Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Beyond Evangelism

Now I've nothing against evangelism because I feel that, in a way, we are all evangelicals in our own right; espousing what we believe to be the truth, in be it a logical, spiritual or emotional sense. But I do have issues with this little number in the Christian Science Monitor today. (I should just note that the Christain Science Monitor is a very liberal and secular print, or at least the online version is, and that this article in no way reflects the general tone of it's journalism.)

For those too lazy to read the article, it looks at quasi-theocratic political movements in America that call for the country to be governed by representatives of God. They call for a return of American society back to it's theological origins. I know, they already have these kind of political movements in power throughout the Middle East and they make far from ideal governments.

I for one just can't see how a good healthy democracy could be anything but secular. And I mean seethingly secular. Democracy is nothing without a diverse and pluralistic society underneath it. And that social diversity is, theoretically, supposed to provide those democratic institutions with some sort of job to do. Without a pluralistic society to give it meaning, democracy is nothing but a set of formal institutions that grind, chug and crackle without any real purpose. I can just see how it'd go down in a Comparative Politics class:

"Well, you see, it's a democracy governed by God. There's one way of doing things, guidelines to which can be found in this book here, and everbody votes for the same guy ever four years".

- While religions have there good points, they are indeed absolutist (the Christain God is a very jealous God), and they cannot, certainly should not, be in control of politics. That's pluralism, and pluralism is the life-blood of democracy.