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Two articles came to my attention today that are well worth reading. The first comes from Judge Andrew Napolitano as an Easter reflection called Hope for the Dead. He suggests an intimate connection between the ideal of freedom and rising from the dead:

“When the government takes away our free will, the government steals a gift from God; it violates the natural law; it prevents us from having and utilizing the means to the truth. The moral ability to exercise free will to seek the truth is a natural right that all humans possess, and the government may only morally interfere with the exercise of that right when one affirmatively has given it away by using fraud or force to interfere with the exercise of someone else’s natural rights.

We know from the events 2,000 years ago, which Christians commemorate and celebrate this week, that freedom is the essential means to discover and unite with the truth. And to Christians, the personification, the incarnation, the perfect manifestation of truth is Jesus.”

Read the full article by the Judge here.

The second is by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute and is entitled Jesus Lived in a Police State. He finds many similarities between how the Roman state acted around the time of Christ and how the US government behaves today:

“Just as police states have arisen throughout history, there have also been individuals or groups of individuals who have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Yet for all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.”

Read the full article here. Have any great articles you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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The Christian libertarian movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 6 years, and LibertarianChristians.com has been at the forefront of that growth. Even so, all of us Christians libertarians still encounter difficulties organizing and networking to help spread liberty ideas with our fellow Christians. Social networks, such as the Christian libertarian Facebook group, have had some success in bringing Christian libertarians together online, but it is time for us to take the next step forward.

Therefore, I am proud to announce that the first annual Christians for Liberty Conference will be held in early August 2014 in Austin, Texas! We have secured the necessary funding to begin preparations and are now recruiting speakers. The venue reservations are on the way as well. Through this conference, we will fellowship, learn from each other, and equip ourselves to build a freer society with some of the greatest ideas the world has ever seen.

Now I need your help! I have been repeatedly requested over the past three years to host a conference, and I am trusting that you will help make this a reality. The first step for you is very simple: Will you fill out a quick survey about the conference? Your response will help us nail down a final date and estimate how many people will attend. We also are interested in who you would want to see speak at the conference. Plus, we would love to email you specific updates about the event (and nothing more) when they become available.

Right now, we are planning on either August 1-3 or August 8-10, 2014. So mark your calendar and get ready! This survey will be open for no more than ten days, so please help us out by clicking here to take the survey as soon as you can. In fact, please take the survey even if you are not 100% sure about your availability but still want to attend. The more information we have, the better.

You may be wondering about the cost of the conference, but let me assure you that registration fees will be eminently affordable and will primarily help cover food and venue costs. College students will also have scholarship opportunities available to them. Just focus on getting to Austin and prepping for a great weekend of learning.

I hope that you are as excited as I am about this conference and the future of the Christian libertarian movement. This promises to be a new beginning for all of us as we seek to engage the church and the broader world with big ideas and loving hearts. I look forward to seeing you in Austin this August!

What? You’re at the end of this blog post and you haven’t clicked the survey link yet? Well then, click here and take the survey now!

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LI-07-Hobby-LobbyIn September 2012, the privately held retail store Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the US federal government regarding new regulations in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring that employer insurance cover emergency contraceptives. They argue that they have a First Amendment right not to follow such a regulation.

While this is indeed case with respect to the US Constitution, the libertarian case against such mandates covers more fundamental ground than just religious expression. It is also more comprehensive because it addresses the core of the issue: government intervention in business and in personal lives.

You can read article after article about the whole issue, and I do not want to rehash everything because it would be a waste of your time. Still, what can a Christian libertarian say about this issue? To break through the confusion and state the case quickly and succinctly, this is the plumbline libertarian position on Hobby Lobby and these health care mandates:

  1. All interventionism in health care by the state is bad.* The ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. should all be repealed and shut down permanently.
  2. All interventionism in business by the state is bad.* The government’s job, if it ought to have a job at all, is not “consumer protection” or “ensuring fair play” but rather protecting individual rights. The regulatory, bureaucratic state is a monstrous evil.
  3. Hobby Lobby is within its rights to put forward terms of employment however they wish. Employment by an employer is voluntary, and employees can choose voluntarily to accept the terms or not.
  4. Hobby Lobby ought to win their lawsuit against the US federal government. The government is the aggressor here, and should get out of the way.

* Note: A rights violation committed by a health care provider or other business is still a rights violation and is treated as such. Clearly, suggesting interventionism is bad does not mean that rights violations are ignored.

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My friend Anand Venigalla is a young Christian man with a great desire to learn about and explain Christian libertarian ideas. He now runs a website called Letter of Liberty where he blogs regularly.

Anand is also a regular LCC reader and commenter, and I am very happy to share his recent post explaining anarcho-capitalism from a Christian perspective. For one so young, Anand clearly has an excellent grasp of Christian libertarian thinking.

The Meaning of Anarcho-Capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a strain of libertarian ideology that opposes the existence of the State in favor of a stateless, libertarian society. Basically, it is a "separation of [money, defense and law, banking, church, governance, etc.] and State," with the State being non-existent and voluntary interactions and exchanges being the foundation of governance within society. Famous proponents of this ideology include the late 19th century liberal Gustave de Molinari, Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, George Smith, Wendy McElroy and Joseph Peden in the 20th century, and in the 21st century Lew Rockwell and Stefan Molyneux. Unlike other forms of anarchism, anarcho-capitalism accepts "capitalism" and the free market as compatible with statelessness, whereas other forms of anarchism have a negative view of capitalism, seeing it as "statist."

"Anarchy" comes from the Greek word anarkhos, which merely means "no ruler." While most people imagine chaos and warlords when the word "anarchy" comes up, the anarcho-capitalist holds his anarchy as the truly ordered system. His anarchy allows for "governments" without the State (an organization that holds a territorial monopoly, prohibiting competitors from offering similar services). That means that while the State won’t exist in the anarcho-capitalist society, church governments, private defense organizations, private community localities, and other forms of "governance" can exist, all without the use of exploitation and initiation of force.

In fact, some of our best forms of law were developed independently of the State, as Murray Rothbard explained in his book For A New Liberty. For example, common law and merchant law were developed not by State courts but by non-governmental, private courts. And the example of ancient Ireland is an example of a working, stateless society that existed before it was conquered by England.

So, anarcho-capitalism, unlike classical libertarianism, takes the non-aggression principle to the most logical conclusion possible: the State is inherently based on aggression and initiation of force, and it should not exist.

See the rest of what he has to say here.

Categories : Articles
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Mar
11

J. Gresham Machen on National Parks

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The great 20th century theologian J. Gresham Machen was not much a fan of the “National Park” system.

“A great system of National Parks has been built up. It might have been a beneficent thing if it meant that the natural beauty of the regions now embraced in the National Parks were to be preserved. But as a matter of fact it means nothing of the kind. During a period of over 30 years I used to go in the summers, with some interruptions, to Mt. Desert Island, Maine. When I first went there it was about the sweetest and most beautiful lake and mountain region that could possibly be imagined. It really seemed as though no human being would have the heart to destroy the delicate charm of those woods. But then came Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Lafayette (later Acadia), National Park, and all was changed. Huge roads now scar practically every mountainside and skirt the shores of practically every lake. The woods near the roads have been ruthlessly ‘cleaned up.’ The natural beauty of the region has been systematically destroyed. When I go into that National Park, with its dreary regularity and its officialdom, I almost feel as though I were in some kind of penal institution. I feel somewhat as I do when I am in Los Angeles or any of the other over-regulated cities of the West, where pedestrians meekly wait around on the street corners for non-existent traffic and cross the streets only at the sound of the prison gong. Certain it is at any rate that the best way to destroy true recreation is for government to go into the business of promoting it.”

From Education, Christianity, and the State, excerpt reprinted in “Men versus Machines,” The Freeman, Sept. 1992.

Thanks to Timothy Terrell and Doug Douma for the tip.

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