America's Christian History

Politics and History

How our Christian Heritage impacts our Political Values

The great statesmen of our country were men of conviction who believed it was their sacred duty to uphold Christian Principles in their politics 

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I Pledge Allegiance

 

 

Americas Christian History - Politics and History I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the... you hear the word every day, "democracy."  What is being referred to?  Our form of government?  So, when did our country become a "democracy"?

 

If so, what do we mean by democracy?  The word itself is a combination of two Greek words: "demos"-people; and "chrateow"- to govern.  A democracy, then, is a government for the people, by the people.  Webster defines it as follows:

 

[A] form of government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which people exercise the power of legislation.  Such was the government of Athens.  (Emphasis mine.  Ed.)

 

 No elected representatives chosen by the people act for them.  Rather, the people themselves enforce the laws.  This is government "by the people, for the people."  When was the last time you wrote and enacted any of the laws of our country?  And do we punish law-breakers with out "due process"?  Do we not choose men to represent us for these things?   Do not we pride ourselves on having a representative form of government?

 

Someone may then, say, "We have a democracy but not a pure democracy."  Is not that saying we have something different?  If it is not "pure," it must be different.  Lincoln (quoting 13th century John Wycliff) spoke of our government as being, "Of the people, by the people, and for the people, ..."  Of the people, adds a new element.  It is not merely by and for (as in a democracy), but of or from among- representatives chosen from among us, a representative form of government.

 

A new dimension has been added for, having others represent us, it follows that, first, those men chosen by the people are acting only under delegated authority.  They are servants (oftentimes referred to as civil servants).  Delegated authority is always delegated down and is never as extensive as that vested in those who delegated the authority.  Our representatives in congress, in our state assemblies, or in local civil government do not exercise the authority of a father, corporation president, chairman of the board, an elder of a church, etc.  No, their delegated authority is carefully defined and confined to specific areas by those who delegate it.

 

Secondly, the people adopted guidelines which our delegated authorities must follow: one, a constitution and, two, bylaws.  The constitution gives the purpose for organizing and the kinds of officers, their duties, and their limits.  Ours is a government of law: chosen men, acting under delegated authority, regulated by the laws of the Constitution of the United States of America.  Our Founders created, as Benjamin Franklin stated, " A republic, if you can keep it."

 

Red Skelton - Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance


Answer to Question:  "...(T)he very definition of a republic is ' an empire of laws, and not of men. ..' [and] that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws. is the best of republics."  He who said this "was a great writer and debater on matters of civil government as well as a great Christian statesman who was never self-conscious about this, he was a strong defender of Biblical principles of government in the years before the Revolutionary War, appointed by the Continental Congress as Ambassador to France and Holland, helped negotiate our Peace Treaty with Gr. Britain, was our first Vice President and our second President."  "...A letter written in 1776 became, as a result of its popularity and well thought out ideas on civil government, a pamphlet, ‘Thoughts on Government’" by John Adams defining a republic.  Quoted in Peabody, James Griffith, John Adams-A Biography in His Own Words, Newsweek, 1973, p. 183


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