Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dancing Around the Constitution?

Thousands of religious leaders got a call from on high Wednesday as President Obama reached out to Jewish and Christian clergy, asking some to sermonize in favor of health care reform.

The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

It does say "Congress". So I guess the President is exempt and can suggest what could be this Sunday's sermon.

I didn't get the invitation to the meeting or pay attention to the call. I'll stick to preaching the Bible.


MelB said...


Allison and Jeffrey Tomasek said...

First, I think you mean the First Amendment to the Constitution. As the Second Amendment states:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

And while you are free to preach from the Bible, as I hope you would, could you please elaborate a little more for this Jewish semi-believer what exactly your Jesus would want in regards to health care for all of his followers?

Please realize that is not meant to be a rude or offensive question, it is asked with all seriousness and sincerity.

Because my idea of Jesus from what my parents and my Christian upbrining taught me, is that Jesus would not want his followers to suffer and would want those of us to help each other to be better and to give to those who need to be better.

I guess I just believe in a kinder, gentler Jesus than most Evanglicals who tend to have a more cynical sounding Jesus/God.

Allison and Jeffrey Tomasek said...

Also, has this President done anything of which you approve? I ask this of all of my evanglical friends as all I hear is doom and gloom which I don't understand.

Thanks for allowing me to comment even though we have differences of opinions. I really am asking with all due respect.

Rick Lawrenson said...

You're right about the amendment, Allison. I had "2nd" stuck in my head. It's first and I'll correct it.

Jesus made the statement that we are to render unto Caesar (government) the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.

Is health care part of the government's responsibility? In a monarchy or a socialist country "yes". I think if it is then Jesus' thoughts would be for the government to provide it.

I also seeing Jesus asking the Christian community to rise up and do more to ensure the poor and needy are being assisted. The parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of what our attitude should be as Christians. He knew better than anyone that human governments are not the solution or perhaps he would have substituted a Roman soldier for the Samaritan.

But in a free country like the US founded on individual freedom and every citizen's responsibility to make the best of his life as he is able, then probably "No" it is not the government's place to provide health care, but to ensure that the health care available is the best it can be and is attainable by all who desire it.

No doubt reform is imperitive, in my opinion. But not government controlled health care. Our government has shown over and again it is inept when seeking to replace the free enterprise American way of economics.

I can't speak for any "evangelicals" other than myself about the President's job so far. So I won't. Evangelicals also tend to be very conservative and he is not.

The point of my blog post, however is not about health care and who should be providing it. My concern is that a president would dare suggest what synagogues and churches preach and teach. That should (and has) strike fear into every heart, liberal or conservative. Read the linked article and you'll find that criticism from the left on this is very strong.

CFHusband said...

To answer one of Allison's questions...

I agree with you that Jesus is more kinder and gentler than "many" Evangelicals portray Him to be. But, not for the same reasons you're been taught to believe.

Having read Jesus' words in the Bible, I can't find where he says "I don't want my followers to suffer". In fact, what I do find is that he (and his Father) said things like (paraphrase) "Take up your cross and follow me" "be thankful when you experience trials and tribulations" and "when you expect and accept suffering because of your faith, you are becoming more like me".

Of course, he also said "give your burdens to me" "I have come that you might have abundant life" and "come to me and I will give you rest".

Which leads us to believe that God shows us love when He allows us to suffer, knowing that our decision to suffer with joy is going to bring us closer to Him. It is the difficulties in life that bring about perseverance, character, compassion for others and the ability to be thankful for every gift.

That does not mean that we shouldn't desire peace and health and success in our lives and the lives of others, nor does it mean that we shouldn't want what's best for our country. It simply means that we have the choice to see God in both the good and "bad" things that come into our lives.

And, here's the biggest point...God is just as concerned about the well-being of those who don't "follow" him as is for those who do. In fact, his Word tells us that Jesus did not come to serve those who already follow God...He came to serve those who do not yet follow Him. And, if that is what God is most concerned with, that should also be what his "followers" are most concerned with.