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Jesus Christ, Libertarian

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin anymore." (John 8: 3-11)

As we approach the new year with conservatism again ascendant in the political sphere, this story of Jesus’ uncompromising libertarianism seems even more timely than stories of his birth, despite the approach of his celebrated birthday. Nowhere does Jesus admonish “social conservatives” more harshly.

There is an important distinction here. By “social conservative,” I do not mean anyone who disapproves of certain human behavior. The freedom to follow the dictates of one’s conscience was the first inalienable right recognized by the founders of our nation. If one truly believes that homosexuality, adultery, or other “non-conservative” behavior violates the laws of God, it is that person’s inalienable right to disapprove of it, even to voice his disapproval of it, regardless of the anguished cries of the political correctness lobby on the left.

However, no one has a right to use violence against those who engage in behavior that does not harm another person, regardless of whether or not that behavior violates the laws of God. Since all laws are enforced under the threat of violence (as this story illustrates wonderfully), Jesus makes it clear in this passage that it is not for men to enforce the laws of God. With the exception of cases in which one human being has done injury to another, the right to punish human behavior is reserved for God.

It is important to recognize that Jesus does not condone the sin that the anonymous woman has committed. When he has shamed away the mob who would have stoned her, Jesus commands her to sin no more. Neither does he insinuate that her behavior might not have consequences for her soul. With flawless libertarian reasoning, Jesus teaches us the true meaning of freedom: that God grants us the liberty to do as we wish, even to reject him and his laws, but that we also bear the full consequences of our actions. If we harm another person, then we are subject to the laws of men. However, it is otherwise left to each individual to determine the will of God according to his conscience and to choose whether to act accordingly or not. There never has been nor can there ever be any body of corruptible men who can save an individual’s soul.

This is by no means the only place in the gospels that Jesus teaches us this lesson. His entire public ministry was one condemnation after another of the hypocritical, socially conservative theocracy. Indeed, it is the Jewish state that is Jesus’ chief antagonist throughout the gospels. He is noticeably disinterested in the more secular Roman government, despite its tyranny over his people. While he certainly doesn’t approve of the Romans, he has no interest in political revolution. As Jesus tells Pilate, “my kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36). However, his own government does not merely commit secular, political oppression against its people. It usurps the authority of God and attempts to judge in his place. For this, Jesus constantly lets loose his most venomous reproaches.

Throughout the gospels, “the chief priests and Pharisees” are constantly shown up for what they are. They do not seek to punish sins to defend the honor of God, but for their own selfish political motives. Their persecution and eventual murder of Jesus himself is quite obviously perpetrated out of fear of his influence over the people. And what is this subversive influence that warrants torture and death? “Love one another as I have loved you. Love your enemies. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Of course the state would hate such a message. It runs afoul of every depravity that the state tries to exhort its citizens to, including its wars, its persecution of non-conformists, and its rampant looting of the citizenry dressed up as “public works.”

When Jesus encounters man-made laws masquerading as the laws of God, he openly condones breaking those laws. When his disciples pick fruit on the Sabbath and are caught in the act by the Pharisees, Jesus beats the Pharisees at their own game by citing Jewish scripture, which describes David actually eating sacred bread out of the temple, reserved for the priests by Jewish law.

Demonstrating how perverse any theocratic state eventually becomes, the Pharisees then bring a man forward with a “withered hand,” daring Jesus to cure him and break the law himself. They are willing to see this man miss his one chance to be cured in the hopes that they can use their distorted interpretation of God’s command to “keep holy the Sabbath” to ensnare Jesus for political ends. Jesus breaks the law without hesitation, saying that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Caring little for the wisdom of the lesson and interested only in maintaining their own autocratic power, the Pharisees withdraw to begin planning Jesus’ murder. (Matthew 12: 1-14)

By attempting to use the law to enforce their morality, social conservatives violate the very principles that they say that they cherish most. Social conservatives decry Islam because it attempts to “propagate the faith by the sword.” However, there is only a cosmetic difference between promoting your religious views through acts of terrorism and doing likewise through passing unjust laws against minorities who have no recourse but to obey or suffer violence. In both cases, it is the sword that compels the victim rather than the mind or the heart. Neither can social conservatives rely on the argument that their laws are passed by an elected body representing the people. If that justifies socially conservative laws, then what is their objection to the welfare state?

No part of this argument should be misconstrued as an endorsement of political correctness or the left’s agenda to grant positive rights to their own special interest groups for political purposes. If we are truly a free country and we meant what we said in the first amendment to our Constitution, then every individual, whether the most fundamentalist Christian or the most libertine atheist, should have the right to speak freely, even if what they say offends another person. For many devout Christians, it is their sacred duty to try to persuade their fellow man to repent of his sins and embrace Jesus as his savior.

However, there is an ocean of difference between persuasion and coercion. The minute that we say, “there ought to be a law,” we are picking up the sword. If we do so in defense of the inalienable human rights of life, liberty, and property, we are within our rightful authority. If we do so to supplant the authority of God, we become the very type of people that Jesus spent his life fighting against. To truly be Christian, we must recognize the need for “a wall of separation between church and state.”

Jesus was very clear about his views on what would lead to salvation and what would not. Jesus condemned many behaviors, like adultery, that social conservatives likewise condemn. He also said that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) However, he does not go on to say, “Therefore, if your brother does not come to me willingly, then draw your sword and force him.” Salvation must be chosen; God did not create a race of slaves.

As we celebrate the birth of this great libertarian, let us not forget the lesson of his life and death. Jesus was murdered by the theocratic state for exposing their hypocrisy and resisting their unjust, blasphemous laws. Let us follow his example of speaking our minds according to our consciences but never raising our hand to save our brothers’ souls. Each one of us will ultimately find that our understanding of the will of God is imperfect, as we are imperfect. Therefore, we must follow Jesus’ example of tolerance and forgiveness, lest we find that we ourselves have mistakenly punished the innocent. Our laws should keep us from harming each other, and leave each person’s soul to the judgment of God.

Check out Tom Mullen’s book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!


© Thomas Mullen 2010

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We cannot force someone to love us

hence the reason for the two trees in the Garden of Eden. God had to give us a choice to follow him or follow the world or else our love for him would have had to come through force, which is impossible. The Bible is so true and perfect if you take time to read it and ask for God to help you understand it!!!!

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

I Don't Quite Agree

I don't quite agree that this proves that Jesus was a strict libertarian. As the other commenter said, the Pharisees were attempting to enforce the Law, but did not have God's purposes in mind when doing so. The key is that these teachers of the Law had sinful intentions in what they were doing, and therefore they ineligible to enforce the Law properly. It was in part for this reason that God allowed the Israelite nation to be conquered by other nations. They could no longer enforce God's Law when the enforcers of it were violators themselves. (See John 18:31.)

That was whole reason for the very incident in John 8:1-11. The scribes and Pharisees wanted to trap him. If he said not to stone the woman, he would be going against the Law of Moses, and if he said to stone the woman, he would be violating Roman law. But he sets the record straight by indicating that God's law has not expired (see Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 16:17), but that the ruling class of that day had no authority to enforce it, because being sinful themselves, that would be hypocrisy. On other occasions, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for not enforcing the Law of Moses (see Matthew 15:1-9) and instead judging by the flesh (John 8:15, 16).

As I see it, this has more to do with who has real authority to enforce the laws, not what the law should be (political ideology). I just don't see a line being drawn with murder, theft, kidnapping and rape on one side and adultery, homosexuality, and idol worship on the other. I'm not saying that that isn't what God wants us to do at this point in history, but its not as clear cut as you make it. One could say that there is so much theft perpetrated by our national and even local leaders that it would be hypocritical for them to enforce laws against thefts. (How broad is "he who has not sinned..."?) I would say that the leaders of our country today (whether they be liberals or social conservatives) are just as corrupt and sinful as those Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Jesus is not necessarily ruling out that a more righteous culture might emerge and might be able to properly enforce Mosaic Law without hypocrisy. I believe that this is the way that our republic was in its beginning (at least in some parts, i.e., the Puritans).

They broke the Law themselves....

in how they brought her to Him. *(See my post toward the top)

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Laws against theft, murder

Laws against theft, murder and the like, derive from very different origins, as they are simple extensions of self protection. A husband "punishing" a whoring wife cuckolding him is one thing; a third party enforcing a law like that in abstract on moral grounds, is very different.

Absent a law against murder, yo have the universal right to blow away someone attempting to kill you.

Good thread

Here is a book that in no way violates the teachings of Jesus, and is a truly an astounding book (I've read it 8 times in 20 yrs)

Read how Jesus was foretold aeons ago, and the mighty power of the Lord in Chapter XI "The Recital" awesome stuff!


The Pods have spoken

Simply Jesus knew the would be stoners' hearts.

They were doing God's commandment, but not for God's purposes. Christ came to change and find the sinners who knew they needed salvation. He cannot save those who do not recognize they need a savior.

The would be Stoners had their own idea of self rightiousness, (obeying the law), and were not looking to be saved from the curse of the law.

It is not God that condemns, but it is the LAW that condemns. It is satan that uses God's law against a person. Satan is your advisary, not GOD.
The GIFT of GOD, (Christ) gives a person the ability to overcome the Curse of condemnation.
HE is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE.
It has absolutely NOTHING to do with tolerating SIN.
If we do not respond HE cannot forgive.
ALL men have been condemned by the Curse of the law.
Christ sets a person free, "if" the person responds.
It is not a helter skelter, do as you please, plan.

Social law is not religious law, though religious people may influence social law because they are part of society. This is what Jefferson meant , I believe. And yes sometimes religion gets to take a back seat to human ethics that are not based on religion, that is part of the American manifest and proceedure. But because I happen to be religious does not mean I cannot participate or inject what I believe to be right for ME and the society I live in.
I tolerate YOU and YOU must tolerate ME. That is why there is a vote and a Constitution.
When anyone surcomvents either, they become a viper and a scum sucking egghead., no longer worthy of my tolerence. TRAITORS.

Let him who hath never misspelt step forth and

cast the first stone. And they dropped their stones and went away. And on them was written CIRCUMVENT.


Someone actually posted what I believe Y'shua wrote in the sand. (The Mosaic law requires both the adulterer and the adulteress be brought forward), they just brought her, and so broke the law themselves, as statists often do.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15


This is echoing my sentiments exactly. This is what I have been trying to tell everyone about the true religion of Jesus. This really says it all.


The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment...Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are His delight. Prov 12:19,22

Bravo! This is an excellent

Bravo! This is an excellent article. There are so many Christians today that believe that men should implement laws that force people obey God's law. It's a huge misunderstanding on their part. From what I've observed, they want Government to "teach" people how to live a holy life, just so they, individually, don't have to be an example and live it themselves.

Nice post.

Too bad it falls on mostly shut eyes.

Exquisite piece.

Thank you so much for posting it here too, Mr. Mullen. It confounds me how frequently people look past this aspect of Jesus' nature, and head straight into the hands of the pharisees and their "laws".

Here is a song called "The Rebel Jesus": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEC7d5jbAbo

He 'time after time' tried to wake up the self-righteous...

and gave hope to those who knew they were lost in their sin. One of my close relatives has loaned us a book called The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. I had my doubts about the book when I saw it was endorsed by Rick Warren, (a CFR member who pushed Obama in the last election) but after reading it saw he was right on.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

The woman was

caught in the act.

So where is the man?

Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

He who is without sin cast the first stone.

Thank you my friend !

I was wondering where it was, exactly.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15