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It’s just other people’s money.

During her tenure as Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher once said, “[Socialists] always run out of other people’s money.”

I tend to think a lot of people attribute the sort of big government spending she referred to as characteristic of the left-wing in the U.S. So, here’s a fun little anecdote from the other side of the spectrum that works in much the same way.

The uber-conservative leadership in Farmers Branch, a suburb north of Dallas, in 2006 passed an ordinance making it illegal to rent to illegal immigrants. Apartment complexes are by law required to verify citizenship before renting to potential tenants. It’s kind of an old story, one I followed rather closely when I was a reporter because, well, who doesn’t love a story like that?

Anyway, it’s a federal issue, one cities would be ill-advised to get involved in. A U.S. district court already ruled that federal regulations on immigration can only be enforced by the federal government. And yet, the fairly conservative town council is still working to keep that ordinance, the one they crafted to exclude a particular group of people.

That, my friends, is what we call the nanny state. No, the city of Farmers Branch is not the state of Texas or U.S. government. BUT! The city in this ordinance attempted to interject itself into an exchange, a transaction between an apartment complex and a potential tenant. And we know that any time a government agency attempts to interject itself into a mutual agreement between two parties, it’s gonna cost somebody something.

In this case, it’s gonna cost the city of Farmers Branch more than $5 million in legal fees. Check it.

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And yet, we still have a choice

Last night, we met for our weekly Bible study. We’re going through Philippians right now. I love this book because it is just so encouraging. Paul spends the entire letter urging the church at Philippi further toward holiness. It is the ultimate call for the perseverance of the saints, both the church and Paul himself. And Philippians was a mature church. These folks weren’t babies in the faith. They were mature believers seeking to grow and encourage others in the pursuit of their faith.

We talked in our home group meeting last night about what it means to be anxious and what things actually bring anxiety into our lives. I said something about how I always experience anxiety over things that ultimately are frivolous. I think I was thinking about things like money, security, everyday life type stuff. Our friend Shelley got truthful with us. She said she has lately been stressed about the new health care bill but that she realized how frivolous it was in the grand scheme of things.

It reminded me of how amused I was by a few friends of friends who took on the attitude that Obama’s election or the passage of the health care bill meant that ultimate ruin and destruction for the nation. I remember telling my dad, look, Obama getting elected didn’t surprise God. And I told Brandon last week that, regardless of how we feel about the legislation, we know God puts authority over us for a reason.

So wouldn’t it be funny if he set the authority of this health care legislation over us because we aren’t taking care of the poor?

Sorry. I know that’s such a random idea it probably doesn’t fly, but I guess I’m just realizing again that nothing happens by accident and that none of us by worrying about anything can add a single hour to our lives.