main idea: the teachings of love, self- and social-responsibility, rejection of authority, and individual rights are all New Testament Biblical
Growing up many of us were taught that there are three things you don’t discuss in mixed company: 1. Politics, 2. Religion, and 3. Football. Living in the Social Media age, those are no longer taboo topics and are regularly discussed/debated on digital forums. What is also interesting is that those first two are beginning to find themselves colliding within churches as our division widens. We have never been so connected, yet still we are so far apart.
I (Jess) attend a progressive Baptist church, much more love-based and mission driven than the fire and brimstone Southern Baptist Church in which I grew up. Our pastors often talk about responsibilities we have to our communities in our mission to live and serve in the example of Christ. It is a shame that we live in a world where loving your neighbor, the simplest of commandments, is considered “progressive”, but I digress.
Our Young Adults bible study group is currently working through an interesting book titled The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion written by author Jonathan Haidt. I have not gotten very far into the book, but it provides a summary of the various political parties and the general messages people share in relation to them. Admittedly, I was very curious (probably more skeptical) when we began the study, and jumped ahead to read what “research” had told them about Libertarianism.
While the author has done a good job of breaking out a lot of policy-related principles, and our disdain for the misuse of government authority, he has left out two of our core and guiding principles that are the most important. The first is the Non-Aggression Principle (the NAP), which is the cornerstone of Libertarianism that rejects the use of force to achieve social or political goals. In short- Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. The second is free will, or the freedom to make the decisions about your own affairs (so long as they don’t infringe on the rights of another).
So I (Kasie) attended a BIble study last year with a good friend and a group of women who were interested in studying the role of women in the foundation and perpetuation of the Christian church since its founding (i.e. Jesus’s time). We discovered through study that Jesus relied heavily on women in his practice and ministry and that the role(s) of those women have been, over the years, mangled by patriarchal interpretations of Christ.
Now, I am sure you are wondering what any of this has to do with Jesus and talking to our kids about the intersection of politics and religion. The answer is simple… Jesus was a Libertarian, and both the Non-Aggression Principle and the concept of free will support this statement, even in the most elementary of ways.
There are many examples written in the Gospels, but these three examples are simple and relatable when we are having conversations with kids about the correlation between core Libertarian principles and the teachings of Christ/Word of God:
- God’s love is not contingent upon compliance, but rather it is given freely and humans were given the freedom to choose whether they accept his love and his grace
- The Ten Commandments include not killing and not stealing (which sounds an awful lot like the NAP)
- There are numerous accounts of Jesus healing the sick and feeding the poor without mandate, support, or even permission from the government
- He even turned water into wine, making him, quite possibly, the most notorious bootlegger ever (that is a joke, guys) – yeah, but I know of Bible study in Spartanburg called What Would Jesus Brew. They meet at a brewery.
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