Skip to comments.What Does Christian Libertarianism Look Like?
Posted on 01/01/2012 6:20:40 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Stereotypes and broad brush labels are common in the current political climate. If someone says they believe homosexuality is a sin and that drugs ignite societal problems, they would almost immediately be placed in the Christian right-wing category. If another person says that the government should not be in the marriage business and that drugs should be decriminalized, then that person would likely be labeled a liberal.
But what if a person believes both sides of the argument?
Enter the Christian libertarian.
A Christian libertarian is generally aligned with the core moral beliefs of Christian conservatives but emphasizes free will to the extent that they are considered socially liberal.
However, there are many Christians, on both sides of the political aisle, who have taken aim at the Christian libertarian, saying that they do not practice true Christianity with their political philosophy.
THE BIBLICAL CASE AGAINST CHRISTIAN LIBERTARIANISM
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and executive editor of The Christian Post, said that of course libertarians can be Christians but so can racists.
If you are a Christian and a libertarian, you would have to basically ignore all of Romans 13 where God lays down a specific role that the government is divinely ordained to play which is to reward those who are right and punish those who are evil.
Libertarians are not being consistent in applying the Bible to their thought process, Land contended The government not only has a right, he said, but is called upon by God to regulate societal morality.
Slavery was outlawed by the government. Is that not a moral issue? There are laws against rape, murder, theft all of these are moral issues that the government has and must regulate.
The evangelical leader argues that libertarians compartmentalize their faith when their Christian faith must be first and foremost in every aspect of their life even in politics and government.
Many Christian libertarians, for instance, argue that sin that is victimless such as drug use should not be made illegal because users knowingly chose to use the substance on their own accord, and by exercising their free will poorly, they will also have to suffer the consequences.
Conservative Christians, however, do not see any sin as victimless and argue that Christianity by its very nature affirms the idea of corporate solidarity. Therefore, every action, or lack of, has a ripple effect on society, which impacts the lives of others.
According to the Christian Right, libertarians put too much emphasis on individual liberties and not enough on the consequences those liberties could have on society.
THE BIBLICAL CASE FOR CHRISTIAN LIBERTARIANISM
Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told The Christian Post that he disputes the idea that there is no such thing as Christian libertarianism.
The greatest commandment is to love God and the next greatest is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Nothing in Scripture suggests that we have to have a political institution to make that happen. There is no inconsistency with a political libertarian philosophy and the Christian religion, Bandow argued.
While he agrees that religious thought should not be and cannot be banned from the public square as everyone has a set of moral values and these values inevitably shape our society, he also believes that mixing the two institutions of church and state is dangerous. In one way or another, according to Bandow, Christian conservatives and Christian liberals have mixed the two institutions and as a result both have been corrupted.
Christian libertarians argue that their stance emphasizes free will, which is an important aspect of the Bible, in all areas of political policy even in those that they may personally and morally disagree with.
Theodore Beale, columnist at World Net Daily and reportedly a Southern Baptist, argues in favor of libertarian thought and its consistency with Christianity:
Libertarianism is not inherently godless. In fact, it is the only political philosophy that is truly in accordance with Christianity, argued Beale. The Christian religion posits an all-powerful God who nevertheless permits humanity to turn its back on Him. This shows an extreme respect for free will and for the very sort of individual choice that is banned by Democrats and Republicans alike as they attempt to enforce their will upon the people through the power of government.
Many Christian libertarians go on to dispute the argument that the federal ban on murder and theft has anything to do with morality. Christian libertarian scholars often state that while murder and theft are indeed issues of morality, they are also issues of individual liberties which is the real reason why the government has the right to ban them. On the flip side, adultery and drinking can be considered issues of morality within the Christian Church, but because they do not infringe upon the individual liberties of others, they cannot practically be banned. After all, many Christian libertarians argue, the government went down that road with prohibition and that law turned out to be the ultimate failure.
So while some extreme aspects of libertarianism might argue for a more anarchist society, Christian libertarians generally recognize the need for limits.
The basic principle of libertarianism is not anarchic. There are real limits, said Beale. My free will ends where yours begins. Neither the community nor I have any claim whatsoever on your property or your life. And a libertarian legal system would be structured around that principle.
Count me first in.
The worst thing that ever happened to Christianity is when the cause was taken up by Constantine, beginning the persecution of pagans by “Christians”, of Christians by each other and wars to spread “Chritianity”.
The legitimate use of government is to protect people from each other, not to protect people from themselves regardless of the indirect effects. It is the responsibility of the churches without coercion to save bodies and souls.
So that makes me a Christian who politically is for a Constitutional Republic and economically a Libertarian.
Happy New Year to all
"Oh yeah," says Barack Obama/Cass Sunstein's libertarian paternalism.
Libertarianism that comes with czar and fetters.
Obama's regulatory czar Cass R. Sunstein (a former employee of the U.of Chicago and Harvard) writes:
"The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice."
"Often people's preferences are ill-formed . . . In these circumstances, a form of paternalism cannot be avoided [to overcome the decision-makers' limited knowledge and just plain stupidity otherwise known as] bounded rationality . . . libertarian paternalists should attempt to steer people's choices in welfare-promoting directions without eliminating freedom of choice . . . It is also possible to show how a libertarian paternalist might select among the possible options and to assess how much choice to offer." [End of quotes]
IOW Cass R. Sunstein and the Obamanists decide the options from among which you are permitted to choose. You get to be a libertarian! and they get to be the czar and fetters. What a deal!
Libertarian paternalism comes with "nudging" -- another of czar Sunstein's fetters.
The regulatory czar intends us to be "nudged" into choosing the "correct" option from the limited options presented to us by the government. Both Parties will love this, I am sure.
Aided by the MSM and all aspects of "the Establishment" -- they will not publicize unacceptable options. So if we do not hear of them do they exist? No.
And I remember. It was pretty much that way in the days of the "Fairness Doctrine" with three TV networks being the source of "news" for the major portion of the public. I have read many comments wishing to return to those days when there was very little "divisiveness."
BTW, Sunstein has in the past specifically condemned Free Republic as bad for democracy.
I have to disagree with him, inasmuch as in the United States, we, the people are the ruler. And according to Romans 13, we would not be so, unless God willed it.
I am a Christian. I base my faith on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
I can also be called a Conservative, but only because my beliefs come from Christ and the Scripture, and they produce in me what can only be described as a Conservative worldview.
Jesus is not a Conservative. He is not a Progressive.
He is the Word made flesh - the Way, the Truth and the Life. The one and only God.
I understand that when Jesus told us to render unto Caeser that which belonged to Caeser, he used the man's image on the coin to illustrate, and that it merely meant that the earthly things were of no meaningful consequence compared to the eternal afterlife.
Consider my politics as Constitutional conservative, libertarianism. Defend original Constitution context to the letter, biased with maximum liberty for all.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and executive editor of The Christian Post, said that of course libertarians can be Christians but so can racists.
How "generous" of Dr. Land.
I'm tempted to haul out my copy of Jacques Ellul's Anarchy and Christianity, to make his head thoroughly spin. (Ellul's anarchy was the Euroleft communitarian claptrap type, not American style an-cap.)
I have libertarian sympathies, in this era of ever growing state power, but libertarianism has a utopian streak that needs to take account of the Christian teachings of the Fall, original sin and depravity.
Will I ever learn that therell be no peace,
that the war wont cease Until He returns?
“it is the only political philosophy that is truly in accordance with Christianity,”
In line with one of the basic Baptist concepts, i.e., “personal (or individual) soul liberty”.
Guess we probably disagree. For without the infusion of Judeau-Christian culture, liberty is without context.
“The worst thing that ever happened to Christianity is when the cause was taken up by Constantine, beginning the persecution of pagans by Christians, of Christians by each other and wars to spread Chritianity.”
That is one of the worst canards that has led to a twisted leftist narrative of Christianity. Constantine’s conversion and official acceptance of Christianity was far more nuanced than your one-liner states.
All Constantine did in the Edict of Milan was declare religious toleration and give back land confiscated under previous persecutions. That is far from the “persecution” of pagans, unless you consider taking properties given to pagans during the persecution back to Christians as “persecution of pagans.” Constantine himself was not baptized until he was dying, and was baptized by a bishop who was declared a heretic by the First Ecumenical Council, a council Constantine called, the conclusions of which he disagreed, yet he did not suppress.
It wasn’t until later emperors that real abuses started occurring, most often when the emperors accepted heretical doctrines and tried to suppress the Church. There are, however, plenty of *other* examples of later problems with the Byzantine marriage of Church and state.
Well, my FRiend, that makes you a small l libertarian, like myself.... what the anti libertarian people fail to realize is that abiding by the constitution (strickly) does not cause anarchy and chaos... it merely put the power back into the states hands, which is in the power of the local governments, which puts it back in the peoples hands.... If nevada wants legalized prostitution, and the people vote it in, so be it.... if texas wants it outlawed, and the people vote it in, so be it... it not up to the federal government to regulate people’s lives, it is the people that regulate their own lives... and when somebody starts up on murder or some other crap, my freedom has not right to infringe upon your freedom
Iowa’s most popular and influential radio talk show host, Jan Mickelson, describes himself as a ‘Christian Libertarian’.
Christian libertarian is an oxymoron, as explained here:
Submission to Governing Authorities
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is Gods servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Gods servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Gods servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
So was Obama's election God's will? I have a feeling that Christians who defer to the Bible chapter and verse on some issues will suddenly discover (once again) that this is not at all what God meant.
I do not pretend to be a biblical scholar, but one cannot just cherry pick sentences with taking said sentence in context. The same goes for the bible, except that the context involves the entire bible, not just one book, chapter or verse. I usually disregard the verse pickers, because individual verses can be twisted or distorted to mean whatever one intends it to mean. It is an all or nothing proposition... you have presented a very sound argument, which means you will probably get flamed, but I support you and your argument...
My only point is that due to the wonderfully elastic and nuanced procedure we call “interpretation,” the Bible seems to mean whatever anyone wants it to mean.
So when you look at Romans 13 and Obama, what do you think?
Pope John Paul II in a wide ranging Centesimus Magnus 1991
...By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need...
Are there really that many Christian Libertarians? Most Libertarians I know are agnostics or atheists.
Whoever wrote this piece must have been a progressive /leftist Christian. the piece sounded squishy ok until they gave the Biblical justification for Christian libertarianism
speaking of Love.But ignoring the manifold passages of Scripture that speak of “marriage” in terms solely of the union of one man and one woman _as did Moses in Genesis 1: and 2: ; In the fullness of time Jesus ,that Rabbi from Nazareth,
cites Moses ,at the beginning in speaking o f”marriage” and “divorce” , and the Apostle Paul likewise cites the Genesis
model in his to the Church at Corinth. (1 Corinthians 6: ) and again in his letter to the Church at Ephasis ,Ephesians 5: -None of them can be understood to defend same sex marriage. That “marriage was originally a States Rights issue —and that every State originally penalized sodomy and
followed the Biblical penalty for such .And as every State seems to have in their establishment seems to have adopted the Biblical model of Matrimony being defined as the union of a man and a woman. And as the series of legal decisions 1878-1890 that seem to have led the Mormon Church to revelation they claimed from God /via their Prophets to reconsider the Church position concerning Marriage thus allowing Utah enter the union of States as equal. I am sorry but this article seems so full of holes that the boat wont float.The passage quoted as Bible justification for the
position supposed the term was NOT understood as it is too often abused today (Love being confused-sometimes deliberately with lust/ or convenience/ or political- social power and acceptance) I cannot claim to Love one in
danger of being consumed in the fire Unless I do whatever necessary to pull them out of harms way.Hating the very garment defiled by sin.
Study the political Sermon of 1776 by Samuel West “On the Right to Rebel” (the Patriots Handbook ,George Grant Editor,Cumberland House publishers 1996 ppb.pp119-152.To see
Romans 13: put in proper perspective - in my view) To answer your question was O put in the WhiteHouse by God.I submit if he was it was done in judgement for a nation that has chosen for its leaders men were not just nor would rule in fear of God as Noah Webster suggested in his history of the United States -and compatible with comments made during the ratification of our Constitution that Nations cannot be judged in the next world so must be this. By inevitable chain of cause and effect Providence punishes national sins by national calamaties.” And the 0 certainly seems a national calamaty.
I need to add —in rereading the piece I see it only Mr.B. I disagree with in his Biblical justification. But Dr.Land I believe makes the stronger case.
God sometimes puts evil rulers in power to punish a sinful country. Here is an example from scripture:
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Jeremiah 25
Nebuchadnezzar was evil and yet was called God's servant, because God chose him to carry out his judgment. An excellent book on this subject is SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY, by Watchman Nee.
To me, this sounds much like what a friend noted some years ago. Many people who self-identify as “anarchists” are inclined to hyphenate “what kind” of anarchist they claim to be, often in very oxymoronic ways.
For example: “socialist-anarchist”, “communist-anarchist”, “capitalist-anarchist”, “libertarian-anarchist”, “democratic-anarchist”, etc. And yes, “Christian-anarchist” as well.
The term anarchist itself is from the time of the English Civil War, and was meant as a term of derision by the Royalists against their Roundhead opponents. It really got legs in the revolutions of 1848, no longer a term of derision, but as a generalized anti-government meaning.
However, Christianity has similar hyphenation corruptions, one of which, I suppose, could be called “Christian-libertarianism”. But that is very divorced from Christianity at its roots.
Early Christianity had in its early centuries only two forms: hierarchical and gnostic. Any accurate modern hyphenation has to take these two forms into account. Either they are directed from the Christian hierarchy, or they are individual interpretations to only apply to those who choose to follow them.
Such behavior should perhaps be shunned, participants ostracized from polite society and spoken against openly and vigorously, both in the public and in private spheres.
Just an opinion
Key qualifiers that Paul, via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, included in the text.
Rom 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.
One could argue from verse 3 above, that rulers who do not punish only those who do wrong, are not to be considered established by God. The implication of the entire treatise is that of a ruler who is aligned with the "right" that God has revealed in the scriptures.
This disqualifies the liberals from being considered rulers.
All this talk about Constantine ignores history because the Roman state returned to persecuting orthodox Christians.
The Council of Nicaea was rejected by Constantine’s heirs who adhered to the Arian heresy.
The honor of who made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire fell upon Theodosius the Great in the 380 A.D.
The Constantine myth is simplistic because Christianity became the states religion of the Armenian kingdom, which fell outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire in 301 A.D.
Not to mention Ethiopia’s accession of Christianity in the mid-4th century.
Constantine is just a good boogey man for Evangelicals to latch onto as part of anti-Catholic mythology.
Not looking to argue, but with your post are you trying to say that Obama and Sunstein are “libertarians”? It’s the only reason I can fathom for your post making sense on this thread.
Be aware - as you probably already know - liberal/progressives LOVE to adopt terms and change their meaning over time (look at the “current/modern” definition of socialism and communism being taught in the universities at this time - it’s NOT the same as we were taught). There is absolutely NO WAY that Obama and Sunstein are in favor of anything close to the true definition of libertarianism as a political or personal philosophy.
That's the point.
I guess I failed to 'splain it -- or the Obama and Sunstein approach is so foreign that it is unbelievable. But it is not.
Sunstein, et al. "intellectuals" are behavioral economists. They are bringing to government what Madison Avenue -- enhanced by science -- does to get you to buy and believe anything. (I do not literally mean you personally.)
As I stated I recall the days when those very conditions existed simply by chance -- to wit, the implementation of TV over radio (we got our first TV in 1949) and the existence of the "Fairness Doctrine."
Americans by the tens of millions got hooked on the fascination of TV and came to depend upon it more than anything else for news. The three networks controlled -- as I noted above there are many on the left who pine for those days because they abhor divisiveness -- that is to say, they want total control and no opposition. Sunstein, et al. do call that libertarianism whether anyone likes it or not.
You probably did not see it in my reply above but it is true: Sunstein in the past has publicly named Free Republic as a danger to democracy. (Yes his definition of democracy is not what we accept but he calls it democracy anyway not caring one whit what the "masses" think.)
Strange God didn't give them a heads-up as to what they should do if they had a "wrong" ruler.You'd think He'd have thought of that. Made it clear, you know? Or maybe there's a quote in there about the proper way to rebel...? Is there?
Matt 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead mens bones and all uncleanness.
John 2:15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers money and overturned the tables.
But were scribes and Pharisees political leaders? I thought they were writers and lawyers and such.
Some commands are easier to judge than others. Remember, many people considered the war in Iraq immoral. (I'm not saying I did, I'm just saying that what constitutes immoral is often a judgment call, and even believers don't always agree.)