This government shutdown is some crazy stuff, huh? And much of it seems to be revolving around the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare.
What I find interesting is that the act was already signed into law years ago. The fight now comes down to funding and rehashing arguments from years past. I’ve seen a lot of Christians who are really upset by this legislation. It has been criticized as drawing the United States into Socialism. And, honestly, I think there’s something to that argument.
I don’t know if I’d put a label on it but it seems like the left leans socialist. The idea of big government mandating what the citizens need to do for their own good seems socialist. Government regulation isn’t necessarily a bad thing – sometimes it takes THE MAN stepping in to see necessary changes and growth. It was good in when it came to women’s votes and desegregating the nation. In ethics – the government stepping in is good. In business, however, it’s a different game. More government regulation means less capitalistic freedom for citizens. It’s the government system or nothing.
Merriam-Webster says: Socialism is a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies….
I guess I focused in on the control element, but I would say that the ACA does tend towards socialism. Big Brother is taking away control from the companies to run themselves and imposing regulations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – Jesus and the early Church had some similar leanings. In fact, early Christians seemed downright Communist! Luke tells us in his book of Acts:
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Dang! Really? They practiced a distribution of wealth? Crazy, right? They clearly were not Republicans. But in a small setting where people knew each other and the distribution was VOLUNTARY, the system seems to work. They lived out the principles of 1 John 15-17:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
But that was about the close-knit Christian community taking care of itself. You knew where the money was going and why it was going. Large-scale socialism simply says, “We’re taking what you have and giving it to someone else because it’s all ours anyway. You don’t really own it.”
But in order for socialism to work then all the sheep need to be sheered equally. The problem is that it never works out that way. Some of the fat sheep who run the flock always find a way to beat the system – to live through loopholes so that there becomes a dichotomy between those who lead the Socialist system and those who merely live in it.
I actually think it’s a good thing to make sure all people have access to health care. I think that Christians ought to be leading the way to ensure that people are cared for. The part that gets my knickers in a twist is fining people who want to opt out. Can you picture that at McDonald’s?
“Would you like fries with that order?”
“Okay – that will be five dollars for not giving you fries.”
Someone told me that, while the ACA is not a perfect system, it is a flawed system taking steps in the right direction. Perhaps. I guess only time will tell as this thing gets resolved (maybe…hopefully…one day).
However it comes out, I urge Christians to behave decently. We don’t like to be told what to do. We rebel against authority we feel is out of line. And, if the government ever tells us to do things contrary to our spiritual convictions, I will be standing with you on the front line saying, “NO WAY!” But this isn’t the case here. It’s not a spiritual issue, it’s a governmental issue. Let’s back off the rhetoric and defamation of character and all of the other inappropriate behavior for followers of Jesus. It’s okay to disagree. It’s okay to seek to change legislation. However, too many Christians are led by their political passions and forget that their ultimate allegiance is to Jesus.
The Apostle Peter tells us:
Be subject for the Lords sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (1 Peter 2:13-15)
I don’t anticipate things will die down quietly. Most of us will hold to our positions without even considering an alternative. But, no matter what your political position, let us act like followers of the King of the Universe.
Sound off! Where do you stand on the ACA? Have you seen people behaving badly? Please keep comments and conversation civil….