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Obamacare and the Gremlins Behind the Door

Obamacare and the Gremlins Behind the Door

Will the United States Supreme Court this week further open the door to the gremlins of federal intrusion into personal lives and state governments?

The black-robed "brethren" and sisters will consider the constitutionality of certain provisions of Obamacare's mandated health insurance. Namely: Is it within the bounds of constitutional law for government to mandate private citizens to purchase health insurance? If so, is the requirement a penalty or a tax? Can Washington impose requirements on the states that might bring some to the precipice of insolvency?

Other quite scary questions pop out:
• If government can mandate that people must buy health insurance that meets federal standards, can it also require us to buy government-approved hybrid vehicles?
• If Washington is permitted to specify our insurance can it mandate that we may no longer eat burgers and fries?
• If a regime can dictate health insurance can it also order us to report to a neighborhood gym each morning for a mandated exercise program?
• If the Court says the feds can dictate our insurance, will this establish a precedent for government dictating our views and practices regarding contraception?

Oh, wait, it's already attempting to do that!

There are all kinds of gremlins waiting to burst out through the widening cracks in the door of constitutionalism. They are not special-effects ogres who can only say "Boo!" The gremlins of bureaucratic dominance are all too real, and always behind that door of constitutional order, trying to bang their way out.

These gremlins are creepy literally. Their style of sneaking up on us is incrementalism. Successive regimes open the door just wide enough for a toe, then comes the foot, followed by the leg, and soon the whole of the monster is snarling before us.

Incrementalism with respect to the Constitution is the reason 40 percent-plus of Americans support an administration taking us farther along the journey toward socialism. It is disturbing that the subtle spins of incrementalism have apparently convinced almost half the voting population that Hayek's "road to serfdom" is the yellow-brick road.

Constitutional incrementalism explains why candidates in primaries can run on principles, but, when one becomes the party nominee, he or she must take a much ballyhooed stance on the mush of centrism.

Incrementalism with respect to constitutional government happens in congressional backrooms where it's not only the sometimes necessary compromises on pragmatics, but the conceding of principles that also takes place.

Incrementalism occurs in the loopholes of presidential Executive Orders, recess appointments, undeclared wars, and judicial activism that inches the nation across the creek-bed of constitutional order on stones of precedence.

Hegelian dialectics may not have worked for communism, as Marx hoped, but it is certainly working when it comes to constitutional government in America. Thesis keeps colliding with antithesis and drags us into the synthesis which then demands the proliferation of new laws and regulations.

Go through that process often enough and after a while incrementalism has unleashed the gremlins.

The biblical worldview can block the path of the creeping gremlins. The Bible recognizes the needs of people for good healthcare, and especially those who can't afford it. The Prophet Micah writes:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NASU)

The Bible strikes the balance between indulgence and insensitivity. Those who can work must not be indulged (2 Thessalonians 3:10). On the other hand, people and their governments must not be insensitive to the truly poor and disadvantaged, and recognize their responsibility to those like the "widows" and "orphans" noted in James 1:27.

It's also a good time for the Supreme Court, along with the other branches of government to heed the Bible's warning not to move the "ancient boundaries" established by the "fathers." (Proverbs 22:28)

Our constitutional "fathers"-Thomas Jefferson and the Antifederalists especially-knew the gremlins of tyranny are out there beyond the boundaries. It's time for the incremental shifting of constitutional principle to stop, and the Supreme Court has that opportunity this week.

Wallace Henley, a former Birmingham News staff writer, was an aide in the Nixon White House, and congressional chief of staff. He is a teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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