Today Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. As a Christian I beleive Jesus is both Man and God. He willingly died for the forgiveness of sin and also showed the path to righteous living. Because His Life informs us of how to live our lives, discussions of faith often enter the realm of political debate. To the extent that one’s personal faith is the cornerstone of his views on the world he lives in, this is to be expected and embraced. My own view of the world is no exception and when I look at the Life of Christ and I search for how His Life informs my own political views, I see Jesus as the greatest libertarian thinker who ever lived and it is because of my faith in Him that I ultimately believe in and fight for liberty.
Some of my brothers and sisters on the “religious right” might cringe when I call Jesus a libertarian. I don’t mean that He favors one living an unrighteous life. Not at all. Neither do libertarians favor that. We just believe that using force to stop them is inappropriate except in self-defense or to defend another from violence or theft.
So why do I claim Jesus appears to be libertarian? Well, read the Gospels carefully. Jesus never once calls on His followers to initiate aggression or use government to initiate aggression to make people behave. That is consistent with libertarian thought. In fact, Jesus spoke against the legalistic Pharisees.
On one such occasion written in the Gospel of John Chapter 7, the Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees asked Jesus to stone the woman according to the Law of Moses. Jesus didn’t respond at first and began writing in the sand. The Pharisees continued to press Jesus for a an answer.
Jesus finally answered by saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (NKJV).
The Pharisees left without stoning the woman. Some speculate what Jesus was writing in the sand was a list of some of their sins.
Like the Pharisees, who among us is perfect and has the moral authority to rule over another man? Nobody. Only Jesus can rightfully rule over His Creation. And until Jesus returns to rule, we are only a set of imperfect people accountable to our God. No man or group of men have any right to rule over another. And yet, though Jesus is within his authority to use force, on this side of eternity He gives us liberty.
Jesus never used government or the power and violence of the state as a shortcut to promote His will. In fact, Jesus’ sacrifice was all about liberty. John 8:36 in the New King James Version explicitly says Jesus gives us freedom saying, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Likewise, II Cor 3:17b says, “[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (NKJV).
Galatians 5:1 reads, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
At its very heart government is an organization which exerts force and control over others by using violence or threats of violence. Jesus, however, was a pacifist when He walked among us saying in Matthew 26:52, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” The philosophy of Christ, therefore, has nothing in common with force and control by government.
If we should not take up our swords personally in order to control others, how then can we legitimately loan that power to government? The answer is we cannot. It’s not right for us as individuals to rule over others nor is it our right to loan that power to government since we ourselves don’t have it.
And if we should not raise our sword and use force to compel others to behave a certain way so long as there is no violence or theft against another person, then would Jesus tell us to do so in order to force the wealthy to contribute more to the poor? No, of course not. Jesus commanded us to take care of the poor. He did not command us to steal from others in order to help the poor. In fact, that is sin because stealing is sin.
As we celebrate Christmas, I believe we are celebrating a Man who lived His Life on earth opposed to violence, theft, and coercion. He was a trailblazer for the so-called “non-aggression principle” that is the foundation of libertarian thought. He never once commanded us to use government to whip people into submission. He didn’t applaud the warmakers; instead He told us “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV). He didn’t tell us to steal; He told us to feed the hungry and give clothes to the naked. He didn’t support a central bank; He drove the moneychangers out of His temple (Matthew 21).
So today, take a moment to read through the Gospels again and take note of how Jesus never used politics to force others to live a certain way. Ultimately we are each accountable to our God — not to government. Right and wrong are right and wrong regardless of what politicians say. So why use politics to define or redefine right and wrong in the first place? Why give government that power? Would Jesus put right and wrong up for a vote at the ballot box or in the halls of Congress? Surely not. So why should we? Jesus embraces liberty. Will you?
NOTE: This article is the opinion of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina or its members or officers.