Christianity Vs Politics

MMurphy

Inactive
This for me is where this breaks down and becomes less clear.

If church and state are to be separated, then when you participate in the democratic process, you must acknowledge the laws as they are written. In the event of abortion, it is not legally or technically considered to be murder. That said, if you advocate against it, or try to use the process to stop it, then you are inserting religion into the process by proxy. So how are these ideals reconciled with our beliefs?

The State's primary goal is to uphold the stability of society, which is why they are (and should be) concerned with ethical questions. Abortion is an ethical question, and I believe that their is as much a scientific argument for it to be considered murder as a theological one. Moral questions, like whether sexual immorality ought to be outlawed, is not normally an interest of the State.

Separation of Church and state, however, is most effective to avoid confusion. We have spiritual counselors (Pastors, Priests, etc.) and we have temporal magistrates (Presidents, Governors, Prime Ministers, etc.) but we have only one Spiritual Magistrate, and that is God. No one should be confused whether a spiritual counselor is also a spiritual magistrate, hence the separation.
 
This for me is where this breaks down and becomes less clear.

If church and state are to be separated, then when you participate in the democratic process, you must acknowledge the laws as they are written. In the event of abortion, it is not legally or technically considered to be murder. That said, if you advocate against it, or try to use the process to stop it, then you are inserting religion into the process by proxy. So how are these ideals reconciled with our beliefs?

Someone doesn't have to be a Christian to know that harming others is wrong. It is known by all including atheists.

When the law allows murder in the form of abortion it becomes ore difficult to do something about it. We have to work towards changing the laws.

I don't think changing the law in this case is bringing religion into it as I oppose abortion on a human level also.
 
The State's primary goal is to uphold the stability of society, which is why they are (and should be) concerned with ethical questions. Abortion is an ethical question, and I believe that their is as much a scientific argument for it to be considered murder as a theological one. Moral questions, like whether sexual immorality ought to be outlawed, is not normally an interest of the State.

Separation of Church and state, however, is most effective to avoid confusion. We have spiritual counselors (Pastors, Priests, etc.) and we have temporal magistrates (Presidents, Governors, Prime Ministers, etc.) but we have only one Spiritual Magistrate, and that is God. No one should be confused whether a spiritual counselor is also a spiritual magistrate, hence the separation.
Great post and great distinction between moral and ethical dilemma.
There is a difference between the government as an agent of order in a broken world, and the government as an agent of sanctification.
 
I'm a libertarian myself in principle. I strongly believe in the Golden Rule and the Non-Aggression Principle is, in essence, the Golden Rule. I admire Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell. And I stand by my libertarian stance because I DO care about others.

That said, one thing I always have to remember is that I am first and foremost a Catholic. I must absolutely be a Christian before anything else. I think that if I trail into justifying my Christianity because of my political views, then I have made libertarianism my idol, and that's a problem. If I were to realize a certain Christian moral rule contradicted libertarianism and then I tried to justify libertarianism in order to counter it, then it means I've probably made Christianity secondary.

You'll find that Christians hold many different political positions and are still no less Christian. However, if they submit to certain principles that counter Christian morality (abortion, military conquest, etc), then they ought to rethink those aspects of it...just as some libertarians who submit to the more Ayn Randian principle of survival of the fittest ought to rethink their positions since as Christians we need to recognize the sanctity of life, including the meek.
 
It makes no difference what laws man may make, it will be God's laws that will be used to judge every ones actions. All of the offices the Lord set in place and, their authority was to stop the flow of evil on planet earth. If mans laws go against God's laws we revert to God, laws that were set way before any laws man brought forth.
 

MMurphy

Inactive
I'm a libertarian myself in principle. I strongly believe in the Golden Rule and the Non-Aggression Principle is, in essence, the Golden Rule. I admire Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell. And I stand by my libertarian stance because I DO care about others.

That said, one thing I always have to remember is that I am first and foremost a Catholic. I must absolutely be a Christian before anything else. I think that if I trail into justifying my Christianity because of my political views, then I have made libertarianism my idol, and that's a problem. If I were to realize a certain Christian moral rule contradicted libertarianism and then I tried to justify libertarianism in order to counter it, then it means I've probably made Christianity secondary.

You'll find that Christians hold many different political positions and are still no less Christian. However, if they submit to certain principles that counter Christian morality (abortion, military conquest, etc), then they ought to rethink those aspects of it...just as some libertarians who submit to the more Ayn Randian principle of survival of the fittest ought to rethink their positions since as Christians we need to recognize the sanctity of life, including the meek.

Good point, though I wonder, as I understand it, the Catholic Church has been fairly slow to embrace such principles of freedom of religion, conscience and separation of Church and State. If I may pose to you an interesting dilemma, the Pope denounced some principle of libertarianism, how would you respond?

I generally hold with you though, God then country, but I think nowadays, particularly in the USA we do not hold certain Christian principles above those of national principles. Though Just War Doctrine is a catholic teaching, it seems to me it applies well to all Christian denominations as well, but few from the age of imperialism onward have followed it with any meaningful sincerity.
 
Good point, though I wonder, as I understand it, the Catholic Church has been fairly slow to embrace such principles of freedom of religion, conscience and separation of Church and State. If I may pose to you an interesting dilemma, the Pope denounced some principle of libertarianism, how would you respond?

Pope Francis has brought criticism to free markets. Some people have said "Well, he's actually criticizing consumerism, not capitalism," while others have said "The pope is a Marxist." He's not a Marxist, but I don't think he was just talking about consumerism -- he was talking about free market capitalism.

The Pope made this statement in is most recent encyclical Evangelii Gaudium. While it was a statement from the Pope, he wasn't speaking infallibly -- only two times in all of Catholic history has the pope ever done that. This is not one of them. In fact, the Pope Francis acknowledged that there is no harm in disagreeing with something like this provided it is done in Christian love and with loving explanation.

Pope Leo XIII in the 1800's has expressed positivity to free market economies and was massively hostile toward socialism and communism.

So in response, it's not an official Catholic position to hold hostility toward libertarianism. Many Catholics (both clergy and laity) are very much for it and some are very much against it. What's especially important is their relationship in faith above all. I criticize the principle of "greed is good" that the Chicago School of Economics and Ayn Rand promoted, but I like the Austrian school because it has stated over and over its motivation which is the common good.

I generally hold with you though, God then country, but I think nowadays, particularly in the USA we do not hold certain Christian principles above those of national principles. Though Just War Doctrine is a catholic teaching, it seems to me it applies well to all Christian denominations as well, but few from the age of imperialism onward have followed it with any meaningful sincerity.

I agree. While the Catholic Church was the original promoter of the Just War Theory, they don't claim it is exclusively a Catholic position...in fact, it's clearly an overall Christian position as it recognizes that defense is valid, but conquest and the Golden Rule is equally valid. But the Just War Principle isn't part of official Catholic teaching. It is a little T tradition rather than a Big T Tradition if you will.

Many people and government have begun divorcing themselves from what I believe is important to Christian morality. Promotion of perpetual war and abortion (one from the Neo-Conservative side and the other from the Progressive Liberal side) are possibly the two worst things that have become seen as virtues rather than concerns.
 
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I have a question and I haven't prayed on this yet but I wanted to get feedback:

I have been a libertarian for many years. That's an ambiguous term so let me define: I believe we all have free will and the right to exercise our wills within reason (ie - you can't kill someone if you disagree etc). I have not necessarily supported abortion, gay marriage, drug abuse etc but I have maintained that it isn't my place to place edicts on other people who choose those things.

As I have recently looked at my own faith and realized my own shortcomings as well my decision to run from God, I have decided to accept God's will in my life and recommit to Him. While I have a multitude of issues on my plate, I have begun to consider my political identity and it's relation to my faith. Perhaps in time, God will move me to reexamine and maybe that time is now.

As I look at everything I fundamentally believe about how freedoms and rights are paramount to govt sanctioned and enforced morality, I wonder if I am putting my own beliefs ahead of what Jesus taught us and the scriptures say. Is it possible to be a Christian and support a woman's right to choose even if I disagree with the choice? Is it possible to accept people's right to marry or have a civil union or use drugs or hire prostitutes and be a Christian or are we charged to use a govt to enforce our beliefs?

I realize that I have used some charged words like "enforce" and I am not trying to ignite a wild debate over the politics of a country, I am simply wondering if certain libertarian political values I hold are in line with what we are charged as Christians to uphold?
The law is there for our protection. If it goes evil...you think it will remain there for our protection or resort to a Nero regime? Scripture says a Nero regime is en route Matt 24:9. It is hence wise to hold the flood gates back for as long as possible... don't you think?
 
I have a question and I haven't prayed on this yet but I wanted to get feedback:

I have been a libertarian for many years. That's an ambiguous term so let me define: I believe we all have free will and the right to exercise our wills within reason (ie - you can't kill someone if you disagree etc). I have not necessarily supported abortion, gay marriage, drug abuse etc but I have maintained that it isn't my place to place edicts on other people who choose those things.

As I have recently looked at my own faith and realized my own shortcomings as well my decision to run from God, I have decided to accept God's will in my life and recommit to Him. While I have a multitude of issues on my plate, I have begun to consider my political identity and it's relation to my faith. Perhaps in time, God will move me to reexamine and maybe that time is now.

As I look at everything I fundamentally believe about how freedoms and rights are paramount to govt sanctioned and enforced morality, I wonder if I am putting my own beliefs ahead of what Jesus taught us and the scriptures say. Is it possible to be a Christian and support a woman's right to choose even if I disagree with the choice? Is it possible to accept people's right to marry or have a civil union or use drugs or hire prostitutes and be a Christian or are we charged to use a govt to enforce our beliefs?

I realize that I have used some charged words like "enforce" and I am not trying to ignite a wild debate over the politics of a country, I am simply wondering if certain libertarian political values I hold are in line with what we are charged as Christians to uphold?

What commands did The King give his people?

Do these laws conflict with the commands?

It is simple Boolean logic. If, then, else.
 

MMurphy

Inactive
I have a question and I haven't prayed on this yet but I wanted to get feedback:

I have been a libertarian for many years. That's an ambiguous term so let me define: I believe we all have free will and the right to exercise our wills within reason (ie - you can't kill someone if you disagree etc). I have not necessarily supported abortion, gay marriage, drug abuse etc but I have maintained that it isn't my place to place edicts on other people who choose those things.

As I have recently looked at my own faith and realized my own shortcomings as well my decision to run from God, I have decided to accept God's will in my life and recommit to Him. While I have a multitude of issues on my plate, I have begun to consider my political identity and it's relation to my faith. Perhaps in time, God will move me to reexamine and maybe that time is now.

As I look at everything I fundamentally believe about how freedoms and rights are paramount to govt sanctioned and enforced morality, I wonder if I am putting my own beliefs ahead of what Jesus taught us and the scriptures say. Is it possible to be a Christian and support a woman's right to choose even if I disagree with the choice? Is it possible to accept people's right to marry or have a civil union or use drugs or hire prostitutes and be a Christian or are we charged to use a govt to enforce our beliefs?

I realize that I have used some charged words like "enforce" and I am not trying to ignite a wild debate over the politics of a country, I am simply wondering if certain libertarian political values I hold are in line with what we are charged as Christians to uphold?

Interestingly, Jesus' commandant: "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and give unto God what is God's" has been used as one of the most powerful testament to secular governance.

Now, at the risk of sparking controversy I want to address some of your concerns--what you are tempted to support politically.

Abortion in particular I think is something that a Christian cannot support without reservations (i.e. rape, incest and when mother's life is in danger). This is more do to an ethical concern, however, than purely a Christian one. The whole notion of abortion is highly problematic for anyone attempting to maintain the sanctity of life. And I have heard of people supporting infanticide--most pro-choice don't support that, but in all honesty I don't understand why that is so much more abhorrent than partial birth abortion. There was also recently a woman who filmed her pregnancy and abortion as though it were as "special" as giving birth. These are things I find very disturbing even as a humanist. Unfortunately, I think this issue is "the" most decisive of our lifetime because it pits people at odds between sanctity of life with fundamental human rights (namely, privacy). I consider the argument, however, to have serious parallels with those who argued for slavery. So as a matter of principle, supporting abortion is problematic for Christian faith, just as slavery was. But, you are under no obligation to pass judgment on a person who has had an abortion. Also, fortunately, abortion is not really a political issue for those living in the USA, because as the law stands, there are only two ways to overturn the law. By constitutional amendment which would require 3/4 of the States to ratify (never going to happen) or for unelected SCOTUS to overturn itself, which is equally unlikely. So, at this point anything short of a complete overhaul of the system will not effect change.

As for most other issues, gay marriage, prostitution, drug use, etc. I think for any political decision one must decide if the costs of enforcing such a law would be worth the fight. The kinds of invasion on people's privacy, the false convictions and the tyranny are often far more evil than the "sin" we are trying to stave off. It is also problematic because it prohibits the possibility of the Holy Spirit motivating someone into repentance.

So, generally, yes you can be libertarian and also be a Christian, but there are certain Christian principles which it is best to not compromise, particularly the sanctity of life. However, as Christians we're only required to watch our own actions not others.
 
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