In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus asks his followers to do democracy. Its first line reads, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

 In the ancient world, the name of a person summed up the entire personality and belief system of the individual. God is politically like a father, not a ruler.  In the second line, Jesus says that the father’s government in heaven needs to be transferred to earth: “Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.”

The Bible text points throughout to an earthly government “kingdom” guided by laws like the Ten Commandments or other democratic constitutions, not by lifetime, power-hungry rulers.  Fathers and mothers do not have subjects in their families, like kings do. They have children who need to be protected, supported, and nurtured.

Family government is temporarily empowered to shepherd those under their care until they can be equally empowered citizens of the realm. A national or state democratic government is temporarily empowered in the same way, until the next election. 

But American Christians in government leadership today want to stay in power over their subjects forever, and to accumulate more and more power through centralized rather than decentralized, family-type decision-making. What would Jesus say? 

Kimball Shinkoskey