By R. Brownell
The Libertarian Party conducted a poll a few months back in order to better understand the religious demographic of party members. A result which surely shocked many was the stereotype-shattering data the Libertarian Party got back. Of the 19,428 votes caste, around 50% of those who participated came back as Christian.
Aren’t libertarians just a bunch of atheist? Well, only 42% of Libertarian voters identified as Atheists. This is incredibly exciting! This is an opportunity to not only expand the message of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, but on a personal level, to expand the Gospel of Christ to those who have not been reached by evangelism. This is an amazing opportunity to bring in Christians and people of faith into the liberty movement, and perhaps grow the numbers of registered members of the Libertarian Party in order to make an electoral difference.
If members of the Libertarian Party don’t jump on this opportunity, others will. A recent example of reaching out to Christians within the liberty movement was that of GOP presidential nominee Ted Cruz, who, in order to establish a conservative/libertarian coalition, enlisted the help of former Ron Paul staff and volunteers in order to create an initiative called Liberty Leaders for Cruz. The current chairman also happens to be former 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.
In the video below, one former Ron Paul supporter, Vance Nordaker, had this to say about why he chose to support Ted Cruz out of the other candidates:
”When it comes to the issue of pro-life, when it comes to the Constitution, when it comes to religious liberty, when it comes to the rule of law… he’s proven that he’ll fight for.”
While I applaud Cruz’s efforts to forge a coalition with libertarians, primarily disenfranchised Christians angered by the “Washington Cartel,” I feel as though this is the sign of a grand lost opportunity for those that wish to see the Libertarian Party thrive. While many influential libertarian figures, ranging from Ayn Rand to Nozik, were Atheists, there are just as many influential liberty thinkers and activists who have made their mark on politics and culture in the United States who are Christians, including:
- Edmund Opitz – Congregationalist Minister, Senior Staff Member at FEE
- Hans Sennholz – Economist in the Austrian School, Professor at Grove City College
- Gordon H. Clark – Christian Philosopher, Professor
- J. Gresham Machen – Theologian, Professor, Orthodox Presbyterian Church
- Ron Paul – Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Presidential Candidate
- John Howard Yoder – Mennonite Theologian, Christian Pacifist
The newest think tank on the block, the Libertarian Christian Institute, had even more to add:
“Furthermore, there are a number of Christians associated with think tanks such as the Mises Institute, Cato Institute, and Independent Institute, including Jeffrey Tucker, Tom Woods, Robert P. Murphy, Lew Rockwell, Gary North, William Grigg, Ryan McMaken, David Theroux, and Doug Bandow. Others that should be mentioned include Chuck Baldwin, Steven Yates, Laurence Vance…”
Libertarianism as a political outlook on civil society has an immense overlap with Christianity, especially if you see the influence the Protestant Reformation had on our country’s Founding Fathers. Some of the ideological compatibility includes:
- The libertarian messages and events seen throughout the life of Christ.
- The emphasis on the foundations of a civil society and traditional American values; the individual, the family, and the church.
- The fear of having a state church dictate the lives of people of faith, or having a secular state dictate the lives of religious people.
The most important thing to remember when reaching to individuals about the message of freedom is a quote by Ben Lewis, a Christian libertarian and contributor for Voices of Liberty:
“Everyone is a libertarian about something, about what matters to them. Everybody wants to be free to do what they believe is right. The test of this belief in freedom, and the only security for its preservation, is in extending that liberty to everyone, even those who will make decisions with which we will disagree.”