There is antagonism between some religious people and some libertarians due to generalizations. The religious people of this mindset see libertarians as immoral or at least amoral, and disrespectful (libertines who have the attitude that I will do what I want and you can’t stop me). The generalizing libertarians see religious people as wanting for force everyone to live according to their standards. The short answer to this is to not get into the fallacy of generalization. For those who think their generalization is reality, let me try to give a different point of view.
Libertarianism is a political philosophy about how people can get along with each other; it is not a philosophy of life like a religion. In a libertarian society, if someone were to violate the property right of another (some kind of assault or theft), then they would be held accountable to compensate the victim as far as possible. Holding someone accountable for violating a property right is for the protection of property rights, not to make the criminal moral. Libertarianism is amoral, but there is more to life than politics, so libertarians can have a life style that is moral and even religious. Also note that libertarianism requires that people have respect and consideration for the person and possessions of others. People cannot just do whatever they want without considering the possible violation of someone’s property right. The politics of a peaceful and prosperous society requires no more and no less than law that protects property right.
In speaking to my fellow libertarians, I would note that the major religions of the world all have some form of the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Most religious people try to abide by the golden rule in their personal interactions with others. Granted, many of these same people do not understand that supporting government taxation and regulation is contrary to the golden rule, but then you could say the same for non-religious people too. Most religious people are committed to their values. Once they see the value of the libertarian position, they will be strong supporters. Something that libertarians do that might cause religious people to shy away, is to express support for certain special interest groups. This can give the impression that support of these special interests is the libertarian cause. Although this is not true, it can still be the perception that turns people away. It is better to promote the whole reality that the libertarian cause is beneficial for everyone.
For the religious side, I can only speak from a Christian perspective. Taking other people’s property (stealing, robbery, embezzlement, fraud, taxation, etc.) is immoral, is not Christian, and is not libertarian. There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus nor in His treatment of other people that would justify trying to force Christianity on anyone which force is in itself immoral. Faith in Jesus Christ, following His teachings, and choosing moral behaviour must come from within as a person’s own choice to be valid. It is immoral to try to force someone to be moral. So from a Christian perspective, taxes and regulation are immoral and libertarianism is the only political philosophy that is compatible with Christianity.
Now my particular Christian view is that of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And let me say to my fellow Latter-Day Saints that libertarianism is nothing more nor less than the principle of agency which we consider fundamental to the gospel of Christ. Agency means that everyone has the privilege and responsibility to choose for themselves what they will believe and how they will live. The section of Doctrine and Covenants on government, 134, verse 2 states: “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.” This is as good a succinct description of libertarianism as you will find anywhere. The righteous Nephite kings and judges in the Book of Mormon did not tax their people nor force any beliefs on them. Mosiah 2:14 “And even I (King Benjamin), myself, have laboured with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, ….” Alma 1:17 “…..; and now the law could have no power on any man for his belief.” Tax and regulate government goes against everything that Latter-Day Saints are taught about good government. Libertarianism is the only political philosophy that is consistent with the principle of agency.
I believe libertarian groups can attract support from religious people by presenting their group in a professional manner. Besides being courteous and considerate, this would mean avoiding the marketing error of appearing to cater to special interest groups. I encourage religious people to look past the amorality of libertarianism to the fact that it is the only moral political choice. Libertarians will protect religious liberty along with every other liberty. Libertarianism will help those on the low end of the economic scale as opposed to the failed do-gooder policies of other political parties. The libertarian philosophy is a subset of religious philosophy so the basic political philosophy is the same. Libertarians and religious people should expect to share the same political views.