Religion and Freedom
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." - Thomas Paine
Stereotypes make thinking easier. Labels stop thought. I ask you to suspend your preconceived notions for a moment. I will list some of the hats I wear, but my definition of each is probably a lot different than yours.
I am a Christian.
I am a libertarian.
I am a businessman.
I am an educator.
Each of these hats normally alienates a few more people.
This post is about religion and freedom, sadly these two are frequently seen as mutually exclusive. I have pulled a bit from one of my sites for the following. We all need to understand these general principles. I have some tough words for my fellow Christians here.
If we want freedom to worship and live our lives as we wish, then we can not restrict others rights to do the same without being hypocrites. We must bring sinners to Jesus, not seek to separate sinners from sin.
As long as no harm comes to others, as long as no harm comes to others rights to do as they wish, then we should not seek to control other's actions. There is no virtue in a forced action. If we do not want others controlling us, then we should respect liberty for all.
I perceive that a very limited form of government is most advantageous for spreading the gospel. The smaller the government, the more citizens are free to embrace anything they chose, the greater our freedom to preach as we are led. God's love is what we will use to draw the lost to him; we should not try to legislate our values.
Once anyone's values are legislated then controls will also be asserted against everyone, including us. Freedom must be for all to live, talk, and act as they wish; as long as they do not interrupt others rights to the same.
In a non restrictive environment of maximum liberty we will be able to move when and where God leads, without encountering government's restrictions.
To my fellow Christians, we can trust God. God will take care of all negatives that sincere people claim arise from freedom. We need both our liberty and an unfettered willingness to follow Jesus Christ.
Yes, God will still empower us if our liberty is lost. We should however avoid being the agents by which liberty is decayed. This liberty applies to all speech, all educational institutions, all life styles, and all religions.
If we limit anyone, in the end we limit ourselves. Our own efforts to be a political force are changing freedom of religion to a reaction of freedom from religion. It is far better to let politics decay and diminish itself.
"... And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Claude Frederic Bastiat
Best to all,
PS There is a bit about violence and religion here.