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Of, By, For the People

Abraham Lincoln told us that we have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” How do the people express themselves? By speaking, writing and voting. Yet there are prominent evangelicals who today tell us that the word of God is more important than the word of a citizen. These people are running seminars in the nation’s capital, which as the L.A. Times puts it, “seek to mold a new generation of leaders who will answer not to voters, but to God.” Is this the new Republican democracy?

One of the outfits doing this is the Statesmanship Institute. According to the newspaper:

"Nearly every Monday for six months, as many as a dozen congressional aides - many of them aspiring politicians - have gathered over takeout dinners to mine the Bible for ancient wisdom on modern policy debates about tax rates, foreign aid, education, cloning and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

"Through seminars taught by conservative college professors and devout members of Congress, the students learn that serving country means first and always serving Christ."

Jeremy Bouma, who coordinates the institute's program, said:

"We help them understand God's purpose for society."

How on earth does Bouma know God's purpose? He may say he gets it from the Bible. But other people get entirely different points of view from the same Bible. And how about those who do not believe in the Bible? Our wise founders decided to make U.S. a secular nation and allow the free exercise of any religion or non-religion. They were in favor of true religious tolerance. They wanted the U.S. to be a liberal democracy.

And a liberal democracy it is. Religious extremists do not like this. They clamor day and night to bring God back into our politics.

Doing so would move our country backwards. Remember when all the kings claimed their right to rule came from God? Remember when the Japanese thought that Emperor Hirohito was divine?

Too many Republican leaders support this religious extremism. Democrats are firmly against mixing religion with politics. They favor the free exercise of religion, without anyone imposing his religion upon anyone else. Democrats want to keep our democracy strong by assuring that our government is:

"of the people, by the people, for the people."
Posted by Paul Siegel at August 23, 2005 5:32 PM