by Rick Plasterer
A very momentous event is upon us, the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the health reform law that threatens religious freedom and freedom generally. Are we coming to God in prayer about this as we should? I suspect that a lot of Christians who think the law is wrong, both in its effort to establish state control of health care and constitutionally, are simply thinking of this as something that will happen in the world over which they have no control. They may not like it, but “what will happen is what will happen.” This is not the way it should be approached.
We can and should come to God in prayer about things that matter, and this law matters very much. It is a law which is wrong on a number of important points and will move a nation already headed in the wrong direction much further along that path. Specifically:
1) The law mandates that citizens buy particular goods – health insurance. The federal government has only the powers the constitution specifically enumerates, and the power to force citizens to buy particular goods or services is not one of them. If the federal government succeeds in gaining this dramatically new power to force citizens to take positive action, much of the protection our system of limited, constitutional government affords will become dead letter. The law is unconstitutional.
2) In keeping with contemporary thinking in the secular West, the law focuses on “health care” rather than “medical care.” That is, on health, rather than curing illness. This sounds positive, but it means that the government is then better positioned to define what true health is, or to put it more philosophically, what the good life is. And according to western secularists, the good life certainly does not involve traditional Christian sexual morality, the sanctity of life, or the righteousness of obeying a transcendent God and the need to avoid his wrath in a future world. All of these things are unhealthy as far as the secularists are concerned, unhealthy for individuals, and unhealthy for society. The government’s definition of health will be used to attack religious freedom.
3) It is already being used to attack religious freedom. If the law is declared unconstitutional, the HHS mandate requiring that religious organizations sponsor health insurance covering contraceptives and abortion inducing drugs falls with it. This in itself is a good reason to hope the law is voided.
As you know, this is an intense battle. President Obama directly attacked the Supreme Court in a State of the Union address on national television, an unprecedented outrage. The cultural left will do everything in its power to affect the decision. And savage attacks in the wider society do affect Supreme Court Justices, like they would affect anyone
It appears that the four liberal justices will support the law (Stephen Bryer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan). The three conservative justices will oppose it (Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito). It is uncertain how Chief Justice John Roberts or Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy will vote. It seems likely to this writer that Chief Justice Roberts will vote against the law, if a moderate conservative, he is nonetheless conservative. As in so many critical decisions, the decisive vote will be that of Anthony Kennedy. This is the justice filling the slot that Robert Bork would have had on the court, and we would be living in a markedly differentAmericaif Bork were in his position. Kennedy cast the deciding vote in the Casey decision (1992) which sustained the constitutional right to abortion, the Romer decision (1996) in which the Court condemned Colorado voters for their opposition to homosexuality (stating that such opposition is irrational and hateful and has no place in law), and wrote the majority opinion in the Lawrence decision (2003) which voided the remaining state sodomy laws, again using reasoning which attacked Christian morality with respect to homosexuality and incorporating that attack in constitutional law. On the other hand, he cast the decisive vote upholding the ban on partial birth abortion (in a decision that went into detail about the suffering of unborn children), supported (decisively) the right of the Boy Scouts to exclude homosexual scout masters, and cast a deciding vote to put George W. Bush in the White House (and with him, many conservative judges on the bench, including two Supreme Court justices). So this is a swing justice if there ever was one.
A decision is expected soon (the court’s session ends, and many important decisions are announced, in June). It may be that he has made the decision already, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t change. In the critical Casey decision, Justice Kennedy had decided (and it would have been decisive) to overturn Roe vs. Wade. But he changed his mind. It seems likely that millions of unborn children have died in our country as a result, and even in other countries, as America’s example affects the world.
We should pray that God will move his heart to righteousness. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes” – Prov. 21:1.