The House of Representatives debate on the healthcare bill made for some great theater last night. There were high points (see Mike Pence’s moving speech) and low points, and in general it was fascinating to watch this great engine of state in operation.
We certainly live in a divided nation, and it doesn’t look to be getting any better. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who actually had promised us that the more Democrats we elected, the more bi-partisan Congress would be, gave her entire speech facing only the Democrats. Evidently she’s Speaker for only one part of the House. And Obama himself has proven to be, not the post-partisan national healer he promised, but if anything, partisan to the highest degree. But then, anyone who had researched beyond what the media handed us (see, eg, The Case Against Barack Obama) expected exactly that.
But for me the most telling point of our divisions came during the consideration of the Stupak Amendment, whose goal was to ensure that no tax money went toward funding abortion. Democrat Stupak and his friends are in the difficult position of being prolife in a decidedly pro-choice party. And to his credit, despite pressure from Pelosi to toe the line, Stupak has said that if his prolife position costs him his seat, so be it.
I watched as one Democrat after another got up and defended the right to abortion and attacked the Stupak Amendment as an assault on a woman’s right to abortion access. Somehow we have gotten from Roe v Wade, which imposed legalized abortion in all states, to some supposed Constitutional right to free abortion.
That’s bad enough, but what was really amazing was to see that among the worst of that position’s protagonists were Catholics. I’m not RC, but I was raised as one and I pretty much understand the rules. And if a person is not going to play by the rules, why would he continue to assert that he is a Catholic?
Thus, Barbara Lee got up, and after citing her Catholic background, openly decried bringing religion into a debate on public policy. Of course, though Lee wants we religious to just shut up, she has no problem whatever taking our money to fund her precious abortions. Ditto, in spades, with Rosa DeLauro. And Pelosi herself, who led the healthcare charge and presumably had a large role in writing abortion into the bill in the first place (it was there, despite Obama’s bold assertions to the contrary), is a Catholic who infamously mangled abortion theology beyond recognition earlier this year.
But even with the Catholic issue aside, all I could do was shake my head as one rep after another got up and defended the right to murder innocent life in the womb. And the scripture that is the title of this piece came to me: for this reason you could not defeat your enemies.
It is a continuing theme in scripture, that God’s people must be right with the Lord before they can have manifest success. It was true at Moses’ second reading of the Law:
But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you:
The LORD shall cause you to be smitten before your enemies: you shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shall be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. Deut 28.15, 25
It was true when Israel lost the battle of Ai because of “sin in the camp”:
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except you destroy the accursed from among you. Josh 7.1,12
It was true during the period of the kings and great prophets, when God gave Israel over to her enemies because of her spiritual unfaithfulness:
If your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and they turn again and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house, 2Chr 6.24
And lest we think this is merely a vestigial Old Testament principle, it held true for the New Testament church as well:
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2Cor 10.5,6
Note very carefully here that Paul is telling the gifted but unruly church in Corinth that its sins are hampering not only its own witness for Christ, but the witness of the entire church! We are one Body, and when one part is sick the entire body ails.
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