Last Sunday, my Pastor gave a message based on the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” That got me thinking about how unamerican Jesus is. We tend to think that the best form of government is democracy, but here Jesus is telling us to pray for the imposition of a kingdom.
The Christian Right is sort of famous for claiming that the United States was founded by Christians on the basis of Christian principles. But is the democratic ideal a Christian ideal? The Declaration of Independence says, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (preserving certain unalienable rights), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” Compare that to this statement: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2). In this same passage, the essential purpose of government is a restraint on bad behavior rather than a defender of personal rights.
There’s a basic contradiction here. From a biblical view, it seems more accurate to say that the American government was indeed established by God, but that he did so by means that were anything but Christian.