As we finished the fortnight of prayer for religious freedom, I was reminded of two historic warnings about the dangers of government overreach.
In the period of the judges over 3000 years ago, the people of Israel demanded that the prophet Samuel give them a king to rule over them. Samuel consulted the Lord, who agreed to their demand, but also said, "It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king."
Samuel granted their request, but warned them of the consequences, listing the demands a king would make on them. Among other things, "He will take a tenth of your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer."
The prophesy proved true and while there were times of prosperity and some virtuous kings, there were kings who did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like King Ahaz, who among many other evils sacrificed his son in fire to false gods. Eventually, the Lord's patience came to an end. Israel and Judah were conquered and the people sent into exile.
On the fourth of July, the final day of the fortnight of prayer, a group of friends gathered at my home to celebrate. To mark the occasion we read the whole Declaration of Independence -- not just the "We hold these truths..." part we all know by heart, but the long list of abuses that provoked the revolution. Among our forefathers' grievances was the complaint that the king "had erected a multitude of New Offices and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."
Here is the problem with big government: it may solve some of the problems some of the time, but in the process it gives power to those who may turn and use that power for evil. A powerful government, no matter how many goodies it promises, attaches strings to its benefits. If the strings fall into the hands of those who choose to use their power to further their own agendas, the freedom of the rest is compromised. Surely this is what has happened here. The health care law put the power into the hands of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to decide what constitutes preventive health care, and she decided that it included abortifacient drugs, sterilization, and artificial contraceptives. Not only must these be provided to everyone, they must be provided without co-pay.