What is the biblical portrayal of the state? The Libertarian Christian Institute frequently discusses this question; it has bery important ramifications for how we think about political philosophy. In this episode, we continue our interview series with the authors of Called to Freedom as we are joined by Jason Hughey, author of the chapter on the Bible and government.
Jason walks us through the narrative portrayal of the state in the Bible and helps us to see that state officials are sinful people just like the rest of us. As such, they should not be viewed as a special class with some intrinsic ability or right to rule, nor are they exempted from the ethical constraints that bind everyone else. In contrast to political power, the power of Christ is found in the gospel. We also cover some helpful guidelines for thinking about political power and the Bible, some pragmatic considerations, and of course, we get Jason's take on Romans 13.
Mass shootings, gun control
Protest with a football
North Korea, South Korea, Rajoy as Franco
No, it’s not a new Billy Joel song; it’s a discussion of some very important current events in culture, domestic and foreign policy, and international news which have happened during the last couple of months. 2017 has seen a lot of extraordinary developments --- some good, some bad, and some downright evil --- and in this episode we discuss a few which have been prominent in recent news cycles. We start off with the Las Vegas shooting and the left calling for gun control, move into football in American culture and the anthem protest controversy, spend some time going over the escalating North Korean conflict and the Iranian nuclear deal, and close out discussing the Catalonian secession vote and what is currently transpiring in Spain.
The Diocese of South Carolina, once part of the Episcopal Church, seceded from the denomination in 2012 after a complex dispute, and in 2017 joined another Anglican denomination, the Anglican Church in North America. However, the Episcopal Church claims ownership of the diocese's real estate, as well as certain trademarks and intellectual property rights pertaining to its name and branding. What has ensued is an intricate and multi-faceted legal dispute between the diocese and the Episcopal Church. This story illustrates important considerations for handling ecclesiastic disputes and church splits, and what can happen when the state gets involved. Joining us to discuss his take is the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis from the Diocese of South Carolina.
The War on Drugs is one of the most frequently-cited policy issues in modern politics, and it also serves as a clear foil of libertarianism. Whether or not one supports inflicting legislative violence to stop non-violent activity, as happens routinely in the Drug War, is perhaps the most important litmus test of a libertarian. Where one stands on the Drug War also often serves as a firm dividing line between libertarianism and conservatism. Yet despite the relentless evil of the War on Drugs, which is even more destructive to society than drug abuse itself, bad arguments and weak ethics still prevail in most national policy discussions. Thankfully, the tide is turning in recent years.
In this episode, we are joined by Raeford Davis, a former police officer who used to enforce the Drug War, and now is one of its most fervent and piercing critics. Raeford walks us through his own story as a Christian police officer enforcing drug prohibition, what happened to change his mind, why the Drug War is both intrinsically evil and pragmatically ineffective, and why it is incumbent on every police officer, and every citizen, to consider and reject the sin that is the War on Drugs.
Sociology, psychology and anthropology can bring us many important insights into our theology, and 20th century scholar René Girard is a testament to that fact. Diving deep into the root causes of sin and social conflict, Girard helps us to see that much of human strife occurs because of our misshapen 'mimetic' desires to imitate our neighbors (including by destroying them to take what is theirs) and/or project condemnation for our own sins onto others (scapegoating).
We are joined on this episode by Girard expert David Gornoski, a friend and contributor to LCI. David explains the foundations and applications of Girard's insights and their relevance for both Christian theology and libertarian political philosophy. If you like this episode, terrific! If you don’t like this episode, consider that perhaps you’re scapegoating us and should reconsider.