Democracy and religion

According to the BBC, the Pope has just published a book in which he compares abortion with the holocaust. Or, more accurately, blames the democratic process for things which go against the teachings of the Bible (both the holocaust and abortion). Further,

“Parliaments which create and promulgate such laws must be aware that they are transgressing their powers and remain in open conflict with the law of God and the law of nature.”

It’s an interesting comparison to draw, given accusations that have been made about the Vatican’s lack of opposition to the holocaust. I know virtually nothing about this subject, so certainly won’t go on.

However, I wonder how far the law of God and the law of nature goes in this theory. Do we take a literal reading of the Bible, and anything that a democratic society chooses to do outside that is wrong? And if it’s wrong, then what? Do Catholics have to oppose it? To what extent should they oppose it? And where does that leave those of us with moral views that aren’t based in religion? Or what if my reading of the Bible differs from yours? (For example, I might think a blood transfusion goes against the teaching of the Bible, and therefore the Pope would not have lived after the assasination attempt in 1981.)

There seems to be a conflict between democracy and religion, but it appears to me to be that democracy demands compromise, while religion rarely allows for it. To say democracy is responsible for the holocaust has some logic, just like religion was responsible for the crusades, 9/11, the war in Iraq and any other number of things. It’s all in how you argue it.

And, finally, I’m concerned that this is another post that appears to be anti-religion. In reality, my feelings on religion are pretty ambivalent, and I have a great deal of respect for those with religious views and the moral values that go with them. My problem is almost always with how those views lead to accusations that my way of life, and my moral decisions, are less valid or just plain wrong. At that point, I argue my corner.