Friday, May 17, 2013

White House: "Have Faith In Government"

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Update From Congress

* The IRS agent in charge during targeting of Tea Party and other conservative organizations now runs the Obamacare enforcement office.
IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs Health Care Office - ABC News

* A pro-life organization was denied tax exempt status because of its opposition to Planned Parenthood---approval conditioned on commitment to not protest Planned Parenthood.
IRS Rejected Group on Behalf of Planned Parenthood

* GOP has introduced a bill to block IRS from implementing or enforcing any part of Obamacare.
GOP Files Bills Limiting IRS Oversight of ObamaCare

Under siege from scandals on 3 fronts---the IRS, Benghazi and the State Department and the Department of Justice inappropriately, perhaps illegally, wiretapping the press, President Obama has been criticized for acting timidly in the face of these massive failures.

Even those who have been unwavering in their support of the president are expressing concern and criticism.

However, even in a career crises where this president would say or do most anything to keep his job, he seems unable to separate himself from his number one core belief: Government is the answer to human needs and therefore must be grown and expanded at any cost. And patriotism somehow equates to having faith in government---and yes, I do enjoy the power.

Theodore Roosevelt certainly did not agree with him. Do you?

What is a healthy view of government?

What is the Christian view of government?

White House press secretary Jay Carney says the president wants taxpayers to "believe that the Internal Revenue Service operates fairly and honestly."

He said the president is concerned when you see this kind of activity documented in the inspector general's report by IRS personnel...that can undermine people's faith in the IRS in particular."

Agreed. Our faith in the IRS is undermined. We do not believe the IRS has acted fairly or honestly.

Many who have given undying support to the president are now questioning his lack of response to these issues.

Yes, the acting director of the IRS is gone, but he was scheduled to leave in June of this year anyway. He was temporary.

There has not been a stronger supporter of the president than Robert Gibbs, yet he is now saying Mr. Obama is too passive on such important issues.

He says, "This episode will fuel the public's mistrust of big government at a time when Mr. Obama is trying to implement his healthcare law and to re-engage on gun control legislation."

Two journalists asked Carney if these combined scandals would cause the public to loose "faith" in the federal government?

Carney, the president's spokesperson, said the government is "substantial and the president wants everyone to perform their jobs diligently and honestly."

Most agree. We want government employees to perform their jobs diligently and honestly.

And that includes the President and his job performance.

Chris Matthews, with MSNBC, says he thinks that these scandals will "pour cold water on the president's attempt to raise taxes as part of the grand bargain."

Matthews, who once said every time the president speaks he felt a thrill go down his leg, now wonders what part of the job the president actually likes. He concludes that for the most part the president prefers to give speeches and campaign, but evades actually governing and being in charge.

Theodore Roosevelt made a very interesting comment. I think it applies here: "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the extent that by inefficiently or otherwise, he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

The President is now fundamentally doing what any president would do given the circumstances, he is fighting for his political life.

However, even in these dire circumstances, he cannot separate himself from the belief that government must be responsible for most every part of our lives and government must be constantly expanded for the "greater good." Which of course, increases the power invested in those who lead the government.

President Lincoln spoke to expanding the power of those in elected office; "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Our Founders had a dim view of government itself and a healthy skepticism toward those in political office. Their memory of King George III was vivid.

President James Madison said, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, then by violent and sudden usurptation."

It is safe to say our Founders were not "big government" people. And they were certainly patriots.

President Dwight Eisenhower knew the peril of big government. He said, "Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master."

So what is the proper Christian view of government?

Romans Chapter 13 elaborates on the origin and institution of government as something God ordains. It instructs us to be, as Christians, model citizens, pray for our leaders and to act within the law.

Except ...

When there are occasions when a civil government requires a Christian to do what God forbids, or forbids them to do what God commands ( Acts 5:29).

The theologian Augustine said that government is a necessary evil, that is necessary because of evil.

R.C. Sproul who supports the pure concept of separating church and state says, "Unfortunately in today's culture, separation of church and state means separation of state and God, as if the state and the government were answerable to no one but themselves---as if the government didn't have to respond to God. But God monitors governments: God raises them up and brings them down. Every human government is accountable to God and accountable to maintain its affairs with justice and with righteousness. When the government is no longer acting justly and no longer protecting life---sanctioning abortions, for example---then it is the task of the church to be the prophetic voice, to call the state to repent and to do what God commands it to do."

And the church is directed to "occupy" until Christ returns. The church is to be "salt and light," neither of which have any effect until applied to the point of need.

Rev. Charles Finny explained the Christian responsibility this way:

“The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them… God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God… God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”

His words may well be more timely today than the day he spoke them.

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