CALIFORNIA August 17, 2013 – When government cannot restrain its lust for power (1 John 2:16), for our money (1 Timothy 6:10) or its ever increasing control of our lives, it must be challenged directly and firmly.
But how do we start? One way is by using every opportunity to publically demand each piece of legislation, public policy and regulation prove its benefit and lawful legitimacy.
In families, when someone is in denial about their self-destructive behavior a “tough love” intervention is required for their own good. Since government seems to be in denial about its own fiscal irresponsibility, destructive social programs, and power abuses it also needs a clear wakeup call.
Biblically, government is authorized to execute justice by punishing evil doers and providing an environment for the growth of good (Romans 13:1-6). Restraining government to this role, while working out the practical implications of what’s morally good and evil has been the trademark strength our nation since its Colonial days.
But over time the federal government has increasingly been rejecting the restraints imposed by both the Declaration of Independence (our founding principles) and our Constitution (the governing process). Even the Supreme Court, instead of curbing government’s massive growth and reach has actively aided and abetted its expansion through broad Constitutional interpretations that would have shocked our founders.
So what should we ask of any proposed legislative or regulatory action? At least 9 questions immediately come to mind:
Is it Constitutional? Is the proposed legislation within the enumerated constitutional powers of the federal government? Can a specific Article and Section be referenced that clearly grants the authority required? Otherwise, just as acting without proper authority was condemned in the Apostle Paul’s day, it should also be condemned today (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Can it only be done by government? You wouldn’t ask an auto mechanic to do brain surgery. Likewise, government should be prevented from doing what private industry or the faith community can do more effectively (such as charity and economic development). The Biblical equivalent is having someone with the gift of administration being asked to only teach (Romans 12:3-8). Within a church the result may be frustration, but with the government it will be disastrous.
What’s the fiscal impact? How is this new law or policy proven to be fiscally responsible; not adding to the deficit; and contributing to lowering the cost of government? In addition, what safeguards are in place to reduce its cost in the future?
How will performance be measured? What prior programs or regulations of similar size and complexity demonstrate conclusively that this approach will be successful and cost effective? How will effectiveness be measured and independently verified? What triggers will be in place to cancel this program if it doesn’t achieve well understood performance benchmarks?
Is there a sundown clause? If God-given gifts such as prophecies, tongues and knowledge will eventually pass away (1 Corinthians 13:8), shouldn’t government programs be even more perishable? To the point, when will this legislation or program end? What demonstrated cost effectiveness and results are required before any re-authorization is even considered?
Does it interfere with our freedoms? How will this legislation reduce government encroachment in our lives or the free enterprise system? How will it reduce burdens on businesses and individuals so they may be more productive in their pursuits? How will this legislation enhance our freedoms and fundamental rights as summarized in the Bill of Rights?
Does it promote justice? If so, what injustice is this legislation intended to correct that‘s constitutionally authorized for government action? Does it recognize the basic equality of every person or does it treat the same criminal act differently depending on factors other than the crime itself (Leviticus 19:15)?
Does it protect life and family? It so, how is human life from conception to natural death recognized, respected and protected in this legislation? Is it consistent with the sanctity God gives to life (Job 10:8-12; 31:15; Psalm 139:13-14; Genesis 1:27)? How is the traditional family and parental authority positively strengthened or proactively protected?
Are there personal exemptions? Are legislators personally exempted in any way? If so, why are they (Proverbs 18:5; 28:21)? Obviously, preferential treatment breeds contempt for others as well as an elitist mentality. Not surprisingly, these types of heart issues were condemned even in Jesus’ day (James 2:1-7).
Our government has lost its moorings, and if unchallenged will continue to grab ever increasing amounts of power if we continue to let our silence be consent. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just question proposed laws and regulations; existing statutes must eventually be given the same scrutiny, and if necessary changed, as we take back governance of our nation.
Don’t forget, it’s not being divisive for citizens to be asking the right questions; it’s a necessary first step for “we the people” to ensure our government serves us, our communities, our nation and the next generation properly and legally.
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