Recently, President Obama urged religious leaders to support his health care plan. He invoked a moral and ethical standard.
He stated: "These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation: that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. In the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call."
The President is so wrong. The extreme danger of his words will shake the very foundation of our Republic.
When our government decides on a moral and ethical standard for one another, the death of our nation and the principles upon which we are founded are clearly at hand. The irony of the President invoking a moral imperative in light of his stance on abortion is merely one message in a long line of ironies of a group of leaders who have no idea what moral or ethical means.
The role of government is very clearly spelled out in the Constitution. Since members of Congress have difficulty reading bills, perhaps President Obama and Congress have not yet read the Constitution. Let me assist.
The Preamble states: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America"
The first amendment to the Constitution is equally clear that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances"
The tenth amendment to the Constitution states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."
I wholeheartedly agree with the President that I have a moral and ethical obligation to look out for by brothers, sisters, and neighbors. My obligation, however, is a religious one and not a legislated one.
When a society taxes people to redistribute income, the legal issues of taxation remove critical incentives on both the recipient of the tax as well as the recipient of the benefit. What Obama is proposing is actually cruel to our citizens most in need rather than helpful.
Should you examine the history of entitlement programs you will quickly notice that the lot of the people "helped" has actually deteriorated.
Is it moral and ethical to enslave people to the government in the form of subsidies? Has Barney Frank’s district gotten any better in the years since Franklin Roosevelt? Have the entitlement programs helped our nation’s poor or merely made the poor more beholden to a government that can quickly turn on them should they not agree?
For my religious leaders, I caution you strongly. Our failure in the pulpit should not guide us into a religious submission to our government. We as people of faith must constantly remind one another of our personal responsibilities to help our brothers and sisters.
Faith can never be mandated. Charity cannot be mandated.
Love is in the heart and not in the wallet. Taxation is not charitable. I feel good when I help others. I do not feel so good when I am taxed. Taxation builds resentment and waste.
Should we as people of faith hear the President’s words as a danger to religion, then I invoke all of us to do our faithful responsibility and that it is care for others, to volunteer, to become our brothers keeper. That is our faithful responsibility. It is not my legislated responsibility.
Use the lessons of our laws to help you understand the danger of the President’s words. You cannot invoke a moral and ethical standard and support abortion, Freedom of Choice, and death panels.
In my faith, I try to live by a triangle of caring which is "To have faith is to believe, to believe is to trust, to trust is to have faith". No where in this triangle is the word legislate.
Frank Ryan, CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures nationally on ethics. He is on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected]