OK, this may seem like an odd combination of topics for one article. But there is a reason for it. As you may know, on October 1 aspects of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went into effect. Although the system has been around for a while, its role in the US debt ceiling crisis has meant it is again being ferociously debated.
When it was first being debated I wrote a few articles warning about what a really bad bit of legislation this in fact was:
I won’t go into all these issues here, but some very recent articles on Obamacare highlight just how bad it is – even worse than we first thought. Here are six very worthwhile and incisive pieces to begin with:
And an excellent 5-minute video on this is well worth watching. In it Dinesh D’Souza takes on atheist Michael Shermer and a rather naive Christian who thinks Obamacare somehow equals WWJD: http://www.ijreview.com/2013/02/35177-dsouza-why-obamacare-wont-work/
As Chuck Baldwin wrote just today: “The decision by Congress to pass Obamacare into law back in 2010 ranks among the most draconian, most egregious, most horrific actions ever taken by the central government in Washington, D.C. This bill rocks the principles of liberty and constitutional government to the core. It changes fundamental foundations; it repudiates historic values. The same flag may fly on our flagpoles, the same monuments may grace our landscape, and the same National Anthem may be sung during our public ceremonies, but it is not the same America. For all intents and purposes, our nation now more resembles the socialist countries of the old communist East Bloc than it does the constitutional republic of the old land of the free.”
And the assault on freedom is what really concerns me here. Religious freedom and freedom of conscience are especially under attack with Obamacare. The threats are well known, but let me offer a nice summary by Rick Phillips:
“The conflict is arising over the matter of contraceptives in health care plans. The Roman Catholic Church holds that all contraceptives are immoral. Most Evangelical Christians do not forbid all contraceptives, but hold that abortifacient contraceptives are sinful. (These are contraceptives that destroy a fertilized embryo, which we regard as destroying a human life.) The current issue is the mandate under the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as ‘Obamacare’) for businesses, including those owned by Christians and formed to uphold Christian values, to provide abortifacient contraceptives in the insurance plans of their employees….
“Christian businesses have faced heavy government fines for refusing to obey the Obamacare mandate. Hobby Lobby, for instance, faces $1.3 million per day for refusing to provide abortifacient contraceptives to its 13,000 employees. These and legions of other Christian organizations, including seminaries, book publishers, and Christian schools, may be forced out of business, with thousands of jobs lost, by the government fines.
“In my view, it is important for Christians to realize the grave nature of this new threat. What is at stake is our freedom to participate in the public life of our nation while upholding our religious convictions and our fidelity to Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation speaks of the ‘mark of the beast’ without which ‘no one can buy or sell’ (Revelation 13:17).
“This mark was given to those who bowed and worshiped the image of Caesar, and those who received it are judged by God (Revelation 14:11). I would not say that the Affordable Care Act is the mark of the beast, nor that our government leaders are intending to serve the Antichrist. Yet the principle informs Christians that we must not obey civil leaders who command us to disobey Christ, whether they intend this or not, at the expense of our jobs and businesses.”
But some rather naive and uninformed Christians might say, well, as long as I can preach the gospel, it does not matter about these other things. They think all these crackdowns on religious liberty and freedom of conscience are inconsequential, and we can still evangelise and so on. They are dead wrong.
Several years ago Eric Metaxis wrote an important piece called “What Would Bonhoeffer Do?” He writes, “To some Christians the idea of asking anything but ‘What would Jesus do?’ is blasphemous. But God wants us to look at the lives of those who have gone before us – whom the writer of the book of Hebrews called that ‘great cloud of witnesses’ – who have run the race of faith successfully. That’s an important part of how we learn what it is to live the Christian life. We need to see other Christians in action, to see what the Christian faith looks like when it’s lived out in difficult circumstances by others. And when we need to see how we should deal with persecution amidst encroaching fascism, Bonhoeffer is the best role model there is.”
He looks at his later life as he resisted Hitler and the Nazis. Bonhoeffer “understood the proper roles of the church and the state, and he recognized the Nazi threat to religious liberty from the beginning. . . . The Nazis wanted to bully Christians into accepting a place of such diminished stature in the culture that they had no real voice. But whenever the Nazis trespassed on God’s property, as it were, Bonhoeffer met the challenge. He drew a line in the sand and then passionately rallied his fellow Christians to stand with him on that line, to defend it at all costs….
“But while Bonhoeffer was trying to wake up the German Church to stand boldly and decisively against the Nazis, another Christian was taking a different tack. Frank Buchman was a prominent American evangelical who headed up something called the Oxford Movement. He hoped to convert Hitler and the other top Nazis to the Christian faith, believing that this would solve everything.
“Bonhoeffer knew that Buchman’s goal was laudable in principle, but in reality it was a fool’s errand. Buchman failed to discern the times in which he was living. While he was trying to arrange lunches to talk with Himmler about Jesus, the very liberties that made it possible to preach the Gospel in Germany were brutally being kicked down the stairs and out the door.
“But Buchman’s idea is alive and well in America today. One often hears Christians say that they don’t want to get involved in political or cultural battles; they just want to ‘preach the Gospel.’ They think that by avoiding political and cultural battles they will retain the credibility necessary to be effective in preaching the Gospel.
“But according to Bonhoeffer, this is tragically mistaken. If your ability to speak the truth is itself under attack – if you cannot say that certain sexual behavior is wrong, or that taking unborn life is wrong – your ability to be a Christian is itself under attack. The Gospel you will be preaching has been fatally compromised.
“Bonhoeffer struggled to get his fellow Christians to see that if one didn’t stand up for religious freedom, every possibility to preach the true Gospel would soon be gone. Time and again he drew a line in the sand and tried to rally other Christians to stand with him and hold that line.”
When we see things like Obamacare directly threatening our very Christian conscience and liberties, then we must take a stand and we must speak out. We too must draw a line in the sand and say “no further”. Every advance by the Big Brother State is another retreat from, and an assault on, freedom in general and the Christian faith in particular.
We dare not go along with the radically anti-Christian agenda Obama is seeking to foist upon us. For the sake of the gospel, and out of loyalty to Christ, we must resist the Leviathan, and remain true to biblical principles. Bonhoeffer gave up his life in doing this. Are you willing to do the same?