By Rudy Barnes, Jr., November 26, 2022
Last week Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump’s account on Twitter and then posted: “The people have spoken,” Vox Populi, Vox Dei (The voice of the people is the voice of God). Since most Americans equate democracy with majority rule and popular sovereignty, Musk conducted a poll of dubious credibility that indicated that 51.8% approved of the reinstatement.
Sovereignty is about the ultimate source of power in religion and politics. In the 18th century Enlightenment the sovereignty of God was superseded by the sovereignty of man based on reason and advances in knowledge. Democracy became a sacred political deity in the Western world, but it has since lost its infallibility when not imbued with human rights.
Demagogues like Hitler, Putin and Trump have used popularity to gain political power, and the church has aided and abetted them by sacrificing the altruistic moral teachings of Jesus to promote exclusivist beliefs that enabled Christianity to become the world’s most popular religion. The powers of popularity and democracy now reflect a corrupt human nature.
That should not be a surprise for Christians. The gospel accounts of Jesus describe a man whose teachings were never popular. The Jews of his day were looking for a messiah to liberate them from Roman oppression, not for a spiritual peacemaker. The crowds supported the decision of the Romans to condemn Jesus when they shouted “Crucify him, crucify him!
It was the institutional church that fabricated the exclusivist doctrines of Jesus Christ as the alter ego of God and enabled Christianity to become a popular religion by subordinating the moral teachings of Jesus to assertions of his divinity. Jesus was a maverick Jew who never asserted his divinity. He was a Jewish prophet whose teachings were God’s Truth.
Jesus taught his disciples to follow him, not to worship him. Today political demagogues like Trump and Ron DeSantis use assertions of divinity to gain political power, and the white church ignores their blasphemy. It’s no wonder that Christianity is losing its credibility and legitimacy, and it has infected American politics with distorted Christian doctrines.
The voice of the people is not the voice of God. God’s will is to reconcile and redeem humanity, while Satan’s will is to divide and conquer. Unfortunately Satan does a convincing imitation of God in the church and in politics and is winning the popularity contest in the cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil--and that’s corrupting democracies around the world.
The world should not reject democracy because human nature is corrupt. Instead, it should emphasize the virtues of humility, selfless service and providing for the common good. Rejecting the toxic mix of Christianity and politics may not win elections, but it could prevent the further corruption of Christianity and democracy, and save them from the dustbin of history.
On Twitter lifting the ban on Trump after an online poll that included automated “bots”, see https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/20/twitter-lifts-donald-trump-ban-after-elon-musks-poll.
On Vox Populi, Vox Dei in Wikipedia, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vox_Populi,_Vox_Dei.
‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts. The Twitter chief says he will reinstate accounts suspended for threats, harassment and misinformation beginning next week. “Elon Musk plans to reinstate nearly all previously banned Twitter accounts — to the alarm of activists and online trust and safety experts. After posting a Twitter poll asking, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” in which 72.4 percent of the respondents voted yes, Musk declared, “Amnesty begins next week.” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/24/twitter-musk-reverses-suspensions/?utm.
On Sovereignty and Conflicting Loyalties to God and Country (July 13, 2019), see