Is Democracy Biblical?

I am a fan of democracy. Both democrats and republicans seem to support it too. And we have seen how God has used it for good in our country, the United States.

In foreign policy discussions, some of our favorite politicians sometimes declare democracy as a God-given right that each country should have. We have something good that we wish to share.

But is there any Bible verse to support the idea that God favors democracy over a government style with an honorable ruler?

To the best of my knowledge there are no references to democracy in the Bible. And, therefore, there is no way we can honestly claim God wants all countries to be democracies any more than we think all large organizations should be run as a democracy.

What the Bible does promote are the ideas of fairness, caring for the poor, encouragement, working together for common goals, laws that honor God and each other, and many other positive things. But those are all possible with a wide variety of political formats.

Much of the distaste of America around the world is over the way we often try to Americanize other cultures, as if ours is better (with our higher crime rates, abortion rates, suicide rates, and lots of other things). Is Americanizing the world actually what is best? We can have some healthy pride in our country. But we have to be careful about arrogance and condemning other cultures that are rich in history and family values.

Is democracy good? Most of the time, yes! But God is quite capable of working through other government formats as well.

4 October 2006

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