Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Libertarians and religion

NRO's Stanley Kurtz asks on The Corner if it's even possible to be a libertarian and religious in a real, practical sense:
Here’s a question I feel sure Corner readers can answer. To what extent are contemporary libertarians religious? What proportion of folks who read, say, Reason Magazine belong to a church or synagogue and attend services either regularly, or even with moderate regularity? What proportion of libertarians are self-consciously atheist or agnostic and/or attend church seldom or never? Does the answer differ for intellectual types and folks who may have broadly libertarian sensibilities but don’t keep up with Reason or all the libertarian blogs? Is it even theoretically possible to be a libertarian today and adhere to a traditional religion–as opposed to being “spiritual,” or belonging to a very liberal church? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but here’s my guess. Theoretically, you can be a libertarian and also be traditionally religious. In fact, this combination was probably found fairly frequently prior to the sixties and seventies, before “the social issues” moved to the political forefront. But nowadays, the vast majority of libertarians are probably either self-consciously secular, or are religious only in some thin, non-institutional, or highly qualified sense. Again, this is just my guess. I’m interested in what Corner readers say the answer is, because I think you will know. Also, are there any writings about the relationship between libertarianism and religion? I’d be interested in either substantive discussions or empirical studies of the compatibility, or lack thereof, between religion and libertarianism.
And I say resoundingly, YES!!! My email reply to him:
As a Christian who holds principles and ideals closer to the Libertarian Party (but with some reservations) than to the Republican Party, I can honestly say that, yes, it's absolutely possible for one to be a Christian and a Libertarian. The two maxims "render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to the Lord what is the Lord's" and "do unto others what you would have them do unto you" apply equally well to Christianity and to Libertarianism (and much better than they do to the GOP platform) and are in no way mutually exclusive.

I can't point you to any empirical studies, but here are a few essays on the subject by a few of my favorite writers:
Vox Day
Stephen Yates
Bill Barnwell
James Leroy Wilson


Post a Comment

<< Home