This week in church, my pastor called out Libertarians in the public sphere, in specific reference to sexual morality. He accurately described the libertarian policy as being, in general, live and let live. He then went on to say this pacifism allows for corruption to spread throughout our society and into our churches.
There are two problems with this. First, there is an oversimplification of the libertarian position and second, a misconception of the effects of this position.
Libertarians are by no means united in their policy. This is largely due to the fact that the libertarian party attracts people with many ideologies and puts them under one umbrella. That said, a common notion for libertarians concerning sexual behavior is that so long as it involves consenting adults and causes no harm or disruption to public peace, it is permissible. This goes for just about all of libertarian thought.
To provide specific examples, libertarians are fine with adults having sex inside or outside of marriage. with one partner or many, with whatever gender one prefers. Sex with animals, minors or without consent is illegal. Porn is legal to create, distribute, and consume so long as the participants in all areas are adults.
Now, many in the church would find much of what I just listed as a sin. They would say in committing homosexuality or consuming porn, we are rebelling against God and his commandments. And I, despite being a libertarian, agree completely with them. Therein lies the need for nuance in our public debate.
Allow me to explain: In America, we are granted a degree of freedom. This is not absolute, but it is expansive – particularly in the context of human history. Because of this freedom, there must be a level of tolerance. That is to say if one citizen does not believe the same principles I do, I must accept that. I am not given the authority to use force to coerce him from his position or arrest his right to express it. That does not mean I also have to believe it.
What my pastor, and people in the church who express similar thoughts, fail to see is that this is an opportunity for the church to have an impact. Because we are allowed to believe and freely express those beliefs, the church is given the chance to publicly minister to people. In America, the church gets the chance to convince people of following Christ and living a grace-filled life, putting a stop to the sins people are free to commit.
This is the American way, for each man to choose how he should conduct himself. The government is there to promote the welfare of the people, which means creating laws that would limit actions one citizen may perform to restrict the rights of another.
So I will go out and fight for the right to purchase porn and take to bed whomever will join you, and at the same time I will preach the wrongs of such actions. Because there is a difference between the freedom to perform an act and the moral correctness of doing it.
The church should be more active in spreading the Gospel and the morality it creates because it is based on God’s truth. A republic cannot claim such moral ground if its citizens do not believe it. Therefore let the permanent freedoms of America stand and let the church come forth and renew a spirit of holiness in our country. Don’t have the law of the land come from the holy book, but let the law of our hearts be written in the decrees of God.