How Do Christianity and Libertarianism Converge?

A panel of young evangelicals is offering up a reconciliation of sorts between Christianity and Libertarianism: there should be no inherent split between the two camps, they say, because they share a common belief in individual initiative and voluntary charity.

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Ice hangs from the cross behind Belin Methodist Church in Murrells Inlet, S.C. (AP)

Libertarians support limited government and oppose the welfare state, but often break from traditional conservatives on social issues like abortion or gay marriage.

Speaking at the International Students for Liberty Conference on Saturday in Washington, a group of young evangelicals laid out five reasons Christianity and libertarianism are compatible, the Christian Post reported.

Their reasons: Christianity celebrates voluntary action and values creation; big government doesn’t solve poverty; the biblical role of government; the welfare state harms Christian charity; and wealth is not inherently sinful.

Jacqueline Otto Isaacs, a blogger at Values and Capitalism, said that Christianity and America’s founding principles overlap.

“The message of the Gospel, the good news, is that salvation from our sins is offered through Christ — this salvation is voluntary and individual, and this is the core message of Christianity,” Isaacs said. “Christianity literally starts with the individual, celebrates the individual’s dignity and opportunity for salvation, and then grows outwardly into the community and Christ’s kingdom.”

Isaacs said governments around the world have done a lousy job of combating poverty, citing Federick Bastiat’s book, “The Law.”

“God redeems us from our sins and we can work towards redeeming those around us from poverty and ignorance and disease,” Issaacs said.

Jason Hughey, with the International Students for Liberty, referenced 1 Samuel 8 to explain the biblical description of government. In that verse, the prophet Samuel warned the people of Israel that the king they were demanding would rule over them in an oppressive way.

On the point of Jesus saying “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” Hughey argued that the emphasis is that “God is the highest authority, Christ is the highest authority, and not Caesar.” Thus, a reliance on big government can in some ways deify government.

Leah Hughey, Jason Hughey’s wife, said government redistribution undermines real charity.

“When the government steps in and acts as the giver of what could have been a private gift, instead of having a posture of humility and gratefulness, the receiver actually becomes envious and starts to compare what they have to what the giver has, and feels entitled to the possessions of another human being, which we know from scripture is harmful,” she said.

Further, she said that Jesus’ warnings about wealth was an issue of the heart regarding whether someone “puts possessions over Christ,” rather than just attacking the rich.

(H/T: Christian Post)