While I’m still on the topic, I want to point out another issue that I have with the Al Mohler article I referred to last time. At one point in his defense of the State Government, he makes the following statement:
As adults, parents have the right to refuse medical treatment for themselves. They do not have the right to refuse urgently needed medical treatments for their children.
In a way I see what he is saying. As a parent, I would never deny my daughter needed medical treatment. And I also do not think that it is right to deliberately let your child be sick as an act of faith. This is an abuse of faith, and I would say that it offends God. But that is not what was happening in the Daniel Hauser case. His mother was not refusing “urgently needed medical treatments” for him. His mother was following her convictions, and from what I gather from the story that they were also Daniel’s convictions, that natural remedies would be more effective in treating his cancer. And the two of them did what they had to do to get what they felt was the best medical treatment for him as it is actually illegal for a doctor’s office to treat cancer with herbal medicines and natural remedies in the United States.
In any case, while I agree with Dr. Mohler that it is wrong to deny a child urgently needed medical care, I disagree vehemently with his implication that it is perfectly okay for the government to step in and force it. The reason I disagree wholeheartedly with this stance is because the government, especially in the Daniel Hauser case, is not forcing them to treat Daniel, they are forcing them to treat him in a manner that has the potential to kill him. The government is looking out for it’s own (aka, the FDA and the medical establishment). But I go a step further.
I do not think that the government has any right whatsoever to dictate, force, coerce, whatever, a parent to raise their children in any particular manner, including how the parents choose to treat their children’s illnesses. There are perfectly natural remedies for just about every common disease, some of which are possibly even more effective than the manufactured remedies pushed on us by the conventional medical establishment.
There is a deeper issue, though. The case of Daniel Hauser, and Dr. Mohler’s blind acceptance of what the medical establishment claims as a cure, sets a precedent that may come back and bite us all in the butt. If the government can force a child to undergo chemotherapy, then it gives them the right to force children, and adults, to get things like flu shots or vaccinations against HPV. When it comes to the health of our children, the government should keep it’s hands off.
But what if they don’t? What if new laws are enacted that give the government the right to force-medicate the general populace? What do we do?
As I briefly mentioned before, an entire generation grew up being spoon fed the idea that the Bible speaks directly against defying and questioning those placed in authority over us, Romans 13 being the proof text. This is one way we can react. We can just shrug our shoulders, take our pills, and trust God. But I don’t think that this is what Jesus would do.
In John 19, we see Jesus before Pilate. They exchange words briefly, and Jesus does and says something interesting. Here is that exchange.
[Pilate] went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:9-11 TNIV)
Pilate is basically demanding that Jesus speak to him. Jesus remains silent. Because Jesus won’t answer him, Pilate issues what amounts to a threat. He says, in essence, “Don’t you realize that your life is in my hands?”
Jesus, not one for mincing words, looks at him and states, “God gave you that power. And anyway, since I’m innocent, doesn’t that make God guilty of sending an innocent man to the gallows?”
Jesus stands face to face with the powers that be and shoots off his mouth. Civil disobedience. Jesus was putting into practice some of the things he talked to His listeners about.
Just as the Daniel Hauser story sets a precedent for the government to tell us how to medically treat our children, so Jesus sets a precedent for us to oppose them, even though their authority is from God. When innocent people are threatened with punishment by the government for defending their beliefs it is okay to oppose those in authority over us. It is indeed true that Romans 13 states,
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-2 TNIV)
But this does not say that it is a sin to do so. What Paul is saying is that, if and when you do stand in opposition to the powers that be, you will face consequences, even if you are right and they are wrong.
When it comes to modern medicine, this is one of those areas where we may have to stand in disobedience from time to time. When a cardiologist tells you that there is no cure for high blood pressure other than his pills, it is your responsibility to expose his lie. When the State authorities force you to put your child’s life on the line to kill his cancer, you may just need to run. And when you do, remember Jesus who, because He broke the Law, went to the gallows as an example.