Many people today believe that we are a democracy, and our political leaders often tell us we are, but we definitely are NOT. Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and deliberately chose not to; the form of government they entrusted to us was a constitutional republic. In fact, Article IV, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution requires that:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
Democracy is a form of government in which the sovereign power lies with the people, who exercise the lawmaking power through direct majority votes rather than through any elected representatives. Because this government is based on the popular sentiments of the people at any given point in time, it is frequently an unstable and fluctuating government.
In context of discussing the role of Judges and the need to secure Justice, the Torah warned about the pitfalls of following the “masses.”
“You shall not follow the masses [the crowd, or many] in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;” -Exodus 23:2 NASB
This law is a prohibition on people allowing themselves to be led astray by large groups or majority opinion. One of the saddest facts of the human condition is that most people follow the herd.
Sometimes, of course, the herd is morally right. That obviously is the ideal. But most good is achieved by individuals who have the courage to part from the majority when it is morally wrong.
In addition, people tend to act worse in groups than when alone. The herd, not to mention the mob, can and does embolden people to do bad things they would rarely do if they had no such support. Perhaps Founding Father John Adams gleaned his opposition to a pure democracy from the above verse and the reason he called a democracy a “mob rule.”
Of course, people will also act better among morally good groups. But, again, that is relatively rare. So, the Torah is warning us that when dealing with groups, we have reason to be wary. I think it is so intriguing that the Torah would warn us of being swayed by large groups, don’t you?
A democracy is seen in what transpired around Jesus during His final week on earth. As He entered Jerusalem, the people ushered Him in with great enthusiasm, treating Him as a national hero.
“Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, ‘Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Praise God in highest heaven!’” — Matthew 21:9 NLT
The very next week, showing how fickle the majority is, the very same people “all said ‘Crucify Him’” (Matthew 27:21). Benjamin Rush used the term “mobocracy”— which captures well the problems of a democracy: it is an unpredictable government where passion and selfishness often prevail over reason and deliberation.
It is vital to understand that America is a Constitutional Republic.
If people, ask: Does the Bible prescribe and describe a form of Government that is preferable? The answer is yes, in the sense that when Moses set up this type of government as the leader of the Israelites he did not call it a Constitutional Republic, but the prescription he laid out very much mirrored one.
Exodus 18:19-21 describes a Constitutional Republic, which is the form of Government of America that founding Father John Adams described as a “government of laws and not of men.” A constitutional republic is the highest form of republican government and is one in which the representatives are elected by the people. They are not sovereign but are, instead, subject to a higher sovereign law. In our case, that law is the Constitution, and in the case of Israel, it was the Torah.
Why the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is a vital part of a Constitutional Republic. In fact, it could be said that in a stroke of genius the Founders, and specifically Founding Father Roger Sherman (1721-1793) who is considered to be the “Master Builder of the Constitution,” is credited with originating the bicameral (a legislative body having two branches) and the Electoral College. He was one of only six Founders who signed both the Declaration and the Constitution. An evangelical Christian, he also wrote the doctrinal creed for the denomination of which he was a member.
The Electoral College was established so that both the larger states and smaller states received proportional strength in the number of delegates according to the number of people in their state. Each state got a number of electors based on the number of congressional districts in that state. At the present time, 2020, all the states but Maine and Alaska have a “winner takes all” system where whoever wins, the most votes in a given state get all of the state’s electoral votes. The state legislatures today have the right to select delegates, and the U.S. House of Representatives gets the right to choose the president in the event no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes.
More and more we are hearing, especially now, from the Democratic Party, for a call to eliminate the Electoral College and move to a majority vote or a pure democracy. If that were to happen the states that have the least amount of people and congressional districts would not have a say in our election process. For example, the majority living in large cities might not understand the complexities of living in more rural states and the majority would vote for people that would not look out for the legitimate interests and/or know the needs of people in the less populated portions of our country. Smaller states would lose their voice in the democratic process and the presidential candidates would campaign in only the locations with the greatest majority of people not giving appropriate attention to those parts of the country with less population. Clearly, one can see the unfair advantage people amassed in larger cities would have in voting for their particular candidate or numerous issues .
In Exodus 18:21 Moses not only defined a representative form of governing, he also lists four traits that we ought to look for when electing officials and judges to public positions of influence.
Remember, Christians, we are not selecting the next Pastor of our Church, but we are attempting to elect the persons and the party that comes closest to Biblical directives.
Below is the verse and my expanded definitions of each trait of those that ought to be selected.
“But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten” (Exodus 18:21).
• Capable: skilled and wise
• Honest: have a pattern of integrity, and doing the right
• Fear God: a conscious awareness that they will render an account to God for their deeds and decisions
• Hate brides: have the moral backbone to refuse to be bought—in other words, courage! Bribery is the single most common form of corruption in society. Nothing explains the success or failure of countries more than does the presence or absence of corruption.
If we are looking for the near perfect person to run for office, we will not find them as most likely you and I would not qualify. However, it is relatively easy to assess America’s two political parties and measure their platforms against what the Bible says. The party and the person that is closest to Scripture ought to receive our vote.
Generally, I am not a one-issue voter. Rather I look at each candidate or platforms of each party and attempt to discover who is the closest to what the Bible teaches. I wrote a personal opinion article for the 2006 election and the 2008 election. If you would like to read it let me know and I will email it to you.
Here are some of the issues that I evaluate:
• the fiscal philosophy in regard to debt, and wise spending
• the role of expanded government or limited government
• foreign policy positions especially the position on Israel and involvement in foreign countries wars as well as the number of American troop deployments
• I scrutinize the party’s positions on legal or illegal immigration, border control issues like building a wall and merit-based entry requirements from those attempting to enter the United States legally
• I attempt to understand a legislator’s position on his/ her support of ICE and the local police, as well as the right to bear arms and support of the 2nd Amendment
• The selection of constitutionally minded judges on the Supreme Court and lower courts is probably the most important decisions any standing president can make. If a president serves for two terms, they can select up to 40% of the sitting judges in America. The role of a judge is not to undo society’s ills, or repair society, but to render justice in the particular case that has come before the court.
• It is crucial to me that a President attempts to support other suffering and persecuted Christians around the world by providing opportunities to enter our country legally, and by offering safety and assistance to those in harm’s way
• How we ought to care for the poor—through Government provisions or building self-sufficiency with healthy expectations for the poor to work or make efforts to work. Simply giving people things will only create an entitlement segment of society
• Islam at its core beliefs is an ever-present threat to our freedom. I support an administration that is aware of the threat and is brave enough to counter it with appropriate vetting of Muslims entering our country, and the strategies and aggressiveness of Muslims in other countries
Moral issues are paramount for me!
• what is a party’s view and practices to protect the life of the unborn?
“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven (a reference to the double-helical DNA molecular program) together in the dark of the womb.” – Psalm 139:15 NLT
• what are its positions on gender-bending especially in the public classroom?
“It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;”…. Psalm 100:3 NASV
• what positions does a person or party take with regard to Homosexuality, and Lesbianism?
26”…Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other.” Romans 1:26-27 NLT
Are you aware that there is no Biblical model whereby God explicitly demands His ministers to be silent or to separate themselves from civil leaders or issues? We can and must speak up and out about these issues and politics with the view to give Biblical insights.
Please be diligent to get our fellow Christians to vote
according to their Biblical conscience!