Obamacare, the Constitution and the Bible: A Facebook conversation

Just thought I’d post portions of a conversation I jumped into over on Facebook.

First, Bill Connor posted:

In watching the fight to defund Obamacare, I have this to say. I am a Christian first, as I believe the Bible is the inspired word. Therefore, it is Truth. That said, the Bible is not silent about the role of government and it’s sphere of authority. Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 give the mandate for governmental authority. That mandate is for the “sword” of protection. Protection from external enemies, and protection from lawlessness (law enforcement, Courts) from within the nation. The government is about force in protection. The Church is given the mandate to care for those in need. The Church does not possess the power of the sword, as “Charity” means love. God wants men to give freely and without coercion when it comes to taking care of the less fortunate in society. When Government exceeds its sphere and gets involved with church functions (as in Obamacare, among other things like welfare, etc.) it destroys the idea of Charity. Forcing someone with the sword to give to another is not a Christian ideal. Our founders believed in the Biblical spheres of authority for Church and State and the Constitution makes this law. The Constitution enumerates powers to Government, and those powers do not include Church type functions. Government is to be restrained by the Constitution to the “Sword” functions. Otherwise, Government essentially takes over the Church and all else and attempts to become “god”. That is a reason while I believe the Biblical position to to oppose Obamacare. We care about those in need. However, we are to give to those truly in need through Charity (Love). We did not give the government the power

After a bunch of other people had had a say, I posted:

Bill, in a representative democracy, we vote to elect people to decide what government does. When enough people are elected to decide to undertake something like universal health care, then that’s what we do. If enough people are elected who don’t want to do that, we don’t do that. That’s how the system is supposed to work. It’s really a stretch to make like the government is something outside ourselves coercing us to do something. We, the people, acting through our elected representatives, have decided to do this with the money that we will all pay into it. Does that mean all Americans wanted to do this? No. There probably hasn’t ever been a single action by the government of the United States that all Americans favored. We’re all in the minority on something. But what we do is accept that fact, and work to have our preferred candidates win the next election. In the meantime, we accept the lawful actions of those who have already been elected. We certainly don’t declare lawful actions illegitimate. Nor do we claim, with very thin evidence, that it’s contrary to the Bible. On that last point, I’m not seeing anywhere in the Bible where it says we can’t pool our resources as a people and provide health care for all, and I’d be shocked to find it. Near as I can tell, in terms of saying what the civil government should do, the Bible is pretty silent on something like Obamacare. That leaves the decision up to us and our elected representatives.

Then Bill responded:

Brad, first I appreciate you posting thoughtful note, even though I disagree. Daniel spelled out my opinion exactly. The reason we have the Constitution is to protect certain rights from the whim of the majority. In this case, we had a very quick period of time in which Democrats controlled the House and POTUS. The founders intended to restrain gov’t to its legitimate functions (drawn from the Biblical worldview) and Obamacare exceeds those Constitutional and Biblical limitations.

The another reader (Ltc Robert Clarke) responded:

Brad is right in that the law was passed following our system….but since not a single person in the opposition party supported it, it is bound to face stiff resistance. The people house holds the pursestrings and they should be able to cut the $ off? If you are going to do something this big, best to do it as a bipartisan effort.

And finally, I said this:

Yes, that is best. But when is the last chance we had in this country to do that? Both parties operate on the strategy of getting 50 percent plus one, and then doing whatever they like — which sets off the other party in paroxysms of desperation, because both parties look upon the other, and all its works, as completely lacking in legitimacy. Both parties need to chill, and accept the fact that sometimes people they disagree with are going to win an argument, and just try to win themselves next time around. It’s really getting overexcited to see Obamacare as some sort of Gotterdammerung, the end of all that is good and holy and American and Constitutional. It’s just not. It’s a fairly ugly, pieced-together mish-mash that IS so ugly because there is such opposition to taking the simple approach that Britain and Canada have taken. This is the kind of mess that our hyper-polarized politics produce. It may be too much of a cobbled-together mess to work. But we’ll find out when it’s implemented. It’s going to work, or it’s not going to work. Or it will work in some ways, but not in others. But we won’t know until it’s been in place for awhile.

I didn’t want to get into arguing about whether our Founders intended the Constitution to be “Biblical.” I preferred to stick to this not being the end of the world, or even of the country.

21 thoughts on “Obamacare, the Constitution and the Bible: A Facebook conversation

  1. Doug Ross

    ” On that last point, I’m not seeing anywhere in the Bible where it says we can’t pool our resources as a people and provide health care for all,”

    It’s not a strong argument to make claims about that because the Bible says you can’t do something that implicitly means it says you can. And the whole notion of “pooling our resources” is what charities and churches are about. Voluntary contributions, not government mandated redistribution are the Christian way. It’s pretty clear. The act of giving is commendable, the act of taking is not.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Jesus is these people’s health insurance.

    I really do not see the Jesus in not funding Obamacare or Medicaid, but obviously I am an infidel.

    1. Doug Ross

      Jesus is not about insurance. Attempting to link the Bible to anything related to government programs in 2013 is pure folly. And if you’re going to attempt to do that, you should start with funding healthcare and food programs fully by taking money away from national defense.

    2. Silence

      Pslam 137:9 “How blessed will be the one who seizes your young children and pulverizes them against the cliff!” – so in this case the bible is telling us to bash babies on the rocks.
      Deuteronomy 23:1 “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” – kicked in the nuts? Lost your junk in an industrial accident? Can’t go to church anymore, sorry fella friend.
      Leviticus 25: 44 – 45 “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.” – So now the bible is telling us to make slaves of Mexican children?

      Obviously the Bible says a whole bunch of CRAPOLA that we don’t need to use to make arguments for or against government policy. Shall I continue?

      Exodus 22: 18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
      Exodus 31: 15 “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”

      I can do this all day. You can’t just pick and choose bible versus to suit your own purposes.

      1. Doug Ross

        And Brad has the noble idea that we should all band together through our government to provide healthcare to all. Yet Obamacare is nothing of the sort. The subsidies that will pay for low income people to buy insurance doesn’t come from all of us, it comes from 2% of us. This is explicitly stated by President Obama and the White House spin masters.

        The bulk of the funding comes from:

        – Medicare Tax on Investment Income 3.8% over $200k/$250k
        – Medicare Part A Tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k
        – 2.3% Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers

        This isn’t shared values, shared compassion, shared responsibility. It’s take from a few to give to many.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          … like everything we fund through the progressive income tax.

          Again, let’s remember what government is — it’s the device through which we “band together,” as you say, to do anything as a society. Build roads, provide for defense, or, if we decide to do so through our elected representatives, provide universal health care…

          1. Doug Ross

            Uh. no… Obamacare subsidies are not progressive. They are only on the top 2% wage earners. Check the facts. It’s easy to support something when you don’t have to pay for it. Unless you are making over $200K, you aren’t paying a dime.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            And that’s wrong (one of many flaws in Obamacare). I think everybody should pay something, unless completely destitute.

            My idea has always been to pay in taxes, to support this, what I’ve been paying for work-related insurance in the past. I suspect that if everyone who currently has insurance did that, we could afford a great system that would cover everybody.

            Of course, that would be a single-payer system, and everybody would be in it.

        1. Silence

          Wrong again Brad. I know we’ve had this discussion before, and JSJ isn’t even in the top 5.

          Now, I hope someone will sponsor a proper constitutional amendment to permit the eradication of witches, per biblical law.

          1. Silence

            Although, Ms. St. John did totally rock that red & purple two-piece swimsuit. Yummy.

            Also, I didn’t know that she is married to Robert “Number Two” Wagner. Now there’s a guy who bagged a few hotties over the years.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Also, I don’t think guys who’ve just had their testicles crushed should be in church. All that screaming keeps the rest of us from hearing the homily…

  3. FParker

    How can the Bible be “the truth” when it’s been proven that it’s been changed through translations, rewrites, stories told from generation to generation likely changed with each telling?

    Has this whole separation of Church and State just words written on a piece of paper that has become more meaningless as the years pass?

  4. Juan Caruso

    I quibble with none of your points, Brad. They are sound.

    Lead disproportionately by elected lawyers, our country has taken a perilous turn reflecting lapses of morality (sort of favors lawyer job security, no?), poor education of voters and jury panels (sort of favors trial lawyers, no?), undue tolerance for irregular (fraudulent) voting of a propagandized electorate (sort of favors the unionized elem,ents of the status quo, no). We are, today, rendered a nation of majority parasites and minority achievers in which the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments and God have been
    officially removed from public. legal, and moral consideration (sort of disfavors contractual exemption for “Acts of God”, no?)

    Nice that you see part of what has happened. Too bad you cannot see the bigger picture.

  5. Ralph Hightower

    It is because of the actions of the Republicans and Democrats that I am not voting for either party in a national election. The Republicans and Democrats are not “part of the solution”. They are “The Problem”.

    Both are acting like spoiled brats who threaten to take their bat and ball home when they don’t get their way.

    If there are no viable third-party candidates for the House or Senate, then I’ll write my own name down, or vote “None of the Above” when Rep. Joe Wilson ran unopposed last year.

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