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News Link • Philosophy: Libertarianism

Jesus was a libertarian

• Common Law

Most people have been deceived by Big Government for centuries, and Christians are not immune. Politicians and dictators like Roman Emperor Constantine and King James and others have altered the Bible to make it say what they wanted it to say, and various extremist groups today continue to tell Christians that they must support their political agenda or else they're not being "good Christians".

The startling truth is quite the opposite - in fact, no one who truly follows the teachings of Jesus Christ can in good conscience vote against the defenders of liberty, as Jesus Himself was a libertarian.

Jesus led an ideological revolution against the hypocrisy of the establishment organized religion of His time (the "scribes and Pharisees" etc.) and their political power. He taught that our connection to God is personal and individual and not subject to the whims of a self-appointed intermediary such as Church or State. God speaks to each of us individually and what He says to one person may differ from what He tells another, because His guidance is customized for each person. Therefore, we may not judge each other and we cannot assume or insist that others follow all of the same SHOULDs that we do, as we cannot know what is right for others. If people want to band together voluntarily and form a group with particular religious teachings to help them study and learn about God together, that's fine, as long as they don't impose their views on others or infringe against their right to do the same in their own way (or not). God is too big to fit into any one religion. Religion is man's puny attempt to understand God; so as with any other human endeavor, it must be imperfect and somewhat limiting.

This does not mean that "anything goes", or that we're all for anarchy and freedom and no responsibility. Freedom and responsibility are co-requisites, you can't have one without the other. In fact, there is a basic universal core that is the foundation of morality (the MUSTs) and is required for civilization to function. Christianity and other religions and philosophies add their own various teachings (SHOULDs) to this core, but these are just the icing on the cake; the important part is the core, without which everything else is superfluous and irrelevant.

What is this ethical core that Jesus and others throughout history have been teaching? It is referred to in many ways by different teachings as the Golden Rule, or Karma ("as you sew, so shall you reap"), or the Law of Return (everything you do comes back to you threefold), or the Rede ("if it harms none, do what you will"), or "live and let live", or part of the Hippocratic Oath - "do no harm", and it's referred to in many ways in the Bible, some more subtle than others. The Libertarian Party expresses it as "do not initiate the use of force or fraud against anyone's person or property". In other words, self-defense is OK if necessary, but don't be the one to start the fight, do not violate the rights of others. You should also not harm yourself. Jesus expressed this law as "love thy neighbor as thyself", and He said that this Ultimate Commandment (along with the other one which is not relevant here) supercedes all others - that's right, even the Ten Commandments are obsolete and superfluous, they are unnecessary as long as you obey this core principle of not harming others. This covers the key issues that the civil portion of the Ten Commandments tried to address, and does a better job of it.

So what does this mean for those of us who sincerely wish to follow Christ's teachings? It means that we must learn to distinguish between the core ethical principle (the MUSTs) and the optional extra stuff (SHOULDs) that is included in the religion of our choice. This does not mean that we should abandon our church and friends, it is good that we find like-minded groups of people who share common values and cultural traditions. But we must make sure that in following these customs, we do not lose sight of or even violate the Ultimate Commandment, the moral center at the core of all positive teachings. Often we can't see the forest for the trees, as we have been so long exposed to only one or very few interpretations that we can't see the overall picture. Thus it is helpful to explore many possible sources of enlightenment, not to swallow whole everything we read, but to seek the common pattern within. It may seem contradictory to learn more about Christ's teachings by looking outside what we think of as the Christian Church, but this is necessary to gain perspective. Once we can see more of the overall picture, we understand and appreciate Christ's teachings all the more. We can stay in our usual church, or not, as we choose; in either case with renewed understanding.

It may seem ironic that we may find much of this moral inspiration from a non-church institution such as the Libertarian Party, but many of us have found its simple rule, do not initiate the use of force or fraud, to be the simplest and most universal explanation of this ethical core, and it is neither for nor against any particular religion, nor religion in general, so people of all religions can use it. Remember, Jesus was a libertarian in the general sense, in that He lived by this rule and it was the core of His teaching on ethics.

Further evidence of Jesus's libertarianism is in His parable about the last worker who showed up an hour before quitting time and was paid the same as everyone else who worked all day. Obviously there was no union involved here; the employer's need to get the work done by the deadline was so great (and/or the worker was so highly skilled) that it was worth it to pay so much. It was a win-win situation, and everyone was paid and treated fairly according to the terms of their individual contracts, so they had no grounds to complain. This shows that Jesus was definitely a free market libertarian.

When asked whether people should pay taxes, Jesus dodged the question entirely, leaving it up to the individual. He said to give Caesar what is Caesar's, but he did not say that anything belongs to Caesar. Caesar already had whatever he really owned, and it was not necessary to give him (i.e. the government) anything else. Thus, Jesus did not condone any involuntary form of taxation, but left individuals free to voluntarily contribute whatever they wish to whomever they choose, whether governments, churches, charities, friends, or others. In fact, this excellent analysis shows that Jesus strongly condemned government-imposed taxation.

He was also a civil libertarian, and tolerant of others' lifestyles, as He refused to condemn the prostitute that the other people were about to stone. He implied that she had done nothing wrong, and the others were no better; none of them were fit to cast the first stone.

Jesus showed tolerance for the beliefs of others; He did not impose His opinions but only taught to the extent that others were willing to listen. Thus, religious tolerance is not at all inconsistent with following the teachings of Christ, but is in fact required for doing so - remember, the important thing is to understand and observe the ethical core, all else is secondary. Each person may follow a different path (religious or otherwise), or several paths, in order to learn this, according to how he is individually guided by God, and the best path for one may not be right for another. Jesus commanded us to be tolerant, saying that we should not judge each other, and that whatever you do to anyone else, you're also doing it to Him.

Here's another interesting article from a Christian Libertarian. More articles can be found by following various links from the Libertarian Party web site. But remember, since libertarians tend to be tolerant, they also tend to be more diverse; not everyone will agree with everything I say or the way I say it.

It took less than 4 centuries for Christianity to become the very thing that Jesus Christ revolted against (organized religion);
it took less than 1 century for the UNITED STATES to become the very thing that America revolted against (big government).

If this offends you, then perhaps you don't remember back when the government set up the "Social Security" system, and many concerned Christians compared the Social Security card to the Mark of the Beast. And perhaps you don't remember that the "Real ID" Act will soon require all States to conform to a national ID card standard, and this national ID card is even closer to the Mark of the Beast, without which eventually no one will be able to travel, buy, or sell. And if the reestablishment of Israel as a country was supposed to be a good thing, isn't America being a country also a good thing? Then why are so many Christians doing absolutely nothing about the US government's plans to merge with Canada and Mexico and essentially destroy America as a separate country? And since this is a step toward an all powerful one world government, which obviously would be ruled by the Beast, where are the concerned Christians? Why are Christians silent about the US government's use of torture and other illegal acts against innocent people and even our own citizens? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys? Many concerned Christians say that Bush (or now Obama) is the AntiChrist (or his herald), could they be right? Did you know that you even have to get the government's permission to set up a church (at least to get the tax exemption and be recognized by other government agencies)? See the Infernal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) - and remember, if your church speaks out against the evil deeds of the government, the government will revoke your exemption! Why does the Church work so hard to comply with the laws of man? Are you going to let us get to the point where everything is either required or prohibited? Wasn't America supposed to be all about freedom of choice? Why are so many misguided Christians eager to use the coercive power of the State to impose their SHOULDs on others, thereby violating the MUSTs? Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? In other words, what the hell is the Bride of Christ doing in Satan's bed!?

It took less than 4 centuries for Christianity to become the very thing that Jesus Christ revolted against;
it took less than 1 century for the UNITED STATES to become the very thing that America revolted against.


3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Olde Reb
Entered on:


The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two major political factions of the era. The Sanhedrin was the ruling body of both the religion and of the government. It preformed judicial, executive, and legislative functions and was composed of 46 Sadducees and 23 Pharisees plus the High Priest. The Pharisees controlled the outlying synagogues and the Sadducees controlled the Temple in Jerusalem. Josephus writes that no matter what laws the Sadducees would make, they could not enforce them without the assistance of the Pharisees. Minor political factions included the Essences, the Zealots, and the homicidal Sacarri. In the vernacular of today, the S & P would be called the Democrats and the Republicans.

A scribe was a functional rule of the staff (record keeper) at a synagogue.

A very good case can be made that Jesus was a tax protester.

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

John 8:34
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Galatians 1:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.

1 Peter 2:16
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

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