Gospel of Life -- Study Guide
Democracy demands virtue. People cannot govern themselves if they do
not know the difference between right and wrong. This theme, which we have
encountered before, is expressed in a speech given by Congressman Henry Hyde
called "Virtue in Democracy" in which he said the following:
"To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving
their just power from the consent of the governed." What a revolutionary
thought! Power comes from the creator to the people and is then consigned
temporarily to the rulers of the people, not directly to the rulers, as had been
the practice and the belief for so many centuries. And so we learn from studying
our Founding Fathers that democracy is more than a process. It is more than
establishing a set of rules as to how we shall litigate, how we shall sue each
other, but a democracy, envisioned by our Founding Fathers, that assigns value,
intrinsic value, to every human being because each human being is made in the
image and likeness of God, and we are endowed by our creator with inalienable
rights, the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to pursue happiness.
"And so, as we study the beginnings of our nation, we understand that to have
a virtuous kingdom it is enough perhaps to have a virtuous king, but you cannot
have a successful democracy without a virtuous people. And that is where today’s
great problem comes forward." (Heritage Lecture #673, July 19, 2000,
What affects "a people's capacity to govern themselves"?
How is "virtue" related to "democracy?"
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