In my personal life, one of the very few things that politically active Christians can seem to agree on is how one can be a Christian and a Libertarian. Most amusing is that I have gotten this question even from those who accept that one can be a faithful Christian and a Democrat or a Republican. Because I have gotten tired of trying to explain the basics of this to those who ask, I have decided to indeed blog it out so that I can simply post a link.
The very basic principal of Libertarian politics is minimum government and maximum personal freedom. You also need to understand that, much like Republicans and Democrats, there is not a monolithic set of beliefs that every Libertarian buy into. I will attempt to use a couple of issues to demonstrate how it is that I can be a Libertarian and a Christian and how those two things are actually complementary to me.
Let’s just start with everyone’s favorite topic these days, LGBTQ matters. I support the ability of same gendered couples to marry, though I do not believe it to be a constitutional right. I also do not agree with the SCOTUS decision as I find it to be a federal overreach and seizure of power over what has always been handled by individual states. I also support moving toward getting the government out of the marriage business altogether. I see no reason for the licensing fees, for all the legal wrangling that comes from it, for all the tax breaks and penalties, etc. That is ultimately where I think that we, as a nation, should be headed. As a Christian, this works well for me. Marriage, in a Christian sense, has little, if anything, to do with the government. So long as the government continues to legislate marriage, I believe that the church should not perform legal, civil weddings. Blame it on Luther, he gave me the idea. I do not believe that a same gendered marriage is pleasing or acceptable in the eyes of God. There are a slew of reasons for this that are not applicable for this piece. I simply do not think that my personal moral conviction, as well as the belief of the church catholic throughout history until very recently, should prevent someone else from living the life they please. The question is not what would Jesus do, but who would Jesus force. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him or to live a life that was holy and pleasing to God. He called those who believed to do so. He called those who believe to share the good news. He did not call those who believe to legislate near as I can tell.
Moving on, let’s talk about drugs since that is where many Libertarians get hammered. I find illegal drug use to be a scourge on society. It causes enormous health problems to those who use them and their families. Drug crime has gone a long way toward filling our justice system and costs us huge amounts of money. The drug trade also gives rise to illegal cartels in and out of the US that cause extreme violence and in many areas supports slavery in the form of forced labor of people in local areas to plant, harvest, and refine the drugs. Much like prohibition before it, we have created a black market for illegal drugs that enables all of the above problems. In short, while I believe that the drugs currently classified as illegal are horrible and a scourge, I do not believe it is the government’s job to protect us from ourselves. Will legalizing drugs mean that there is no underground market? Of course not, but ti will severely limit it’s size and scope. Much like we saw with alcohol, once allowed, the industry will come out of the shadows and the violence that plagues it will drastically lesson both here and abroad. So I think that Jesus supports drug use? Nope, not even a little bit. In fact, I think that if He were here today, His greatest miracles might just be healing heroin addicts that are slowly killing themselves because they can not stop. Books like “The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization” are beginning to explore and show how many of the drugs we outlaw today were used with some regularity in ancient history. That does not mean it was good, or bad for that matter, but it does mean it is not a new thing. All of the laws and programs that we have now have done little to stem the tide of drug use, and there is a good argument to be made that it has increased it. Do I support anyone using narcotics? No, I do not. Do I think it is wise to legislate against it creating a criminal economy and criminalizing self destructive behavior? No not really.
My hope is that these two things will give an overview of the ideas that I hold politically. I do think that a same sex couple should be able to have a legal civil marriage. I also think that a baker should be able to refuse to bake them a cake. I do think that narcotics use is dangerous to an individual, but I do not believe that it is the government’s job to protect me from myself. I do not support regulatory agencies. If anything, they should be limited to the ability to suggest legislation to congress, not write it themselves. I do think that our legal code is way to complex for the average person to follow and as such leads to selective enforcement which is a form of tyranny. There are more areas. I welcome questions about my beliefs and such, but the reality of it is this. I can be a Libertarian and a Christian. Just like you who are reading this can be a Republican or Democrat and a Christian. For me, the popular question of what would Jesus do is a good, if basic, guide for personal living. Socially, the question is what what Jesus force someone to do. That list of things is very small in my estimation.