As of late my view of economics has been narrowed by report after report of “$_____ billion appropriated for ______” and “$____million could be saved if we just_____” to strictly contain dollar amounts. Liberty however is a basic human right not limited to the scope of the financial sector, and the need to economize can be found in nearly every area of life. Consider then, the church.
World Magazine’s Marvin Olasky recently conducted an interviewwith John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, editor-in-chief and Washington bureau chief of The Economist regarding their latest book God is Back. Despite secularization theory, these two men have found that religion looks to be on the rise and that Christianity seems to be doing quite well compared with many other faiths.
The reason for the success of the church? Micklethwait and Wooldridge claim it is competition. Having such a root in free societies, churches are forced to be accountable to parishioners for both the quality of their services and an efficient use of resources. If a church-goer does not think a specific church is making good use of their tithes they are free to find one that will.
These findings should come as no surprise. All over the world, and especially in countries like China that have strict church control by the state, it is underground churches that are flourishing. These unsanctioned institutions provide believers with organizations they can have a say in and hold to account, in strict contrast to state regulated institutions that largely dictate what the church may do. The desire to worship freely apart from state control was in large part what sparked American colonization.
The need for freedom in not restricted to markets or politics. Competition is not something that should be shied away from, even in religion.
Adam Rule – MCPP Intern