David Gornoski (of Libertarian Christian Institute) Interviews Robert Murphy


Part of the interviewed transcribed:

David Gornoski:

The state is a religious enterprise that is founded on superstition which scratches spiritual itches for collective bodies. And I think these collective bodies that the state creates with its adherence and faithful worshipers are wicked to the core. And we can’t judge this as different from us because we have to say “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” But at the same time we have to confront them kindly and graciously give them a mirror to see the violence that is going on when we vote, when we sit on a jury and say guilty, throw the nonviolent person in a cage. We have to deconstruct that and do it in a way that doesn’t moralize and condemn them as less than us but to see them as ourselves, to see hey, you know, I can see how I could get caught up in a group frenzy well to do very immoral stuff. Because it is like when you get into a collective mind, it’s like you are almost possessed by the crowd. And I think that’s how the government gets its power. It is this moral obfuscation of the crowd mind that it thrives off of.

And I think Jesus, whether you believe He was God or not, was the one person in history who really treats the powers, which is what the state is, for what it really is. Which is this kind of perverse, Satanic, accusatory power of the crowd.


If you think about the story of Jesus, its eye-witness accounts of the wrongful persecution and death of Jesus Christ. And so you see in the Gospel stories—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—you see Jesus wrongfully accused, wrongfully persecuted, abandoned and rejected by His community and killed isolated from no support. Even his own supporters were drawn into the crowd frenzy and would stay silent and abandon him like Peter did.

So the telling of that story is a disinfectant that opens up, that’s what Paul talks about when he says that if the powers of the air knew, which is a reference to the governments and kingdom authorities, that if the government knew, if these systems of evil knew what they were doing when they crucified the Lord of Glory they wouldn’t have done it. Because when they put God through our meat grinder of sacrificial violence, God broke the system from within. In his innocence, his radical innocence and nonviolence in the face of this vulgarity of the crowd was so powerful that by just simply telling the story of his wrongful persecution, He unmasked the system that had killed him that to the point where when Jesus resurrects He creates this dissenting community within the Jewish community. There is not unanimity.

In the story of Oedipus Rex, the crowd is unanimous. They write the story. Oedipus is guilty of all the crimes Oedipus says it himself in the story. They write the victim’s lines in for him; the victors write history. They write that Oedipus says, “I’m guilty of all the things you told me I am guilty of. It’s true. I am the cause of the plague. I have broken these taboos of patricide and innocent; it’s all true. I’m guilty and I am the cause of the calamity of the town and I will block my eyes out and leave the community. So this is an example of a successful sacrificial myth being written, whereas with Jesus because he is innocent and because the Gospels tell the story of his innocence, it breaks the system. Because now we have a dissenting opinion; we have a group of people in the early church saying, no, no, no, you have killed the God of Glory; you have killed God Himself.

And by telling that story, by showing his wrongful persecution, he affected the communities that this story of the Gospel spread to. And so what I am suggesting is we Libertarians, if we really want to harness the power of the Gospel, we should take that technology, show the stories of the victims of wrongful persecution in a state system, and that will undo and unmask and defame over time the power of the state and its ability to sacrifice people for its own desire.

Robert Murphy:

To play the devil’s advocate (no pun intended), what would you say if a secular Libertarian heard what you are saying and he or she says, okay, but come out and let’s be frank here. Probably some of the staunchest supporters of the drug war and foreign occupation of other lands by the military are coming from evangelical churches in the U.S.? So how could you be saying, “Isn’t it ironic that perhaps some of your chief opponents are some of the staunchest Christians around. And so, wouldn’t they just say, yeah, the message of the Bible is there are moral absolutes, none of this wishy-washy and drug use is wrong, and you have got to deal with the consequences of sin and that sort of thing.

David Gornoski:

Yeah, I would just say that because they use the word Jesus doesn’t mean they are imitating Jesus. So Jesus says be like me. He doesn’t say worship me as Hercules. And the average church parishioner, unfortunately, I think, is largely taught a Gospel that objectifies Jesus as an idol. So to paint this into a Biblical story, look at the story of peter walking on water.

The way the average evangelical is presented Jesus, they would stay in the board trembling in fear, worshiping Jesus for walking on water. But that’s not the picture Jesus gives us in the story. Jesus says, You, Peter, get out of the water, get up, get out of the safety of the boat, and do like I do. Become me. Right? And that becoming, the imitation of Jesus, I think is lost in the average popular Christian imagination so that Jesus becomes basically just another idol.

You say, it’s just another religion to the average Christian where it’s like, okay, well, there is somebody in charge up there. Right? Yeah, well who is it. It’s Jesus. Okay. Check. Got that one right. Now you feel kind of guilty for being a bad person. Right? Yeah, I do. Well, say uncle to Jesus. So you are like, All right, uncle, I give up. It’s Jesus. You are the big guy. You are the tough guy. All right. And so then you do your little check list, but have you really done anything to become like Jesus? Do you look more like Jesus? Do you not resist evil with violence as Jesus commands those who want to imitate him?

I mean, even the little things, like the fact that for all intents and purposes Jesus was born of a woman who looked very much evil to her community. Right? She was basically an adulterous woman. She was the most ill-reputed woman you could imagine in her community from her community’s perspective, right? And God says, I choose that situation to come into the world.

What does that tell us about our priorities as Christians? We are so obsessed with “avoid the appearances of evil,” right? But apparently it doesn’t matter so much to God. He chose to come into a birth situation in which he would make his parents look like adulterers. Fornicators. Right?

So obviously God’s expectations are different from the classical, unfortunately church crowd. But he says that’s what is going to happen. He says you will know the scriptures but you won’t see them. He says that. And the people who studied him; the people who had breakfast, lunch and dinner with Jesus every day in Israel, his own disciples, they missed it. Over and over again. They missed his point every day. They would say, okay, Jesus, who is going to be on your left side, and who is going on your right side when you become William Wallace and take this thing by force. He’s like, gosh, you guys don’t get it. You don’t get it! I tell you this every day, and you don’t get it. And Peter says, hey, Lord, tell me you are not going to die on the cross, and Jesus says, get behind me Satan.

You know not the things of God but the things of men, right? And that word Satan means accuser. So he is saying, get behind me, accuser. You are accusing me of doing the things of men when I’ve got the things of God in mind. Right? And so yeah, there is this sense that the average church parishioner worships a disembodied Hercules Jesus which is just another pantheon of gods. Okay, well, you used to worship Zeus, and this guy used to worship Thor; well, we worship a guy named Jesus, that’s all there is to it, so let’s keep treating basically like Thor would treat them.

There is no radical transformation, you are not turning the other cheek, you are not washing the feet of those who are beneath you, you are not doing any posturing which radically imitates the actual demands of Jesus for those who seek to use his name.

Robert Murphy:

I have talked with some right-wing hawk Christians looking at what is God of the Old Testament doing in particular. But I think clearly in terms of God’s model for how do we behave as humans is what he did as Jesus. Yes, Jesus is God but also God in the form of a man and therefore we emulate him. Certainly, it would be completely out of character for Jesus to see someone sitting and then go kill the person or go put him in the cage. That would go against everything he tried to do through His examples. Yes, there are moral absolutes, but it’s up to the gods to punish evildoers.

I think you are exactly right.