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Governmental “Mandates?” Says Who!

September 7th, 2009 No comments

One thing is missing from all the spirited town hall debates over Health Care Reform. Carson Holloway, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, has written an important article entitled “Constitutional Questions About Health Care Reform” in which he argues  that we should be asking whether Congress even has the authority to impose the reforms it is crafting. He writes,

” We are too often preoccupied with policy arguments while simply assuming a congressional authority to act, as if the federal government had comprehensive responsibility for the common good of the nation… For Congress to mandate health insurance coverage for the individual raises questions not only about the scope of the commerce power, but also about the constitutional liberties of individuals.”

One of the more troubling and disturbing elements of the President’s health care plan is what is called the “individual mandate,” or the requirement that individual Americans obtain health insurance. We are told that such a requirement  may be essential to  the success of a “public option.” Since when does our federal government have the right to compel individuals to purchase health insurance? In other words, “Say’s who?”

The Bible warns, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?” (Romans 6:16, NLT)  If we continue to blindly obey the government without ever stopping to question the source of authority or the basis for the policies they prescribe, we unwittingly sell ourselves into slavery! We literally become the slave to the one we obey.

As Christians, we understand all authority comes from God. Human authority is delegated authority and is directly accountable to God. Every elected official is accountable both to God and to our Constitution. For the government to mandate, or to force its citizens to take part in a government run health care system is a serious overreach of its legitimate authority and results in the trampling of our constitutional liberties as individuals.

We are called to submit to legitimate authority. Before we willingly embrace anything from our government we must ask the critical question: “With whose authority are you acting?”

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