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Who's Libertarian: Secularists or Christians?

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2014 2 Jan

It’s shocking what’s shocking these days. Purity; honesty; things like that. But other things too; I read stuff from Lew Rockwell because the New Covenant vision for civil society is largely libertarian. Now there’s a shocking statement. What gives?

Walter Block posted an article on Lew Rockwell in which he said it would shock many to know that most feminists and gays are not libertarians. He’s right on both counts: most feminists and gays are not libertarian and most others would be shocked to learn such. But I’m not shocked at all and I know that too is shocking. It’s shocking because of existing caricatures of libertarianism. Aren’t they the ones who love all that sin?

But the shocking truth is that liberty cannot exist apart from a Christian worldview. Evolutionists and postmodernists don’t believe in liberty; they believe in might makes right. Humanists and secularists don’t believe in liberty; they believe in forced compliance with their sincerely held convictions (political correctness). Feminist and homosexual activists don’t believe in liberty; they believe in forcing people to accept their values as pure.

The concept of liberty flows from a biblical worldview and no other. Secularists are not libertarian – but Christians are (though many have persecuted others in the Name of Christ but certainly not with His approval). Should we get the defibrillator and deliver a shock?

Here it is. Historically, societies have been sacral; the religious mores of societies are intertwined with the cultural, political, and economic norms of those societies. In other words, those who don’t line up religiously are ostracized. For example, even in the Roman Empire with its pantheon of gods if one wasn’t willing to bow the knee and declare “Caesar is lord,” he was viewed as subversive and an enemy of the state. That’s why the Jews were in bed with Rome and the Christians were increasingly persecuted. All the ancient civilizations were sacral. Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s demand that all bow down to his image? Even Israel was a sacral society – a theocracy.

But the Lord Jesus came into the world and established a new kind of society and kingdom: as He said, one not of this world. His new society – the church – exists in all lands, not one.

Now, the covenant people of God are to love all people including their enemies and make disciples of all the people groups of the world – by persuasion, not coercion. God demands purity of life within the church and tells us to discipline those who stray (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13). But He also tells us not to judge those outside the church in this disciplinary way (1 Cor. 5:12-13). In other words, we’re commanded not to force Christianity on the world.

On the other hand, human beings are sinful and without restraint hurt one another. That makes civil order necessary whether it comes through mutually agreed upon contracts (Mayflower Compact) or civil government. Not imposing Christianity while maintaining civil order requires government to be limited. Such government does not legislate morality but enacts law that protects the people from each other. People are free to associate with and do business with whomever they choose.

And that brings us back to the feminists and gays in the Walter Block article and the fact they are not libertarian. On the contrary, we are moving toward becoming yet another sacral society. If one doesn’t get on board with the gay agenda for example, he will be ostracized. Just ask Phil Robertson. If one refuses to affirm their choices by not participating in their celebrations, they will be forced to do so. Just ask Elaine Photography and Masterpiece Cakeshop. In this sacral society you can be a staunch libertarian and yet be ostracized. Liberty is not the issue; total compliance with the prevailing mindset of those in power is the issue. Welcome to the funeral of liberty and justice for all. Shocking I know.

Sadly, we Christians have contributed to the problem. We’ve been semi-sacral for so long with our blue-laws and calls for a constitutional ban on gay marriage that the secularists are simply following our blueprint for civil society. We must see the structural flaws in that blueprint and discard it for the original plans laid out in the New Covenant. Yes, we must point others to Christ as the only way to life. But in living that way, we must live and let live.    

That’s the New Covenant vision for civil society; we persuade but we don’t coerce. And shockingly, that’s libertarian. As Captain Renault said just before being handed his winnings, “I’m shocked, shocked to find out there’s gambling going on here!” Hopefully you’re shocked, shocked to find out you’re a libertarian even though you’ve believed in liberty all along.    

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