Esau’s Porridge: Federal Health Care and The Loss of Liberty
Reprint from The Scholars Corner* – 1994 by Jefferis Kent Peterson
The Founder’s of this nation raised the battle cry for liberty with the words oft repeated, “We have no king but Jesus!” But our contemporaries have abandoned our historical quest for freedom with a cry of a different sort, “We’ll have any king who will give us health care!” Just as Esau traded away his birthright for a bowl full of porridge to appease his temporary hunger, so we are in danger of trading away our heritage of liberty for the temporal security of cradle to grave health care.
Esau was judged by God for caring so little about the privileges of being the first born son in the family (Genesis 25). Traditionally, the first born son held a position of great honor and was in line to inherit double the portion of earthly goods that the remaining children received. But Esau was so concerned about feeding his stomach that he was willing to cast it all away for the sake of a simple meal. So he sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of mush. And God rejected Esau because of his unworthy choices.
In our nation, we have surrendered our trust in God as our provider, and we now we look to the State to take care of us. We want to live in a world that has no risks and where our needs are always met. We are willing to surrender our liberty for security, and because we have turned to the State in such dependency, we are willing to change our allegiance from Almighty God to a human government which promises to meet our every need.
But the life of faith and trust in God has risks. God demands our dependence upon him. And because of that risky dependence upon God, we are to look to him alone to meet our needs through prayer and by faith. Jesus told his followers not to worry about food our clothing, because “the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. ” (Matthew 6:31-32). Yet rather than trust ourselves to the uncertain nature of God, we would rather take refuge in a government program that promises us the security of daily bread.
But there is a price for such allegiance. The price is slavery. Oh, no matter that the health program will eventually sap 15% or more of our income in new taxes to fully cover the program. And no matter that every state will be forced to provide abortion on demand. No matter that the Federal Government will overturn state laws and undermine the people’s right to govern themselves. “Just give us health care and we will serve you all our days!” The dream of liberty which The Founders found so dear is now being sold on the auction block of fear and insecurity to the politician who will make the highest bid of promises to satisfy our cravings. And our response is, “Give us leeks and onions. Give us meat. Give us those things we crave, and we will be your slaves.” We will willing trade away our freedom to a government which promises to keep our bellies full.
Merrill Lynch just did a tax study called Saving the American Dream which found that unfunded government programs like future Social Security and medical payments will eventually increase the tax rate to 82% on individual income if we continue with present mandates. How high a price are we willing to pay for our present bowl of porridge? If we do not rise up and resist the tempting but poisonous pill of federal programs, we will indeed place upon this generation a burden it cannot bear. And the freedoms we so cherished will be lost in the maze of federal regulation. Our freedom may still be there somewhere, but no one will know how to bring it out of the dank labyrinth of government bureaucracy for its light to shine again upon the citizens of the land.
* First Published in KeyStone Unity Press and Pennsylvania Reporter (Christian Coalition of PA) in May, 1994