Christian Advocacy and Smoking

In my field of economics, the is a word called “externalities”. Externaities happen when there is a transaction between two people, or an activity by one person, and others are affected. 

The field we call “pollution” is about externalities.  If we who drive cars actually paid for all the externalities we push onto others, it would cost far more than it does now.  

For a hundreds of years, some people smoked in the presence of others who did not and the smoke, or externality, was tolerated.   When data came along showing that there was actual health damage in the externality, smokers lost their rights in most public places.  

Today their is an article with an interview with the Dean of the Law School at Liberty University, Matthew Staver.  He registers a strong complaint against all the restrictions that have been placed on advocacy of Christianity in public places. These are prayers before public meetings, Christian displays and so on. He says these Christian expressions do not hurt anyone but do restrict the ability of people to express their faith.  

I’ve never seen the term “externality” applied to this Christian expression.  But, it is a thing that, like smoking,  some other people don’t want to be around. While anti-smoking advocates had health data to help them, people who do not like public expression of religion have some legal levers to pull.

To some extent, religious expression in public places is following the same pattern as another externality, smoking.

3 Responses

  1. Are you running out of things to write about? Just kidding. What do you think of the Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing Libya? And saying that it’s OK for Bahrain and Syria to murder unarmed protesters? I’m guessing you voted for our dear leader, since he’s pro gay marriage, pro-choice, anti-war(HA). Liberal in general. These illegal actions back up my claim that he works for the same special interests as Bush.