Why Every Christian Should Be a Libertarian




By Paul Cook

A side effect of living in the Bible Belt my entire life is that I believed that if you were a Christian, it was given that politically, you were a Republican. That’s not such a bad thing to believe. It’s not that inaccurate. I didn’t meet my first non-republican Christian till I was 19. So it was a pretty safe assumption.

When I started studying Political Science in college, my views starting to shift drastically, I started leaning neither right nor left. At that time, I didn’t really know what Libertarianism was. All of my professors were staunch liberals (Shocker). You were either Liberal or you were wrong. I remember sitting in my Poli Sci class as my fellow students talked of how terrible republicans were and how Obama would “change” everything (This was during the fall of 08, so no one knew the dumpster fire he would turn into). I had no idea, while sitting in that class, that the annoyance of having everyone’s solution to every political issue be more regulations and government intervention, would shape my future political beliefs so much.

It was easy for my once conservative view points to slowly, over several years, drift into a brand of “Conservatarianism” so to speak. Once I learned more about Libertarians, I wanted to jump ship. I wanted to say “Screw you, GOP!” and just leap. But something was holding me back. How could I be a Christian, and not a conservative? I knew Democratic Christians existed, but they were seen as either old timey “JFK Democrats” or as new age hipster Christians. Neither view point yielded any positivity in main stream Christian circles. Especially in my area. To be transparent, I was almost too scared to admit that I didn’t fall under the stereotypical Christian political umbrella. But I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized two things that kept me from being a Republican or a Democrat.




First, as a Christian, I cannot expect the government to legislate morality. Not a single bill will ever change someone’s heart. That’s Jesus’ job. Not mine. Not the government’s. Legislating morality is a common practice whenever you have an R behind your name and you live in Washington.

Christians as a whole are the reason this not only happens, but is why it is so common. Forcing people to act according to your own beliefs is not only ineffective, it is un-American. Although some of our founding fathers were Christian, they made sure to allow others to be whatever they wanted. That is what we are founded on. As Christians, we should not make people to do what we believe as right, via force.

In the same way that many times the strictest parents produce the wildest offspring, morality by force will produce rebellion and resentment. God never wanted people to be forced to obey Him. If that was the case, free will would not be a thing, and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. It is downright impossible to show people the love of God by forcing them to not sin. That’s not how that works.

Think of it as the “Don’t look down” predicament. If someone tells you not to, you’re going to look down. If you tell people they can’t do something that you deem as immoral, or men with guns will come take them away, then they are just going to want to do it even more. Not to mention it distorts and twists people’s views of God. He becomes someone who just wants people to not have fun. Not someone who loves them.

By legislating morality, you’re distorting the image of God. Telling people they cannot do something due to our religious beliefs goes farther than just being against the values our country was founded on. It tells people that we, along with Christ, are focusing on their sin, and not them as a person. You will never change a single heart or mind by legislating the Gospel. God wants people’s hearts out of love. Not fear. Fear will only go so far before it transforms into rebellion.

Second, it’s not the government’s job to do what Jesus told us to do; help the needy. This, along with a few other things, is what kept me from being a “Left-Christian”. The idea that we’re doing God’s work by supporting government welfare is ludicrous. You paying your involuntary taxes, is not doing a good deed. You’re not helping the poor by doing something that you have no choice over.

Jesus was not a socialist. Jesus did not tell his disciples to have the Romans feed the hungry. He told them to. You cannot require Uncle Sam to take money from the rich and give to the poor and think you’re doing God’s work. He doesn’t want you to take money from one group of people by force and give it to another. That’s not Christianity. That’s theft.

The reason I believe that the only political belief system that works with Christianity is libertarianism is simple; you cannot give a job that Christ gave to us over to the government, and you cannot take something that only Jesus can do and expect the government to do it. Libertarianism is the only world view that allows for people to make their own choices and to be truly free. One of the first things God did was give humanity free will. I believe that Freedom and Liberty are close to God’s heart. And Libertarians are the group that wants that the most. For everyone. Not just Americans. And that is why I am a libertarian.

  • “I didn’t meet my first non-republican Christian till I was 19.”

    I know what you mean…I went through the same process and hung around the same people. But now that I don’t care much anymore about what those folks think of me, I would offer a friendly argument that you probably met your FIRST true Christian when you were 19. In fact, you probably know very few true Christians today. I say that because I no longer believe that one becomes a Christian by saying some magic words and having an emotional feeling. That’s a bit of brainwashing we’ve received by state corporations commonly known as “churches”. But most of the folks in those state corporations called churches…
    – Sought the blessing of false gods (the state) over their marriages.
    – Pray to false gods to certify the birth of their children.
    – Sell their children into servitude for a social security number for the sake of a tax credit.
    – Covet their neighbor’s goods by demanding their child’s education be paid for (public education).
    – And on and on.

    Yes, these seems like impossibly high standards. And the fact is that I don’t qualify as a Christian by first century standards. But at least I’m aware of the problem (as are many libertarians/anarchists) and I am striving to move in the right direction.

    References:

    First century Christians were called atheists because they had social welfare support structures that were not dependent upon the gods of the nations in which they lived…
    http://preparingyou.com/wiki/Atheist
    http://preparingyou.com/wiki/Gods

    If today’s state corporations called churches understood the ancient texts that have come to be called the Bible the way the first Christians understood them, here’s an example of what the attendees might be hearing every Sunday… Bastard’s Summary of the Bible

  • James Dodson

    I don’t like your first premise… I think you, and alot of republicans have a distorted view on the reason for pushing for laws that enforce christian morality. Lets take homosexual marriage as the example.

    I don’t want the legalization of homosexual marriage because I believe in God’s universal truths. God has clearly said that man and women should be together. He created man and women to be together. In God’s infinite wisdom, he knew that the most optimal arrangement for us is that man and women would be together. And as Christians, we should believe the same… that the most optimal arrangement is that man and women would be together.

    Now if you have that belief, and you believe that the best way for people to live is with man and wife…. Then why wouldn’t you support legislation for that. And to go further… the bible explicilty condemns homosexual relationships. So, not only does the bible say that heterosexual relationships are optimal, but that homosexual relationships are not optimal.

    So, as a voter… It comes down to, do i believe in the universal truths god has established. As a voter i want the best for my country… and i believe that the best for the country is to follow the truths established in the bible. I am not voting republican because i want to force the gays to behave better…. I am voting republican because i beleive that God has created systems that work more optimally when followed.

    So, where you take a negative approach to “legislating morality”, i take a positive approach. I respect the fact that not everyone has to have a personal relationship with my god… but i still think its valuable to vote for people that promote the universal truths God has created.

    • joenichols

      Should marriage be a government issue at all? Its a religious covenant and it should be up to the pastor, rabbi, deacon, etc with the government being silent on the issue. Marriage licenses are created to keep blacks and whites from intermarrying in the south.

      • James Dodson

        What does interracial relationships have to do with anything? And what about the south??? are blacks and whites not allowed to marry in the south?

        And yes, marriage should be a government issue, and christians should want it to be a government issue. Like i said, we should want the governments rules and regulations to best reflect the rules and regulations of the bible. We need to look at the “rules” in the bible not as god punitivley giving us arbitrary hoops we need to jump through… but we need to see rules in the bible as god guiding us to live the best lives we can. We need to believe that “moral” living is the best way to live for all people to live, regardless if they have faith.

        • klaasman

          I will answere this with 2 very brief questions:
          #1. Would a “moral” government be required to very strictly adhere to it’s Constitution and the restrictions it apply to government?

          2. Where in the Constitution is the Federal Government granted the authority to legislate morality? (Specifically, Marriage?)

          Answer these two questions first, then we can move on to your thoughts on government and morality. This is the test our government SHOULD give EVERY issue before moving forward with any legislation.

          • James Dodson

            Look, i’m looking at this as more of religious issue… I’m talking more about what should Christians do. You are obviously passionate about being libertarian. I understand that you would like to minimize the government and have them not regulate things like marriage… But guess what? That’s simply not the world we live in, nor will it ever be.

            Asking if the government should regulate marriage is a mute point because they currently do, and that is not even close to changing. I’m far more concerned about how a christian needs to identify themselves in our current world.

          • christlike07

            EXACTLY! If we call ourselves a Christian (a TRUE Christian), God’s laws will be most important to us, and his laws DO cover more than another person’s personal liberties. Simple morality is covered in the Word of God for a reason. The hypocrisy of this authors point is that… The same Libertarian parent that says that laws aren’t needed as long as they don’t violate another person’s liberties will tell his/her own children what to do (making rules/laws) that have absolutely NOTHING to do with violating another person’s liberties. (Examples being: Be home by a certain time, you can’t wear that, don’t smoke, clean your room, etc.) By nature, we are all about doing what feels good to US. Without a set of rules to push us in down the righteous path, we will become more and more wicked (allowing just about anything). Then, those same immoral children will become our future law-makers, having no clue as to why wrong is wrong. I guess I see the 3 parties as; One has far sight, one has near sight, and the other chooses to not see at all.

          • Terry Nelson

            If you need the laws in the Bible to prevent you from murdering or stealing, please, by all means, follow these laws of the Bible, but also please ignore the not-so-moral laws of the Bible, like how to treat slaves, the subjugation of women, and racism. If there are other laws in the Bible that you feel are beneficial to individuals, please follow them as well but do not force others to live by them.
            Your analogy does not follow because we, as parents, are directly responsible for the welfare of our children. I am not your child and you have no responsibility or right to dictate how I run my life so long as I don’t harm others.

        • klaasman

          I will answere this with 2 very brief questions:
          #1. Would a “moral” government be required to very strictly adhere to it’s Constitution and the restrictions it apply to government?

          2. Where in the Constitution is the Federal Government granted the authority to legislate morality? (Specifically, Marriage?)

          Answer these two questions first, then we can move on to your thoughts on government and morality. This is the test our government SHOULD give EVERY issue before moving forward with any legislation.

    • Tannim

      If your religious “morality” requires the support of evil government in order to function, then how moral is it, really?

      Or, to paraphrase Captain Kirk, “What does God need with a government?”

      • James Dodson

        What? Your two sentences are so loaded with convoluted points…

        Morality doesn’t need government support… But i would argue that a country that follows God’s outlines for how we can best live our lives is better off than a country that doesn’t.

        Also, the notion that government is evil is just silly. Jesus never condemns government, and neither should we. We should promote good leaders, and do our best to influence bad leaders to get better.

        And to answer Captain kirk… God doesn’t NEED government or any of us… But people having political authority is something that God chose to establish and promote. You may not like our government right now, but the notion that there should be no established body that rules over a land is definitley outside of God’s plan for us.

    • Terry Nelson

      So, are you also supportive of laws that would forbid women from speaking in church?

      • James Dodson

        Good points… a very fine rebutal.
        I guess to that i would say yes… If we lived in a world where it was realistic to have laws pushing us to behave more in the manner that god intends for us i would say yes… But theory crafting a fake world where these would even be considered isn’t very useful. But, issues like abortion or marriage are current issues that we actually have influence over, therefore it is worth fighting for morality today’s current issues.

        Also, It’s a bit unfair to suggest graven images or coveting… These are sins that are not as simple as other commandments. I can hang an American flag in my yard and have it not be a sin because it isn’t a graven image that replaces god or draws me away from God. But to some, they believe that love for their country is more important than their relationship with god. So, there are definitely situations where morality could be enforced and could not. I choose to believe that the bible is clear enough on marriage that it can be a part of a governments legislation.

        Also, as a side note, I don’t believe that the bible says that women shouldn’t speak in church. Personally i think they are talking about roles in the church in areas like 1st timothy. I do believe that women shouldn’t teach and hold control over a service where an entire church body is assembled.

        • Terry Nelson

          Thanks for the reply. So, to be clear, you would support a national law that prevents women from teaching in the church? And, if practical, you would make laws against making graven images, for keeping the Sabbath holy, prohibiting taking the Lord’s name in vain, prohibiting the worship of other Gods, forcing children to honor their parents?

  • prairiechicken

    Where is the line between legislating morality and not legislating morality? If we can’t legislate morality, why is perjury illegal? Or should libertarians push to legalize perjury and other forms of oath violation?

    • Joel Hartman

      because perjury affects another person’s liberty.

      • prairiechicken

        Howso? My question is, how and where exactly do you draw the line between what legally should be right and wrong, and what “legislating morality” is? If taxation is theft, is jail kidnapping? I’m not just trolling, I’m asking honest questions. Someone claims that I specifically as a Christian should hold a political view that I don’t, I want to figure out why. Essentially, he mentions two points- that you can’t “legislate morality”, and that Jesus wasn’t a socialist. I agree, he wasn’t a socialist, I’m curious as to why, in addition to being a Christian, I need to be something else as well. Since I’ve never once, from before I thought I was a libertarian in high school, through then, till now, thought that the current welfare state actually did a very good job of helping poor people, and since I’ve always seen government usurpation of charity from individuals as being a danger to the life of the church, the only reason he can give me to change is that one about legislating morality.

        • Joel Hartman

          you draw the line at exactly what i said- if you do something that affects someone else’s liberty, then the government steps in and applies punishment.

          • prairiechicken

            No one would argue that lying, in and of itself, should be illegal. At least I wouldn’t. So my question is, for people for whom liberty is the ultimate political good, never to be compromised for anything, why is perjury defensible as being more harmful than other forms of lying? I’ll bug my libertarian friends about this. It comes up because this is the first time I’ve heard it argued that Christians have no choice but to be libertarians, I guess I’m more asking the author than anything.

  • Tannim

    This guy truly gets it.

  • katitdid

    Very well said. I’m so thankful that after 34 yrs of being a Christian that I finally woke up and got it. I’ve been voting Republican for the last 40 years And now I see for all the wrong reasons. I feel so much more free. To not only being an American, but also to practice my own beliefs without feeling I have to defend them. Johnson for President.

  • Wayne

    I’ll concede point number two, but the first has been used by unbelievers since there was government. You can’t legislate morality? Why not? Will laws against murder stop all murderers? Hasn’t yet. Will laws against theft stop all theft? Nope. We legislate morality every single day. People do hard time because someone’s morality got legislated. The question is whose morality is going to be the one in force? The pro-choicer? The married gay couple? The drug dealers? The murderers? The embezzlers? If God doesn’t decide the morality, we have placed man’s law above Him.