Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ObamaCare and Prohibition

When am I dumber? When I'm pretending that God isn't looking, or when I come up with "general rules" that just happen to fit in with what I want to do because I want to do it? I can't decide which I base my worst sins on, but it's gotta be one of the two.

All I know is that when the bills for my stupidity come due, I hear God saying, "You wanted me absent when you dug the hole. Let's see you get out of it." Whether he actually says that or not is not for me to say, but there are enough verses like "He who digs a pit for his neighbor will fall into it" and "As you have given, so it will be given to you, pressed down and shaken together" that I think the old saw "Turnabout is fair play" is a good summary of biblical teaching.

Now that Mr. Obama's health care bill has passed—well, he didn't get everything he wanted, but it's close enough for government work—Evangelicals are all in a tizzy because they rightly fear that our health bills will rise and our quality of life will fall. Doug Wilson has called this a time to "take action," his main point being that it may take less to stop Leviathan than we think.

Unfortunately, folks, evangelicals lost the moral high ground on this one the first time under Woodrow Wilson and, after a brief opportunity to regain it, lost it for good under Franklin Roosevelt. They made Uncle Sam the final arbiter over health matters by jailing people for involvement with alcohol, then, when that didn't work, marijuana and later other recreational intoxicants, all the time empowering the Food and Drug Administration to determine what foods and medicines their neighbors would be permitted to consume. ObamaCare is the coup de grace for liberty as well as health and the economy, but the mortal wound was inflicted long ago.

While we will answer to God for what we do with our own bodies and how what we do influences others (see Ro 14), I see nothing that commands, or even allows, us to prohibit our neighbors from consumption of any substance, let alone put them in cages for growing, processing, selling, buying, or possessing it. Yet I have never heard a sermon condemning the War on Drugs or even the government-pharmaceutical complex; quite the opposite, I have heard at least one sermon urging congregants to vote to keep the sale of liquor by the drink illegal, and just today I read an article in the alumni magazine of a respected evangelical university by a man who makes his living caging "methamphetamine cooks and drug dealers."

The Torah's solution for misbehavior is restitution and restoration, not retribution, yet Uncle Sam's criminal "justice" system is anchored securely to retribution. We can sing "The Law of the Lord Is Perfect" in church, but we don't do what it commands and we do do what it doesn't command. And we wonder why our society is literally going to hell and the church has no influence.

If we want to wage a just war against ObamaCare—or al-Qaeda, for that matter—we need to begin with justice. We have sinned and need to confess it, repent of it, and make restitution for it. Simply saying, "These are political matters and I don't want to be involved in political arguments" is a copout: the lives of millions of people to whom Jesus has sent us with the Great Commission are at stake. They may be rejecting Jesus for reasons apart from anything we do right or wrong (Mt 7:13-14), but if we really love God, we will keep his commands (Jn 14:21), not only because those commands are for our benefit but because we don't want our disobedience to give God's enemies the opportunity to blaspheme God (Ro 2:24).

Maybe the political process will undo ObamaCare; if so, will we be content to leave the system alone and not speak out against its fundamental evils? Or will God glorify himself by rousing his church to overturn the entitlements-and-retribution mentality at the center of our culture and call people to himself?

Stay tuned.

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