Thursday, May 17, 2012

Should We Obey All Laws?

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What if Congress enacted a law and the Supreme Court ruled that law constitutional---requiring all people to attend a minimum of 3 church services per month?

Would you obey that law?

What if Congress enacted a law and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional under the Constitution's Commerce Clause, requiring all motorists to get 8 hours sleep before operating a vehicle on public highways, claiming that was in the best interest of the public?

Would you obey it?

Different people would respond differently, depending on their beliefs. And the personal demands on their life.

Christians would say the Bible teaches us to obey the laws of the land.

What if you were a jury member during the 1850's and a free person was on trial for assisting a runaway slave in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act?

Would you vote to convict and punish?

Slavery is immoral, therefore any laws that support it would also be immoral, right? No?

Thomas Jefferson said, "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy."

Some things to think about.

In a few weeks the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare. Clearly the Court is politically divided. Michelle Obama said at a fundraiser recently that she was certain about the position of the judges her husband appointed. I would agree. One of them helped birth Obamacare.

What if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional?

Should that happen, and I personally believe the Court will find the "mandate," which is a central component, is not constitutional----but what if, should Catholics and other people of faith whose consciences are violated by some of the demands of Obamacare, obey a law that is immoral?

You will recall the events in the book of Acts (5: 26-32) in the New Testament. Peter and others were out on the streets preaching the gospel in the name of Jesus Christ. They were arrested, jailed and told not to preach in the name of Christ.

An angel appeared (v. 19) at the prison, opened the doors and released them and told them to go back to the public square and resume preaching, which they did.

Again Peter and his colleagues were brought before the council and the high priest (judge). The judge said, "Didn't we command you not to teach this message in Christ's name?"

Peter's answer was simple. "We ought to obey God rather than men." ( v. 29)

I am not advocating or even suggesting civil disobedience or lawlessness. I am asking you to think.

And I am suggesting that Christian people of faith will likely be tested in these areas of their faith and their conscience in the days ahead, should America not choose a different direction for the country. Paul referred to them as "perilous times."

Should the Court rule in favor of Obamacare, it will not only likely destroy America as we have known it, but will for certain cause biblical Christians to make some difficult decisions.

Walter Williams, an African American columnist, raised this question in a recent column. He caused me to think more specifically about how I should respond to the moral implications of Obamacare, should it be allowed to stand as law.

William's emphasis is a little different, but the consequences are similar. He makes the case that Congress has already gone beyond the powers delegated to it in passing Obamacare. He quotes Federalist 45 and Madison, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite," claiming that vision has been inverted---stood on its head---reversed.

I agree.

He cites Jefferson and Madison in regard to the legality of the Alien and Sedition Acts and reviews the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

Williams point is this: Obamacare is forcing us to buy a product--health care.

I strongly recommend you read his article.

My point is that Obamacare is forcing us to accept government imposed mandates that violates the essence of many biblical Christian's beliefs about the sanctity of life.

If this law stands, how should we respond?

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Informed. Be Active. Be Blessed.