Politics, Left and Right
Tim Suttle, author of An Evangelical Social Gospel? (which I reviewed here) recently posted an article in the Huffington Post Religion section titled, “What is the Chief Political Concern of the Bible?” Suttle comes from a neither-left-nor-right perspective, though seems to lean left in many areas. Regardless of his leanings, he seems to affirm the inherent toxicity of the “left vs. right” argument in politics.
Tim, here’s an invitation: jump ship entirely and join the Libertarian Christian movement! One of the more beautiful compatibilities between libertarianism and Christians interested in social justice is their respective concern for unjust power structures and institutions.
Now, I’m coming from what could be called the Austro-libertarian perspective, which is not your popular strain of libertarianism. In fact, it’s probably more critical of Big Business and institutionalized injustice than any libertarian perspective that I’ve stumbled upon. If the evils caused by money and greed are your root concern, look no further than the outright damnation of the Federal Reserve creating money for the rich at the expense of the poor! If Big Business “success” raises your blood pressure, the Austrians are there to explain economically and politically why their success is often unjust and deserves our scorn. If it’s the poor you’re concerned about, look no further than the Austrians to explain why sound economics are critical to the well-being of everyone, including the poor.
In his article, Suttle asked several high-profile theologians and thinkers like N.T. Wright, Brian McLaren, Stanley Hauerwas, and Walter Bruggemann what they believed the chief political concern of the Bible was. Their responses, while in context might represent particular manifestations of “left-leaning” institutions created and protected by the State, aren’t per se anti-libertarian. I’ll comment on a few of them.
“The chief political concern of the Scriptures is for God’s wise and loving ordering of his world to be operative through humans who will share his priorities, especially his concern for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable. This concern was embodied by Jesus
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