I answered him thusly; I consider myself to be a Christ-Following Libertarian who places his Politics on the Right but his Jesus on the Left.
Much of the debate between the so called Christian Right and Christian Left centres around two things. The roll the church should take in government and the roll the government should take in social institutions. I believe this entire argument is misleading and misrepresents the roll that either institution should take in our daily lives.
As a libertarian I maintain that government should be small and so I lead by example removing myself from it as much as possible. I vote for initiatives that traditionally have been the purview of the right, small government, liaise-faire economics and personal freedom. I don’t like it when my government tells me I have to pay taxes to maintain a road I may never drive on, build a school I will never send my children to or support a war I don’t believe in. But the bible clearly tells me to shut up about it when they do so I don’t get involved in rallies and protests either.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. [Romans 13:1-2]
But as I read through the Gospels I also clearly see a Jesus who was very concerned with the plight of the poor and marginalized, values traditionally associated with the left.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ [Matthew 25:37-40]
I also see a Jesus who had very little to say directly to the governing authorities about such things. He spoke directly to his followers and the religious elite not to the government of his day. The instructions Jesus gives never tell his followers how to lobby government or how to wield political power. His instructions are personal and specific.
So what does this mean in a day and age when certain values seem to have won the day and do hold political power? Are we to applaud or condemn government when it seeks to provide free healthcare to those who can’t afford it? Are we to get involved or remain silent when certain members of the church abuse their freedom of speech to spread hate and oppression?
The answer of course to these questions is simple, follow Jesus. Many Christians are fond of saying “WWJD?” (What Would Jesus Do?)
Of course we know what Jesus did; he cared for the poor, he did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, he commanded us to love our enemies, he preached peace, he ate with sinners and he did it all without any support from the government or the church. In fact he all but ignored the government and fought with the established church until they had him killed.
I get very uncomfortable when Christian organizations accept government support. Government does not allocate money based on the good it will do so much as on the votes it will buy. Christians on the other hand should not be concerned with politics. Our only motivation should be to follow Jesus. When we become dependent on government support the motivation not to offend is too great.
A few months ago Glenn Beck urged Christians to leave churches that preached social justice, calling it a code word for communism. But the church is the only place where social justice can be effectively preached at all. It is the core teaching of Jesus and it functions quite nicely without any help from the government.
Why would anyone anywhere on the political spectrum (right or left) have a problem with that?