::Certain Unalienable Rights::The Bible and Our Constitution
I’ve been thinking about these things only very recently, so I would love any feedback on these ideas or thoughts on other approaches to these issues!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the government and all the fuss lately over how they have not been upholding their obligations to the Constitution. I have a lot of thoughts about this, and this post is my attempt to organize them coherently.
One of Paul’s common tactics was to phrase his commands in a negative way before stating them in a positive way. I think that’s because we’re sinful, and we’re naturally disposed to act in all the wrong ways unless we’re told explicitly how not to act or think about certain issues.
Sooo, in the spirit of Paul (:-)), I’d like to begin this post by telling you what I don’t mean to communicate. First, I don’t mean to communicate that I condone the recently passed healthcare bill. I think its implications on abortion are very unfortunate. My heart breaks for the millions of babies who have been killed through abortion and will continue to be killed. Second, I don’t mean to communicate that the constitution is evil or that we should pay little attention to it. That perspective is far from Biblical.
What I do mean to do is challenge the general response that I have seen to the recent healthcare bill and a number of other decisions that the Obama administration has made. I’m not out to condemn anyone, but I will be honest. Further, I aim to examine the phrase “unalienable rights” from a Biblical perspective. Finally, I hope to encourage you with a few promises of God that remain true in the face of political chaos.
If you checked Facebook, or observed discussions in many evangelical or even secular circles on the day that the healthcare bill passed, you might have thought the world was ending. Personally, I observed a significant amount of complaining and (for lack of a better term) despair. Many people commented on the moral epitomy to which the Obama administration had dropped in the passing of this new legislation.
Like I said, I don’t think the healthcare bill is a good thing. I consider it to be a poor political decision on the part of the Obama administration. And I acknowledge with my fellow citizens that America does seem to be on a steady moral decline. All of that said, here are my questions: Moral concerns aside, since when did complaining help anything? I understand that we’re in a democracy in which majority is supposed to rule. But let’s face it, our government’s agenda has been hostile to the Christian agenda for some time. The age of equal representation and opportunities is gone for the American Christian. So, to put it bluntly: complaining is not going to help. I don’t think that means we should sit idly by while morality goes down the drain in this country. At the same time, I think there’s a way to respect our government even if we have to disobey them. Gossiping and despairing is a far cry from boldly speaking the truth in love to our representatives, whether they listen or not. See, I’m not saying we should passively accept what is happening. However, I do think that we’ve fallen away from a Biblical approach to this issue in general. Why don’t we pray for our leaders instead of tearing them down? That doesn’t mean we have to approve of their decisions. I just want to pray every time I feel like complaining. That’s a much healthier approach to this issue.
One of the biggest problems people have with this administration is that they’re taking away our inalienable rights, as defined by the Constitution. This is true. Our government has ignored the Constitution for a long time. I think a lot of people interpret “unalienable rights” to mean that everyone is entitled to a perfect life in which there is no discrimination or hatred or injustice.
That would be really nice, but what does the Bible have to say? Well, the Bible says that “you will be hated by all for [the name of Christ (Matthew 10.21-23).] The Bible says that we’ll have trouble in this life (John 16.33). The Bible says that the days are evil (Hebrews 10.24-25). Why are we so surprised about all of this? This is the Word of God coming true. We don’t deserve a perfect government. We actually deserve eternal separation from God. The fact is, we don’t have any rights apart from God, and the rights we have are not unalienable; rather, they have been purchased for us by God Himself through His Son. So, yes we value an ethical government and the lives of the unborn. However, we are called by Romans 13 to respect our leaders even when they don’t uphold the standards of God’s Word, and we shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t, either.
Here’s what we know:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3.22). (These mercies include, family, friends, food, clothes, shelter, breathe, the Bible, etc.)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8.1).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8.28).
[Jesus said] “I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28.20).”
So, yes this country is on a moral decline. But no, our sovereign God has not fallen off His throne. He has put Barack Obama in office (Daniel 2.20), and He’s fully aware of what He wants to accomplish during his years as president. Let’s press further up and further in towards a broader view of God’s sovereignty in the midst of foolish healthcare reforms and diminishing Christian freedoms.
Maybe that’s what God is trying to teach us in these evil days.