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And so, my friends, the Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, has spoken.
In a 5-4 decision, the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare, was ruled Constitutional, not under the Commerce Clause, mind you, as was originally argued before the SCOTUS by the Obama administration, but as a tax, a label which, ironically, this very same Obama administration, including President Obama himself, consistently and vehemently disacknowledged to the American people almost to the point of genuflection.
Now, I don’t pretend to be a Constitutional scholar, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So, with that admission as a backdrop, I want to say at the outset that the purpose of this commentary is not to engage in some polemic debate over the merits or demerits of the legislation itself. That said, however, I will add only that, in my personal opinion, the measure sets a very dangerous, if not portentous precedent for America, though perhaps not for the reasons you might think.
In considering the plethora of legal and bureaucratic minutiae that is the Obamacare statute, all 2,000-plus pages of it, to do so from a strictly legislative or political perspective is to fail to comprehend what is truly at the heart of the matter. Notwithstanding its potentially devastating impacts and ramifications, it is shortsighted at best to concern one’s self with only the tangible and material effects of the Act on our lives.
Trust me. As a nation, as a free people, Obamacare is the least of our concerns.
In October 2008, just days before the election, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, to thunderous applause, uttered 13 of the most chilling words ever spoken by an American politician, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
The reason these words are so frightening is because, in hindsight, we can now see that Obamacare, one of if not the most intrusive and far-reaching pieces of federal legislation to be enacted in our nation’s history, particularly as it relates to freedom, liberty and individual responsibility, is but one example of the “fundamental transformation” which Obama promised to bring about; a promise which, unfortunately, he is well on his way to fulfilling.
As a conservative Republican, I am tempted to place the blame for such a radical redirection of American society solely at the feet of Barack Obama. However, as a Christian, which is who I am above all else, I cannot.
Disagree as I might with the President and his political and ideological worldview – and, to say I “disagree” is putting it mildly, I assure you – the truth is that Obamacare, as well as all the other manifestations of America’s light-speed transformation from capitalism to socialism taking place under his watch (e.g. Occupy Wall Street), is not Obama’s fault, but ours, which would then make it our watch, not his, would it not?
In our humanity, we may find ourselves naturally inclined to react to the SCOTUS ruling simply in terms of this voluminous, overbearing, ridiculously expensive, force-fed piece of government regulation which, barring a full repeal, will affect every aspect of American society in one way or another. However, at a much deeper level we need to recognize and accept that as much as Obamacare is all those things, and then some, it is most of all a by-product not of the American political or legislative process, but of our spiritual condition and what, as a nation, we believe, or not, about God.
You see, notwithstanding the innumerable drawbacks and shortcomings from a societal standpoint, that anything like Obamacare can exist at all in America is the direct result not of our failure at being more involved in the political process, but in trusting God and accepting His divine will for our lives, particularly as it involves an outcome or result that we don’t like.
A key tactic of President Obama and his Democrat cohorts like Nancy Pelosi in selling the American populous on the Utopian notion of “affordable health care for all” (translation: socialized medicine), was to play on the fears and emotions of those who had purportedly been turned down for health insurance coverage or medical care due to a pre-existing condition.
It was a tactic that worked to perfection.
The reason it worked is because Americans have developed a mindset that whatever we don’t get from God, we’ll just get from the Government.
We are not unlike the spoiled child who, astonished at being told by his father that he cannot have the cookie he demanded, will run crying to his mother in hopes that his complaining will be rewarded, being unwilling to consider, let alone accept, even the remote possibility that being told ‘no’ might actually be in his best interest.
That we should advocate that the Government step in to the extent that it has with Obamacare in order to meet a particular need or want which God in His sovereignty has perhaps chosen not to meet, regardless of our circumstance or station in life, is to remove God from His rightful place of authority in our life. God either has the right to say ‘no’ or He doesn’t. And as difficult as it might be to see anyone without health insurance or food or clothing or shelter or a job, for that matter, God is still God, and we are called to trust Him even in the most desperate of situations.
Truth be told, I believe many of us would have to admit that our main problem is we can’t possibly fathom that a “loving” and “caring” God would want us or those we care about to suffer – at all. We have somehow exempted ourselves from the notion that God’s will would be that we actually experience instances of grief, sickness, hunger, want or loss, and that the outcome of those scenarios might actually be used for a greater purpose than what we ourselves can envision with our finite minds.
It is this spiritually myopic disposition that has resulted in America, a country which many still consider a “Christian nation”, ending up with Obamacare, a humanist “solution”, or so-called, that reeks to high heaven with the stench of socialism. Under the guise of the “greater good”, we’ve bought into the lie that “no American should be without healthcare” and as a result, well, here we are, on the historic precipice, albeit unintentionally, of Americans being penalized for the horrific crime of – wait for it – saying ‘no’ to the Government. Then, again, it’s as the old saying goes, “Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.”
The Bible reads in Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NASB),“In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other…”
The bolded part of that verse is the part we can’t stomach. But, until we learn to accept equally both adversity and prosperity, and to realize that either case has been ordained by the sovereign God of the universe, we will continually find ourselves searching for man-made solutions to what are essentially spiritual problems, and paying the price for it in ways we never imagined.
In our arrogance, we have pridefully thumbed our collective noses at God by refusing to accept that adversity, that is, not having all of our needs and desires met in the way we would like, might actually be part of His divine plan for our life. Being convinced of this we have taken matters into our own hands, believing that socialized medicine is sure to correct the inequities of the poor and less fortunate among us whom God has obviously overlooked, as if having health insurance in and of itself is what sustains a person during times of sickness or life-threatening illness or injury.
It should go without saying that health insurance coverage is a practical means by which many individuals and families can manage their health while keeping their health-related costs and expenses manageable as well. That part is a no-brainer. However, that’s not the point. The point is that you can have coverage from head-to-toe, backwards and forward, inside-and-out, but it is not the heath insurance company or the doctors or the prescription drugs or the physical therapy or anything else that coverage affords you that ultimately keeps you alive and in good health; it is God Himself who, in His mercy and grace, chooses to use those means and methods to sustain your existence so that you might live and acknowledge Him for having done so.
To the extent that I or you or anyone else has health insurance coverage or not, we are nevertheless to trust God, even when He says ‘no’, as opposed to our running to the Government, pouting and whining, demanding that it make up for what God doesn’t provide us. Please hear me on this. If having health insurance is your “insurance”, then, I humbly suggest you take a moment to seriously reassess your priorities in life.
Government never gives you a cookie without demanding prime rib in return. Never. Remember that.
We could all learn a lesson from Job who, after losing all of his children, possessions and health, said to his wife, “Shall we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10b)
Though there is a proper role for Government to play in our lives, it is never to be as a surrogate for the One who makes it possible for you to be provided for in the first place, regardless of the means. It is God Himself, not the Government, to whom we should go with our needs, trusting in Him that in spite of the circumstance or outcome, His love for us remains unchanged.
“…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Obamacare is more than a behemoth of legislation, it is a belief system, a worldview, an object upon which many people have based their very existence and peace of mind. The image at the top of this article is proof enough of this. But, as you take comfort in the psychological mirage that Obamacare is the knight in shining armor you’ve been waiting for so as to help you sleep better at night, I will remind you of the old adage that says, “Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.“
The reason Obamacare is bad theology is because it is a form of humanism which, disguised as socialism, takes advantage of the way we feel about our less-than-ideal situations and circumstances in order to tempt us to place our dependance in something or someone other than God for our subsistence and well-being, when it is God and Him alone who watches over you and me.
“Preserve me, O God; for in Thee do I put my trust.” (Psalm 16:1)
There is a role for Government, but that role is never to be in the place of God. Never.