As the country continues to talk about the leader of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi, being removed from Parliament, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about why democracy still matters.
As Christians who believe in the Bible, we must reckon with an interesting tension.
Made in the Image of God
The Bible tells us that we as human beings are made in the image of God. We have been given dominion and stewardship over the world that He created. Christianity, therefore, has a very high view of humanity. We are lords and queens. Each one of us was made to rule.
Democracy as a form of government acknowledges this worth of humans. We understand democracy to be a rule of the people. Every person in a democracy is technically a ruler in that country. By casting votes in favour of or against political leaders, we as people rule.
Corrupted by Sin
While the Bible has an extremely high view of us as humans, it also presents the stark reality that sin has absolutely corrupted humanity. In sinning, we lost the regality we were born with. We lost our ability to rule well. And thus the Bible says, [God] subjected all things to [man], he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet. ([[Heb-02#v8|Heb 2.8]]).
One of the ways sin makes us unfit to rule is by making us lust after power and the desire to rule over others. This is captured in the popular adage, “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Of course, it’s not the power that corrupts. The corruption was always there. Power merely shows a way for the corruption to come to the surface. Due to sin, therefore, we are most unfit to rule.
How do we balance these 2 realities? Each of us was made to rule, but each of us is most unfit to rule.
Democracy as a satisfactory answer to the tension
Democracy provides an answer once again where it proposes the idea of checks and balances. No single person or institution is given absolute power. The checks and balances come in various forms.
One of these forms is having different branches of governance. For instance, in India, the 3 arms of government are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Each of them keep the other 2 in check.
Another of these is having voices that expose the shortcomings of the executive and hold them to their decisions and executions. This function is often performed by the opposition party within the legislative body, and by the media as well.
Democracy, thus, is the best option (so far) that accounts for both the doctrines of creation and sin.
So why is the removal of Mr Rahul Gandhi from his position as a Member of the Parliament so dangerous to the country?
We have already seen that because of sin, no person or institution can be trusted with absolute power. This makes the presence of voices that can question and hold accountable those that rule extremely important.
It is this part of democracy that is increasingly being threatened in the country. The current ruling party has, over the past few years, gradually taken over many prominent media houses. In removing Mr Rahul Gandhi from his role as a Member of the Parliament, the executive has done away with the other major voice that holds them accountable. This is regrettable and also highly dangerous.
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