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Title: The Christian Case For Libertarianism
Source: The Federalist
URL Source: http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/16 ... stian-case-for-libertarianism/
Published: Dec 26, 2015
Author: Brian Hawkins
Post Date: 2018-07-09 09:21:11 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 217
Comments: 8

The evils of government threaten all people, but ought to be particularly concerning to Christians.

Ronald Reagan once said, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” With the Christian Right now taking up the banner of religious liberty in the face of an onslaught by the secular Left, evangelical conservatives should heed Reagan’s words and consider libertarianism as a palatable governing philosophy to advance their interests.

In his book, “Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements” (2004), George Woodcock defines libertarianism as: “A political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association, and the primacy of individual judgment.”

Libertarianism is the natural political ideology for Christians because it promotes individual freedom. 1 Peter 2:16 reads, “As freemen, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” Men free from the chains of government can maximize our liberties to help our fellow man through private charity and evangelism.

When government is limited, man becomes subject to the will of God as opposed to the will of man. Government weakens intimate bonds between the individual and the family, replaces individual charity with coerced redistribution, and uses the threat of violence against person and property in order to dictate the behavior of private individuals. The evils of government threaten all people, but ought to be particularly concerning to Christians.

Charity Is Individual and Freely Chosen

Compassionate conservatives and Christian progressives alike have cited the gospels as justification for the welfare state, most recently GOP presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his defense of expanding Medicaid in his state. Yes, Jesus called us to love our neighbors, help the poor, feed the hungry, and tend to the sick; however, these are commands to individuals, not to the state.

Compassionate justifications for the welfare state are illegitimate because true compassion is based out of one’s personal generosity.

When the state attempts the role of charity, its only means of doing so is through physical force. To support its welfare state, government must tax private citizens, and quite heavily. If a citizen refuses to pay taxes, the government must resort to violence and imprisonment to force the dissenter to comply.

Furthermore, charity is to be done through the kindness of one’s heart. Compassionate justifications for the welfare state are illegitimate because true compassion is based out of one’s personal generosity, not being forced to be “generous” by some distant government figure.

Before Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal established the welfare state and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society expanded it, the church and private individuals handled charity. Adult children took care of their elderly parents. Local churches used their tithes to feed the hungry and take care of their sick church members.

Today, however, the state has usurped many of the roles family and the church once played, eliminating most of the personal charity private citizens had offered. According to a study by the American Legislative Exchange Council (where I am employed), of the ten states with the highest amounts of charitable giving since 1997, four levy no income tax at all.

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Despite well-intentioned intrusions by the government, the national poverty rate has remained static, as noted in the figure below.

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Sometimes, It’s Okay to Disobey Government

One might argue that Jesus Christ’s command in Matthew 22:21—“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”—exhorts Christians to dutifully pay their taxes and follow the laws of man. On the contrary, in Acts 4, state officials ordered the apostles John and Peter to cease preaching the gospel. John responded at verse 19, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Christ is concerned with Christians’ relations with their neighbors, not their relations with the state.

This seems to suggest that there is a point at which Christians may disobey their earthly rulers. Rather, the point of the passage in Matthew 22 seems less about whether men should obey their earthly rulers but more that God has no interest in manmade institutions. Christ is concerned with Christians’ relations with their neighbors, not their relations with the state.

This is where government becomes a problem. Too often government prevents Christians from doing their Christian duties. When the government levies taxes, we have less money to help the poor. When government restricts religious speech, we cannot evangelize. When government welfare policy encourages single-parenthood through financial incentives, the family is weakened. When government distributes Social Security checks, adult children neglect their responsibilities to their elderly parents. When government mandates that religious organizations provide contraceptives to their employees, we are forced to destroy God’s greatest gift—life.

Original Sin Implies Limited Government

Traditional Christian theology proffers that man is inherently sinful. Man’s inherent original sin makes no person among us just, pure, or wise enough to govern other men. Too often we have found ourselves disappointed by politicians, kings, and other legal authorities. The rational response, therefore, is not to make more strict laws or to increase legal oversight. Rather, it should be to limit government power.

Whether it is government forcing charity or banning social vices, it cannot make man better.

Moreover, man is not made virtuous through the law. In Romans 6:14-15, Paul explicitly states that man is saved by grace, not by the law. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” If religious law cannot make man virtuous, then man’s political laws are certainly incapable of doing so.

Whether it is government forcing charity or banning social vices, it cannot make man better. Instead, only the grace of Jesus Christ liberates man from sinful and socially damaging behaviors. Consequently, Christians ought to be extremely hesitant and skeptical of government attempts to codify Christian morality into the law.

Anarchy, However, Isn’t On the Table

This is not to suggest that government does not have a role in our lives. Government’s most important duty is to protect its citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and property. Government is there to do the things that we as individuals cannot do, such as enforcing contracts and providing for the common defense. As prescribed by the Old Testament book of Judges, when two private parties have a legal or monetary dispute, it is the role of state-appointed judges to justly settle the claims.

To preserve liberty, the government must be able to defend against threats on liberty.

Also, as individuals, we are incapable of individually defending ourselves against foreign and domestic aggression, so the government can rightly raise a standing military and police force. To preserve liberty, the government must be able to defend against threats on liberty. Taxation should only be used to support these proper functions of government. Any further use of tax dollars is illegitimate and amounts to legalized plunder.

When the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion, church and state were dangerously intertwined, weakening the Christian faith. Christians were subject to their earthly kings and clergy as opposed to the direct will of God. Fortunately, the Protestant Reformation and the Glorious Revolution in sixteenth-century England cut the ties of the Christian church and the government. Yet, contrary to conventional belief at the time, Christianity only became stronger.

Today, many Christians and non-Christians assume that a Christian government means a government that forces a particular religious belief on its citizens. Christ, however, never used coercion to convert nonbelievers.

As the Christian Right does some soul searching in the political wilderness, to remain relevant in political discourse Christians must reconcile our commitment to Biblical morality with a changing political environment. Christians should embrace a libertarian governing philosophy that frees us to do God’s will through free association with our fellow men, not by coercion of the state.

Brian Hawkins is the policy coordinator at the American Legislative Exchange Council. Brian graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2011 with a BA in political science. Upon graduation, Brian commissioned into the U.S. Army, where he deployed to South Korea and Afghanistan. The views expressed are his own.
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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

Fortunately, the Protestant Reformation and the Glorious Revolution in sixteenth-century England cut the ties of the Christian church and the government.

This is so stupid.

The Protestant Reformation and Glorious Revolution in no sense whatever cut the ties of the Christian church and the government. To say it did is to be an ignoramus.

The Protestant Reformation in England made the King of England the head of the Church. Today Queen Elizabeth is still that: the head of the Church of England. England is a Confessional State. It has an Established Religion: the Church of England, and the reigning monarch is the head of that Church.

The Reformation in England resulted in the King of England REPLACING the Pope as the head of the Christian Church in England. It never had one single thing, in England, to do with separation of church and state. In fact, the Church in England is PART OF the government.

The problem with getting a fact like this one wrong is that it essentially lights off a bomb in the hold of the rest of the argument. If the author is THIS much of an ignorant fool regarding history, everything else that he might have to say can easily just be written off as a fairy tale.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-07-09   11:24:13 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Vicomte13 (#1) (Edited)

The Protestant Reformation and Glorious Revolution in no sense whatever cut the ties of the Christian church and the government. To say it did is to be an ignoramus.

There was no longer a fight over whether Catholicism or Anglicanism would be the exclusive religion of the state. While Anglicanism won that fight, at the same time you saw the emergence of Quakers, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and eventually Baptists and Methodists and other non-Anglican and non-Catholic churches. Not always peacefully but increasingly tolerated by the English establishment.

The English Reformation did introduce tolerance for non-state churches. Eventually the laws that restricted Catholics -- Anglicanism's main rival -- were lifted in a reform movement.

You do have a point about the writer's carelessness in his phrasing. There are times when one clumsy sentence can almost ruin an otherwise decent essay. Part of being a professional writer is never to publish such sentences.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-07-09   12:59:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Tooconservative (#2)

The Presbyterian Church is, likewise, the Established Church of Scotland. Queen Elizabeth is the Protectress of that Church also.

And the Lutheran Church is the Established Church of various Scandinavian countries.

The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Wars of the Reformation in Germany, did not proclaim freedom of conscience, but the opposite - the two sides agreed that conformity with the religion of the ruling prince was of paramount importance and superseded individual conscience. Thus, the Protestant princes all agreed that all Protestants in all German states ruled by Catholic princes were obligated to convert to Catholicism, and the Catholic princes agreed that all Catholics in all German states ruled by Protestant princes were obligated to convert to Protestantism. The Reformation wars ended by a treaty that recognized that the religion of every person in a given state was to be determined by the religion of the prince of that state, and that individual conscience was treason if the individual determined to defy his prince to become, say, a Protestant in a Catholic kingdom, or a Catholic in a Protestant kingdom.

Thus ended the Reformation, with the firm rule that individuals had no right whatever to religious conscience, and that their religion was of right determined by their ruling prince. Catholic prince, Catholic subjects, Protestant prince, Protestant subjects.

Accept, convert - or emigrate or die. Thus did America fill up with the religious recusants of Europe's pragmatic solution to the problem of church and state.

And in the American colonies, each colony had ITS Established Religion also. Some of the states retained theirs into the 1800s.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-07-09   13:24:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Deckard (#0)

When government is limited, man becomes subject to the will of God as opposed to the will of man.

When government is limited or absent, man becomes subject to the will of the baddest son of a bitch in the valley.

nolu chan  posted on  2018-07-09   16:22:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard (#0)

The evils of government threaten all people, but ought to be particularly concerning to Christians.
Romans 13:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV) -
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Gatlin  posted on  2018-07-09   17:39:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Gatlin (#5)

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?

Romans 13 -- Are Christians Required To Submit To Government Edict and Policy 100% of The Time?

A close exegesis of Romans 13 reveals that today's Christians have been deceived into thinking they must unquestioningly submit to their government leader, and further feel that any protest is equivalent to being a traitor.

Notice that civil government must not be a "terror to good works." It has no power or authority to terrorize good works or good people. God never gave it that authority. And any government that oversteps that divine boundary has no divine authority or protection.

Civil government is a "minister of God to thee for good." It is a not a minister of God for evil. Civil magistrates have a divine duty to "execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." They have no authority to execute wrath upon him that doeth good. None. Zilch. Zero. And anyone who says they do is lying.

So, even in the midst of telling Christians to submit to civil authority, Romans Chapter 13 limits the power and reach of civil authority.

Did Moses violate God's principle of submission to authority when he killed the Egyptian taskmaster in defense of his fellow Hebrew?

Did Elijah violate God's principle of submission to authority when he openly challenged Ahab and Jezebel?

Did David violate God's principle of submission to authority when he refused to surrender to Saul's troops?

Did Daniel violate God's principle of submission to authority when he disobeyed the king's law to not pray audibly to God?

Did the three Hebrew children violate God's principle of submission to authority when they refused to bow to the image of the state?

Did John the Baptist violate God's principle of submission to authority when he publicly scolded King Herod for his infidelity?

Did Simon Peter and the other Apostles violate God's principle of submission to authority when they refused to stop preaching on the streets of Jerusalem?

Did Paul violate God's principle of submission to authority when he refused to obey those authorities who demanded that he abandon his missionary work? In fact, Paul spent almost as much time in jail as he did out of jail.

Remember that every apostle of Christ (except John) was killed by hostile civil authorities opposed to their endeavors. Christians throughout church history were imprisoned, tortured, or killed by civil authorities of all stripes for refusing to submit to their various laws and prohibitions. Did all of these Christian martyrs violate God's principle of submission to authority?

So, even the great prophets, apostles, and writers of the Bible (including the writer of Romans Chapter 13) understood that human authority--even civil authority--is limited.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Trump: My People Should ‘Sit Up in Attention’ Like Kim Jong-un’s Staff.

Deckard  posted on  2018-07-09   18:29:13 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: nolu chan (#4)

When government is limited or absent, man becomes subject to the will of the baddest son of a bitch in the valley.

Limited government does not mean "absent" government.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Trump: My People Should ‘Sit Up in Attention’ Like Kim Jong-un’s Staff.

Deckard  posted on  2018-07-09   18:30:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Deckard (#6) (Edited)

A close exegesis of Romans 13 reveals that today's Christians have been deceived into thinking they must unquestioningly submit to their government leader, and further feel that any protest is equivalent to being a traitor.
Romans 13 reveals NO such thing. The author, Brian Hawkins, is trying to make you believe that. Who is Brian Hawkins?
Brian Hawkins is currently employed as a Senior Public Policy Analyst for Koch Industries. He previously served on the American Legislative Exchange Council at the Charles Koch Institute.
What we have here, Christians, is obviously a libertarian propagandist trying to brainwash Christians with his own beliefs and promote his version of libertarianism.

Libertarians would love to have naïve Christians start to believe and act like they are “traitors.”

“For such people [libertarians] are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By [libertarians’] smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” ~ Romans 16:18 - New International Version.
Christians must always look at a “libertarian Christian” as an oxymoron to Christians.

I trust Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, more that I turst Brian Hawkins, a libertarian propagandist for the Koch Industies. Albert Mohler has said that you cannot be both a faithful Christian and a libertarian.

Libertarianism is easily defined only by exaltation of the ego, with freedom from all moral restraints, including even secular humanism. Therefore Christians cannot find these ideals to be in line with a God-centric faith. Libertarian political philosophy simply does not correlate with what the Bible says about the authority of government, therefore the libertarian’s strong emphasis on individual rights can violate the common good.

Scripture does not say Christians must unquestionably submit to their government and feel hat any protest being a traitor.

Read agsin, carefully, what Romans 13:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Gatlin  posted on  2018-07-09   19:58:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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