians should not lose sight of the liberty offered by God. Changing governments is good; changing hearts is better.