Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Two hot topics for the price of one

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Paul of Tarsus
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Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #1

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

As we should know, the US Capitol Building has been attacked by alleged Trump supporters. Our sitting president, an avowed Christian, allegedly encouraged the attack. Some world leaders have spoken in public about the rioters. For example, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani says western democracy is brittle and weak.

I agree! One fact about this whole affair is that all of it came about within American-style democracy. Trump was voted into office, voted out of office, and the result is chaos. In our democracy we have people hating other people and committing acts of violence as a result of elections. Our democratic ideals have badly divided us.

Is any of this mayhem good, or do we need to revamp our government?

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #11

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

Athetotheist wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:19 am
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:16 pmI'm still looking for some input about whether or not democracy is a good form of government.
It has to be a constitutional democracy which recognizes the rights of minorities in theory and in practice.
But we have a constitutional democracy, and recent presidential elections have resulted in violence and even insurrection.
Paul of Tarsus wrote:Is voting good for the country, for example, or is voting just a farce that makes as about as much difference as buying a lottery ticket?
For voting to really mean something, one thing we have to do is abolish the nonsensical Electoral College. Those who run for president of the "United" States should have to win a majority of votes throughout ALL the states, not just the separate majorities of a few.
So if we rid our political system of the electoral college, then voting will "mean something"? Do you mean that voting will be good for the country? Will we have a better government?

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #12

Post by Athetotheist »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:52 pm
Athetotheist wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:19 am
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:16 pmI'm still looking for some input about whether or not democracy is a good form of government.
It has to be a constitutional democracy which recognizes the rights of minorities in theory and in practice.
But we have a constitutional democracy, and recent presidential elections have resulted in violence and even insurrection.
Technically we have a constituional democracy, but I also specified what kind of constitutional democracy it has to be.
Paul of Tarsus wrote:So if we rid our political system of the electoral college, then voting will "mean something"? Do you mean that voting will be good for the country? Will we have a better government?
Again, read the rest of what I said-----I said that abolishing the EC is ONE thing we have to do. Another is getting big money out of politics. The Citizens United decision was a disaster. Money does NOT rightly qualify as a form of expression. Why? Because there's supposed to be free expression. For expression to be free it has to be equal, meaning that everyone must have equal opportunity to express themselves. So free expression cannot rightly be measured in money, because people don't have the same amounts of money----and those with more money don't have a right to more expression than those with less.

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #13

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:16 pm Our government has guns and may use them on us if it thinks it is necessary to do so. However, in general we live in peace with the government and reap the benefits.
Bravo! If only all Americans saw it that way!

Best wishes, 2RM.
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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #14

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

Athetotheist wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:26 pm
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:52 pm
Athetotheist wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:19 am
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:16 pmI'm still looking for some input about whether or not democracy is a good form of government.
It has to be a constitutional democracy which recognizes the rights of minorities in theory and in practice.
But we have a constitutional democracy, and recent presidential elections have resulted in violence and even insurrection.
Technically we have a constituional democracy, but I also specified what kind of constitutional democracy it has to be.
Well, unfortunately you didn't make a case for how your preferred kind of democracy can be immune to insurrection and violence resulting from elections.
Paul of Tarsus wrote:So if we rid our political system of the electoral college, then voting will "mean something"? Do you mean that voting will be good for the country? Will we have a better government?
Again, read the rest of what I said-----
If I'm not getting what you're saying, then please try to rephrase and clarify it. Chances are that you're not explaining yourself adequately.
I said that abolishing the EC is ONE thing we have to do.


I don't see how abolishing the electoral college can grant us a more stable and effective democracy. In fact, abolishing the electoral college might make a bad situation worse. People who live in relatively sparsely populated states may grow to resent their lack of representation in the government as compared to the more populous states. Like I already pointed out, the farcical nature of elections can result in voter unrest, and without an electoral college, that unrest might get much worse as voters in remote areas realize that their votes count for almost nothing.
Another is getting big money out of politics. The Citizens United decision was a disaster. Money does NOT rightly qualify as a form of expression. Why? Because there's supposed to be free expression. For expression to be free it has to be equal, meaning that everyone must have equal opportunity to express themselves. So free expression cannot rightly be measured in money, because people don't have the same amounts of money----and those with more money don't have a right to more expression than those with less.
You're living in dream land here. Democracy cannot compete with any government based on wealth, and that's exactly why our democracy has failed us. Your power isn't based in your vote but in your bank balance. "Big money" will buy you expression or anything else; voting only buys you a delusion that you've made a difference in the government

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #15

Post by Wootah »

[Replying to Paul of Tarsus in post #9]

If that is what you mean by revamp ... then yeah a revamp might work. Except power corrupts and fallen world and sinful nature of man.
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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #16

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Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others - Winston S. Churchill

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #17

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

Wootah wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:09 pm [Replying to Paul of Tarsus in post #9]

If that is what you mean by revamp ... then yeah a revamp might work. Except power corrupts and fallen world and sinful nature of man.
What are you referring to? I didn't mention any ideas of revamping the government.

And I'm not as sure as you are that power corrupts. It's possible that corruption empowers. Democracies are not immune to such difficulties. After all, the "little corporal" was appointed chancellor of Germany in the 1930s. Germany was then a democracy.

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #18

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

RightReason wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:27 pm Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others - Winston S. Churchill
I'm very familiar with that quotation. It makes an assertion that isn't proved. There might well be better governments than democracies. In Plato's Republic the "philosopher king, " for example, rules not so much by popularity but by ability. In other words, he rules because he knows how to. Perhaps we might start to require that those running for public office have successfully completed formal education and training in government leadership. I think it would be a step in the right direction.

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #19

Post by RightReason »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:28 pm
RightReason wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:27 pm Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others - Winston S. Churchill
I'm very familiar with that quotation. It makes an assertion that isn't proved. There might well be better governments than democracies. In Plato's Republic the "philosopher king, " for example, rules not so much by popularity but by ability. In other words, he rules because he knows how to. Perhaps we might start to require that those running for public office have successfully completed formal education and training in government leadership. I think it would be a step in the right direction.
I think the quote was intended to mean a Democratic form of government isn’t perfect, but it is still better than pretty much anything else that has been tried.

And I hardly think formal education in government leadership is the answer. Universities are full of students graduating with degrees in political science. I haven't noticed this to be an advantage. And we have had lifetime politicians who have plenty of government leadership experience and yet accomplish very little. I just don't see the problem is a lack of skill. Perhaps it is more a lack of a well-formed conscience.

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Re: Democracy, Trump, and Christian Faith

Post #20

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

RightReason wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:52 pm
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:28 pm
RightReason wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:27 pm Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others - Winston S. Churchill
I'm very familiar with that quotation. It makes an assertion that isn't proved. There might well be better governments than democracies. In Plato's Republic the "philosopher king, " for example, rules not so much by popularity but by ability. In other words, he rules because he knows how to. Perhaps we might start to require that those running for public office have successfully completed formal education and training in government leadership. I think it would be a step in the right direction.
I think the quote was intended to mean a Democratic form of government isn’t perfect, but it is still better than pretty much anything else that has been tried.
Yes. I agree that that's what Churchill was saying. He was evidently responding to criticisms leveled at democracy. Like I've pointed out, Nazi Germany emerged from a democracy, and political leaders of that time needed to reassess the quality of democratic governments. We still need to make that reassessment considering more recent events.
And I hardly think formal education in government leadership is the answer. Universities are full of students graduating with degrees in political science. I haven't noticed this to be an advantage. And we have had lifetime politicians who have plenty of government leadership experience and yet accomplish very little. I just don't see the problem is a lack of skill. Perhaps it is more a lack of a well-formed conscience.
Well, what's the alternative to educating our political leaders? Their ignorance? I agree that educating and training leaders doesn't guarantee their goodness as leaders, but like I said it's a step in the right direction. Also, I'm not saying that leaders need merely broad educations with one or two political science courses, but they need specific training in the office they seek to hold. An American president, for example, should have knowledge of economics, military history, world cultures, and diplomacy among other things.

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