Deregulation, In Jesus’ Name

Every once in a while it is important to remind ourselves that the Religious Right doesn’t want our nation’s laws to reflect Biblical principles only on issues like abortion or gay marriage, but on all laws.

And though we tend to forget that from time to time, fortunately they are willing to remind us, which is what David Barton and Rick Green of Wallbuilders did today, laying out the case for complete economic deregulation on the grounds that that is what the Bible says that Christians should be free to do as they please, while laws and regulations should only be targeted at “the bad people.”

As an added bonus, the guest on today’s radio program was Rep. Randy Neugebauer, whom you may remember as the man who screamed “baby killer” at Rep. Bart Stupak during the health care debate, who slammed the idea of bailing out companies because they will never learn their lesson if we don’t let them go out of business:

Barton: There is a great Bible verse, 1 Timothy 1, 8-10 where God tells us why he gives us laws. And we should use this as the standard by which we judge laws in a city, or in a county, or in a state, or anything else. Here’s was Scripture says, God says “we know that the law is good if one uses it properly.” So what is the proper use of the law? It says that “we also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels.” So the first point of law is you don’t make laws to regulate the good people, you make laws to regulate the bad people. You want to restrain the bad, not restrain the good. So it says “we know the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, and homosexuals, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

The purpose we have laws is to restrain the bad, that is the purpose of government, that is the purpose of law. We obviously have gotten away from that. We have so many laws now that restrain the good folks and regulate the good folks … if you look at all the bailouts that have happened over the last two years, the only divisions of the economy that needed bailouts were the most heavily regulated divisions, the ones with the most government, and that’s insurance, that’s real estate, that’s banking, you had regulations through the unions on the car dealers that went out of business. The guys that had competitive market stuff, we had a lot of car dealers that didn’t go under.

Green: The power of government was coming in to those that did go under controlling it.

Barton: And there is was.

Green: And so the excuse, typically, for these regulations is to keep from having the problems but you the result is …

Barton: You have more problems every time, because you’re violating the Biblical principle that laws are made to restrain the bad, not the good. You cannot violate God’s principles and have it work.

[EDIT – Green reiterates this argument to Rep. Neugebauer]

Neugebauer: We should have let those companies fails. You talk about learning a lesson, companies don’t learn a lesson when the government and the tax payers bail ’em out. Companies learn lessons when they fail and that makes the market then pay better attention to some of these entities and whether they are providing ’em credit or buying stock in those companies. But if there is this implied guarantee that somehow, don’t worry, the taxpayers will swoop in and pick up the tab then there is no encouraging the market to be a little careful in their selection and really no pressure on management to manage their balance sheets better.

Behold the economic ideology driving the Religious Right: Christians don’t need regulation because they are good people, and trying to regulate Christians violates God’s will, which in turns caused our economy to nearly collapse … and we should have let it collapse, because that is the only way that business would learn its lesson.

[And, as an interesting side note, when Barton quotes from 1 Timothy, he seems to be reading from the New International Version, as that appears to be the only version that uses the word “properly” while the others use the word “lawfully.”  And the NIV version of that passage does not mention “homosexuals” .. but apparently Barton thought it important to add that.]