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Christianity versus Democracy

There has been discussion in recent times about whether Islam is compatible with democracy, mainly because no Islamic state is a strong and stable democracy. The conflict between Christianity and democracy has received less attention, perhaps because many countries considered Christian are relatively stable democracies.

In recent times in Australia, there has been debate about this matter, following criticism of the Victorian government's recent reconsideration of religious bodies' total exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act. The problem in a nutshell is that democracy provides no guarantee of Christian values even in a Christian country.

Cardinal George Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has in the past argued the Democracy must change to counter Islam, noting that "democracy was not a good in itself. Its value depended on the moral vision it served."

Only last week, former Prime Minister John Howard argued against a Bill of Rights - something almost every other democracy has - on the basis that democracy itself (ie the legislature) is the best safeguard for rights and not unelected "elitism" (ie the judiciary). This argument goes back to the founders, and is indeed the reason why no Bill of Rights was included in the first place.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
kerravonsen
30th Aug, 2009 01:03 (UTC)
The problem in a nutshell is that democracy provides no guarantee of Christian values even in a Christian country.

Absolutely. The only values that democracy provides are the values of moral relativism: that something is good because the majority believes it to be good. That is what the whole structure of democracy is geared towards: majority rules. Everything else depends upon the culture in which a particular democracy sits.

Some of the more conservative Christians I know practically start frothing at the mouth at the mention of the Equal Opportunity Act, considering it a device for attacking Christian values.

Only last week, former Prime Minister John Howard argued against a Bill of Rights - something almost every other democracy has - on the basis that democracy itself (ie the legislature) is the best safeguard for rights and not unelected "elitism" (ie the judiciary).

Yes, I noticed that. I'd never thought about it before, but it does make sense: you just have to look at what happens in the US, with so much power in the judiciary.
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