The Biblical Solution to the Government Shutdown
Since government leaders seem unable to solve the nation’s current crisis, perhaps it is time to consider what a widely rejected source of wisdom advises.
The U.S. government shutdown over lack of funding has now entered its second week; and the nasty, vitriolic war of words between President Obama and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives has continued. The latest point of contention is over whether there are sufficient votes in the House to pass a resolution funding all government programs, including the U.S. Affordable Care Act (often referred to as “Obamacare”).
John Boehner, the speaker of the House, says there are not sufficient votes for it to pass. The president believes there are sufficient votes and has challenged the speaker to allow the vote to take place.
At stake for both sides is the end result. The president and Senate do not want the Affordable Care Act to be defunded, while defunding it remains one of the primary goals of the Republicans. Also at stake is which entity will be held most responsible by voters for the government shutdown. As for public opinion, no one seems to be winning. At this point, the president, the Senate and the House all have approval ratings lower than 50 percent.
While there are no winners at the moment in this conflict, the American public overwhelmingly believes that it is the loser as politicians continue to bicker and refuse to reasonably meet to discuss solutions to the crisis. The shutdown of nonessential government programs has led to widespread frustration across all political ideologies.
Ideology driving the crisis
In an article titled “The Roots of the Government Shutdown,” George Friedman, founder and chairman of Stratfor, gives an explanation of how the U.S. has come to such a state.
He astutely notes: “Each faction is deeply committed to its beliefs, and feels it would be corrupt to abandon them. Even if it means closing the government, even if it means defaulting on debt, ideology is a demanding mistress who permits no other lovers. Anyone who reads this will recognize his enemy at work. I, however, am holding everyone responsible, from left to right—and especially the indifferent center.”
While charting the path of how the U.S. government came to its current stalemate is a fairly simple task, Friedman pointedly avoids taking sides. He also candidly admits that he doesn’t know what to do to change the situation. I suspect the same can be said for our government leaders. One of the consequences of departing from God’s laws—something our nation has most assuredly done—is the debt, turmoil and frustration our nation is now experiencing (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).
The Bible also tells us that “where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16). Our government is in confusion that is a result of self-seeking on both sides of the political aisle.
The way of peace needed
Addressing this very point as ancient Israel departed from God’s way, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write: “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8). The “something” that Friedman refers to that could be done to help the U.S. is for its politicians to practice “the way of peace.” The first step would be for them to begin leading the nation in obedience to God by their example and begin showing respect for each other—despite their differing ideologies. The Bible teaches it is each person’s individual responsibility to pursue peaceful relations with others (Romans 12:18).
Yet given the spiritual blindness that currently affects the majority of the earth’s inhabitants and their leaders, this is unlikely to occur. The peace and righteous leadership all of earth’s inhabitants long for will come in another day—the time when the Kingdom of God is established here on earth.
For further observations on America’s debt, see the Life, Hope & Truth article “U.S. Economic Collapse: Will It Occur?”