What America Must Learn from Alfie Evans: Freedom comes from God, not Government

Numbers 21:5 “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water and our soul detests this worthless bread.”

The tragic death of 2-year old Alfie Evans last week in a UK hospital drew national attention. He did not have to die, and even worse it was not agreed to by his parents. It was forced upon him by the secular state. Alfie was put to death by a decision made by the government.

In his April 26th article “The Sad Case of Alfie Evans: A Sordid Lesson in Government-Controlled Health Care”, Dr. Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies explained what happened: “Hospital physicians have determined that Alfie is in a ‘semi-vegetative state’. But hospital personnel have not given Alfie’s parents a diagnosis of exactly what’s wrong with their child. The parents wanted to move him to other hospitals, in hopes that he would have a chance of getting better care. British officials denied their requests. Hospital officials determined Alfie’s case was hopeless, and decided to remove his ventilator and let him die. His parents wanted to provide oxygen for their son on their own if the hospital would not. Hospital officials denied the parents the right to provide their own oxygen for their child.

British authorities determined that Alfie must remain in the hospital, and hospital officials determined to end medical treatment, remove the ventilator, and let him die. Tom and Kate then went to the British courts for relief, as well as the European Court of Human Rights. These panels denied the parents’ petitions.

Tom and Kate wanted to fly Alfie to Rome, Italy, where they could get a second medical opinion and try alternative treatments from Italian doctors that their hospital either would not or could not provide. A British court blocked that parental option, declaring that such a trip to the Rome would be ‘wrong and pointless.’

Finally, on appeal, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued its 4-page decision on April 20th, concluding: ‘The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests. That is the law in this country.’ With the court’s ruling, hospital officials withdrew life support April 23 (as well as food), and expected the child to die quickly. Their problem: Alfie did not die. The boy started breathing on his own, and, he did not die until 3 days later.”

In the UK, its citizens have voted in legislation called the ‘Children’s Act’ that gives the state the power to override parental wishes about their children’s welfare if it is believed to be in the ‘best interest’ of the child. In this case, the hospital claimed ending Alfie’s life was in his ‘best interest’. Oxford University ethics professor Julian Savulescu says that although there are a few conditions painful enough to warrant ending a child’s life, where the illness is terminal and the pain level is excruciating with no cure. This was not the case with Alfie Evans, who was not in any pain. He says the reason is the cost to keeping the child alive.

In the UK, giving up personal freedom for your health care to the secular state means trusting them with your life. If medical decisions for you and your children are placed in the hands of state and government bureaucrats, you can expect, as Dr. Moffitt says, “arrogant, heartless and incompetent decisions.”

But there is a problem with valuing freedom. It is hard – it requires personal responsibility and sacrifice. In the UK, they value security over freedom. They give up personal freedoms in exchange of being taken care of by their government. If we in America do not wake up, we will one day find ourselves at the same place.

If we study our bibles, we see it is the natural tendency of people to want to be taken care of, even at the expense of their freedom. In Leviticus 26:13, God reminded Israel that He freed them from Egyptian slavery, giving them their freedom: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.”

But as our verse this week explains, when they discovered freedom is hard work, they wanted to go back to being slaves, being taken care of by their cruel masters in Egypt! This freedom God offers every one of us, on which our nation was founded, comes at a price – we must place personal security behind personal accountability and, as our founders proclaimed, trust not in our government to take care of us but in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised us that in Him freedom has been won for us at the Cross.

Again, Dr. Moffit is right: “If you assume that the laws of the state are superior to the laws of God, then your God is the state. State power is absolute. Welcome to tyranny.” But America’s value system isn’t based on government. It can be found on our currency: “In God We Trust, Liberty, and one Nation under God.”

“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #294 – May 05, 2018

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