What To Do?

Yesterday, President Obama signed the healthcare bill. It was historic. So was Pearl Harbor.

I was asked yesterday if I could catalog all the ills associated with this bill. I really can’t do justice to all the provisions contained within. Instead I would ask those who are interested in all the details to find a site devoted to highlighting them. I’m one person, and my time is limited.

What I can do, though, is talk about the response from those of us who oppose what has happened. Are we to accept this and act as if everything is fine? No way. The key is to find the proper response.

I told someone the other day that the proverbial silver lining in all this is that for the first time in my lifetime, people are understanding the wisdom of the Constitution and the limits it put on governmental authority. To use a cliche that probably needs to be buried someday—this is a teachable moment.

Task #1, in my opinion, is to increase our efforts to educate the American people in constitutionalism. They may finally be open to learning. That is my specific calling, I know.

Those who are in government can add to this. What would it take to repeal this legislation? It would be very difficult, but who says we shouldn’t tackle difficult tasks? The greatest victories are those that appeared impossible at first.

Here’s how hard it will be: not only do opponents need to get the majority in Congress in the next election, but they need a sufficient majority, particularly in the Senate, to be filibuster-proof. Can it happen? Is it impossible to reach that magic 60? Improbable, but not impossible.

Then, even if that is attained, any bill that passes would have to get past Obama’s desk. He holds the veto power, and you can be sure he will use it to stop any attempt to roll back what he has done. Only a 2/3 majority can override the veto.

That’s the political equivalent of conquering Mt. Everest.

The other strategy is already being pursued. Here in Florida, as well as in other states, the attorney general is taking this bill to court. The grounds for challenging it are strong. There is no doubt it is unconstitutional. No authority exists in the Constitution for the federal government to flex its muscles in this way.

So what’s the problem?

The federal bench is filled with judges who have been schooled in case law, which depends on precedent rather than on original intent of the Constitution. And the longer Obama remains in office, the more of them there will be. The challenges need to come before judges who respect the rule of law and who will acknowledge the limited powers of the federal government. We need some providential help with that.

You can be sure whatever decisions are made in the lower courts will eventually end up in the Supreme Court. The sooner the better, before Obama has a chance to replace one of the conservative justices on the Court. Right now the Court is almost evenly divided between those who will judge righteously and those who will disregard the document they have sworn to uphold. Any decision will probably be 5-4, but the direction of that verdict is uncertain.

Things have changed significantly in the past 30 years.

It may take another thirty years to undo what has transpired during this current administration, but the goal is worthy.

I’m reminded of the Separatists in Holland debating whether they should go to the New World. They made a list of all the things that could go wrong and compared it with what could go right. In the end, the majority decided to undertake the voyage. I’m paraphrasing, but their historian, William Bradford, said they concluded that they should do it and expect the blessing of God on their endeavors. Even if they died trying, he commented, at least they were doing what was right in the sight of God.

We now call them the Pilgrims, and we admire their courage.

I’m glad they made that decision. Will we make a similar decision? Will a future generation look back on us and thank us for going forward? Will they call us courageous and be encouraged by us to handle whatever challenges they will face?

The next few years—not weeks or months—will reveal the depth of our commitment.

Oxymoron of the Week

Rep. Stupak: Satisfied with the President's Promise

Perhaps the saddest spectacle in this whole healthcare fiasco was the revelation that some people who claim to be prolife really aren’t.

It doesn’t please me to say this, but a true prolife Democrat, at least in this current Congress, is an oxymoron.

When Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak folded on Sunday, accepting a promise from the administration that the president would issue an executive order disallowing abortion funding by the government, all hope of stopping this bill died. He and his small band of supposed prolife Democrats then voted in favor of Obamacare. Now we know, as we look at the final vote, that this defection was crucial. If they had remained firm, Obamacare would have failed.

This makes it clear to me that their prolife stance was more of a preference than a conviction. A deeper conviction was their desire to impose a government-sponsored system on the American public.

First, let’s be honest here. President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history, will not follow through on his promise. It’s already been asserted—accurately—that no executive order can overturn legislation, and this legislation calls for federal funding for abortions. It was a phony promise, and Rep. Stupak and his group fell for it.

However, it’s not just that they were deceived. The bigger problem is that fundamentally they believe in the socialist vision. They are progressives who accept the assertion that government ought to be in charge of major sections of the economy. They don’t trust the private sector and have faith that government will perform better.

On what do they base that belief? Where does government perform better? Social Security? Broken. Medicare and Medicaid? Massive fraud has been revealed. No matter where you look, the federal government has not performed better than the private sector. That’s an illusion.

Their belief is precisely that—a belief. It is ideologically driven.

I recognize it’s possible that Rep. Stupak really thinks he is helping the poor. If so, he doesn’t understand how economics works. But I don’t accept the idea that Obama and the leadership in Congress really have helping the poor as their driving purpose. Yes, they use that in their public utterances, but the real goal is control.

The American people, by large majorities in the polls, do not approve of this unconstitutional usurpation. Yet the Democratic leadership kept saying this bill was “historic.” As the sign on the right indicates, being historic is not always a positive thing. Historic disasters exist as well.

Something else historic needs to take place now: the biggest turnaround in election history. This November, an electoral uprising is absolutely essential. Can it happen? Almost no one predicted the Republican takeover of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections. The morning after election day, commentators were scrambling to figure out what happened.

It can happen again. It can be an even larger and more historic vote than 1994.

Medical analogies abound in the political cartoonists’ world.

It could be that the Democrats are doing most of the spadework for Republicans themselves.

Yet even if this does occur, how can we change what has happened? What are the best avenues for attacking this and reversing the damage?

I’ll try to deal with that tomorrow.

Pride vs. Humility

Talk about a common theme . . .

I’m not sure there has been a comparable time in American history [and I teach it daily] where those in authority have been so puffed up with pride in their own intelligence.

The current administration seems to believe that it possesses all wisdom, while the peons in the hinterlands [outside of D.C., Hollywood, and other assorted enclaves] are mere rabble who have no idea what is good for them.

This administration—from the president on down—needs a refresher course on humility. The problem, though, is that true humility can only come from first humbling oneself before God, which is something they apparently don’t take under serious consideration.

Romans 13 continually calls civil government God’s servant. The book of James, quoting Proverbs, says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Jesus teaches, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Pointedly, another proverb states pretty directly: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The haughtiness and arrogance of the men and women in the seats of civil power at this time may be greater than ever. God help them and all who will suffer from their actions.

Full Steam Ahead!

Full steam ahead! That’s the word from Democrats on healthcare. And the pressure is on. Three more Democrats in the House have now decided to vote for the bill. One is Dennis Kucinich, who is more than a little flakey anyway. He didn’t vote for it the first time because it was too “conservative.”

It’s the other two that bring a feeling of disgust: two House members who said they were prolife have now decided the language of the bill (has anyone really seen it yet?) is fine with them. How many principled Democrats on the abortion issue does that leave? What were they promised? Why did they decide to hold their nose with respect to all the garbage in this phantom bill?

This do-or-die approach could have dire consequences for the party.

If that’s what they want for their future, it’s fine with me. The problem is that everyone else will have to suffer as a result of what they’ve done. In the face of principled, reasoned opposition, Obama continues to say critics are spreading misinformation. That’s a baseless accusation. The information is solid and true. But his attitude is unchanged.

Probably what galls me the most are the protestations of innocence emanating from the president. If you look carefully (and it’s not really all that hidden), you can see what’s actually transpiring.

The hypocrisy is so blatant, there’s no need to “expose” it. It’s plain for all to see.

Obamacare Coming to a Head?

The word today is that this is THE week. Obamacare, according to Obama, will pass the Congress this time. Well, it might. It all depends on how many Blue Dog Democrats and those who say they oppose abortion cave under the pressure.

Meanwhile, polls continue to show a large majority of Americans oppose this bill (if indeed a bill exists—that’s still a matter of debate). Yet Obama disregards the opposition. Why?

He interprets his 2008 election victory as a mandate to do whatever he wants. Never mind that many of those who voted for him now have buyer’s remorse. Further, he is asking his own party to go with him on this path, regardless of the consequences to Democrats in the upcoming congressional elections.

Is this megalomania? Is it the supreme example of arrogance? Does he really want to go over this precipice? It would appear so.

In the midst of all this, I find it encouraging that my old home state of Virginia has taken a stand, saying that it will not accept the imposition of healthcare on the state, since that is not a power given to the federal government in the Constitution.

If Obamacare does pass, this sets up a terrific court case. Can a state, relying on the original intent of the Constitution, reverse the advances of a federal government out of control? It may depend on the court in which the case is heard. It would probably go all the way to the Supreme Court where there’s an opportunity to declare Obamacare unconstitutional.

Yet I’m praying it won’t go that far. I’m hoping it will be stopped dead in its tracks again this week—for the sake of the future of this nation.

Stop This Proposal

There’s another proposal from the Obama administration that hasn’t gotten much play in the media, but which I consider the death knell for Christian colleges, if it becomes reality.

The proposal is simply this: put the government in charge of all student loans for education. Rather than simply guaranteeing loans obtained through private banks, Obama wants the government itself to be the source for those loans.

Why is this a problem?

Well, the current situation is already a burden to private colleges and universities, with all its rules and regulations. I’ve argued for years that it’s like the nose of the camel in the tent. If the government guarantees loans, it might be able to dictate to those colleges what they should teach. That hasn’t happened yet, but if Obama gets his way, it will be much more likely.

If the majority of students attending my university, for example—an evangelical, Christian university—take loans directly from the government, it’s going to want to ensure that the money is being used in ways it prefers.

What’s the likelihood that the federal government, particularly under an administration such as this one, will look favorably on bold pronouncements of Christian faith in the classroom? Pressure will be put on those universities to moderate their beliefs, even to change them if they want their students to continue receiving the funding.

You believe abortion and homosexuality are sins? That’s inflammatory language; it shouldn’t be allowed in a government-funded institution. You believe faith in Christ is the only way to have a relationship with God? How narrow and bigoted of you!

Can you see the potential here?

The current setup is bad enough, which is why I’ve always argued that we shouldn’t take part in the guaranteed loan program. What looms on the horizon is significantly worse.

This is another Obama initiative that must be stopped.

Honoring the Government

Let me clarify something today. I can almost hear some readers of this blog thinking, “He criticizes the president and Congress so much that he can’t really have any respect for the government.”

The opposite is true.

I have the highest regard for the federal government. This comes from a reading of the Constitution, the debates over its ratification, and the character of many of those who helped bring it to pass. I believe the form of government set up by our Constitution is the best the world has seen, yet I also believe that it can work the way it’s supposed to work only if we maintain our Biblical principles.

Congress, in theory, is a wonderful institution. Initially, it allowed direct representation for the people and direct representation for all state governments. This provided balance and set up a federal system. When we changed how senators were elected, state governments lost all representation. That was a blow to the federalism essential for the Congress to function the way it was intended.

Further, as I stated in my last post, when individuals in Congress are allowed to set up their fiefdoms over which they rule imperiously, we have lost the character necessary for it to represent the people.

As for the presidency, the Constitution did not set up an all-powerful executive. It did give the president strong powers in certain areas, such as making him the commander in chief of the armed forces, but the president was not to be a monarch.

George Washington, I believe, had the proper attitude toward the office. He accepted it as a sacred trust, a responsibility thrust upon him by a people who had confidence in his leadership. Given a choice, he never would have taken the job; he would have preferred to stay at home and oversee his farms. Yet his country needed him to set the right precedents for the office.

As I tell my students, what we need today are people who don’t need to be president to have fulfilled lives. Far too many of those who aspire to the office see it as the apex of their existence. Many have been running for it [in their minds, at least] since they were teenagers. How many do so because they have the same attitude Washington had? How many do so because they simply want the authority that the office bestows? The latter are not the ones I want to entrust with that authority.

I know not everyone will agree with me that Abraham Lincoln also possessed Washington’s outlook. Yes, he was a politician who wanted the job. However, a closer look at his motives reveals a strong desire to use that office for good constitutionally. He had dropped out of politics until Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. That act, which opened a new area to slavery, incited Lincoln to reenter the fray.

As president, he bore a heavy burden. Those with Southern sympathies believe he was a tyrant. I must respectfully disagree. Although under tremendous pressure to change the nature of the country forever, he did no such thing. He merely took his job as commander in chief seriously as he tried to bring rebellious states under control. In the process, slavery disappeared. I used to be one of those who disliked Lincoln. Further study changed my mind.

We have had presidents since Lincoln who did their best to keep the nation operating constitutionally. Chief among those were Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan. Others had strong impulses for changing the government in a way that would destroy the original intent of the Founders: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have been the most prominent.

Why do I critique the current Congress and President Obama so much? It’s because I have a deep respect for the original intent of this government. It’s because I have a heartfelt desire to see us maintain our Biblical principles and build upon them.

When one sees the foundations of a once-great nation crumbling, one has a responsibility to speak up. To do otherwise would be to share in the blame when it finally is destroyed.