Friday, November 12, 2021

Losing Side

Democracy gives the majority of people in a nation the power to impose their will on minority groups. That is what they have always done. A democratic government enforcing regulations and laws that a minority do not like is not tyranny; it is just democracy doing what it does.

For most of New Zealand’s history, the government and the church have been on the same side. During the two world wars, conscientious objectors were hounded terribly by the government. They would have felt that they were being persecuted by a tyrannical government, but the church supported the government. When land was being confiscated following the land wars, the Māori people felt they were being persecuted, but the church was silent because Christian farmers wanted the land. Many minority groups have been treated badly in New Zealand. They believed the government was tyrannical, but the church usually said nothing, because it supported the government’s position. These minorities were often vilified, but the church was silent.

Now that the church has become a small minority in Aotearoa NZ, the boot is on the other foot, so it is a bit rich for pastors to call the government tyrannical and autocratic because they do not like its policies. That’s just what happens to minorities in a democracy.

In a democracy, freedom is never absolute, despite what people are saying. The elected government has authority to enforce laws and regulations that limit people’s freedom to do what they like. So, when people participate in a democratic election, they are effectively giving the people elected authority to limit their freedom by telling them what they must do.

Aotearoa NZ has a well-developed decision-making process where groups of public servants employed by various government departments prepare peer-reviewed advice and recommendations for the Cabinet to discuss and decide. The process is controlled by the Cabinet Manual. Government decisions can be challenged before the courts if they are unlawful, so claims that the current government is autocratic and tyrannical are dishonest.

Because we have failed to preach the good news of Jesus effectively, Christians no longer have the numbers to shape the decisions of the NZ Parliament. This means that laws that Christians don't like are inevitable, as Parliament responds to the different views that now shape our culture. If Christians dont like that outcome, instead of complaining about tyranny, they should get on with doing what Jesus called them to do and take the gospel to the nation.

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