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Republic or Democracy?

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands,
One nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all."

How often do we say this pledge and pass right over the word "Republic" without any understanding of the importance of that word.  What is a republic? Why do we sometimes say that America is a democracy, when this is not true.  Even our own President seems to be confused over this distinction of our nation.  In a recent speech concerning anonymously financed campaign ads he said, "We can see for ourselves how destructive to our democracy this can become." 

What is the difference between a republic and a democracy?  I can remember in high school government class years ago how much stress was put on explaining the difference between these two forms of government.  In a republic the sovereignty lies in each individual person.  In a democracy the sovereignty lies in the group. 

Republic: A state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people.  In a republic minority individual rights have priority.  The people have natural rights given to them by God that override the rights given to them by government.  Our Bill of Rights in the Constitution declares what those individual rights are.  Any specific powers not given to the government in the Constitution remain with the individual. The people did "ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".  While it delegates certain rights to the Federal government, the people did not give up their own rights.  For example, Amendment 2 states that the individual has the right to bear arms to protect his own property and family.  Since the individual cannot possibly protect everyone's property and family in this nation, the federal government was given permission by the citizens to maintain an army to protect the nation as a whole from its enemies.  I have a God-given right to worship as I please and where I please but the government is not given the right to establish a state religion that forces me to follow its form of worship or to pay tithes to a state church.  This is what was happening under English rule in America before we became a nation.  In America the people are protected from the majority by the Bill of Rights.  In a jury trial one vote of the jury members can stop the majority from keeping a citizen from losing the right to a fair trial.  This would not happen in a democracy where the majority rules regardless. 

Democracy: A form of government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively or in which the people exercised the powers of legislation.  In a democracy the majority have the power and, in turn, all the rights.  The minority has no rights except those dictated by the majority.  In a democracy if a person is offending the majority, he can be executed and removed from the society. This happened over and over in Germany and Russia where Jews were hated and executed or removed to uncomfortable places to get them out of society. It is happening even today in nations where Christianity is a minority and hated by the majority.  A recent speech by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian and head of the American Congress for Truth, warns us that this intolerance in non-Christian nations does still exist.

As more and more talk of an American democracy becomes more familiar to the citizens, abuse of power becomes greater and greater.  More of the liberties we enjoy as individual American citizens can be removed from the minority and greater abuse of power by the majority will exist.  As I learn more about the founding of the American nation, the more convinced I become that our nation was ordained by God.  Men did not reason among themselves and create our wonderful documents and foundations; God gave these men wisdom and inspiration for these foundations.  These men prayed for God to lead them and to give them the wisdom they needed to set forth His purpose for America and to establish it.  Whether this foundation remains for future generations is up to us.  We must pray and ask God for His guidance and protection, just as the Founding Fathers did.  We must depend upon God to have victory over our enemies without and within.