A Theological Interpretation Of Obamacare

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 9 months ago

We may observe that in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, for those searching for scholarly and learned legal analyses of the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”), the ruling by Judge Roger Vinson remains to this day the best there is.  A careful study of his opinion is all you need to know about the unconstitutional power grab by Congress we call Obamacare.  And practically speaking, the acceptance of the Congressional act and the associated SCOTUS ruling on the grounds that the American health care system is broken and in dire need of repair is ill informed.  The American health care system, while not perfect, is the greatest on the planet, which is why people come to America for health care from around the world.

Justice Roberts, who is now known to have changed his opinion during deliberations with his colleagues, was apparently concerned about the legitimacy of the Supreme Court if it struck down the act in part or in whole.  Professor Randy Barnett, who I respect a great deal, sees a silver lining in the cloud.  But the problem with all of this talk about recalibrating the Supreme Court of the future with a more federalist vision only goes so far as other (liberal) justices respect the doctrine of stare decisis.  With Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, this isn’t very far.  She sees reversal of D.C. versus Heller on the horizon with a “future, wiser court.”  So I see no silver lining in the cloud.  As one of my sons put it, Roberts was breaking a horse, and instead of bucking the horse out, he simply got off.  He gave up on his job.

Hopefully the monstrosity of Obamacare will be repealed in Congress, or at least, defunded by “future, wiser” Congressmen than the ones who voted in favor of it.  I suspect that the financial straits from which America suffers will make the decision for us all.  The entitlement system cannot long exist in its present state, and that which cannot continue, doesn’t.  But regardless of what the future holds for this monstrosity, it is important to understand more about it than the political machinations that brought it into being.

My own seminary professor, Dr. C. Gregg Singer, made the following observations on the social gospel (“A Theological Interpretation of American History,” pages 148 – 149):

The roots of the social gospel were theological in nature; it was essentially a new revolt against Calvinism and the evangelical position.  Its roots can ultimately be traced back to those developments which took place in European theology as a result of the rise of Hegelian Idealism, to the theologies of Ritschl and Schleiermacher in Germany which attempted to refashion Christian thought according to the prevailing philosophical currents and the attacks of German Higher Criticism on the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures.  The more immediate background for the new theology is to be found in Transcendentalism, the New England theology and writings of Nathaniel Taylor and Horace Bushnell, and the Oberlin theology popularized by Charles G. Finey …

These theologies not only seriously modified the doctrine of total depravity, but they presented a plan of redemption which was, in varying degrees, synergistic.  This synergism, giving to man some merit and some ability to accomplish his own eternal salvation, almost inevitably led to a view than man also has both the power and the mandate to make a heaven out of this earth and to transform it into a kind of Garden of Eden …

Regeneration was all too often regarded as little more than a willingness to join in a crusade for the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth … for the introduction of some kind of socialism into American society.

And this sort of thinking was prevalent among its adherents, especially Mr. Obama.  Do you doubt it?  Consider Mr. Obama’s own words in 2006 prior to his election.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting “preachy” may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

Solving these problems will require changes in government policy …

Mr. Obama goes on to say that he believes in keeping guns out of inner cities (foretelling the Supreme Court dissent in Heller v. D.C. and McDonald v. Chicago, and the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court), and appears to blame the “gun manufacturers’ lobby” for the moral failings of inner city violence.  Thus does Mr. Obama’s policy decisions have a theological basis in the social gospel, but more specifically, liberation theology of the brand that was popularized in Central and South America in the mid-twentieth century.

On this view, religious commitment and the correction of the fallen state of mankind lies in the state and changes to laws regulations and policy.  Make sure to read again Obama’s view: the problems of poverty and lack of insurance are rooted in “individual callousness,” in the “imperfections of man,” and require “changes in government policy.”  Salvation and regeneration are corporate, or applicable to groups of people, not to be seen as a forensic phenomenon between God and individual men.

But health care should be seen as a commodity as much as, say, transportation, housing and food are commodities.  A person cannot survive (very well) without all of the above.  At one point in time these commodities were administered by Church deacons, with responsibility and accountability ensured so as not to encourage sloth and irresponsibility.  And giving was voluntary, not enforced by the power of a badge and gun.

But if health care is a commodity, then there is no prima facie reason to dissect it and severe it from the other commodities.  Any argument for forced provision of health care to other families by one with more means is disingenuous and hypocritical if it doesn’t include the same justification for the forced, shared provision of transportation, housing and food between families.  And such an argument should consider the history of socialism across the globe and the necessary questions it poses.  Does it share wealth or simply destroy it?  What role do families and the church play in such a schema if the state is responsible for cradle to grave security, and does this sort of thing usurp the authority of families and church?

In the end, regardless of the answers to the questions above, there is no question that there are theological underpinnings to Obamacare.  These underpinnings are to be found in liberation theology, the social gospel and ultimately in Hegelianism and Marxism.  The charge is reflexively leveled at conservatives and traditionalists that we mix church state.  But it’s just as easy to dismiss this charge on the grounds that one doesn’t have to be a member of any church to vote his or her conscience in the voting booth.  All laws are legislated morality.

But while this charge against conservatives is common, it isn’t nearly as common to admit or even see the religious foundations for progressivism.  It’s there nonetheless.  And as the savior said, and to the progressives I repeat, extract the log in your own eye before you go on any scavenger hunt for the spec in my eye.  Seriously study the religious foundations for your own views before we embark on a discussion of my own.  That includes Mr. Obama’s social gospel, Mill’s utilitarianism, or any other -ism or world view that presumes to inform me what I should be doing.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On July 2, 2012 at 8:31 am, TS Alfabet said:

    Well stated, Herschel.

    It is indeed important that conservatives understand that Leftist thinking is very much a religion to which the Left adheres. It is the overriding belief that mankind can be redeemed and reformed in this life by State action, applying the right policies and principles and, if necessary, compelling behaviors for the greater good.

    This is the view that guided the French Revolution and has fueled every Statist social model since then, whether it be socialism, communism, fascism or any, other form of authoritarianism.

    The American Revolution was a polar opposite: the complete distrust of the State, born out of the well-known horrors of Europe with its religious wars and State persecutions. The American scheme emphasized the power and sanctity of the individual wherever possible and put in place the famous checks and balances to keep the Tyrant of centralized government in chains.

    Now we have a confirmed State Religion founded upon the principles Herschel has laid out in his post. The State Religion will seek to reform us all in the name of the greater good. So, everyone will get some form of healthcare, for example, no matter how poor it will be, at the expense of every productive member of society which will necessitate ever greater levels of confiscation by the State in order to keep even a pathetic level of care alive. The State will have to compel doctors to provide free or nearly free services as the pace of doctors leaving the profession accelerates. It will be permitted via a “tax,” of course. The State Religion will compel us to fund ever more generous benefits to the children of illegal aliens. And when the ever-shrinking private sector is bled dry, finally, the State will take over the failing industries and appropriate all the means of production unto itself. All in the name of the greater good. Heaven on earth.

  2. On July 2, 2012 at 10:59 am, Rich Buckley said:

    Very well put Herschel and T.S. I’m not certain where my thoughts fit in to the wisdom of both your comments.

    Socialists’ leaders appear drawn to liberation theology (LT) linked more by the deadly glamour of attraction-to-power and its central top-down state controlled consolidation, than to evidence of real distribution of wealth out comes. The inevitable path of LT seems always to lead to a disconnected form of government that does not liberate but simple ends up regulating. 

    Perhaps the largest problem facing all governments today relates more to our reckless financial reliance on our “privately owned” so-called Federal Reserve Bank, a theology of faith and blind-eye ignorance, of a pivately owned banking system driven by and owned by a few families whose historic livelihoods appear to be soon modified by a true liberation of openness and transparency. Just Google “White Hats Report #43” for a brief glimpse of factual information on the scope of collective temerity our Christian moral upbringing enabled us to tolerate. 

    Not one of the empaneled Supreme Court Judges, coddled as they are through our structure of lifetime appointments, is the “seer” their collective wisdom was designed to empower. They are as blind to the magnitude of the costly global fraud the Federal Reserve is participating in, as 3rd World residents are to the projectable historic failure of the adoption of Liberation Theology as it always turns out. The shadow side of centralized power always seems to win in place of the individual. But perhaps that’s about to change.

    As you point out so well, Christ Consciousness, a manifestation of spiritual awakening, dealing with the log in my own eye to discover to my own surprise, I’m the one who put it there, … changes everything. The power to experience a sense of personal liberation, for me at least, only seems attainable through my own realization that life is eternal. Once that concept set in to my consciousness and awareness as reality, I began to see my actions in life differently, and I started looking at my fellow beings in a completely different light. Standing on principle took on new relevance. Putting your needs on par with my own becomes an act of love as opposed to a compromise. Recognizing your needs is not to project my own needs upon you, but to really try to walk in your shoes and feel what you feel and see what you see first, and always be prepared to walk away if what I find can not harmonize with my own sense of right and wrong.

    Liberation Theology lacks this operating insight and always ends up imposing itself.

  3. On July 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm, Rev. Mike said:

    Herschel, what IS the Kingdom of God?

  4. On July 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    From a pre-mil, a-mil or post-mil perspective? Presuppositions and hemeneutics dictate the answer.

    Point is: there is no calculus in which a political administration can usher it in.

  5. On July 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm, Rich Buckley said:

    Rev. Mike,

    Nassim Haramein, seems to come as close to touching on the answer as anyone, if you like scientific explanations. Google some of his many YouTube videos.

  6. On July 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Oh Patrick, you’re just confused. Augustine’s doctrines aren’t “mistaken,” the doctrine of total depravity is embedded within the WCF, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, the Philadelphia Confession, etc., etc., and the church certainly hasn’t rejected such doctrine. Only the followers of Pelagius have.

    And Dr. Singer wasn’t wrong. Patrick, try again some time, but do check your facts first and do your homework before posting comments. I don’t mind robust debate. I DO mind sloppiness and ignorance..

  7. On July 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm, Rev. Mike said:

    How about PRO-mil? :) So what IS the Christian role in the public square?

  8. On July 6, 2012 at 10:23 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Well, that’s not really germane to the post, but as you and I have discussed, the role of Christians in the public square should be multifaceted and robust. I could recommend Greg Bahnsen, “Theonomy in Christian Ethics,” and R. J. Rushdoony, “Institutes of Biblical Law” for starters.

    But the point of the post is still the following. In God’s economy there are three institutions: state, church and family. They are not supposed to be subservient to any other, and each has their own sphere of influence and authority. Submission of one insitution to another is to usurp God’s authority since this is the way He manages His creation.

    Whatever the role IS, here is what it IS NOT. (1) the denuding of the authority of the family and church in ministries of mercy, (2) the destruction of wealth (because wealth is from God – e.g., Job and Noah) via social engineering, (3) theft from the family, or (4) invitations to sloth and irresponsibility. Obamacare has the ignominy of being all of those things wrapped up in a single package.

    Or as I said in the post, a “monstrosity.”

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You are currently reading "A Theological Interpretation Of Obamacare", entry #8708 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Obama Administration,Politics and was published July 1st, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (704)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (40)
Air Power (10)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (22)
Ammunition (277)
Animals (285)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (373)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (86)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (28)
Australian Army (7)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (3)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (220)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (3)
Blogs (24)
Body Armor (23)
Books (3)
Border War (18)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (5)
Canada (17)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (16)
Christmas (16)
CIA (30)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (3)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (218)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (210)
Department of Homeland Security (26)
Disaster Preparedness (5)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (15)
Donald Trump (27)
Drone Campaign (4)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (39)
Featured (189)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (1,768)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (44)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (9)
Georgia (19)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (1,639)
Guns (2,308)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (16)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (3)
Horses (2)
Humor (72)
Hunting (33)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (108)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (4)
Infrastructure (4)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (171)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (64)
Islamists (98)
Israel (19)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (3)
Jihadists (81)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (7)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (6)
Lawfare (14)
Leadership (6)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (280)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
Media (68)
Medical (146)
Memorial Day (6)
Mexican Cartels (41)
Mexico (61)
Michael Yon (6)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (5)
Military Equipment (25)
Militia (9)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (25)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (25)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (95)
NATO (15)
Navy (30)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (3)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (62)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (221)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (7)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (72)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (4)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (648)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (970)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (492)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (37)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (668)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (23)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (53)
Survival (185)
SWAT Raids (57)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (38)
Tactical Gear (14)
Taliban (168)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (21)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (96)
Thanksgiving (13)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (24)
TSA Ineptitude (13)
TTPs (4)
U.S. Border Patrol (6)
U.S. Border Security (19)
U.S. Sovereignty (24)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (10)
Uncategorized (98)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (3)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (412)
War & Warfare (41)
War Movies (4)
War Reporting (21)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (79)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2024 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.