“Sanctity of Life Saturday” The Affordable Health Care Act and Euthanasia

A very good article.

The Affordable Health Care Act and Euthanasia

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Well, the title alone probably tells you what I’m thinking in this article, but I’ll embellish anyways. I sense the confluence of several strong forces coming together that will significantly challenge how Christians manage their businesses in the coming years. There will be significant tradeoff choices that will reveal who we are as individuals and what we really value. The Affordable Health Care Act – more commonly known as ObamaCare – is a symptom of a larger problem in our culture, but will be the vehicle through which Christian business owners may be forced to make difficult choices.

In this post, I’ll discuss a long-forgotten work by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, then connect their thinking and predictions to what is probably (in my estimation) in Obamacare and then end with an outline of the key challenges that those of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ will likely face. In all honesty, I hope that I’m wrong in the predictive points in this post. But I posit this information as a way for our society to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask if this is what we seriously want our country to be like.

In the revised copy of Schaeffer’s book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race, Koop joins Schaeffer in discussing critical beliefs in America in the early 80′s. Nearly 30 years later, we are dangerously close to reaping the fruits of seeds sown back in the 60′s and 70′s. I’ll quote at length from several sections of their book:

The human life issues will define our own time. For far from being only single issues, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia strike at the heart of our most basic beliefs about God and man. The way in which we ultimately decide them will determine the future for all of us. As Mother Teresa has said, “If a mother can kill her own children, then what can be next?” Indeed, what can be next for all of us? If we can take one life because it does not measure up to our standards of perfection, what is to stop us from taking any life-simply for our own convenience? Abortion and infanticide are only the beginning steps on a slippery slope that will lead to death for all but the planned and perfect members of our society.

Francis A. Schaeffer;C. Everett Koop. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Revised Edition) (Kindle Locations 40-45). Kindle Edition.

Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are not only questions for women and other relatives directly involved-nor are they the prerogatives of a few people who have thought through the wider ramifications. They are life-and-death issues that concern the whole human race and should be addressed as such. Putting pressure on the public and on legislators to accept a lower view of human beings, small groups of people often argue their case by using a few extreme examples to gain sympathy for ideas and practices that later are not limited to extreme cases. These then become the common practice of the day. Abortion, for example, has moved from something once considered unusual and now in many cases is an accepted form of “birth control.” Infanticide is following the same pattern. The argument begins with people who have a so-called vegetative existence. There then follows a tendency to expand the indications and eliminate almost any child who is unwanted for some reason. The same movement can be seen with euthanasia. The arguments now being put forward center on the “miserable” person in old age-one dying of cancer, for instance. But once the doors are open, there is no reason why the aged, weak, and infirm will not find that as they become economic burdens they will be eliminated under one pretext or another.

Francis A. Schaeffer;C. Everett Koop. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Revised Edition) (Kindle Locations 542-549). Kindle Edition.

The concern about euthanasia and the use of that term in our common vocabulary lead to a degradation of the elderly and, ultimately, to inferior health care for the elderly-as well as encouraging the thought that those who do not want to “shuffle off” quickly are somehow failing in their contribution to society. Economic considerations then creep in, and old folks are made to feel-in this crazy, schizophrenic society of ours-that they are in some way depriving younger and more deserving people of the medical care that is now being provided them at the same cost. For example, one of the undersecretaries of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare suggested in 1977 that the various states that did not enact living-will legislation be penalized by having withdrawn or curtailed the federal funds that would ordinarily supplement state funds allocated for certain major programs.”

Francis A. Schaeffer;C. Everett Koop. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Revised Edition) (Kindle Locations 829-834). Kindle Edition.

Now, consider the reporting that questioned whether or not Vice President Dick Cheney should have received his heart transplant, given how old he is. Because ObamaCare will ultimately ration health care based on political factors that try to answer the question about who should receive care relative to age and/or habit, we can be confident that these decisionswill be life and death decisions that are based on political considerations.

I’m telling you now: ObamaCare coupled with our lack of commitment to following God, will lead to euthanasia because old people will be deemed “not worthy” of expensive care because of their diminished utility and value to society. Just like babies are killed in the womb for the convenience of the mother, elderly people who need expensive care to keep living will be cast aside – perhaps nicely – but still cast aside and denied the care they need because it will be deemed too expensive and/or an impairment on the care of someone else who is more useful to society. And God forbid that the care of the elderly inconvenience anyone in this “it’s all about me” age. As costs (predictably) skyrocket for health care once the government is in full control, we’ll find that the concepts of euthanasia will become more and more acceptable to society. It might take another 30 – 50 years, but it will become acceptable.

Add to this the coming wars between the generations as the older folks demand the goodies and benefits from the government that they believe they are entitled to and the younger generation fighting tooth and nail to not have their taxes raised anymore to pay for programs that are obviously going bankrupt.

Folks, I’m not usually a pessimist, but I see significant class, generational and health care warfare
emerging in the county in the coming 30 years. It will not surprise me at all if many in their 40′s and 50′s – including myself – will find ourselves in the middle of a storm as politicians continue to pit groups against each other based on class, income, health care, generational issues and so forth. And the timing and method of the ending of our lives may rest in the hands of a bureaucrat whose job it is to figure out who should and should not receive immediate care due to scarce resources and government mandates.

What does the Bible have to say about all of this? Briefly, in the Scriptures we find that:

  • The younger members of a family should look after the elderly in their family and the church should look after widows who are unable to provide for themselves. The church has allowed itself to neglect clear teaching from the Bible because they have forfeited their responsibility to the government.
  • Retirement is not a Biblical concept. American Christians have bought into the lie that they deserve to spend their final years in the lap of convenience and leisure. Neither is commanded or advocated in the Bible.
  • Personal responsibility is an assumed value and principle behind nearly every command in Scripture. For example, “let him who stole steal no more, but rather, let him work with his hands, so that he will have something to give”. Think about it. You can’t move from being a thief to being a giver without taking personal responsibility both for stealing and for giving. However, if my stealing is classified as a compulsion or is explained by a life of poverty or abuse during my childhood, then I’m no longer responsible for my actions. To the extent that our government and/or society diminishes our responsibility to own our words and actions and the results from our words and actions, to that extent, the Scriptures are being supplanted with human foolishness. Our society is filled with people who honestly believe that the government is responsible to make them happy, to provide for them, to ameliorate their pain and to give them what they lack. We won’t survive as a country if we continue to allow ourselves to grow a dependency class who lack a sense of personal responsibility

What is incredibly frightening is that some of this future rests literally in the hands of one man – one justice of the Supreme Court – who will probably be the deciding vote on whether Obamacare lives or dies. One vote. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that the quality of our future rests literally in the hands of a few unelected people who may make a legal judgment based primarily on their own political views. AS our country moves farther and farther from the Lord, our views of God and man continue to deteriorate. The logical conclusion of a society that has jettisoned God is one where government assumes the role of God.

Interestingly enough, Christians alone can change this future – without taking political sides. 2 Chronicles tells us that if we simply forsake our sin, call on God’s name, humble ourselves and pray, He will hear our prayers and will heal our land. This is such a strong promise that I wonder if we honestly believe it can happen. The future that Schaeffer, Koop and I have outlined need not become reality if Christians will simply forsake our sin and call on the Lord in humility.

I’m speaking to Christians now – the rest of you can eavesdrop – are you willing to get on your knees and cry out to God for your sin and the sin of this nation? Are you willing to be inconvenienced in order to help drive healing in this nation? Do you take 2 Chronicles 7.14 seriously?

I’m sure some who have read this will think that my post is over the top – it may be hard to pull your eyes out from under your forehead. I get it. But in the absence of our nation returning to God, I believe it is predictable that we will end up not only killing our unborn for the sake of convenience, but we’ll also (effectively) kill our elderly to save on costs and to not inconvenience ourselves too much should they consume too much health care resources.

Bill English, CEO

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