America, Taxes, and Choices
Tomorrow is July 4. In honor of the day, HAPPY 236TH BIRTHDAY, USA!
It also seems appropriate to gear my post toward current events in this nation. Let first warn that this is merely a very short summary, not a specific and detailed explanation. This is also not an attack on one political party or support for another (but it sure will seem like it). I merely am using an example. (Though it is no secret I do not care for Obama as POTUS)
This past Thursday, June 28, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) voted 5-4 in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act (affectionately named Obamacare), with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority summary.
To sum up the basics:
- everyone is guaranteed health coverage;
- all people must have health insurance;
- if you do not have health insurance, you are fined every year.
The Obama Administration, including Obama himself, said this Act was not a new tax.
This claim caused conservatives to decry the Obamacare as a violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which allows the Federal government to regulate commerce but not to force citizens to use one specific good or service.
Most people (including the Obama Administration) thought the conservative leaning SCOTUS would strike down Obamacare based on this Act. Instead, they upheld the law as a tax.
The Administration praised the decision.
Conservatives and many Americans were very upset and felt betrayed.
At least one conservative praised the decision.
- He kept the court above partisan politics;
- He kept the Law political instead of legal (stemming from reason 1);
- He “expanded” taxation powers, but he limited the Commerce Clause powers of Congress;
- The Democrats (and anyone else who supported Obamacare) are now fighting an uphill battle in an election year, especially seeing as a new giant tax was levied against everyone;
- He took away the Democratic Party’s recent argument that Obama needs to be re-elected to remove conservative activist judges;
- He galvanized Conservatives.
As Erickson put it here, “I am disappointed, but not distraught. In reading his opinion, I conclude Roberts is playing at a different game than the rest of us. We’re on poker. He’s on chess.”
Why do I share this on a blog about theology and Christian living?
First is this: “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” (Proverbs 8:5, NIV)
Clearly, both Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals, the Left and Right do not understand justice. Both cry for it, but neither understands it. Both have hoped for courts to save their laws or deny the laws of their opponents (Remember SB1070 of Arizona or Prop 8 of California).
Both sides have resorted to sneak attacks and scape goats, letting others take the fall for their underhanded practices, while barely actually representing those who have elected them.
Secondly: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16, NIV)
I do not completely agree with Chief Justice Roberts, but he did make a very wise play from a conservative standpoint. When he made his decision to uphold Obamacare as a tax, he refused to play by the rules set up for him in the recent political climate. He still played by the rules of politics, but he put the responsibility for change back into the hands of the people. In his words:
Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect people from the consequences of their political choices. (Emphasis added)
Which leads to the final point: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV)
Our nation is in the position it is in not just because of our elected leaders. For far too long the citizens of the United States of America have by and large voted in reaction to policies and people. Most people do not look into politicians histories or voting records. Most people do not look into facts as presented.
Most voters vote on how they feel or how a politician makes them feel.
No wonder our nation (and many nations globally) are so torn and divisive.
I am not telling you for whom you should vote. Instead, you should not play the fool but know what politicians are saying, how they stand, and how they have acted.
Pay attention to the details. Do not just react to what you think you know or what makes you angry, upset, or happy. To do so can lead to consequences you may not like.
Seek God. Make wise decisions.