Keyston – Tribute to Ed Opitz
Tribute to Ed Opitz
David Keyston, Real Estate Developer
The Philadelphia Society Regional Meeting
October 16, 1999
It is a distinct privilege to be able to introduce the Reverend Edmund
Opitz–Ed’s career has long been intertwined with that of Leonard Read and the
Foundation for Economic Education, the original free-market think-tank in
Irvington, New York. Whenever Leonard had to reply to a serious critic of
Christian Libertarianism and needed help he would turn to Ed who could reply
with his attitude of Christian Love without offense to the critic, and often
attracting him to our point of view.
The best way I can introduce you to Ed is with a quote from his own
writing–"In today’s world, the term ‘Libertarian Christian’ seems to many people
to be an oxymoron. It is not. It exemplifies nothing less than the true meaning of
the teachings of Jesus….It is very tempting to use the power of the State to gain
privileges. The one and only thing that held this temptation in check during the
early years of our nation was the religious conviction of the majority of the
people, as reflected in the Constitution. In the mid-1800’s a tidal wave of
European collectivist philosophy and theology swept across the Atlantic which,
by the late 1800’s, became known as the ‘Social Gospel" under whose spell our
individualist theology became branded as ‘selfish,’ ‘greedy’ and surely,
un-Christian. We have the gift of an inner freedom so far reaching that we can
choose either to accept or reject the God who gave it to us."
Edmund Opitz is a native of Massachusetts. He received his college degree in
political science, with a minor in economics. After college Ed Opitz went to
California, to the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, where he "began to
sense the ways in which economics, politics and theology are mutually
implicated." Three years later he received a theological degree.
He is the author of The Powers That Be, and the co-author of The Kingdom
Without God. Ed Opitz joined the staff of the Foundation for Economic
Education in 1955. He founded, and acts as coordinator for, The Remnant, an
interdenominational fellowship of clergymen who are libertarian-conservative in
outlook. He is a founder of the Nockian Society and served as its secretary. He
has been a board members of the Congregational Foundation for Theological
Studies and has served on the Executive Committee of his denomination.
A group of libertarian Christians asked him to become a director of Spiritual
Mobilization, an organization formed to fight for the teachings of Jesus versus
socialist concepts of the Social Gospel.
His July 1991 Freeman article, "Biblical Roots of American Liberty" was
awarded a $5,000 prize in the Amy Foundation Writing Awards for 1991.
Arlington House Publishers commissioned Mr. Opitz to write a book-length
exploration of the relationship of Biblical religion to free market economics. The
resulting volume, Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies, was published
in 1970 as a Conservative Book Club selection.
This year Ed Opitz has just published Libertarian Theology of Freedom. He
continues at the forefront of the effort to reestablish the principles on which our
Constitution and Declaration of Independence were built helping to restore the
missing link in our failing educational system. It is a privilege and pleasure to
introduce Reverend Edmund Opitz, a true pioneer and valiant fighter for
freedom in our country.