We, we the people, reframe and view government as a god. Which is quite unhealthy. We position our prime ministers and presidents as idols, put them on a pedestal, and expect a lot from them.
Ultimately, those positions - from the top to the bottom of the organisation chart - are not gods, they are servants. They serve our community. We render a select number of social services to this service provider and ask them to look after them. We’re talking roads, border control, hospitals, those dinky little health brochures, and everything in between.
We essentially outsource all these things to the state, federal, and local governments. This is great because I don’t want to be responsible for maintaining roads, bringing justice to situations, or manning the borders.
In doing this we are making the same choice the Israelites made when they asked Samuel for a king. So we get a king and we “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.
Not everything is the government’s job. They are not a god, or God and some things shouldn’t be outsourced to the government.
Abortion, for example, I see abortion as a symptom of an unwell society. If abortion is occurring and it is unsafe then there should be safety regulations around it, but ultimately these laws or regulations are just bumper bars on the ten pin bowling alleyway.
When you are unwell, you don’t treat the symptoms, you treat the cause.
What is the cause of abortion? Who are these people wanting/having abortions? Do they really actually want an abortion, or would they have a child if the circumstances were different, either residentially, financially, or relationally? Maybe if they weren’t abused or tricked, they would want to become a parent?
Maybe there are people who genuinely want an abortion. Perhaps the baby is the unplanned result of a sexual encounter, what life are they leading where they want this? Surely there is something below the surface? A pattern of abuse, sexual or otherwise, that lead them to this place? Surely if families weren’t broken, and if we were vulnerable with each other, if we had tighter communities, we wouldn’t be reaching this endpoint?
I’m a middle-aged white guy, so I’m sure I’ve missed a case for abortion, but I struggle to believe that anything more than a few people are genuinely out there “murdering babies” with murderous intent. I imagine that most, almost all, would be regretful and mournful but seemingly without choice and between a rock and a hard place.
Legislation, machine-learning, artificial intelligence, and even Ceasar (the government), don’t know how to deal with complex issues like abortion, because they are human issues, with complex routing, complex incentives, responsibilities, and longterm effects.
But in his grace and glory, Christ does, and his ambassadors can. Let us render unto God what is God’s.
This position will anger pro-abortion and anti-abortion people because it actually requires you to care, listen, and lean in. It might even require some of your money or your resources. People aren’t ready to take personal responsibility for it.
But as Samuel warned the Israelites:
“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers.
Kings can be real bitches.
“Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”
If I can end on a real note, I really struggle when Christians get so excited about governments, electing the right governments, having the right kings, and I’m like, you read 1 Samuel mate?