I’m frequently confronted by people who mistakenly believe that the word “Libertarian” is synonymous with “atheist.” I’ve even been accused of being a “Godless heathen” once or twice. As the Libertarian Party and the libertarian philosophy has grown in prominence over recent years, so have these accusations.
Let me put those misconceptions to rest. Libertarianism does not promote atheism. It does not promote Christianity. It does not promote Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, or any other faith. Libertarians simply say you are free to believe as you choose, without restriction from government.
You may know that I’ve been a Libertarian my entire adult life. You may know that I’m the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and a Libertarian candidate for Governor in 2014.
One thing you may not know, however, is that I am a devout Christian.
I believe that Christ is my Savior. I believe that all life is sacred. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I choose to live my life by the teachings of Christ.
But, I separate myself from the Christian Right by having one additional unyielding principle. That principle is freedom. It is a fundamental understanding that I do not have the authority to dictate your beliefs or actions, based on my morals and values. It doesn’t matter whether I’m sitting in my living room, or in the Governor’s mansion.
I don’t have the authority to tell you whom you can marry. I don’t have the authority to tell you what you can do with your body. I don’t have the authority to tell you what you can do with your money. I don’t have the authority to tell you how to raise your children. I don’t have the authority to tell you what to believe.
I do not have that authority.
You do not have that authority.
Government does not have that authority.
Being a Christian means understanding that God gave everyone the precious gift of free will. He gave us the freedom to embrace or reject Him. To use government to force one’s beliefs upon another is to enslave their soul. To believe otherwise is to assume that you – or by proxy, your government – has a higher authority than God. Thus, you have violated the first Commandment, by placing government before God.
Being an atheist means that you respect the right of all individuals to choose whether or not to practice religion. To use government to prevent someone from exercising their faith is to enslave their mind. To believe otherwise is to assume that you – or by proxy, your government – has God-like authority over the mind of other individuals. Thus, you have created a religion by trying to prevent religion.
Libertarians believe that all people are free to think, act, and live as they see fit, so long as they do not harm anyone else.
Most Christians strive for peace, acceptance and forgiveness. Most atheists seek peace, acceptance and tolerance. All Libertarians seek a government that allows us the freedom to actually achieve these worthy goals.