Friday, May 30, 2008

The Battle For Jesus

It seems that politically, botht he right and the left are very keen to claim Jesus as their own. Bible verses are cited by both. Each claims its' righteousness.

Today, Michael Gerson's Washington Post column does something new: It proclaims Jesus not a libertarian.
It is true that Jesus was not a political activist; he joined no party and issued no Contract With the Roman Empire. But it is a stretch to interpret his personal challenge to the rich young ruler as a biblical foundation for libertarianism.

I'm not aware of anything in particular from my fellow libertarians that caused this statement's issue. I know that Bob Barr considers himself a Christian, but that's not the same as a crusade to claim Jesus as an exemplar for my favored political philosophy.

The Libertarian Party does claim some deeply religious individuals among its' notables. Here in Indiana, I can think of Dr. Eric Schansberg, Kenn Gividen, and Andy Horning as prime examples. Schansberg has done what Gerson is doing here, with his 2003 book, "Turn Neither Right Nor Left".

I think Schansberg's effort was far more justified than Gerson's. I mean, how many libertarian claims on Jesus have you heard lately? Compare that to the number on the right, especially. Based on Gerson's bio, I can't help but wonder if the man is simply firing a pre-emptive strike on Bob Barr on behalf of John McCain. His closing statement seems to suggest it:
For millennia, artists, thinkers and politicians have shaped their image of Jesus, often into a mirror image of themselves. But the goal of Christianity is to allow Him to shape us, not the other way around. And just as Jesus the leftist revolutionary is a distortion, so is Jesus the libertarian.

This seems like it's coming from out of nowhere. Am I missing something?


Anonymous said...

It's a pre-emptive strike motivated by fear. The popular bases of the Republican party are on the edge of complete revolt. The party has betrayed and abandoned them in order to serve its plutocratic and one-world-corporation bases. In our system, with all its flaws, all the money in the world won't help if you don't have a large mass of people still supporting you.

Fr. Fozy Bear said...

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but based on his affiliation with the CFR can you imagine how much they (CFR) are quaking at the idea of a ex R, Libertarian possibly winning the WH in 2008. This is most definitively a preemptive strike.

Now as far as the religious attachment to the Party, as an Independent Catholic and a modern traditionalist I to was drawn to LP based on my convictions and principles. I wrote about it on my blog here:

Anonymous said...

I have no idea, I haven't heard anything "mainstream" about this.

Though, as a Christian myself, I have read plenty about Christianity and libertarianism and I don't think it's a stretch at all to claim that Jesus embodied libertarianism quite well, particularly if we're using the non-aggression principle as the core of libertarianism.

This is, of course, different than the claims of Christ being aligned with the Republican Party, or any particular party at all. That's hogwash.

Rex Bell said...

I've never seen a mention of the modern political parties in the Bible, but I always figured Jesus would test in the upper quadrant of the WSPQ.

If he was a Republican, he would have forced us to follow his teachings.

If he was a Democrat, he would have taught that there are no consequences for not following his teachings.

What he did was offer us a chance for salvation, and then gave us the chance to accept or reject it, and then accept the consequences of our choices.

Sounds pretty libertarian to me.