This year marked the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the largest schism in Church history. Of course, in the seemingly, nominally important date of 2017, there was much talk among prominent church members, on both sides of the doctrinal divide, about unity. How is that unity achieved when there isn’t much Catholics and Protestants agree on? And the disagreements are for good reason; the dissension is built on the most divisive of issues: Authority of Scripture, Salvation, Papal Primacy, etc. However, there is something never brought to the table, that they should agree on, regardless of Biblical discord.
While there is no sacred text outlining the Non-Aggression Principle, also known as the NAP, it is generally understood as Murray Rothbard explains in his 1963 essay, “War, Peace, and the State,”
“No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.”
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the other names credited with the formulation of the NAP. Literary and philosophical giants such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Ayn Rand, and the previously mentioned Murray Rothbard000000000000 have contributed to what is a common discussion on Liberty and Natural Rights. Today’s distillation of the NAP’s definition may not be as poetic, but what it lacks in length, Matt Kibbe‘s straightforward expression, “Don’t Hurt people and don’t take their stuff,” makes up for with current vernacular intelligibility.
It’s that simple.
Not hurting people and not taking their stuff is unfortunately novel in Western culture. Americans proclaim freedom, while listing the multitude of resources that must use conscription to fund and operate. It should spidey-sense style alert everyone, as we are told that God’s Law is written on everyone’s heart. “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff” is a common prosaic understanding of the most recognizable commandments, “Thou shall not steal,” “Thou shall not kill,” and the second great commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is, of course, the humorous answer to exclaim when someone asks if Christianity is compatible with libertarianism. The unfortunate root of that question isn’t because of a mystical and elusive understanding on libertarianism, but because of the current culture of justifiable war on any peoples, for any reason, by any means necessary. The devastation of the nuclear bombs on the Japanese and the Drug War on American minorities are apparent to anyone taking a step out of circular reasoning and coming honest with our appeal to love, peace, and the Gospel.
Maybe that’s why libertarian Atheist and Theist get along.
The NAP has unified Atheist and Theist. Why couldn’t it unify Catholics and Protestants in the same regard? Atheist will never fulfill the salvific requirements of the Protestants, but under the NAP, we can achieve Rodney King’s request, “Can we all get along?” Larken Rose, Ayn Rand, Rothbard, and Stefan Molyneux can all have great respect and peace amongst their theistic counterparts like Tom Woods, Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell.
Where both churches have a history of failing the Non-Aggression Principle in the most abhorrent of ways, it would be of the utmost progression to adopt and unify on the Non-Aggression Principle. In today’s wars, both foreign and domestic, “the Church” has been one of the loudest supporters. Protestants have previously wagged their fingers at the Catholic Church’s Crusades, while now waging their own Holy Wars against drugs and anti-American values. While proclaiming ourselves to be a Christian nation and sanctioning war against any foe that questions her exceptionalism, our saints and archangels occupy the majority of the world’s countries. Can we all get along? Professed Christians of any varied doctrinal belief should be able to, and it is easily achieved with a unification on the Non-Aggression Principle.