There are Christian people who are overjoyed by the government mandated healthcare known as Obamacare. They believe that more government control over individual choices and entire segments of business is a step toward creating more “just” society. So allow me to rant a bit about the government takeover of healthcare in the United States.
Let me first suggest that if it was God’s design for government to care for the “least of these,” He would have mandated such in the Old Testament Law for Israel. But He didn’t. Care for the needy was the responsibility of individuals – not a government. For example, read Exodus 22:25-27; Leviticus 19:9-10, 14; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; 24:14-15.
Consider what happened in England in the 17 and 1800s. (I know, some are rolling their eyes, but hear me out). A pastor named John Wesley and his band of merry Methodists started schools, hospitals, and other social outreaches – without a single dime (or pence) from the government. These Methodist outreaches, added with efforts from others like William Booth of the Salvation Army, lifted the poor of English society at the height of the Industrial Revolution. These services were provided by churches, civic groups, private citizens, and businessmen.
So what would happen if government stopped it’s control through over-regulation and intervention, and allowed the church, private citizens, and corporations to cooperate – free from government mandates – to provide basic services? Yet we now have city governments making it illegal for churches to feed and clothe the needy in cities like New York, Las Vegas, Houston, Philadelphia and Orlando to name a few (see http://www.infowars.com/feeding-the-homeless-banned-in-major-cities-all-over-america/ ).
Ask any small businessman: does the government make it harder or simpler to conduct business? From the doctor to the farmer to the pencil maker to the restaurateur, government regulation makes business more difficult. As a pastor for over 25 years, I know how government regulations make it so difficult for churches to provide basic services to the needy. Government isn’t the answer – it really is the problem!
If churches were less concerned with tv ministries and larger buildings, erecting kingdoms of our own here on earth, think of the money freed to help the needy. There are already churches that do this without fanfare or government assistance and with great success. These outreaches and their volunteer armies are un-sung heroes.
Now with government exerting such enormous control over healthcare, consider that the same government now is telling Christian hospitals and schools what they must provide or withhold as part of their services. Roman Catholic clinics must provide birth-control. Protestant doctors are forced to perform abortions. Jewish hospitals cannot perform circumcisions? Do we really want the federal government forcing religious health providers to violate their beliefs?
One young pastor and self-proclaimed budding theologian told me today that it is the government’s role to provide food, clothing and shelter to “the least of these.” It is not the role of the government to be Daddy and Mommy to “the least of these.” Jesus made that charge to His followers – not a government! (Matthew 25:31-46).
This young man also suggested that we need government to create a more “just” society, and Obamacare is a huge step in that direction. Governments neither make a “just” society nor better people. The Gospel proclaimed and practiced by individuals through the church, in the power of the Holy Spirit, however, make both.
As always, open to your thoughts.