Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Christian Libertarian

Alan Jacobs on "The Anguish of the Christian Libertarian" when it comes to deciding how to vote this November. He is more anguished than I am - I think there is clearly a "lesser evil" between the two major party Presidential candidates - but I think he gets this right:
I’m a Christian who takes very seriously St. Paul’s claim that Christians are never fully at home in any earthly polis, that our citizenship is not of this world, that Christians, wherever they live, are, as Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon put it, resident aliens. I am pleased and proud to be an American — I have always thought that it’s actually cool to be an American — but America will never be as important to me as the Church. That’s just how it is.

This means that when I think about American politics, I tend to ask what policies are best for the cause of Christianity — but unlike many of my fellow evangelicals, I don’t think this country ever should be “a Christian nation,” and do not want to see specifically Christian beliefs and practices embodied in the law of the land. I think such an eventuality would be bad for the country and even worse for Christianity. ....

My own long-considered view is that Christians ought to be, broadly speaking, libertarian in their orientation. In a society characterized by a great deal of personal freedom, Christianity will not appear as coercively “normal,” as something enshrined in the formal or informal political order. Instead it can appear as properly counter-cultural, and, indeed, if there is no possibility that Christians will have their views so enshrined, they will be free to be as counter-cultural as their beliefs lead them to be, without being caught up in the absurd entanglements of patriotism-as-piety. Moreover, in a libertarian society characterized by smaller government, Christians would also be able to do greater works of mercy and charity, encumbered by fewer governmental regulations. ....
the anguish of the Christian libertarian | Politics | The American Scene

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