Critics of the United States and Israel often attack these two countries for their political inconsistencies and international mistakes. Mistakes do abound and can be rather easily cited by foes of all sorts. After all a democracy allows such open criticism, which is one of its truest marks. But those in our countries who seem to hate the U.S. and Israel ought to at least concede more than they are generally willing to do. It is one thing to play the prophet’s role, and thus point out the mistakes of these great nations. It is another to tell the world that these democracies still beat all the alternatives. I wish the "Hate America First" crowd would acknowledge, at least now and then, that this is still a great nation even with its numerous faults.
Consider the fact that yesterday Israel’s highest court ruled that Palestinians can sue in Israeli courts over damages done by the Israeli army in the territories. Where else could such a ruling happen in the Middle East? And at the same time Iran’s Ahmadinejab once again denounced the holocaust, saying openly that it did not happen. He added that Israel would "soon be wiped out." To top off all this good news from the Arab world the top U.N. investigator concluded that Syria definitely cooperated in the assasination of Lebanon’s Hariri just a few weeks ago. (I remind you, when the media will not, that the once large Christian population of Lebanon, a great democracy in the Middle East, has been driven out of the country by radical Islam over the past twenty years.)
The West is clearly in need of moral correction on many fronts but if you cannot see the stark difference between us and this kind of hatred and radical Islamic policy you are in need of a new pair of moral glasses.
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I think I agree with what you are saying here. But I want to take a different tack. The way Democracies work best is when the people that are in them hold them to a high standard, not in comparison to the low standards of others, but to the high standards of the possible. That is why many people that I know and respect are willing to be called “Hate America First” people. Not because they really do hate America first, but because the people that can make the most difference to a country are those inside that country. We ask Muslims all the time to condemn the bad parts of what happen inside of Islam. So we as American need to if not praise people for pointing out the weaknesses of the US, then at least honestly consider their points and celebrate their right to make those points. That is what makes a great democracy and that is why democracies are better than the other options and why true democracies are so hard.
Yes, we must criticize our country. This is essential for true democracy. What I have to question is whether patriotism is dead and whether it matters or not? I am not talking about phony a “America: Love It or Leave It” blindness but real love of one’s country. Since the 1960s a great wave of anti-Americanism has driven some on the left just as a silly “God bless America” devotion drives some on the right. When this is seen for what it is then we can have a meaningful disagreement about political answers and social policies that will make us a better people. If we are the moral equal of the terrorists, and the states that sponsor them, then there is little chance this can ever happen.
Israel is a very flawed nation. It has clearly acted with self-interests that have harmed it morally. (Think of the events following the horrors of Munich!) But Israel is not the moral equivalent of Hezbollah and if one thinks so then my comments are on target. We must make such distinctions in the real world of fallen sinners or we have no political will to survive as a free people. Embracing no such distinctions allowed Europe to sleep while Hitler armed and began the killing.
Finally, radical Islamists are now forming real partnerships with old-line Communists and various facists. The common denominator in this is easy to see—they hate the West. “Death to America.” Destroy Isreal! We will either see these distinctions, and make them, or we will likely be destroyed as a once great civilization that was built on the broad principles of law and justice.
Democracy is actually a fairly mediocre form of Government.
Most people assume that democracy is a superior form of government, but democracy is rule by the people (demos kratos = people rule). The problem is that sin and the fall means that people can make terrible mistakes, so democracy is dangerous. Many of the worst political dictators were voted into power by large majorities. Democracy gave the world Adolf Hitler.
Democracy tends to produce leaders who pander to the desires of the people, so it cannot be counted on to raise up leaders who will serve God. If Israel were a democracy, they would have marched back through the Red Sea to Egypt. Democracy also produced the Golden Calf.
God’s people should not be satisfied with mediocre government. We should be seeking the kingdom of god. It will always beat will beat democracy hands down.