Stop Judging Libertarian Mormons

Gregg Collett is the father of 10 children and a Libertarian candidate for District 11, Position A of the Idaho House of Representatives.  He relies upon Medicaid to pay for his children’s medical expenses.  He is also a Mormon.

 So does that make him a hypocrite? Here is how he answered the question.

 “Am I a hypocrite for participating in programs that I oppose? If it was that simple, and if participation demonstrated support, then of course. But, my reason for participation in government programs often is not directly related to that issue in and of itself, and it certainly does not demonstrate support.”

 Mr. Collett seems to be saying that his reasons for enrolling his children in Medicaid has nothing to do with his political beliefs.  He is absolutely right. Libertarianism at its core is a political philosophy.  It seeks to address the problems created from too much government interference in a person’s personal decisions. Libertarianism will never tell a person how to spend their money or raise their children.  So why is it proper to judge a person’s actions against their political beliefs?

The other interesting piece of this story is Mr. Collett’s faith.  He is a Mormon.  His faith teaches the importance of being self-reliant and financially independent. All members are encouraged to find meaningful employment, create a budget, and live within their means.  But what should a Latter-day Saint do if he works and lives within his means, but is still unable to provide for his family? Should he refuse to receive any government assistance? Do we think it is proper to judge a person’s actions based on their political beliefs?

To me there is no hypocrisy in being Mormon, needing help and admitting that you need help.  If a person is unable to provide financially for his family, then he should seek help from others.  Pride or fear of what others may think often can be a deterrent to seeking help. It shouldn’t be.  It also shouldn’t matter where this help comes from.

Jesus Christ taught that we are all beggars.  We depend upon Him for our substance and our riches.  As a Latter-day Saint, if we seek to emulate Christ, why should we care who is asking for help and why they are asking for it?  All that matters is that help is given.  The true hypocrisy lies in those who espouse to believe in a compassionate and loving God, yet are quick to judge those who seek His compassion and love.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.”- Matthew 7:1-2

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  • Guy_Murray

    “But what should a Latter-day Saint do if he works and lives within his means, but is still unable to provide for his family? Should he refuse to receive any government assistance? Do we think it is proper to judge a person’s actions based on their political beliefs?”

    Of course he should accept government assistance to help care for his children. The question ought to be, should he actively work toward ending that assistance for his own children and those of others who might need it? . . .

    • Blake Surerus

      Guy- That is absolutely the end goal for anyone who receives assistance. However, the issue of being judged for receiving the assistance still remains. How are we going to cure that problem? To me the answer seems quite simple in theory. Believe Christ when he says that the judgment we will receive is directly linked to the judgment we exercise towards other people. That is the lesson that needs to be taught more frequently.

      • Guy_Murray

        You can’t cure people from judging each other. What you can cure is the inconsistent political position of actively working to discontinue a program that benefits not only your own children but also the other children of people of lesser means.

      • Guy_Murray

        And, the other problem with your comment is the concept of an end goal. If there were no programs for those in need, there would be no end goal, or assistance for those who need it, including Mr. Collett and his family . . .

  • Guest

    Guy- That is absolutely the end goal for anyone who receives assistance. However, the issue of being judged for receiving the assistance still remains. How are we going to cure that problem? To me the answer seems quite simple in theory. Believe Christ when he says that the judgment we will receive is directly linked to the judgment we exercise towards other people. That is the lesson that needs to be taught more frequently.

  • Kent

    I agree with the spirit of this article to the extent that people are naturally inclined to judge those they disagree with much less charitably than they judge those they agree with, including themselves. You’d think the promise that we’ll be judged with the judgment we use for others would be a powerful inducement to cure that, but in practice the vast majority of Christians appear to pay very little attention to that idea.

    Collett’s view seems to be that since he has paid for Medicaid and other government programs he may as well use them. He believes their presence drives out private alternatives, but he would prefer those to government programs.

    I think his view about how effective private alternatives could be is wrong, and based on ideology rather than history. But his actions aren’t hypocritical or inconsistent given his views. The quickness with which his critics judge him a hypocrite, and the stubbornness with which they cling to that judgment even when more charitable alternatives are pointed out, does illustrate the point of the article, I think.

  • http://nickscrusade.org NickDupree

    would it be hypocritical, if for example, he gets elected and votes to gut Medicaid funding and harm his own children? State legislatures have more power to change their states’ Medicaid program than anyone else, and since the mid to late ’90s huge and devastating cuts have been common


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