I can’t remember a crazier time in our government since I started getting interested in politics. It’s hard to sift through all the “political” stuff from day to day just to understand the basic politics at work. This health care debate certainly has many nuances. There are as many different motivations and purposes for or against it as there are members in congress. What I would like to attempt in this post is to lay aside all of that in order to address what I think is the basic underlying worldview that is driving this desire for universal health care among the average citizen.
First, we have to define the issue. All the talk about health care these days centers around the question of whether it is a right that every living person should have or not. However, that is really a misdirected question. The questions that should be answered first are “From whom do human rights come from?” and “What is the the responsibility of the government in relation to those rights?” Find out where a people look to for their rights to be defined and granted and you will find the true object of their worship. We are living in a time when a growing number of people are bowing down to the god of Government. The government defines what is and is not a basic right. The government is increasingly looked upon to provide those basic rights. This should come as no surprise to us. We have spent over three generations in the temple of government schools.
We will never be granted wisdom on these important matters until we repent of our idolatry as a people and as individuals. This kind of idolatry distorts and blinds our vision. We must return to the truth that any rights we may lay claim to as individuals have been granted to us by the Almighty. They did not evolve from a pool of goo, they were not created in a vacuum, nor were they thought up in some shadowy back room in a white-washed government building. God has indeed granted certain inalienable rights to His creatures. These rights flow from His own character (we are created in the image of God—see Gen. 1:27), and they are laid out for us in His Word.
God is a life-giving God. He breathed life into Adam in the garden and has been breathing life into every person conceived since that time until now. Therefore, He grants to every person the right to life. Only He gets to determine what that right looks like and how it is to be preserved. On an individual level, this means that we are not permitted to infringe on that right by taking the life of another through negligence or passion or premeditation. On a societal level, this means that civil government is given the responsibility of preserving that right by restraining individuals from taking away that right from others through laws that are properly enforced. On a covenantal level, this means that the church, as the body of Christ, is entrusted with the authority to go beyond the civil responsibility of preserving the right to actually being proactive as God’s means of granting life through feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, adopting the orphan, caring for the widow, providing medical care for those who cannot provide for themselves, etc. The church can do this because the church is in a position to understand that all of life is grace. The church can do this because the church rightly understands its submission to Christ. The right to life is a gift given not a right earned. God gives life and God takes life. God determines the quality and duration of each individual’s life. So, as long as God gives breath, we are to work to sustain life. As long as God gives health, we are to work to improve upon that health within our abilities.
The reason people are clamoring for a certain kind of health care is because they fear death and suffering more than they fear God. A joyful submission to Jesus takes away the sting of death. This is the very reason why the people of God should NOT be acting as the pagans do in this debate. In the end, it should not matter to us whether this mess of a bill passes or not,, though I think we should fight it every step of the way (let’s not stand by complacently while big, ugly idols are being built all around us). In the end, whether we have no insurance, a government option, or single payer insurance, the responsibility of the church and we as its members remains the same. It is to be faithful to our calling. We are to protect life and sustain life; we are to care for and provide for the welfare of others; we are to be good caretakers of the gifts of life and health that have been given to us; we are to learn how to be joyful and grateful in life and death, in sickness and in health. What we are to diligently guard against is worshipping life, or health, or anyone who holds out the promise of better life or better health than what has been granted by the Sovereign Lord.