Member of Congress and Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul is the premier advocate for political and religious liberty in politics today. He is the most pro-life, pro-family, pro-property, pro-Constitution politician in history. If it is possible to be more Jeffersonian than Jefferson, then Ron Paul is the man.
On issues that are dear to the vast majority of Protestant Christians, Ron Paul stands head and shoulders above the other candidates. Consider just a few.
Abortion: Ron Paul is a physician who has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He not only opposes federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and partial-birth abortion, he is against abortion itself. As he himself has said:
In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, H.R. 1094. I am also the prime sponsor of H.R. 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn. I have also authored H.R. 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called "population control." Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken and will continue to advocate direct action to restore protection for the unborn.
Religion: Ron Paul has issued a statement of his personal faith that should satisfy Protestant Christians of any persuasion:
I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do. I know, as you do, that our freedoms come not from man, but from God. My record of public service reflects my reverence for the Natural Rights with which we have been endowed by a loving Creator.
The reason we do not find very many references to religion in his writings and speeches is because, unlike President Bush, Dr. Paul does not cloak his political proposals with religious rhetoric in hopes of beguiling Christians.
Family values: Ron Paul lives his family values. Unlike Christian "leaders" like prophecy guru Hal Lindsey, who is on his fourth wife, and adulterous Republican politicians like the thrice-married Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Paul has been married to the same woman for fifty years, and has five children and seventeen grandchildren. He also opposes same-sex marriage, and has voted to prohibit federal funding for the joint adoption of a child between individuals who are not related by blood or marriage.
Gun control: Ron Paul is the gun owners’ best friend. Not only has he consistently opposed the expansion of federal gun control laws, he has introduced in Congress the Second Amendment Protection Act to repeal unconstitutional federal laws that allow bureaucrats to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. Dr. Paul opposes waiting periods, instant background checks, and government databases of gun owners.
Illegal immigration: Ron Paul is opposed to "open borders." He believes that the U.S. government should fight terrorism by first securing its own borders. Because he believes that true citizenship requires cultural connections and an allegiance to the United States, he favors an end to birthright citizenship. And because he believes that it insults legal immigrants, he does not favor amnesty for illegal immigrants in any form. But Dr. Paul is not anti-immigrant in any sense of the word. He believes that the immigration problem fundamentally is a welfare state problem. He joins the vast majority of Americans who welcome immigrants who want to come here, work hard, and build a better life. He opposes welfare state subsidies for illegal immigrants that alienate taxpayers and breed suspicion of immigrants. Dr. Paul also believes that all federal government business should be conducted in English.
American Sovereignty: Ron Paul is against any form of a world government or a new world order. Because he believes that the United Nations is a corrupt organization that was designed to undermine sovereignty and representative government, he has introduced legislation to withdraw the United States from the UN. Dr. Paul likewise opposes the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SSP), the NAFTA Super Highway, and any form of a North American Union. He believes that these plans are the result of an unholy alliance of foreign consortiums and government officials. Rather than resulting from the demands of the free market, they are an extension of government-managed trade schemes that benefit politically-connected interests. Dr. Paul also opposes foreign aid since it is generally nothing more than U.S. taxpayer dollars given away to corrupt foreign governments.
So what gives? Why aren’t Protestant Christians lining up in droves behind Ron Paul?
It turns out that because Ron Paul opposes constitutional amendments banning abortion, same-sex marriage, and flag burning, some Protestants have been led to believe that he is not a real Republican. Some Christians think it inconsistent that Dr. Paul can oppose abortion but also oppose a constitutional amendment banning abortion, oppose same-sex marriage but also oppose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and oppose flag burning but also oppose a constitutional amendment outlawing flag burning.
Because Ron Paul ran for president in 1988 as a libertarian and opposes the war on drugs, foreign aid to Israel, and the war in Iraq, other Protestants have come to the conclusion that he is not a genuine conservative. They assert:
- Ron Paul is a libertarian so he must be a libertine, or at least an advocate of alternative lifestyles.
- Ron Paul opposes the war on drugs so he must support drug use.
- Ron Paul opposes giving foreign aid to Israel so he must be either pro-Palestinian or anti-Semitic.
- Ron Paul opposes the Iraq war so he must not support the troops.
These are false assertions.
But if anyone is a real Republican and a genuine conservative it is Ron Paul. He has been elected to Congress ten times as a Republican. He is the former honorary chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He consistently scores a perfect 100 on the conservative New American magazine’s "Freedom Index."
Unlike many in Congress who call themselves Republicans or conservatives, Ron Paul actually believes in strictly following the Constitution. Representative Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution – even if it means courageously casting the lone "no" vote. He has consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending, and regulation. He has actively promoted the return of government to its proper constitutional levels. He is recognized as the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He has also received many awards and honors during his career in Congress from organizations such as the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, Council for a Competitive Economy, and Young Americans for Freedom.
It is because Ron Paul adheres to the Constitution that he opposes the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance programs, warrantless searches, restrictions on freedom of speech, national ID cards, federal information databases, and what he calls the Homeland Security monstrosity. His congressional website lists "The Ron Paul Freedom Principles":
- Rights belong to individuals, not groups.
- Property should be owned by people, not government.
- All voluntary associations should be permissible – economic and social.
- The government’s monetary role is to maintain the integrity of the monetary unit, not participate in fraud.
- Government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges.
- The lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government’s.
Ron Paul believes that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided because abortion is simply not a constitutional issue. He doesn’t think there is any serious argument based on the text of the Constitution that there exists a federal "right to abortion." He maintains that the federalization of abortion law is not based on constitutional principles, but on a social and political construct created out of thin air by the Supreme Court. Since the federal government has no authority to involve itself in the abortion issue, a federal law banning abortion in the states would be just as wrong as Roe v. Wade.
Ron Paul believes that marriage is first and foremost a religious matter, not a government matter. He does not think social problems can be solved by constitutional amendments or government edicts. Taken to its logical conclusion, the turning of regulation of domestic family relations over to the federal government means that presumably anything can be federalized. Because the federal government has only been granted limited, enumerated powers by the Constitution, Dr. Paul maintains that it has no role whatsoever regarding marriage law. Although the states should enforce marriage contracts and settle divorces, they too should otherwise stay out of the marriage business. It should also be pointed out that Representative Paul was a cosponsor of the Marriage Protection Act, which would have removed challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act from federal courts’ jurisdiction. The Defense of Marriage Act (PL 104-99) was passed to ensure that no state would be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage, even if the said marriage occurred in another state. Although Dr. Paul was not in Congress at the time the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, he has stated that he would have voted for it.
Like all patriotic Americans, Ron Paul despises flag burning. He believes that the offensive conduct of a few does not justify making an exception to the First Amendment protections of political speech that the majority considers to be offensive. Because he believes that freedom of speech and freedom of expression depend on property, Dr. Paul considers making flag burning a federal crime to be an attack on private property. However, he does support overriding the Supreme Court case that overturned State laws prohibiting flag burning.
Ron Paul is against constitutional amendments banning abortion, same-sex marriage, and flag burning precisely because he is following the Constitution he swore allegiance to. Another reason he opposes these amendments is because he is an advocate of that forgotten constitutional principle of federalism. He considers the division of power between the federal government and the states to be one of the virtues of the American political system. To alter this balance would endanger self-government and individual liberty. Dr. Paul is in favor of letting state legislatures decide social policy because federalism was established to allow decentralized, local decision-making. Following the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, he favors all authority over matters not specifically addressed in the Constitution remaining with state legislatures.
Although some Protestant Christians think that because Ron Paul holds to many libertarian ideals that he is also a libertine, nothing could be further from the truth. The essence of libertarianism is that it is wrong to threaten or initiate violence against a person or his property. Force is justified only in self-defense. Libertarianism, as explained by Murray Rothbard, the twentieth century’s greatest proponent of it, is a political philosophy that
holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another.
Libertinism is a way of life that might be considered hedonistic or sympathetic to "alternative lifestyles." A libertine might be a libertarian, a liberal, a conservative, a socialist, a progressive, or an anarchist. He might be a member of the Libertarian Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, some lesser-known third party, or no political party. One does not have to be a Christian to oppose libertinism, as Walter Block has superbly shown. Conservative Republicans are not immune from libertine behavior, as we can see from the recent scandals in Congress.
Other Christians falsely believe that since Ron Paul opposes the war on drugs that he supports drug use. As a physician, Dr. Paul knows firsthand the harmful effects of mind-altering narcotics. He believes that drug addiction is a social problem, not a crime. He has pointed out that for the first 140 years of our country’s history we had no federal drug war yet far fewer problems with drug addiction and crime. Dr. Paul opposes the drug war because it encourages violence, has led to the unnecessary prison overpopulation, has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money, has been used as an excuse to attack our civil liberties and personal privacy, has been an excuse to undermine our financial privacy, has promoted illegal searches and seizures resulting in innocent people losing their lives and property, criminalizes the actions of legitimate physicians who act in good faith when prescribing pain relief drugs, threatens the effective treatment of chronic pain, and corrupts our police, the military, border guards and the judicial system.
Some Protestants who consider themselves evangelicals have wrongly concluded that since Ron Paul opposes giving foreign aid to Israel he is pro-Palestinian or anti-Semitic. Congressman Paul is opposed to giving foreign aid to Israel for the simple reason that he opposes giving foreign aid to any country. Foreign aid is, after all, money that has been taken from American taxpayers – money that most of them would not voluntarily send overseas if they had a choice. Any individual American who desires to assist someone in another country is perfectly free to do so. Dr. Paul’s perspective is that of the Founding Fathers: America should not intervene in the internal affairs of other nations. He believes that our meddling in the Middle East has only intensified strife, conflict, and violence. Both sides have more military weapons as a result of our foolish and unconstitutional foreign aid. Some of our foreign aid even winds up in the hands of terrorists. For more on Ron Paul and the question of foreign aid to Israel, see Walter Block’s "An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul."
Ron Paul opposes the Iraq war precisely because he supports the troops. He is a patriot in every sense of the word. He opposes federal court jurisdiction over the question of whether the phrase "under God" should be included in the pledge of allegiance. And unlike many in the Bush administration who avoided military service, he served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam conflict. Because Dr. Paul loves this country and all of its people, he is opposed to endangering the life of U.S. soldiers in unnecessary foreign wars that only enrich federal contractors. He is therefore pro-life in an absolute sense. He believes that the best way we can support the troops is to bring them home, not just from Iraq, but from all of the countries in which the United States has troops stationed. Then Americans can proudly serve in the military knowing that they are engaged in real national defense.
It is conservative Republicans who support pre-emptive war, bloated defense and intelligence budgets, secret military tribunals, torture of "enemy combatants," extraordinary renditions, an increasingly militarized society, the violation of basic civil liberties, undue government secrecy, and domestic spying programs who are neither real nor genuine.
Protestant Christians who love liberty, respect the Constitution, and believe in the freedom to live their live and practice their religion without the heavy hand of government hanging over their heads should be drawn to Ron Paul like a magnet.
As a Baptist myself, I realize that some Baptists don’t consider themselves Protestants. In this article I am using the term Protestant in its broadest sense. Therefore, this open letter is addressed to them as well. But religion or no religion, if your creed is liberty, then Ron Paul is the man.
November 14, 2007
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. His latest publication is War, Foreign Policy, and the Church. Visit his website.