Saturday, June 5, 2010
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, THE NEW HEALTHCARE LAW & 666
The passage of the recent health care bill by the U.S. federal government was a significant piece of legislation that will go down in history as a tipping point in the life of this nation. This bill was almost 50 years in the making, and the process of getting it passed was no small feat. I feel compelled to share with you some of my thoughts about what has occurred, and some possible ways that the church of Jesus Christ in America may be able to respond to this legislation. I am convinced that the church needs to be informed regarding what is occurring in this nation, as well as have a Biblical response to some of these significant events. The church must not continue to be silent. What I’d like to do in the next few minutes is take a look at this new health care bill first, from strictly a legal perspective, and then as a follower of Jesus from a Biblical perspective. I urge you to please take a few minutes to read through this. I do believe this directly applies to your life and will be worth the time you spend to consider what I’m about to share with you.
A legal perspective
As you may be aware, this new healthcare law mandates that each and every American purchase and be covered by some type of health insurance. This is truly historic as this is the first time in the life of this nation that the American government has required its citizens to engage in economic activity and purchase something simply for being alive. This is different, for example, from being required to have auto insurance because individuals are not required to own a car or drive. It is a choice. I do not have a choice regarding being alive, however, and thus being required to purchase health insurance. This will have a dramatic affect on our nation as there is an estimated 46 million Americans who currently do not have health insurance, but will now be forced to purchase coverage either out of their own pocket, out of taxpayer’s pockets, or a little of both. While many people will continue to debate whether or not this is a good thing, one thing is certainly clear about this government requirement for citizens to purchase something under the penalty of law.
It is unconstitutional.
This nation is a democratic republic whose federal government is given the ability to govern by the powers expressed in the federal constitution. The only way that the federal government can be legally given power to do something that the U.S. constitution does not specify, is by constitutional amendment. Any authority that is not expressly given to the federal government by the U.S. constitution falls to state and local governments. This is not my opinion; rather this is clearly spelled out in the 10’th amendment to the U.S. constitution:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (10’th amendment, U.S. constitution)
The U.S. government has the expressed power to impose taxes, print and regulate money and monetary policy, regulate interstate commerce, etc… there is nothing in the U.S. constitution that allows the federal government to demand that its citizens engage in economic activity and buy something however. This new health care law demands that all citizens obtain health insurance or pay a fine. This demand is not constitutional no matter how essential politicians may consider health care insurance to be.
Let’s be clear; the penalty for disobeying this law is a fine and is not a tax. There is a difference between a fine and a tax. The federal government has the power to tax you, but not to demand that you obtain insurance or be fined. This is new territory and is an entirely new power that the federal government is attempting to impose on its citizens without the proper constitutional authority. Because of this violation of power, many groups and at least 14 state attorneys general are bringing suit against the federal government in hopes that the courts will strike down this law as unconstitutional.
A Christian perspective
Just because a law may be unconstitutional and un-American however, does not necessarily make it unbiblical. I’d like to take a few moments to speak to you not as an American, but as a follower of Jesus. While I am an American citizen, scripture states that I am also a citizen of another kingdom. Scripture implores us to respect governmental authority and obey the laws of the land we’re living in. It is also true, however, that the kingdom of God takes precedence over the laws and governments of mankind if there is a conflict. That is the question that should be asked by each Christian in regards to this new law. Does this new healthcare law pose a conflict for me as a follower of Jesus who belongs to the kingdom of God?
While I do not expect everyone to agree with my assessment and follow my example, I feel compelled to share with you my response to this new law. Many American Christians will not be immediately affected by this new law because many are already covered by health insurance of some sort. Many will continue to be covered by their insurance providers with no change in the short term. This is not the case with my family however. My family and I are apart of the 46 million people who have had no medical insurance coverage, and I am thankful to be in this position for such a time as this!
My family and I have gone without health insurance for almost 4 years now. When I was an institutional church pastor, my family and I were provided with medical insurance by our supporting church. After I left that position to engage in the ministry that we are now involved with (illuminate), we lost medical insurance coverage. The price to obtain new health insurance was not an option for us after that. A lack of health insurance, however, is not an excuse to not obeying God and following Him where He leads, so we decided to follow Him and trust him to take care of us. He always has!
Just before this healthcare bill was passed, I decided that my family and I will not be purchasing health insurance anytime soon and if we are fined by the federal government because of this decision, we will not be paying that fine as well. I am convinced that this new law is an immoral law that I cannot participate in for a couple of reasons.
1. This new law will greatly expand the culture of death and infanticide to new levels in this nation.
I have heard the misguided reasoning of some suggesting that abortion rates will actually decrease as a result of the economic benefits of many due to new access to health care. This is naive thinking at best and comes from believing the lie that crime is rooted in economic inequality (Marxism). Remember, abortion is murder and murder is a crime. Scripture teaches that crime (violating God’s law) is a result of an evil heart and does not come from a lack of money or health care. Scripture clearly teaches that the real problem with the human race is not a lack of money or resources; rather it is a sinful heart and rebellion against God.
Because abortion services have been defined as ‘reproductive health’ issues for many years, unfortunately the loopholes in this bill will ensure that abortions will greatly increase as a result of this bill. Don’t take my word for it; this legislation was hailed as victory by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest promoter of child murder both in the U.S. & in the world. I could go on and on about how bloody and evil this organization is, but that is another article for another day. I simply say that Planned Parenthood, in keeping with the principles of its founder, would not celebrate anything that was not good for the culture of death. They never have. Every Christian should be aware of the history of Planned Parenthood, and know why its founder started this organization. You will be horrified. This organization receives millions of tax payer dollars annually as well.
The Supak amendment that congressman Stupak tried to introduce to the U.S. House of Representatives was opposed by Planned Parenthood and was rejected by the House. Had Stupak’s amendment passed, it would have strictly restricted federal dollars going to pay for abortions. Because this amendment did not pass, unfortunately there are now many loopholes regarding abortion funding in the new healthcare law. As a state & U.S. senator, and now as president, Barak Obama’s actions have defined him as the most aggressively pro-death politician to occupy the White House in history. His pledge to sign an executive order, (which can be undone with the stroke of a pen), to protect life in regards to this new healthcare law cannot be taken seriously. I’m afraid that it was simply a stunt by the president to get this bill passed. In my opinion, trusting Obama to protect human life is like trusting Adolph Hitler to protect the Jews.
2. The second reason that this law is immoral is because it is based on the lie that healthcare is a necessity.
This lie states that a vital right and necessary component of life is medical insurance. I know that the world’s system teaches this here in the west, but shame on us in the church for believing this! I can’t tell you how many Christians take jobs that they should not take simply because of the health benefits. Many times this causes them to live in places that they should not live, and distracted from doing the things their heart desires to do simply because of health benefits! There are worse things in life than losing health benefits. The necessity of health insurance is a western invention that is crippling the church from taking stands that need to be taken.
Did Jesus have health insurance?
Did the early church?
Do most of the people living in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East today?
No! I remember seeing believers in China and India faithfully serving God and living life without health insurance and they were just fine. I know of poor Chinese and Indian pastors and evangelists who travel the county on foot or on bicycles doing the work of the LORD. Do you really think they have health insurance? Do you think they would refuse to do what the LORD asks of them because of a lack of benefits? If they get sick, they pray for healing and are healed. If not, they rest until they get better, or they die. This is a way of life for most of the world, and we in the west are no different.
For the most part, my family and I have not been to the doctor for the past four years, and we are fine. I am the healthiest I have ever been, and I rarely get sick. If we get sick, we pray for healing or we rest because that is our primary care options! We are fine. Benefits, or the lack thereof, will not prevent us from being obedient. If we ever need health care in the future, I’m sure the LORD will provide it as He has done in the past, but I refuse to be forced into an immoral system based on a necessity that simply does not exist. Much of the church does not have the credibility to speak out against this healthcare bill because of the hypocrisy of their actions based on this lie that health care is a necessity. Let me say this again…
HEALTH CARE IS NOT A NECESSITY! (Who told you that it was?)
Did you know that there is no ‘public option’ in this healthcare bill that was just passed? That means that this healthcare bill is built upon the back of the private healthcare industry. While most Christians opposed this bill out of the fear that tax payer dollars would go to subsidize private health insurance policies that cover abortions, many refuse to see that their current private medical insurance providers already cover abortions in their medical coverage! How can you oppose your tax dollars going to pay for abortions or to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood who promote and perform abortions and not be opposed to funneling your money to your current insurance provider who most likely already pay for the abortions of their policy holders? Would you do business with an organization which funnels money into the sex slave industry or which supports genocide? No way! This is not different in any way.
If you cannot find a medical insurance company that refuses to cover the murder of babies, are you willing to drop your medical insurance provider because they take your money and cover the murder of other people’s babies?
If you were not willing to do it when medical insurance was an option, will you do it now that it is mandated? Civil disobedience against this law will only happen if we reject the lie that health care is a necessity. Healthcare is not a necessity, and yes I am advising that Christians disobey this new healthcare law.
No doubt that many of my evangelical friends will quote this statement from Jesus as justification for not opposing this new law:
“…Then render to Caesar (government) the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25)
This scripture states that some things belong to the government, and that ALL things belong to God. This was a brilliant statement made by Jesus that in no way gives man’s government authority it was never intended. The right to take innocent life cannot be rendered to government because it does not belong to government. This right belongs to God alone and has been the basis of our law as well. Since it is not government’s right to take innocent life, this right cannot be passed on to citizens or insurance companies as well.
Because the government has no inherent right to take innocent life, they have no authority to mandate that I purchase immoral insurance policies from companies that promote and fund this illegal activity as well. If they do, I will not abide by this law the same way Daniel did not abide by the law that stated he could not pray to God, or the way the early church disobeyed Roman law by refusing to pray to Roman gods, or the same way the church in Asia and the Middle East currently refuses to stop assembling together despite laws against it.
Remember, many of us get frustrated when we feel powerless. Many feel stuck because we have mistakenly perceived politicians in Washington to have let us down, now we are stuck. This is not the case at all. No person or government has the authority to order us to engage in immoral economic activity unless we let them. They can pass a law, but it is only affective if we abide by it. Can you imagine what would happen if the approximately 50-100 million Christians who opposed the health care reform bill would simply opt out of the system, and refused to pay the fines?
What if 50-100 million people joined these federal law suits?
What if 50-100 million Christians in this nation left the current system and joined Christian health co-ops that refuse to cover abortion, yet help create a ‘pool’ that serves to help offset medical expenses? There are national groups like this in existence now even though they may not satisfy government requirements for health insurance coverage. ( www.samaritanministries.org , or www.medi-share.org )
While civil disobedience against this immoral law is only a suggestion, there is coming a time in which true followers of Jesus will have to engage in civil disobedience and opt out of the world’s system of commerce and living. This is clearly expressed in scripture. If we take the Bible seriously, then we know that there will be a time in which people will be required by the government to take the ‘mark of the beast’ as it is described in the New Testament simply to conduct business and live. This system will not develop overnight; rather I am convinced that the ‘666’ that scripture speaks of is a symbolic perfection of man’s system that is already here now. (Rev. 13:17-18) If we are dependant upon man’s system for life and not on God’s system, when that time comes will we be ready for that day? This era could be closer than we think it is.
While the church has been entirely too quiet regarding the holocaust of abortion in this nation, it is my prayer that this new healthcare law will cause all Christians to evaluate the role they may be passively playing by being apart of the current system. Before we see a re-awakening and purifying of the American church, the issue of abortion will certainly have to be dealt with. I’ll leave you with these commands from scripture:
“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you…I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;” (2 Cor. 6:17, Rev. 18:4)
For this re-awakening,