God promises us precisely the combination of protection, vindication, freedom, and dignity we seek, but only He can deliver on that promise. Much of what we try to do with government today is an attempt to replicate through human means what God has provided through a relationship with Him. As the Christians for a Sustainable Economy initiative suggested last week, a key question posed in that endeavor is: "Whom shall we indebt?" That is, who is on the hook for the cost of making good on those promises? God holds Himself obligated already, but rather than doing things His way, we make up earthly systems that indenture our fellow men to our needs, preferences, and even caprices.
These encroaching mindsets increasingly jeopardize American civil life. Government can't help seeing a citizen as an income, as a public liability, as a victim or a hate-crime perpetrator, as a body-mass index, a likelihood of hypertension and diabetes, a Social Security contributor, and a carbon footprint. Government is an institution and it operates by rules.
But the people can limit what government is authorized to examine and do. America's Founders deliberately gave us a constitutional government designed on that principle. Understanding the mechanics of limited government is only half the battle. Our minds must first move beyond the unexamined attitudes that reflexively demand more government activity. It took men and women who did achieve this discipline to confer our republic on us. Without achieving that discipline ourselves, we will not keep it.