Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mandating Individual Responsibility

Recently the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the individual health insurance mandate in the President’s health care law was unconstitutional. And in the language he used to decry the ruling, the President revealed his understanding of personal responsibility.

The President, in response to the ruling, continues to call the insurance mandate the “individual responsibility” provision. But in mandating that everyone have health insurance, the President takes the position that the federal government can mandate that you take personal responsibility. Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

Perhaps if the federal government had not gotten into the business of trying to taking care of us from birth to death in the first place years ago, we wouldn’t be going broke as a government or having to talk about entitlement reform. And perhaps we, along with private sector businesses and charitable organizations, would have been more responsible for ourselves and taken care of ourselves and our needs a bit better.

But, let’s be honest, it’s not all the government’s fault. It’s not all the President’s fault. It’s not all Congress’ fault. Everybody’s been trying to find somebody to blame for our current mess. Well, here are two culprits I’ve not heard anyone mention in recent weeks.

First, us. Yes, we, the people. We are the ones who elected the government leaders who led us down this path. We are the ones who didn’t pay enough attention to where this path would eventually lead us and kept electing people who continued down the path we’re on. If this is a government of and by and for the people, then we need to take a hard look at ourselves and consider the four fingers pointing back at us when we point one finger of blame at someone else.

Second, the church. Yes, the church. Sadly over the years I’ve gotten so many e-mails from Christians saying that it is the government’s job to care for the sick, the poor, the hungry, the widow and the orphan. While this can’t be said of every individual church, it seems to me that the church, as a whole, through its leaders, abdicated its responsibility in these areas to the government. And now we have to pay the piper—we need to pay our taxes to get us out of the governmental budget hole we’re in and increase our giving to the church (or even para-church ministries) so that it can do what it was charged in Scripture to do.

Perhaps we have met the enemy, and it is us.

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