Waiving Away the Law: God, Obamacare, and Immigration

Waiving Away the Law: God, Obamacare, and Immigration June 17, 2012

President Obama once again this past week took action that raises a question that sounds like a child’s joke – but it’s no laughing matter. In fact, it reminds me of the fifth and final reason I believe God objects to the health care law commonly known as Obamacare.

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The question raised by how Obamacare has been enforced and by the President’s latest directive on immigration this past week is this: when is the law not the law? The answer: when it is ignored by those charged with its enforcement. When this happens, a culture – any culture – is left to drift into the moral equivalent of the Ancient Mariner’s deadly doldrums.

You can catch up on my first four protests here, but here is the fifth reason Obamacare fails to get God’s vote.

5. God hates the arbitrary enforcement of law.

Photo via http://www.bible-people.info

“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.” (Prov. 11:1)

We don’t see this imagary much in our culture anymore, but in the agrarian society of Solomon, products would be measured on a balancing scale using weights made to certain specification. Using this simple method, a buyer could be sure they were getting the same amount for their money as the next guy in line. Some crooks, however, found creative ways to shave off trace amounts of the weight to avoid having the same standard enforced equally to all. Or they might use one weight for their friends and another for strangers.

And God hates it. Not just a little. A lot. That’s the whole abomination thing. A big word with even bigger divine consequences.

Yet as Obamacare has been rolled out over the past two years, we’ve seen a seemingly endless list of waivers issued to permit some to avoid or delay complying with the law. Shouldn’t we be concerned with a law so bad that we have to break it immediately in order to look as if we’re keeping it? Perhaps we should have found out what was in it first before passing it. But I digress.

According to Scripture, God does not approve of rulers to arbitrarily decide who does or does not have to comply with laws. The Obamacare trend simply joins a growing train of other such abuses. We see the same problem with:

  • Friday’s announcement by the Obama Administration that they would not be enforcing our nation’s deportations laws as they apply to children of illegal immigrants. Although the law requires the executive branch to deport them, the Obama administration now says it refuses to do so. Just like that. We’ll use one weight for some and a different weight for others.
  • The Obama Administration’s public refusal to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. Never mind that the law was duly passed by Congress (without budget reconciliation shenanigans) and signed by President Clinton. If you don’t agree, just don’t enforce it. Never mind that enforcement is your sworn duty as a leader in this nation before God.
  • The offering of waivers to states to avoid complying with No Child Left Behind — provided, of course, you do what they could not get Congress to approve. Forget whether or not you agree with the law. There is a procedure for changing laws in this country. It requires the consent of the governed. By offering a way for states to circumvent the NCLB requirements, the Obama Administration has altered the practice of these united states — against the expressed will of the people.

It’s as if the words of the law no longer have meaning. I have found that with people of low integrity, words are the first things to lose meaning. But not the last.

Rep. Lamar Smith has his take at Christianity Today. Hugh Hewitt succinctly captures the crippling implications:

If the president can do this vis-a-vis this category of immigrants he can do it vis-a-vis any category of immigrants. And if he can do it vis-a-vis immigration law, he can do it vis-a-vis other laws, whenever his standard of “justice” is satisfied. The president rightly said last year he could not do this.  Now, because his political fortunes are falling fast, he grabs for a power no other president in U.S. history has ever asserted.

I know, some readers will, by now, be mumbling about what they see as a double standard on my part. Here I am insisting that the Executive branch  — whose primary duty it is to enforce the laws – enforce the laws. Yet just last week, I argued for mercy on behalf of Heydi Mejia, the child of an illegal immigrant.

Yet the distinction is an important one. What is needed in the legal process is a set of standards within a system that permits merciful decisions in such difficult cases. Choosing to enforce the laws for some but not for others clearly does not get God’s vote. A false balance never could.

Change the laws properly, Mr. President. Or enforce them. But quit pretending they may be enforced at the whim of those who rule.  Work together to change the laws, Mr.President, if you have the political courage to do so. Don’t just ignore them. If Obamacare is what its fans claim it to be, let it stand on its own. If not, let’s scrap it and work on a more Biblical solution together. One that we won’t have to waive.

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  • Jay Saldana

    I don’t really have time here to go into all the things you said….which I am sure you see as a blessing.
    1. Proof texting is a lousy way to study the bible and/or how it affects things. Proof texting more often than not is incomplete and leads to grave error. You seem to forget a few things here, like the fact we are called to obey our leaders by the bible. Lastly, not enforcing a current law is a legitimate operation of government – as I am sure you know. Do you remember President Bush signing laws and discounting them as he signed them with a signing statement. It would be easier if you just said that you can’t stand the President than going through all this rigmarole about religious stuff. I want to tell you that in my opinion, the reason we are losing people in Faith is becasue of this ridiculous double standard of religious arch-conservatives who conflate their religious beliefs with their political ones in way that are consistently Pharisaical. And I am sure they will answer for it where it counts.

    Have a God filled day.

    • Jay,

      I’m not thrilled with any Presidents not enforcing the law. I would argue that a signing statement is different than the latest immigration maneuver. President Obama himself said two years ago that he had no authority to do what he just did.

      And yes, my day did seem God-filled. Thanks!

  • Jennifer

    Some good points, Bill. And I have to admit that while Googling “executive order” to find out what an executive order was I noticed that there have been many more of them issued over the past few decades – a trend, if you will, in bypassing Congress.

    I agree with you about everything, however:
    “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.”
    also, “A just weight and balance are the Lord’s”. (Proverbs 16:11)

    The “false balance” is a balance constructed deceitfully and is considered an abomination by God. We can not use one stone to weigh the goods of a friend and another the goods of a stranger. Key to this, however, is using the measure to weigh things of equal value. I don’t use a one pound stone to weigh gold and the same stone to weigh brick and consider that the goods I am trading for are equal in value. If the “stone” we are using to weigh illegal immigrants is the current immigration law, don’t we have to ask ourselves if the people we are weighing with this stone are equal?

    There are many, many examples of crimes not being weighed equally in all cases. Young children, for example, are not usually convicted of assault and thrown into jail for hitting and biting their friends. I suppose you could argue that God finds this to be an abomination. Our assault laws, however, reflect our understanding that children don’t have the same reasoning capabilities as adults do and should not be judged (in most people’s eyes) by the same standard. Over the years our laws have changed to reflect this understanding.

    “Aha” I can hear you saying, “The laws were CHANGED. This case is different because the law has not been changed yet”. And so we must ask ourselves whether God wants us to follow the laws of man at all costs. You seem to be arguing that “the law is the law” and must, if we want to have moral and personal integrity, be followed regardless of whether it is a good law – constitutionally sound and approved by congress – or a crappy, ill thought out one (the present health care law? The current immigration law?). Does this mean that religious institutions that choose to “take a stand” against Obama’s health care law have no moral or personal integrity? Or will God be using his own stones to weigh them.

    The Supreme Court – sworn to uphold the constitution – allows executive orders where they clarify or act to further a law put forth by congress. Since the Supreme Court has only turned down a tiny number of Presidential executive orders (a small handful out of many thousands?) I think it will be difficult to argue that such orders are against the law unless ruled otherwise. President Obama has used an executive order to set some standards within the current system to permit a deferment of deportation in cases such as Heydi’s.

    As for Hugh Hewitt’s comment that “Now, because his political fortunes are falling fast, he grabs for a power no other president in U.S. history has ever asserted.” Is this in reference to the current executive order? Is he really comparing deferring deportation to George W. Bushes secretly signed executive order following 9/11 to grant the president and other officials the right to declare anyone–including an American citizen–an “unlawful enemy combatant.” with no redress, and no way to appeal. In short – to have no rights. It is my understanding that citizens could be held indefinitely without bail and without benefit of a lawyer. Or what about F.D.R.’s executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans (those that were as little as 1/16 Japanese could be placed in internment camps)?

    I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day.

    • Jennifer

      I really wish there was an “edit” button for these posts. I meant to say that I DON’T agree with you about everything.

      • Jennifer,

        Thought it was my lucky day for just a minute there!

        Yes, the executive orders have been a trend — for both parties. None of it is in the right direction.

        We’re agreed on the horrid treatment of Japanese-Americans — one of our nations darkest moments. And again, Bush was no saint on these executive issues.

        But President Obama himself said just two years ago that he did not have the authority to do what he just did last Friday. Before he did it, all agreed that it was wrong to do. That it could not legitimately be done. Now that he has done it, partisan politics are causing some to come to his defense. I have issues with Romney on this very point also, by the way, as his arguments occasionally slide in a pragmatic direction.

        The only grounds I can find in Scripture for disregardng a duly passed law is if the law compels you to sin (We ought to obey God rather than men). Would it be sinful to send a child who was here illegally back to the country from which they came. No. Not in almost all cases. Would it be wise? That’s a different question, one the law should be changed to address. Simply disregarding laws we don’t agree with is a slipprey slope indeed.

        And yes, I did have good Father’s Day. Hope you had the sa — oh, never mind.

  • Jennifer

    Another thing for me to look up:
    “for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
    Hmmmm…. I don’t see too much wiggle room there for President Obama.
    I still don’t think that just because President Obama made the statement above before doing the opposite makes President Bush’s executive orders less of a power grab. President Bush was just overly – in my view – confident of his absolute power and wouldn’t think to tell the public otherwise 🙂 It surprises me that executive orders are legal.

    • Unfortunately legal often comes down to what you can get away with. Not you, of course.

  • randal johnny

    God say, Go and multiply,fill the earth and subdue it….That is the command given to Adam and Eve…..( .Fill l the Earth Genesis 1;28 ) Again God command ,Noah and his Children,Ham, Shem and Japhet go and filled the earth..(Ref Genesis 9;1 ) so they filled the earth from one place to another and settled there. To filled the earth means…..God has Immigration policy to fill the earth. Then God call Abraham to leave his country.He is from Ur in Iraq, move and departed ,to Haran to Egypt and settled in Canaan…God allow them to Immigrate and now Abraham settled in Canaan now the State of Israel. Any nations restricting the sojourner, the alien living in their country is violating God commandment to go and filled the earth…..Any Nations or country violating God immigration law is curse.. God loves to open their border to the sojourner, to the refugee, to the immigrants and alien any nations or country dis-obey God law is curse…..why the are violating God law to open their border…God law say fill the earth….restricting immigration policy is violation of God law. to fill the earth…….

  • randal johnny

    Law and Immigration is God divine command……….genesis 1;28 God said, fill the earth to Adam and Eve. then Again to Noah, and o His sons Ham, Shem and Japheth fill the earth or replenish the earth in Genesis 9;1… and they obey …genesis chapter 10….they all immigrate and follow the God system of command go and fill the earth……Go and fill the earth is god immigration policy…..go and replenish the earth is God immigration policy……Abraham from Ur in Mesopotamia,God commanded him to leave his country…genesis 21;1 what does it meant…..God commanded him to Immigrate.in Canaan and settled there….so by faith Abraham leave his country he moves to Haran, then to Egypt and finally to Canaan, the present day Israel…….God law allow the movement of immigrant arounf the world to fill the earth……..any nations or country violates God law of immigration is Curse…….Any Country in this world restricting the flow of Immigrant and refugee is violating God law….violating God law is curse.God said take good care of sojourner and alien living with you…..Condemning the alien, sojourner is violating God law and therefore Curse…..Any violation of God’s law is curse like Sodom and Gomorrah……No wonder all nation of the earth is curse for violating God’s law of immigration….Net effect war. and no peace on earth because we are as a nations and country violating God law of immigration to fill the earth..