The Dalai Lama will receive the Congressional Gold Medal tomorrow. On first blush it seems a fitting award to a man who has been the face of the Tibetan struggle against Communist China, but on another level it strikes me as supremely ironic. As America continues its battle to bring democracy to the rest of the world, whether they want it or not, here we are lionizing a man who was not selected democratically at all. The Dalai Lama is identified as a young boy and then raised to be the administrative *and* spiritual leader of his people. The people do not have a say, evidently it is God who does the choosing. It should give us pause in this country as folks do their best to deal with the rise of the religious right and the agenda of making America into one, narrow, definition of a "Christian" nation. Was it Pat Robertson who told George W. Bush that he was ordained by God to be president?
Lutherans have to tread carefully as well. Luther's explanation of the fourth commandment basically elucidates how Christians should treat those in authority as "ordained" or "set-aside" for that purpose... it is our job to obey. See Romans 12 as well!
I do not have a sweeping answer to this conundrum but I did want to raise the issue of cognitive dissonance in how Americans in general and Christian Americans in particular are treating the question of democracy and how God works in the world. Evidently we are o.k. with theocracy as long as the theocrats are nice.