God's Politics

God's Politics


Obscuring the Moral Issue (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

Over the weekend, conservative Republican leaders began to “spin” President Bush’s expected veto of children’s heath insurance (SCHIP). They said it would cover children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year. A Washington Post op-ed points out that “up to” is a slippery phrase. The Urban Institute estimates that 70 percent of children covered would come from families with incomes less than $41,300, and most of the rest from families earning less than $62,000 – not a luxurious income for a family of four in places with high costs of living. They said it would take children off private health insurance and move then to “government-run” health care. Wrong again. About two thirds of the approximately 10 million children who would be covered now have no health insurance whatsoever. And, the SCHIP program is a government-financed program, not a government-run program.

What the conservatives fail to answer, and what never will be answered on Fox News, is what do you do when the market has failed to provide health care for almost 50 million Americans, and those who oppose covering the kids now have literally no alternative plan in mind? Their alternative—leave millions of children without health insurance. That is immoral. Bill Gates, the richest and likely best capitalist in the world, has no trouble admitting the “market failures” in the world of health care, so why can’t the conservative Republicans? It is indeed about the children. My open letter to President Bush last Thursday still stands, and I ask once more: Mr. President, remember the poor children you used to talk about at the beginning of your administration. Let this bill pass or offer us a better plan.



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Payshun

posted October 1, 2007 at 3:26 pm


Amen.
p



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Jim you said
The Urban Institute estimates that 70 % of children covered would come from families with incomes less than $41,300, and most of the rest from families earning less than $62,000, not a luxurious income for a family of four in places with high costs of living.
Got a kick out of your title , obscuring the moral issue . Looks like a good bill to support , but the moral issue ? Now you are talking , and lets go a little deeper into this problem .
Half—actually, the number is probably closer to 40 percent—of all marriages end in divorce A third of children are born to mothers who are not married; the Centers for Disease Control released a report recently showing numbers now appear­ing to be creeping up to 37 percent and likely to reach 40 percent in the next four or five years.There has been a threefold increase in the pro­portion of children growing up in single-parent families over the last 40 years.
Married women with children suffer far less abuse than single mothers.
Married women with children are far less likely to suffer from violent crime in general or at the hands of intimate acquaintances or strangers.
Other social science surveys demonstrate that marriage is the safest place for children as well. For example:
Children of divorced or never-married mothers are six to 30 times more likely to suffer from serious child abuse than are children raised by both biological parents in marriage.2
Never-married mothers experience more domestic abuse. Among those who have ever married (those married, divorced, or separated), the annual rate of domestic violence is 12.9 per 1,000 mothers. Among mothers who have never married, the annual domestic violence rate is 26.3 per 1,000.
Thus, never-married mothers suffer domestic violence at more than twice the rate of mothers who have been or currently are married. Never-married mothers suffer more violent crime. The NCVS provides data on total violent crime against mothers with children under the age of 12. Total violent crime covers rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault committed against the mother by any party.
, Never-married mothers with children suffer from overall violent crime at an annual rate of 38.5 crimes per 1,000 mothers. Never-married mothers with children, by contrast, suffer 81.0 violent crimes per 1,000 mothers. Rates of victimization of children vary significantly by family structure, and the evidence shows that the married intact family is by far the safest place for children.
When an abused child dies (see Chart 4), the relationship between family structure and abuse gets stronger: It is lowest in intact always-married families, three times higher in the step family, nine times higher in the always-single-mother family, 18 times higher in the cohabiting-biological parents family, and 73 times higher in families where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend.
I have not even gotten into poverty , but the subject of Health care and the family seems to be more then just government solutions , or programs that do not take them into consideration .



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Kervin

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:50 pm


Moral to whom I may ask?
It is not ‘moral’ for an Asian Indian to eat beef, but it is certainly “moral” for a Texan.
The Stange title gives some insight into your “moral” convictions.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 1, 2007 at 5:09 pm


Mick — The tangent you’re trying to get us on obscures reality and is beside the point. It’s far more comprehensive than merely getting and staying married — there are issues such as finances and spiritual vision.



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squeaky

posted October 1, 2007 at 5:50 pm


Mick,
The issue at hand is health care for children. Perhaps it would be less of an issue if more people with children were married. But those problems will not be fixed overnight, and poor children need help now. They can’t wait for the heart of a nation to change.



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Wolverine

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:04 pm


The Washington Post aside, there’s nothing slippery about that “up to $83,000″. The bill that went up to the President did nothing about children in low-income families that are not covered by SCHIP currently, but did extend the coverage to children in families with incomes that are above average not just for the US as a whole but for every state in the union. In the words of Yogi Berra, You Can Look It Up:
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/medincsizeandstate.html
So what do we do about poor children that don’t get health coverage now? Easy: we find them and get them signed up for SCHIP — we don’t turn SCHIP into a middle-class entitlement.
Wolverine



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jesse

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:08 pm


I fail to see how either this point:
“They said it would cover children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year.”
or this point:
“They said it would take children off private health insurance and move then to “government-run” health care. Wrong again. About 2/3 of the approximately 10 million children who would be covered now have no health insurance whatsoever.”
are refuted by any facts Jim is presenting here. Jim acknowledges that many of the 1/3 who would be covered are already on private health insurance. He also acknowledges that people with incomes of up $83k would be covered by this plan.
He’s acknowledging the validity of the criticisms leveled against this bill. It seems like the appropriate response, then, would be to present a more modest bill that addresses these criticisms, right?



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jesse

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Jim,
I should add that I appreciate that you’re at least taking the time to acknowledge (and kind of address) the criticisms of this bill.



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Jeff

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:25 pm


Jesse said,
“He’s acknowledging the validity of the criticisms leveled against this bill. It seems like the appropriate response, then, would be to present a more modest bill that addresses these criticisms, right?”
Amen
That is exactly what the President did. For this he is judged by Jim Wallis as not caring for kids.
Jeff



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 1, 2007 at 7:05 pm


Mr. Wallis
You still do not address weather the Constitution allows the federaql government to get involved in welfare. Since it does not give that authority to the federal government, and per the 10th ammendment, the federal government is barred from paying for health care, why would you encourage the President to break the law?
Mr. Wallis, what about the role of the Church in this? It has been hsitorically sucessful in providing for the needs of the poor. Why woulod we subscribe to this aberation of government provided welfare, that has proven to be an abject failure (the proof is in the fact that poverty has gotten worse), when the church has proven over and over again that when it believes the Gospel, miricles happen, (consider Thomas Chalmers in Scotland, CH Spurgeon in London, and Abraham Kuyper in the Netherlands).
Paul C. Quillman



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marialynn

posted October 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm


Wow…10th ammendment bars the federal govt from paying for healthcare??? Guess the VA, medicare, & medicaid are all unconstitutional.
While I have never been to law school I did take 2 semesters of Con law as an undergrad.
Can you tell me what cases give precedent to this revelation???
and futhermore, how is our govt healthcare programs that we currently have not in violation of the constitution.
Maria



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cindy

posted October 1, 2007 at 8:39 pm


Mick: Are you saying that if all mothers were married–no consideration given to feelings or judgements of the appropriateness of the spouse, all the children’s problems would go away!
Do some of you think maybe the children should have just picked richer parents! We are living in the most affluent society ever, and we can’t provide for the children! Shame on us!



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 1, 2007 at 11:06 pm


Of course, you won’t see this on the pages of the Washington Post, which essentially acts as a clearinghouse for Democratic party press releases.
Yeah, right. I read the Post on a consistent basis and wouldn’t be surprised if your concerns were eventually addressed.



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Jim Searls

posted October 1, 2007 at 11:33 pm


All this talk about the pros or cons of the SCHIP program is mearly dancing around the real issue. The ENTIRE healthcare system in this country is broken and even though SCHIP may address some of the issues regarding children it is just another bandaid attempt to cover the gaping wounds of our healthcare system. The United States needs to develop a single payer national healthcare system that provides healthcare for all citizens on an equal access basis. The current system’s profit motive needs to be replaced by a system that serves all the people without lining the pockets of stock holders or high paid executives.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 2, 2007 at 12:28 am


Maria: Can you tell me what cases give precedent to this revelation???
Paul: I actually give very little creedence to precedent. In some cases it is good, and helpful, however giving case precedent much attenion seems, well, lazy, at best, on the part of the Supreme Court. THe lower courts have some measure of responsibility to adhere to Supreme Court rulings, but the Supreme Court should not be relying so much on precedent, and should be looking at the Constitution for their decisions.
Maria: and futhermore, how is our govt healthcare programs that we currently have not in violation of the constitution.
Paul: They do violate the Constitution. The Constitution is primarily a limiting document on the federal government It limits the powers that each of our 3 branches have. Also, it enumerates the specific powers that each branch actually has, so as not to overstep the other branches. The 10th ammendment is a final limiting on the whole federal government, so as to keep it from over stepping the individual states. Specifically, the 10th ammendment 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.” It’s pretty clear. And for the most part, the Constitution is not that difficult to understand. Bottom line, the federal government should not be involved in welfare. The Constitution prohibits it. Welfare is left to the states, not the federal government. And some states constitutions bar those states from getting involved in welfare. In those instances, it is then left to individual citizens. Before the court examines precedent, perhaps they could consult the Federalist Papers, which give a more inside view into what the framers intended, far more than precedent does.
Besides, if the government is involved, the church gets lazy, and ignores it’s calling. And the government iver steps its calling.
As to the VA, that is a military function, and part of the compensation for those who serve in the military.
Paul C. Quillman



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 2, 2007 at 12:44 am


They can’t wait for the heart of a nation to change.
Posted by: squeaky
Well that is a very vaild point . Thank you for considering mine ,



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 2, 2007 at 4:04 am


when the church has proven over and over again that when it believes the Gospel, miricles happen, (consider Thomas Chalmers in Scotland, CH Spurgeon in London, and Abraham Kuyper in the Netherlands).
All of which countries provide free healthcare for all children under 18 funded by the state. Presumably they worked out that the church is not the most reliable means of providing healthcare.



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2007 at 6:25 am


“Yeah, right. I read the Post on a consistent basis and wouldn’t be surprised if your concerns were eventually addressed.”
Not unless they run a guest op-ed, they won’t be. If Wallis is going to call out Fox News, I’m going to call out the Post.
“The current system’s profit motive needs to be replaced by a system that serves all the people without lining the pockets of stock holders or high paid executives.”
You could make this argument for socializing literally everything. If you assume that a profit motive somehow inherently leads to higher costs, then you should socialize everything, from groceries to entertainment. Let the government run everything, lest we line the pockets of stock holders (which is 60% of the nation, btw) or high paid executives.



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dave p.

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:48 am


How many of you folks posting responses on this thread DON’T have health insurance? How many of your children are not insured? I’m genuinely interested to hear about the profile of the people that have opinions on this issue…



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Josh

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:54 am


“If you assume that a profit motive somehow inherently leads to higher costs, then you should socialize everything, from groceries to entertainment.”
kevin s. – let’s not get too carried away and start comparing Doritos and “While You Were Sleeping” to health care. Your point is made…but we both know there’s a huge difference between making sure all children go to the doctor when they have the flu and making sure all children have an xbox.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:00 am


If Wallis is going to call out Fox News, I’m going to call out the Post.
No comparison. The Post will not knowingly lie to you, while Fox News will.



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Moderatelad

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:40 am


I wish that Wallis actually watched Fox News. I have watched CNN and MSNBC in the past and still catch Anderson Cooper once in a while. There is no show on their channel like Hannity and Combs. O’Rielly takes on people like Rosie and they have a great conversation – respectful I might say. Fox has talked about this topic on several of it’s programming and had both sides represented. Fox has Republican and Democratic contributors on the same show many time during the week.
Taking care of children in the US should be a priority. I would be willing to be more agreeable on this topic. But first we have to stop funding illegitimacy in the US. I will pay for one child out of wed-lock. But when she has a second – now she either outs the father and we get the money out of him or she makes the money she gets for one work for two. IF THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO SUPPORT A CHILD – THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE ONE.
I have three and my boss did not come to me and give me a raise when we were pregant with number 3. I had to agjust the budget to make what 4 were living on work for 5.
When we can straighten out this situation – I will be more than willing to talk about expanding coverage for children.
Blessings –
.



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Stacey

posted October 2, 2007 at 9:15 am


Thank you Jim Wallis for having the conviction of your faith to hold this President’s hypocrisy up to the light. I lament that many Christians hide behind him and allow him to blaspheme Christ through his pro-torture, pro-corporate and pro-wealth at the expense of others stance. His threat to veto this provision for the care of our children is no surprise and certainly should not go unexposed. Thank you for speaking the truth and asking the tough questions.



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squeaky

posted October 2, 2007 at 9:21 am


Paul Quillman
“Mr. Wallis, what about the role of the Church in this? It has been hsitorically sucessful in providing for the needs of the poor. Why woulod we subscribe to this aberation of government provided welfare…”
I suggest taking a look at how good a job the church is doing in this endeavor. If the church were doing her job, poverty wounldn’t even be an issue in this the most affluent nation in the world. The fact that it is is shameful, isn’t it? And it’s a stain on the church as it is her job to care for the poor. The government should have no reason to step in to start providing for the poor if the church were doing her job. Maybe what really needs to be happening is that the churches get together and resolve to end poverty and the misery that comes with it. We seem to spend a lot of time complaining that the government is taking our role away, and not nearly enough time taking back that role. What stops us?



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jerry

posted October 2, 2007 at 9:24 am


jim; using morals as a tool to promote your agenda seems like personal attack on those who do not agree with you. and looking to fox news for answers is a joke. the immoral part of this problem is that many folks don’t opt for insurance for their kids and many parents don’t take their kids for medical treatment. the income levels cited for poor are rising to a point of being immoral. but a lot of the problem lies in the choices that parents make in using their income. the heart of america that needs to change has to do with parenting, spirituality, and personal responsibility. as stated above, the program is available but many do not sign up for it. maybe you should mobilize your ecumenical crowd and start a campaign to sign up all eligible children who are eligible for schip. please stop obsessing over bush’s administration, stop looking for the government to solve everyones problems and start looking at the reality of human behavior. no matter what the gov’t does there will be poor people, healthcare problems, wars, etc. etc. etc. remember, jim, there is an evil one lurking around.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 2, 2007 at 9:31 am


Cushy: All of which countries provide free healthcare for all children under 18 funded by the state. Presumably they worked out that the church is not the most reliable means of providing healthcare.
Paul: They did not work that out. A couple of things did happen. One was the prevasive humanism that swept Europe around the turn of the century, in the form of communism, and eugenicism. Add to that two devistating world wars, and any society would be demoralized. Putting more regerssive tax policies on an already devistated culture does not rebuild it. It is a kind of slow death, which is increasing in speed and scope.
Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor, and the church is made up of individual Christians. It is the responsibility of you and I to are for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us, and that is a hidious sin.
Paul C. Quillman



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:05 am


How many of you folks posting responses on this thread DON’T have health insurance?
Well I don’t, but then I’m from the UK. I am biased because I used to work for the NHS, but I really have a complete comprehension failure that any country as rich as the US can fail to provide healthcare for all its citizens.



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jerry

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:06 am


i agreed with squeaky but got moderated out. what have i said now that jim doesn’t like?



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:18 am


A couple of things did happen. One was the prevasive humanism that swept Europe around the turn of the century, in the form of communism, and eugenicism. Add to that two devistating world wars, and any society would be demoralized.
And do you know how and why that happened? The church, whether Catholic or Protestant, completely lost its moral authority because it had and sought temporal, political authority but did not use it to serve the people. Gradually, especially considering the religious wars that took place in the 17th and 18th centuries among the nobility and with the rise of the mercantile class, the people said, “A pox on all your houses!” and abandoned the church in droves.
Thus, saying that the church should take care of the sick just doesn’t go far enough — it ought to encourage government “[t]o act justly [and] love mercy” (Micah 6:8). You see, the issue isn’t simply “diaconal” — we need to work toward a society where the poor can make their own way, and I see nothing in the Scripture that contradicts that. As someone said aptly on another thread, we shouldn’t just pull people out of the river; we need to find out what or who is throwing them in from the outset.



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Peter

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:28 am


Paul, you write:
“Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor… It is the responsibility of you and I to care for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us…”
I want to ask you, what are you doing to provide health care for the poor that is more efffective than the government addressing this problem? This is not a rhetorical question, nor a personal attack. You said you (and your church) can do a better job, and I want to hear how you do it. This SCHIP issue affects millions of children in a very concrete way, and we can’t be cavalier about rejecting it just because it doesn’t fit our religious or political theories.



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:38 am


Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor, and the church is made up of individual Christians. It is the responsibility of you and I to are for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us, and that is a hidious sin.
My opinion is that healthcare is a right. Relying on churches for inconsistent and arbitary charity strikes me as being a particularly inefficient way of providing care for the poor (or anyone). I’m from the UK and there is an intense sense of ownership of the NHS among the people. It’s our system, we pay for it and it’s our responsibility to vote in a government that will take care of it. And if the government doesn’t we change them. That’s not being flippant – healthcare is a huge political and election issue in the UK.



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jesse

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:41 am


Squeaky,
I agree with you that the church has not always done a good job with helping the poor. But as far as “ending poverty” goes…if we know that things like illegitimacy and dropping out of high school are strongly related to poverty, how can the church 1) end illegitimacy; or 2) end high school drop-outs? If you believe in the concept of sin, too, you must also acknowledge that laziness is sometimes an issue. How does the church make people work?
For me to be “ashamed” that there is poverty in the US would mean that I must feel ashamed that there is sin in the world. (It would also mean that everyone must feel ashamed, for there is poverty in every country).
Your thoughts?



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Wolverine

posted October 2, 2007 at 11:55 am


Rick,
Okay, we get the idea that you have no respect whatsoever for Fox News. I think you’re being quite unfair, but that’s your decision and we can work around it.
How about Sebastian Mallaby’s Washington Post column, which concedes that families with an income as high as $83,000 will be eligible for the proposed SCHIP? Or the US Census, which shows that $83,000 is higher than the median income for any US state?
Do you trust the Washington Post or the US Census? Or are they just branches of the vast right-wing Fox News media conspiracy?
Assuming they aren’t, what do you make of the fact that, while most SCHIP recipients will be from low-income families, families with above-average incomes will be eligible?
While you think that through, consider the following: the US is a pretty wealthy nation; anyone in the US with an income even close to average would be considered wealthy in many parts of the world. From the perspective of a supposedly global church that should be above national interests is it really so critical that the children of wealthy Americans have access to government-provided health care?
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm


Okay, we get the idea that you have no respect whatsoever for Fox News. I think you’re being quite unfair, but that’s your decision and we can work around it.
Sorry, but I’m not — Fox News has a well-deserved reputation for putting outright falsehoods in its news coverage.
How about Sebastian Mallaby’s Washington Post column…
That’s still an opinion that might or might not be valid.
From the perspective of a supposedly global church that should be above national interests is it really so critical that the children of wealthy Americans have access to government-provided health care?
Unfair question — and you know it.



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm


From the perspective of a supposedly global church that should be above national interests is it really so critical that the children of wealthy Americans have access to government-provided health care?
Well I’m not in any church, global or otherwise, and it’s no skin off my nose what healthcare the US provides. However, faced with the fact that the US government is even discussing whether it should guarantee (by whatever means) healthcare to all its childre, I can only regard the country with bemusement and a certain amount of scorn.



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Wolverine

posted October 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm


Rick,
All questions still stand. I know cheap shots at the Post are popular among conservatives, but I know the Post as a reasonably reliable paper that strives to be fair even if I disagree with them from time to time. I doubt they would run Mr. Mallaby’s column if he were the sort to make important factual errors. If you have some other source that says the family income cutoff would be substantially lower I’m open to that but until I have something reliable that says different I have to figure that the $83,000 is the correct one.
As for the question about the global perspective, how is that an unfair question? The church is global, isn’t it? The US is a wealthy nation isn’t it? So are you saying it’s unfair to ask what the church’s priorities ought to be?
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted October 2, 2007 at 1:12 pm


John said:
Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor, and the church is made up of individual Christians. It is the responsibility of you and I to are for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us, and that is a hidious sin.
Me:
I could be nice about this but I am not. That’s just crap. Our ability to care for the poor is not hindered by the government taking some of that. We can and do care for the poor when it is often convenient for us. As a matter of fact the poor will always be w/ us. Jesus said that and he meant it. healthcare is just one aspect of caring for the poor, there is also helping addicts (another healthcare issue,) moving them into your home and providing job training… Your right we should take care of the poor but we can do that through the government and have it be in our name. As a matter of fact that’s not sinful. It’s holy. It says in a concrete way w/o any religion, color or class difference that we care for our fellow man. God holds all people to that most basic standard and it’s shame that you are so stuck on the church doing all of it when it really is about all of us. Study the parable of the good samaritan and it will show you what I am telling you.
p



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Payshun

posted October 2, 2007 at 1:15 pm


Oh and one more thing the government is us. Our tax dollars go to that so that means that we are doing the work God has ordained. It may come through someone else but it also comes from our work as some of us must work to live.
p



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 1:43 pm


As for the question about the global perspective, how is that an unfair question? The church is global, isn’t it? The US is a wealthy nation isn’t it? So are you saying it’s unfair to ask what the church’s priorities ought to be?
It was unfair in the way you asked it — you buried the real issue by mentioning an income dollar amount. Even many of the “rich” don’t think of themselves as such and thus want some of what they think of as an “entitlement,” in part because they overspend on themselves. Not only that, but there’s also a deep resentment of the poor because they are poor — perhaps the result of some guilt because they don’t want to consider any responsibility of their own for that.
BTW, when Jesus said “The poor will always be with you,” He also said, in effect, “But you will not always have Me.” He was thus saying, “You can help them anytime you want,” not that we shouldn’t do anything the change their state.



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Tim Temple

posted October 2, 2007 at 2:19 pm


Charity to the poor has always been a religious moral duty. The state should get out of the business on the basis of “separation of religion from government.” Especially since it is the main moral platform of the religious left.
Jim Wallis is sounding more statist than Christian.



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steve

posted October 2, 2007 at 2:20 pm


“Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor… It is the responsibility of you and I to care for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us…”
A central theme (or disagreement) in so many threads is the proper role of Christians with respect to government.
Some folks consistently argue that the Church’s role should be limited to charity, with no attempt to change the underlying institutions.
I submit that that this same reasoning would leave Saddam Hussein in power and merely attempt to relieve the suffering of his victims, or leave Khartoum to do its worst and just try to provide charity to the refugees.
NO.
It is proper for Christians to be involved in holding governments (ours and others around the world) accountable to morality.
[Whose morality? Our morality. Christian morality. It’s the only one we can use. To avoid making judgements is to get stuck in a quagmire of relativism that will paralize us.]
It’s a long way from trying to stop genocide in Sudan to supporting children’s health care in the U.S. Or is it? At a deeper level the Domination System working in both governments has the same goal — protection of unbounded priviledge for a few, regardless of the cost in human suffering. Jesus was in the business of opposing this system (to the “point of shedding blood”) and His followers ought to be also.



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letjusticerolldown

posted October 2, 2007 at 2:31 pm


Since the “up to $83000″ issue and “moving insured persons onto public programs” are the only issues; since the President wants to increase the numbers of persons covered by SCHIP; since the Democrats want to keep the money on kid coverage (versus adult coverage); what do we have to worry about. Our diligent officials in Washington will work out a deal. Won’t they??
Or are these not the real issues??
Or is the bill going up already as good a compromise as we can expect from Washington–which, Jim, is where you seem to me to be coming out on the issue. So you make the political calculation that this is the best we can get so lets choose this strategy. Given the support of persons like Charles Grassley (Rep. IA) I agree.
But I do not find it helpful to advance that political strategy and calculation by arguing that those who have not made that conclusion are obscuring the moral issues or lost their moral base. Is not this kind of application of moral/religious language to advance/oppose particular policy prescriptions and demonize those in opposition similar to that which you have called on the ‘Religious Right’ not to do???
My Insurance Status: Income $30,000; Self and children insured through BlueCross paid out-of-pocket. We could utilize public program in Minnesota but do not. FYI Minnesota uses all SCHIP dollars for adults.



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2007 at 3:04 pm


“How many of you folks posting responses on this thread DON’T have health insurance? How many of your children are not insured? I’m genuinely interested to hear about the profile of the people that have opinions on this issue…”
I went without it for a long time, but I have it now through work.
“Your point is made…but we both know there’s a huge difference between making sure all children go to the doctor when they have the flu and making sure all children have an xbox.”
Sure, and I’d rather children have both. But the profit incentive is not ruining those industries. People aren’t starving because grocery stores make a profit. Rather, the profit allows grocery stores to bring food to more communities. The point is that the argument for nationalized health care must go beyond simply a fear of Wall St.
“Let’s stick to the topic, please, and have some consideration for others who would like an intelligent discussion.”
Dude, did you read your own post?
“If the church were doing her job, poverty wounldn’t even be an issue in this the most affluent nation in the world.”
I can’t agree with this. Many Americans have no interest in the church, tything, serving the poor, or fulfilling any of God’s requirements.



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Mark Pilkinton

posted October 2, 2007 at 3:17 pm


As a Christian I associate with children the verse “whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Therefore I was quite surprised at the contempt President Bush had for the SCHIP bill. We can’t be so naïve as to not question legislation wrapped in the auspice of children, nor can we be so cynical that this legislation should be dismissed out of hand because using the government to care for children is philosophically abhorrent.
There is a risk/benefit assessment to make, pro and con for this particular SCHIP bill. Passing it does carry the risk of abuse that every family making $83,000 or less will seek to tag their children onto the government dole. However, if it is passed families will benefit and children will be better protected by assured healthcare, not to mention the mental benefit to parents. On the other had, seeking a modest proposal will certainly limit the risk of abuse but will also limit the chance of meeting a real need in a family’s life. We are in a system of spiraling medical cost, where medical debt is responsible for 50% of bankruptcies. The toll this can have on families can be destructive.
I want to be part of a country that recognizes the system can be abused but is willing to take that risk in order to meet the healthcare needs of children. I think we will be pleasantly surprised that families aren’t as corrupt and entitled as we fear when it comes to seeking SCHIP coverage.



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Russell

posted October 2, 2007 at 3:42 pm


If a family is making $62,000 then they should not be relying on the government to pay for their healthcare. Where do we draw the line between the government helping those in need and people just living off the government? We have to encourage personal responsibility instead of relying on the government. We have seen how the government handles things and they do not need any more responsibility in my opinion. Government dependency goe against what this country is all about.



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squeaky

posted October 2, 2007 at 4:49 pm


Jesse,
You raise a question of cause and effect.
Do illigitimacy and dropping out of school cause poverty, or does poverty cause illigitimacy and school dropouts? I don’t think it is either or, but more of a complex feedback loop. So the question becomes do you address the illigitimacy and school drop out rate, or do you address poverty? I think a far more reasonable response would be to address both poverty and its effects/causes.
How does the church (or government) do such a thing? I think we can all agree that just throwing money at the situation won’t work. Any program, whether it be church sponsored or government sponsored needs to use its resources wisely in ways that produce positive results.
It is also important that the dignity of the individual receiving the assistance must be preserved/promoted. One reason poverty, illigitimacy, and high school drop-outs persist is because many people in those circumstances see themselves as worthless. Jesus didn’t give handouts, He treated the poor as people of worth. Just giving handouts doesn’t do much to address a person’s sense of self-worth. but a program that helps someone gain the skills to move forward in their lives does.
I can give an example of what is happening in a church I once attended. The pastor saw the church’s role in the community as one that brings Jesus into that community, not only through witnessing to people, but through being a positive influence in the community. This vision has manifested in the organization of block parties, community rummage sales, and most recently, a community youth center. In the latter example, the church partnered with community leadership to develop this youth center which will serve as a place for middle school kids to go after school for games or tutoring. Kids who might otherwise hang out on the street will have a positive place to go. When kids have positive things to do, they are less likely to fall in with the wrong crowd and less likely to drop out. Creating centers like this is just one way to address poverty, illigitimacy, and the drop out rate. It is a means of getting kids into places where they are valued and accepted.
As to the question of laziness–I’m sure it is true there are people who just live off the government, but you must be very careful not to paint all poor people with that brush. But looking at that issue–why would someone be more likely to live off welfare than get a real job? One reason is the minimum wage job pays less than welfare, and thus there is no incentive–No incentive in some cases because of laziness, but in others because they simply can’t afford the low-paying job (they make more on welfare). So what can the church do about this? Perhaps sponsor some job training activities free of charge. Perhaps gather donations of business suits and clothes for people to be able to have something to wear to a job interview or a job. Perhaps work to lobby for an increase in the minimum wage. Perhaps develop a work program of their own–maybe making and selling a good or service to the community.
Of course we should be ashamed of sin. If we are not ashamed of it, we won’t see our contribution to the sin of the world, we won’t see need for repentence or Christ’s redemption, we won’t understand the purpose of the cross, we won’t see why we should change or take on issues such as poverty. Shame is the beginning of righteousness and the beginning of change and repentance.



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Joekc

posted October 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm


Once, a man spoke to a crowd on a hillside. The day wore on, and some of the man’s friends suggested that the crowd be summarily dismissed, so they could go and get some food, before they began to grow faint. The man looked at them, and said: “You feed them.”
I would submit that, if there are children without health care, it is, to this day, the primary responsibility of the friends of “that man” to see to it that the problem is fixed. It was not the Roman government’s responsibility on that day with hungry crowd on the hillside, and it is not the government’s responsibility now. It is yours. It is mine. And it is ours alone.
Time to stop the buck-passing.



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squeaky

posted October 2, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Russell,
All in context. A family of 4 making 62K probably is in poverty if they live, say, in San Diego. If they live in a small town in MN, they are doing quite well. Come to think of it, if I had a family of 4 to support, I couldn’t do that on my current income here in IN. If I lived as a single person on my current income in New York City, I wouldn’t make it from month to month even as a single person.



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Tim Stidham

posted October 2, 2007 at 5:12 pm


Jim,
I signed your email and sent it to the president. At the time, I had no idea that 1/3 of the people covered already had insurance, nor was I aware that $83,000 families would be covered. I have to say that this is a bit of a setback for me. I might be less likely to trust your next call to action. Framers of this bill have left too many holes for people to legitimately criticise.
The moral issue is crucial and that’s why i supported the bill. However, the moral issue has not been skewed by conservative spin, but by a sloppy bill. A viable alternative should be the answer, but it will be tough to garner the support. The President isn’t obligated to provide an alternative. His job isn’t to write laws. Congress should make quick adjustments, which deal with these serious concerns and get a bill back on his desk, before the children lose out from a bad bill.
Please provide more details next time before inviting me to sign on based on rhetoric.
Dr. Timothy Stidham
Dyer, IN



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jesse

posted October 2, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Squeaky,
I agree that there is a reciprocal relationship between poverty and illegitimacy and dropout. And I agree with many of the suggestions you give for ways in which the church can be involved in providing help (though I should note that raising the minimum wage would have little if any impact on lowering poverty…in fact, it could have the opposite effect for different reasons).
The problem I see with much of this talk of “ending poverty” is that it sees poor people as objects that can just be fixed (usually by throwing money at them). Poverty is a much more dynamic problem, and the Bible even acknowledges this (see Proverbs).
The truth is that the War on Poverty came and went and had no net effect on reducing poverty. There is strong evidence indicating that it actually increased poverty by rewarding laziness and illegitimacy. Clinton and other Democrats eventually came to this realization when they voted for welfare reform.
Sojo, Wallis and some of the current Democratic candidates (e.g., Edwards) pretend as if the War on Poverty never happened. It appears as if they have a high view of the poor, but I think the opposite. They view the poor as unwilling automatons who have no control over their destiny. All you need to do is just fix them to get them out of their poverty. It’s not that simple because people are not that simple.
I’m for improving education (as is everyone). I’m for job training, providing mentors, etc. (as is everyone). What else can be done? Having a strong economy has been strongly linked to reducing poverty, so if we want to reduce poverty we need to make sure our economy is growing.
But I’ve yet to see one social program proposed that has been shown to have any meaningful effect on poverty rates. Have you?



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squeaky

posted October 2, 2007 at 6:33 pm


“Many Americans have no interest in the church, tything, serving the poor, or fulfilling any of God’s requirements. ”
I’m not talking about those Americans. I’m talking about the Church. What do they have to do with whether or not the church is doing her job?



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squeaky

posted October 2, 2007 at 6:48 pm


Jesse,
Short response before I go home:
The strong economy in lieu of social programs seems to many to be the answer to poverty. I wonder though, how much we are trading one answer for another. Instead of turning to government to solve the issue of poverty, we are turning to the economy. In both cases, we are letting the Church off the hook, are we not? If this is the Church’s job, as many against government social programs would say, then what should the church be doing? and what if the economy tanks? Surely the Church can offer a more solid solution than the economy can.
You raised many objections to the historical response to poverty, but I addressed those in my previous post (no hand outs, elevate the person’s dignity). I’d invite you to reread that, as those two points are essential for any attempt at relieving poverty to be successful.
Your assessment of Edwards is not at all how he views the poor, by the way. He sees them as hard working people who are struggling to make it in a system that does not favor them. He sees an uneven playing ground, and certainly that is another issue that needs to be addressed. It is far easier to get somewhere in life when your starting point is one of affluence and a strong family than it is when it is of poverty and a broken home. Someone once said of the poor “let them pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” to which came the response “providing they HAVE bootstraps!”



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N.M. Rod

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:19 pm


A strong economy, with good-paying jobs that offer benefits like health insurance, was something that worked well before globalisation.
To compete, companies are moving jobs to countries where it costs them less. That can be in a location that offers its cheap workers no benefits at all or in a location where there is an alternative to an insurance company-based system. The result is the same for American families, though – insurance that takes more from family income as a percentage, and every single day, thousands more without health insurance.
We cannot say that a system that is shrinking in the number of people covered is succeeding.
The strategy for those whom for either ideological reasons or personal financial ones do not want to see an alternative system, is to scare those who still have health insurance while ignoring the fast-growing minority (>20%) who have none and postpone a reckoning as long as possible.
That somehow the billions needed to finance health care for a whole nation can somehow be done by church collection plate donations is either naive to absurdity, disqualifying such a proponent from contributing to serious discussions, or completely cynical manipulation in service of uncompassionate conservatism – that is, protecting the status quo beneficiaries.
Market failures are a well-known phenomenon. As an understandable example, take the Monopoly board game. The failure of the market is when one person ends up owning everything and drives opponents into bankruptcy. This is why anti-trust laws are needed and why other laws constrain the ability to turn wealth into power without limit.
Greed is not a viable basis for a humane existence in which sharing takes place.
Some people believe that any form of sharing that’s coerced is no different than big-C Communism.
Such purists are dreaming of a world that never was and never will be.
There are costs and benefits to any arrangement. Under some circumstances, sharing health care costs will be a minor burden compared to the benefits.
The problem we have right now is that a family premium of $1500 per month covers the family only as long as the breadwinner is working at a job that can pay that. If the job is lost, as soon as the premium payment stops, all health care coverage that’s not bankrupting is lost, regardless of how many tens of thousands that family has paid in.
Any severe emergency results is bankruptcy and poverty regardless of the savings of a lifetime.
I am skeptical as to how the family making $30,000 affords the private insurance that’s about half the gross income and is paid for privately, after taxation. I don’t understand how there can be much left for rent, food and clothing, let alone transportation.
What I seem to detect is the Calvinist, seriously judgmental attitude that regards misfortune as the just desserts for an immoral life. That sure is self-serving for the well-off, they can decline to love their neighbor, not be their brother’s keeper – let alone loving their enemy (which I understand to conservative theologians is completely beyond the pale.)
It’s no crime to be poor, but I guess to some Victorian-era thinkers it might as well be.



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neuro_nurse

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:29 pm


FWIW:
“Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2288
“The right to health means that governments must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible. Such conditions range from ensuring availability of health services, healthy and safe working conditions, adequate housing and nutritious food.” World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs323/en/
My 2 cents: health care isn’t available to those who can’t afford it.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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jesse

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:11 pm


Squeaky,
In your original post, you remarked that it was a shame that poverty is even an issue in our country. I said that the assumptions behind this statement and others like it (often made by Edwards, Wallis et al.) is that a) sin can be eradicated; b) poor people can be “fixed”; and c) the War on Poverty (a miserable failure) never happened.
I agreed with you that the church should be doing things to help reduce poverty. Mentoring, discipleship, urban ministry, job training, and parenting classes are definitely a start. None of these things, however, can reduce poverty like having a job.



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Payshun

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:22 pm


add on to Jesse’s comment,
well a job that you can live by.
p



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:28 pm


Squeakysaid
Do illigitimacy and dropping out of school cause poverty, or does poverty cause illigitimacy and school dropouts? I don’t think it is either or, but more of a complex feedback loop
Well it is complicated I agree . But there is astatistical association that shows both are linked .
Squeaky why is it that you feel that the emphasis on family and the importance to
put on it lack substance ? Its logical, Bibical and spirtual truth , Christ talked about it being important , and attacked divorce . I don’t think he did so to point fingers at us , I think He stood up for marriage because its the way we were designed , it was an ingredient to people living better lives .
A liberal writer wrote a very good essay ” Dan Quayle” was right , if you are interested I can try and dig it up on the web .
The same message , but from a liberal dialogue . When conservatives say it I guess it sounds offensive ?
In our denomination we always have a debate every few years because Pastors can not be remarried , and I think divorced . And In our own church Deacons can not be re married , but the Trustees can . These days it can be hard to find a qualified Deacon !So it effects the requirement of Church leadership . many people make great logical points , so a Pastor can cheat on wife and still be Pastor , is it not better to divorce her . Etc etc , people make excuses for divores with strawman arguements like abuse and such .
Christ was NOT
talking to that , and we all down deep know it .
We are selfish , are we not . Commitment to marriage and the kids we bring into the world takes sacrifice , dedicatiion , and sometimes the little jerks and our spouses are just plain intolerable. It takes a cultural norm to support that , western civilization had that cultural belief . Liberals do not support it in great numbers I notice , interestingly in their personal lives they often do . I often wonder why they think the happiness and positive results from their own lives are not reasons to want that for others ?
The Promise Keepers addressed that , and received critisicm from the left for doing so , and within the Conservative Christian community because they reached out to all denominations and were seen as compromising the truth . We seem to be able to make so many excuses why we can turn the other way .
I am divorced and always support our strict qualifications at our church . The fewer sexual partners our kids have the better , don’t all of us agree on that ?
I even make excuses of bringing children into the world without a stable family structre . I can play blame too . But man I wish I was more in tuned to that stuff , or at least having more sexual partners that were .
I see Bibical standards a way
to promote abundent Christian lives . I don’t see it as a punishment or a condemnation , I see it as the Lord’s planfor us being better equiped to handle what comes our way in forms of troubles , including poverty if that happens .
During the depression I assume we saw drop out rates increase ,crime increase , etc . So poverty has something to do with it sure . Temptaion to rationalize and steal is greater when you are without basics .
But from what I have read it appears many kids went to work to help support their families also . They were not abandoned by their families to the degrees we do now , and in those times poor made many of our poor appear middle class.
You often hear condemnation of that generation for some of their bigoted views , true is a more enlightened view now I agree . But did we have to loose the main aspect of those generations , what because of the 60s enlightened views on other subjects . After all we were kids , just perhaps we were wrong on some of the issues ? Like family commitment .



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:33 pm


Hey squeak that book above was me .
And P , you said you that when conservatives have power you can tell by the way it effects the poor . Could you elaborate a little if you can , were you generalizing or was their certain legislation you had in mind ? I recall the Republicans in the 90s getting into a fight with democrats about the rate of increase of programs , was that what you were talking to .
Was it proposed legislation that never materialized because of the GOP , or was their specfic quash jobs they did to stop help .



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:11 pm


The truth is that the War on Poverty came and went and had no net effect on reducing poverty. There is strong evidence indicating that it actually increased poverty by rewarding laziness and illegitimacy. Clinton and other Democrats eventually came to this realization when they voted for welfare reform.
That is categorically false. In fact, part of the “War on Poverty” was giving job-training and grants for college to those with financial issues, and you actually had an entire class of people who have made it because of — horrors! — government programs. But if this were the case, then why were such programs that worked actually cut under Reagan? The truth is, people who benefited from these programs generally don’t vote conservative.
Mentoring, discipleship, urban ministry, job training, and parenting classes are definitely a start. None of these things, however, can reduce poverty like having a job.
My church does all these things. But the jobs have to come to that neighborhood, and that isn’t happening right now.



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Rick Nowlin: Thus, saying that the church should take care of the sick just doesn’t go far enough — it ought to encourage government “[t]o act justly [and] love mercy” (Micah 6:8). You see, the ; issue isn’t simply “diaconal”
Paul:
Poverty is a spiritual issue, as well as a physical one. To deal with the physical, without dealing with the spiritual issues is to leave the poor in poverty. Welfare has created a cycle of dependance that is terribly difficult to get out of, if someone even wants to get out of it.
Rick Nowlin: — we need to work toward a society where the poor can make their own way, and I see nothing in the Scripture that contradicts that.
Paul: At face value, I agree with this statement. Let me add that there are things that the civil magistrate can do, and should do. There are also things that the church can and should do. The Constitution prohibits the state from handing out welfare, and if you read the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, you will find that the framers of the Constitution never intendedfor the state to handle welfare. They did, however, recognize that the church had the responsibility to extend the Gospel, by caring for the poor.
Rick Nowlin: As someone said aptly on another thread, we shouldn’t just pull people out of the river; we need to find out what or who is throwing them in from the outset.
Paul: The blame rests in the church failing to believe the Gospel. And the state could not let the poor go uncared for. The church can’t take back its role overnight, but it can start.
Peter: I want to ask you, what are you doing to provide health care for the poor that is more efffective than the government addressing this problem? This is not a rhetorical question, nor a personal attack. You said you (and your church) can do a better job, and I want to hear how you do it.
Paul:
I take my kids to a childrens clinics that was started bny a doctor and one of the pastors at my church. They offer income based services, and accept donations to cover the costs. They also see children that do have insurance, that also helps cover costs. I own a house cleaning business, and am just recently able to afford insurance for my kids. I do not have any for my wife or myself, due to the opressive tax policies, and overburdening state regulations I am required to submit to. I also tell everyone I know about the clinic I take my kids to. AIt’s not much, but it is what I can do now. I am one person. I wonder what the Body of Christ can do, if we all do what we can?
This SCHIP issue affects millions of children in a very concrete way, and we can’t be cavalier about rejecting it just because it doesn’t fit our religious or political theories.
Posted by:
My opinion is that healthcare is a right. Relying on churches for inconsistent and arbitary charity strikes me as being a particularly inefficient way of providing care for the poor (or anyone). I’m from the UK and there is an intense sense of ownership of the NHS among the people. It’s our system, we pay for it and it’s our responsibility to vote in a government that will take care of it. And if the government doesn’t we change them. That’s not being flippant – healthcare is a huge political and election issue in the UK.
Posted by: Cushy Butterfield
John said:
Health care is not a right, but it is the responsibility of the Church to care for the poor, and the church is made up of individual Christians. It is the responsibility of you and I to are for the poor. Letting the government do it takes the responsibility away from us, and that is a hidious sin.
Me:
I could be nice about this but I am not. That’s just crap. Our ability to care for the poor is not hindered by the government taking some of that. We can and do care for the poor when it is often convenient for us. As a matter of fact the poor will always be w/ us. Jesus said that and he meant it. healthcare is just one aspect of caring for the poor, there is also helping addicts (another healthcare issue,) moving them into your home and providing job training… Your right we should take care of the poor but we can do that through the government and have it be in our name. As a matter of fact that’s not sinful. It’s holy. It says in a concrete way w/o any religion, color or class difference that we care for our fellow man. God holds all people to that most basic standard and it’s shame that you are so stuck on the church doing all of it when it really is about all of us. Study the parable of the good samaritan and it will show you what I am telling you.
p
Posted by: Payshun | October 2, 2007 1:12 PM
Oh and one more thing the government is us. Our tax dollars go to that so that means that we are doing the work God has ordained. It may come through someone else but it also comes from our work as some of us must work to live.
p
Posted by: Payshun |



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2007 at 11:21 pm


Rick Nowlin: Thus, saying that the church should take care of the sick just doesn’t go far enough — it ought to encourage government “[t]o act justly [and] love mercy” (Micah 6:8). You see, the ; issue isn’t simply “diaconal”
Paul:
Poverty is a spiritual issue, as well as a physical one. To deal with the physical, without dealing with the spiritual issues is to leave the poor in poverty. Welfare has created a cycle of dependance that is terribly difficult to get out of, if someone even wants to get out of it.
Rick Nowlin: — we need to work toward a society where the poor can make their own way, and I see nothing in the Scripture that contradicts that.
Paul: At face value, I agree with this statement. Let me add that there are things that the civil magistrate can do, and should do. There are also things that the church can and should do. The Constitution prohibits the state from handing out welfare, and if you read the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, you will find that the framers of the Constitution never intendedfor the state to handle welfare. They did, however, recognize that the church had the responsibility to extend the Gospel, by caring for the poor.
Rick Nowlin: As someone said aptly on another thread, we shouldn’t just pull people out of the river; we need to find out what or who is throwing them in from the outset.
Paul: The blame rests in the church failing to believe the Gospel. And the state could not let the poor go uncared for. The church can’t take back its role overnight, but it can start.
Peter: I want to ask you, what are you doing to provide health care for the poor that is more efffective than the government addressing this problem? This is not a rhetorical question, nor a personal attack. You said you (and your church) can do a better job, and I want to hear how you do it.
Paul:
I take my kids to a childrens clinics that was started bny a doctor and one of the pastors at my church. They offer income based services, and accept donations to cover the costs. They also see children that do have insurance, that also helps cover costs. Also, many of the churches in the area support the clinic. I own a house cleaning business, and am just recently able to afford insurance for my kids. I do not have any for my wife or myself, due to the opressive tax policies, and overburdening state regulations I am required to submit to. I also tell everyone I know about the clinic I take my kids to. AIt’s not much, but it is what I can do now. I am one person. I wonder what the Body of Christ can do, if we all do what we can?
Peter: This SCHIP issue affects millions of children in a very concrete way, and we can’t be cavalier about rejecting it just because it doesn’t fit our religious or political theories.
Paul: Let me clear something up on this SCHIP bill. This bill does NOT provide health care for anyone. Hospitals do that. All this does is shift the burden of payment from patients to taxpayers. ER’s are required to provide care regardless of the ability of the patient to pay. Most larger hospital systems will eventually settle the accounts for far less than they originally charge. My sister in law was able to pay off a large medical bill after the hospital offered a settlement far less than what she owed, and it never hit her credit report.
The only thing this SCHIP does is shift payment burden, and raise our already too high taxes. That takes more food off of my table, and makes it that much harder to live generously.
Cushy:
My opinion is that healthcare is a right.
Paul:
Thats fine, but where in the Constitution do you find a basis for that opinion?
Cushy:
Relying on churches for inconsistent and arbitary charity strikes me as being a particularly inefficient way of providing care for the poor (or anyone).
Paul:
Arbitrary? How so? Charity brings dignity, as opposed to racially charged welfare, which offers no dignity. I have seen the welfare system make it harder for someone who is in the racial majority to recieve help than those in the racial minority. How is that not arbitrary?
Cushy:
I’m from the UK and there is an intense sense of ownership of the NHS among the people. It’s our system, we pay for it and it’s our responsibility to vote in a government that will take care of it. And if the government doesn’t we change them. That’s not being flippant – healthcare is a huge political and election issue in the UK.
Paul:
And many in your country have come to the US for better quality care. There also have been people who have died waiting for a chance to be seen by doctors, who might have lived longer if they had been able to see the doctor sooner. Keep your system on your side of the ocean, I like mine just fine.
Payshun:
I could be nice about this but I am not. That’s just crap. Our ability to care for the poor is not hindered by the government taking some of that. We can and do care for the poor when it is often convenient for us. As a matter of fact the poor will always be w/ us. Jesus said that and he meant it. healthcare is just one aspect of caring for the poor, there is also helping addicts (another healthcare issue,) moving them into your home and providing job training… Your right we should take care of the poor but we can do that through the government and have it be in our name. As a matter of fact that’s not sinful. It’s holy. It says in a concrete way w/o any religion, color or class difference that we care for our fellow man. God holds all people to that most basic standard and it’s shame that you are so stuck on the church doing all of it when it really is about all of us. Study the parable of the good samaritan and it will show you what I am telling you.
Paul:
The good samaritan extended charity, not because the government forced him to, but becasue he had compassion. Scripture gives the Church responsibility to care for the poor, and the state the responsibility to handle civil issues. Part of the reason is that poverty is a spiritual problem as well as a physical problem, and the state is in no way equiped to deal with the spiritual issues. Why would you want the state to get involved in the work of the church?
Payshun:
Oh and one more thing the government is us. Our tax dollars go to that so that means that we are doing the work God has ordained. It may come through someone else but it also comes from our work as some of us must work to live.
Paul:
Nice try, but you are just trying to justfy laziness. The rich do not need to be overtaxed so that someone else can hand out welfare to the poor on the behalf of the rich. The rich need to be the ones extending charity to the poor themselves. Taxing the rich, and doling out welfare does two things:
1) Creates classism, and
2) Gives the rich a pass on really engaging the poor.
On the other hand, believing the Gospel, and extending charity, causes us to think differently, live differently, give differently, and actually engage the poor.
Paul C. Quillman



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2007 at 11:43 pm


“As a Christian I associate with children the verse “whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Therefore I was quite surprised at the contempt President Bush had for the SCHIP bill.”
Contempt? Come on… He voted to expand it by 20%. At any rate, I don’t see how spending someone else’s money constitutes welcoming children.
“Passing it does carry the risk of abuse that every family making $83,000 or less will seek to tag their children onto the government dole”
I don’t know that this constitutes abuse. If it’s available to you, you have every right to take it. It is simply an inefficient way to spend money, and any cost/benefit analysis ought to seek to eliminate inefficiencies.
“All in context. A family of 4 making 62K probably is in poverty if they live, say, in San Diego.”
Well, if they live on Mission Beach, they are. You can raise a family on 62k in San Diego. Rent on a three-bedroom is, what, $1600? $2k if near the ocean? Much of it is a write off, as are the kids. Further, if you are in that income bracket, you tend to have health insurance as part of your job.
“The strong economy in lieu of social programs seems to many to be the answer to poverty. I wonder though, how much we are trading one answer for another. Instead of turning to government to solve the issue of poverty, we are turning to the economy.”
Well, “the economy” is a broad term. But generally, we should fall back on the mechanism that has room to grow, rather than the mechanism that does not (and is dependent on the economy in order to even fund itself). The economy funds the safety nets we all wish to have in place. Put a stop to it, and it isn’t just the mythical “fat-cats” who suffer.



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:24 am


Paul:
On the other hand, believing the Gospel, and extending charity, causes us to think differently, live differently, give differently, and actually engage the poor.
Me:
You are living in a myth Paul. Rich Christians won’t and have rarely engaged the poor in the way you mentioned. It just doesn’t happen that way. Hell the average Christian doesn’t.
P:
Nice try, but you are just trying to justfy laziness. The rich do not need to be overtaxed so that someone else can hand out welfare to the poor on the behalf of the rich. The rich need to be the ones extending charity to the poor themselves. Taxing the rich, and doling out welfare does two things:
1) Creates classism, and
2) Gives the rich a pass on really engaging the poor.
Me:
I am not justifying laziness at all but I have to extend the same thing to you. Good try. Governments should be about doing good regardless if there is a spiritual dimension or not. Oh and most Christian institutions suck at the spiritual stuff too.
Are you blind?
Classism is not created by government welfare. It’s created by exploitation of the poor by the rich. Welfare can (when used rightly) help to get someone back on their feet or on a program to help w/ becoming clean.
The rich don’t need a pass to ignore the poor. They do that by culture and exclusivity. They live in areas where they do not see the poor so instead of Lazurus laying at their doorstep he’s a few miles away from their gated communities and their highrises.
You:
The good samaritan extended charity, not because the government forced him to, but becasue he had compassion. Scripture gives the Church responsibility to care for the poor, and the state the responsibility to handle civil issues. Part of the reason is that poverty is a spiritual problem as well as a physical problem, and the state is in no way equiped to deal with the spiritual issues. Why would you want the state to get involved in the work of the church?
Me:
Well to be fair the government does God’s work when God deems the government as tool to do good. That’s not for you to decide, it’s really his decision. We agree on this point. I don’t want the government in the process of evangelism but then I am not an evangelical so my values for the spreading the gospel in that way may be a little different than yours. (if you are an evangelical.)
That said God uses force all the time to do right. When Kings make decisions in the OT Force was used. When he died on the cross force was used. When he saved mankind he did not seek mankind’s permission. He just did it. My point is that God uses force all the time. His point in the parable is not about choice but the brotherhood of all man and man’s role in looking out for all mankind.
p



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canucklehead

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:52 am


“Health care is not a right…” Paul C. Quillman
Hogwash. Tell me why the black woman in Mississippi isn’t just as entitled to treatment for breast cancer as your wife is or is the corporate wife in the Hamptons?
We are all on the same footing in that we brought nothing into this world. And diehard capitalists are the only ones stupid enough to believe that they’ll take anything out of this world.
It was the Biblical convictions of Keifer Sutherland’s maternal grandfather, a Baptist pastor, that entrenched universal healthcare in Canada, a fact I thank God for every day.



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canucklehead

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:02 am


assuming, of course, and BIG assumption here from some of what I read here, assuming, of course, that the Bible and not the U.S. Constitution is the supreme guide for life and faith to American believers



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:24 am


Paul:
Arbitrary? How so? Charity brings dignity, as opposed to racially charged welfare, which offers no dignity. I have seen the welfare system make it harder for someone who is in the racial majority to recieve help than those in the racial minority. How is that not arbitrary?

Charity brings dignity? Who to? How is it dignified to go cap in hand, begging to someone hoping that they’re going to help you? Far better to have a system that you can use by right that no one looks down on you for doing so because everyone uses it. And what I mean by arbitrary is that it would be inconsistent from place to place because they’d be small-scale operations – the same child with the same condition could get differing levels of care based on where they live because a church in one town decides things differently from a church in another. That’s not a system that’s a zip-code lottery.
Paul:
And many in your country have come to the US for better quality care. There also have been people who have died waiting for a chance to be seen by doctors, who might have lived longer if they had been able to see the doctor sooner. Keep your system on your side of the ocean, I like mine just fine.
And many in your country come to us for care as well. Eg http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7006933.stm
And if a very few people die on waiting lists in the UK, how about the people in the US dying because they can’t get on any waiting list because they can’t get insurance?
Good luck with your system, Paul, I’m happy that you like it. Please keep it to your side of the Atlantic. And I have some advice for you for the future with your system, either get very rich or don’t get old.



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sys

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:37 am


I fail to see what the SCHIP bill has to do with the foibles of unwed motherhood, since the bill will fund children from families where the parents WORK but still do not have health insurance, regardless of marital status. In spite of what neocon ideology tells us, the truth is that not all single-parent families are headed by irresponsible welfare rats who brought those children into the world just to get on the public dole (in which case they wouldn’t be eligible for SCHIP anyhow).
SCHIP is NOT welfare. SCHIP is about helping working parents and their children who are still unable to help themselves adequately — and there are more and more of them. SCHIP is about keeping families together. And SCHIP has everything to do with affirming that the lives of children are just as sacred and just as deserving of protection *AFTER* they’re born.



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M.J.

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:03 am


Hi canucklehead,
I too am Canadian, and I cannot believe the inanity of this argument in the US. I have heard too many criticisms of our health care system by Americans who haven’t come and experienced it. My father who had kidney disease received good care and treatment, and it didn’t bankrupt him here, despite the $40,000/annum cost for peritoneal dialysis.
Are there some problems with our system? Of course, I don’t know of any system that is perfect. However, I know in Canada personal financial circumstances are not a requisite concern for treatment. I also know that if, for some reason, a medically acceptable treatment is not available in Canada, treatment in another country will be covered, even if that country’s health care system is not one that aligns with our own. We have a basic understanding that caring for those that are ill or injured is more important than ideology. You want to get a Canadian rankled, threaten our universal access.
Having a sick child is emotionally devastating. To have to decide whether or not the household finances will go to medical care for one child, or food for another, or education for a third, boggles my mind. Get on with it and care for your children. This is an issue of community responsibility.



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squeaky

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:18 am


Jesse,
“Mentoring, discipleship, urban ministry, job training, and parenting classes are definitely a start. None of these things, however, can reduce poverty like having a job. ”
All of those can lead to a job. For some people, especially people who don’t see a lot of hope around them, you can’t have the latter without the former.
I said it was shameful poverty is an issue because it is a sign that the church is failing in its Christ-given mandate. My point is if people are going to argue that it is the church’s job to take care of poverty, not the government’s, then the church better get to work. The government wouldn’t feel the need to step in, if the work is already being done.



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squeaky

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:28 am


Mick,
“But there is astatistical association that shows both are linked .
Squeaky why is it that you feel that the emphasis on family and the importance to
put on it lack substance ? ”
You’ll have to reread my post. I never said that. Both are linked–it is true that illigitimacy is caused by poverty, and it is also true that poverty causes illigitimacy. It isn’t a one-way street. But nothing in my statement even suggested that the emphasis on family wasn’t important. I would ask, though, who is responsible for promoting family and how should that promotion be accomplished?



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:57 am


Payshun:
You are living in a myth Paul. Rich Christians won’t and have rarely engaged the poor in the way you mentioned. It just doesn’t happen that way. Hell the average Christian doesn’t.
Paul:
Actually it worked in Scotland. Thomas Chalmbers faithfully preached the Gospel. The Gospel so transformed the poor and rih alike, that at one point the city of Edinburgh defunded its soial services. Why? Because the church took care of it. THe church took the Gospel seriously and made provision for the poor.
It is also working, in smaller pockets now. Bit by bit, the Gospel is being faithfully preached, and people are begining to act like the Gospel is true. This idea that the government should be providing welfare is , I pray, a short lived historical abberation.
Me:
I am not justifying laziness at all but I have to extend the same thing to you. Good try. Governments should be about doing good regardless if there is a spiritual dimension or not. Oh and most Christian institutions suck at the spiritual stuff too.
Paul: It does justify laziness. Ever heard someone ask, “Don’t we pay taxes to take care of (fill in the blank with whatever welfare program you want)?” Don’t know about you, but I have heard it quite a bit, and it drives me insane. I have a difficult time holding back my tongue. My impulse is to grab the person that said it and scream at them for thier laziness and disregard for those in need.
Payshun: Classism is not created by government welfare.
Paul:
Then why did my wife get told that she probably not qualify for government welfare when we needed it years ago? Our need was no less than anyone elses in the room. We didn’t fit the ethnic makeup of the room at all, but we were in as much need as everyone else. Maybe it wasn’t classism, perhaps racism. BTW, it was through my experience of government welfare that I started to believe that the church, not the government was the best place to go for need.
Payshun: It’s created by exploitation of the poor by the rich. Welfare can (when used rightly) help to get someone back on their feet or on a program to help w/ becoming clean.
Paul: That is rare. Classism is partly created by exploitation, but it is also created by the welfare system. How many rich people do you know that resent being taxed above everyone else? How many rich people do you know that are frustrated with the abusive welfare system that costs way more than it should, and is abused to the tune of billions of dollars? I know quite a few. The abuse breeds resentment, and grows into classism.
Payshun: The rich don’t need a pass to ignore the poor. They do that by culture and exclusivity. They live in areas where they do not see the poor so instead of Lazurus laying at their doorstep he’s a few miles away from their gated communities and their highrises.
Paul: Then preach the Gospel. They may not move out of the gated communities, but they will certainly go out to the poor. I have seen it over and over again.
Payshun::
Well to be fair the government does God’s work when God deems the government as tool to do good.
Paul: Only when the government is fulfilling its calling, and not overstepping into matters that belong to the church.
Payshun: That’s not for you to decide, it’s really his decision. We agree on this point.
Paul: It is for Scripture to decide. It is also for the foundational laws of the country to decide.
Payshun: I don’t want the government in the process of evangelism but then I am not an evangelical so my values for the spreading the gospel in that way may be a little different than yours. (if you are an evangelical.)
Paul: I am a lassical evangelical, not a neo-evangelical.
Payshun: That said God uses force all the time to do right. When Kings make decisions in the OT Force was used. When he died on the cross force was used. When he saved mankind he did not seek mankind’s permission. He just did it. My point is that God uses force all the time. His point in the parable is not about choice but the brotherhood of all man and man’s role in looking out for all mankind.
Paul: There is a time to use force, and a time to not use force. As to the brotherhood, that is nowhere in Scripture. We are all image bearers of God, and we were all enimies of God at one time in our lives. God has been pleased to call out to some of those of us that are His enimies, and make those chosen ones His friends.



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Steve

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:34 am


I agree with the Republicans because we shouldn’t be trying to help these children get health care coverage when the price of gas is skyrocketing for businesses too. Don’t you think the CEO’s feel this pain? The yachts and jets they have gobble fuel in huge amounts, you know. If you help these people at the top first the folks at the bottom like these children will eventually benefit.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:26 pm


Welfare has created a cycle of dependence that is terribly difficult to get out of, if someone even wants to get out of it.
Contrary to what you just said, welfare was never really the culprit. What happened — and no one seems to address this — is that, beginning in the 1950s, urban white folks with means moved out to suburbia and took their financial wherwithal with them. That is to say, the jobs that kept people in good shape financially also left. What you’re seeing in the “inner city” would still be the case even without “welfare.” (Oh, and BTW, when such programs were created, about two-thirds of recipients were white; only in the last decade did a majority become “people of color.”)
The blame rests in the church failing to believe the Gospel. And the state could not let the poor go uncared for. The church can’t take back its role overnight, but it can start.
You missed my point. If the government is doing evil by people the church ought to stand up for them and demand change. If the laws allow people to take from the poor and give to the rich, that’s not acceptable no matter how you slice it and no amount of charity can ameliorate that injustice. The trouble is that, in too many cases, the church has too much power of its own and can’t afford to “rock the boat.” (I am speaking specifically about religious “conservatives.”)
Then preach the Gospel. They may not move out of the gated communities, but they will certainly go out to the poor. I have seen it over and over again.
That depends on what you mean by the Gospel. If you’re talking about only “fire insurance” and “personal moral reform” so that you can “get along,” that’s NOT it. Jesus calls us who are a part of His Body to become and demonstrate a whole new social order that the world cannot duplicate, ultimately to be a blessing to everyone, and were we to receive any temporal authority, which the early church never even sought, we are to act in the same way. However, we can’t do that if we’re seeking political and social power for its own sake (which is why I’ve disassociated myself from parts of my Reformed upbringing — that’s what it originally believed).



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neuro_nurse

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:34 pm


canucklehead & M.J.,
Americans (okay, Canadians are Americans too. So are Mexicans, Bolivians, Venezuelans -anyone who lives in the Americas), that is, we here in the U.S. love our boogiemen – apparently, we can’t tolerate not having them (we had to scrabble to find new ones after the Soviet Union dissolved).
The Canadian health care system has become one of our boogiemen – “You don’t want something like the Canadian system, do you?!” (insert scary music here – Norman Bates in a dress pulling the shower curtain back, rapid violin glissandos, Janet Leigh screaming) What follows are anecdotal reports of gross failures of the Canadian health care system that led to tragedy. (Need I remind anyone that the Cubans have a better health care system than ours?)
Hey folks, do you want to see gross failures of the U.S. health care system? Come to New Orleans, where the Charity Hospital system that once cared for the uninsured is gone (thanks, LSU! There’s nothing wrong with that building – it suffered less damage than the hospital where I am now working), with only a few charitable and volunteer-run organization in place to try to fill that gap.
I hear a lot of talk about how the church is supposed to step in and care for those in need.
Well, what are you waiting for? I mean YOU, sitting there reading this blog, what are YOU waiting for?
Put your money where your mouth is.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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canucklehead

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:41 pm


>>>I hear a lot of talk about how the church is supposed to step in and care for those in need.
Well, what are you waiting for? I mean YOU, sitting there reading this blog, what are YOU waiting for?
Put your money where your mouth is.
Seek peace and pursue it.
Posted by: neuro_nurse | October 3, 2007 12:34 PM
Sheesh, Neuro, (to cite the Greek term), are you implying blog participants need to actually DO something about what we believe? See, that’s where yer wrong, pal.
To quote one participant here, “I am a lassical evangelical, not a neo-evangelical.”
Ergo, I don’t have to DO a dam ting, yust beleev!



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:02 pm


Paul:
Actually it worked in Scotland. Thomas Chalmbers faithfully preached the Gospel. The Gospel so transformed the poor and rih alike, that at one point the city of Edinburgh defunded its soial services. Why? Because the church took care of it. THe church took the Gospel seriously and made provision for the poor.
It is also working, in smaller pockets now. Bit by bit, the Gospel is being faithfully preached, and people are begining to act like the Gospel is true. This idea that the government should be providing welfare is , I pray, a short lived historical abberation
Me:
In the mean time people are suffering. There are too few workers to meet the demand. I ought to know I used to work alongside religious urban projects quite a bit. It’s not working that well. Discipleship is a hit or miss process. It’s a long term process. It takes decades to reshape poor areas. If we go by your paradigm more people will go w/o food. I don’t have time to wait and neither do they.
The goal is not just change it’s about becoming one w/ God. Well I am contemplative so my outlook will be different but we should worry about making sure people get fed. The fastest way to do that is the government. Not only that but God still holds governments responsible for how they treat their poor. Charity is not merely something for the church. It’s for all.
You:
As to the brotherhood, that is nowhere in Scripture.
Me:
Yes it is. read the prophets.
Paul the gospel can’t solve everything sorry to tell you and I do. I preach the gospel all the time and most of the Christians I run into are too lazy to implement it. That or their priorities are on their on families. So again Paul you are living in a fantasy land.
Universal brotherhood is in scripture. It was there during the early myths in genesis. It was later restored again to believers in Acts. Then on top of that the Good Samaritan is about seeing your enemy as your neighbor and taking care of him.
p



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:08 pm


Universal brotherhood is in scripture.
Actually, no, it isn’t — Paul is right in that regard; only fellow Christians (and that’s very clear in the context of the Scripture) are to be considered “brothers.” Non-believers, however, are referred to “neighbors.” (Cue up Mr. Rogers …)



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:02 pm


Rick said:
Actually, no, it isn’t — Paul is right in that regard; only fellow Christians (and that’s very clear in the context of the Scripture) are to be considered “brothers.” Non-believers, however, are referred to “neighbors.” (Cue up Mr. Rogers …)
Me:
I disagree. I realize that the church is separate from the world. I don’t disagree w/ that as the brotherhood of believers. But that still doesn’t separate us from caring for all mankind or for mankind caring for us. God wants both.
p



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Well, what are you waiting for? I mean YOU, sitting there reading this blog, what are YOU waiting for?
Put your money where your mouth is.
Ah it is so much more spirtual to make the bad rich people do it all .
Then we can say I did something about it ?



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neuro_nurse

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:37 pm


“Ergo, I don’t have to DO a dam ting, yust beleev!” canucklehead
You know doggone well that I’m Catholic, so I’d never be able to pull off that “sola fide” excuse without suffering terminal guilt!
“Ah it is so much more spirtual to make the bad rich people do it all .” Mick Sheldon
Who said anything about rich people being bad? Is it spiritual to talk the talk, but not walk the walk?
“Outraged, but then they say…
Anytime but now
Anywhere but here
Anyone but me
I’ve got to think about my own life” Fugazi



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:45 pm


I realize that the church is separate from the world. I don’t disagree w/ that as the brotherhood of believers. But that still doesn’t separate us from caring for all mankind or for mankind caring for us. God wants both.
I agree, but the delineation still stands. In fact, in Paul’s letters he often refers to his fellow messengers’ “love for the brethren,” which insinuates that a Christian’s second loyalty is to fellow believers. Doing works of mercy and service flow out of that dual relationship.



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:25 pm


Paul:
Actually it worked in Scotland. Thomas Chalmbers faithfully preached the Gospel. The Gospel so transformed the poor and rih alike, that at one point the city of Edinburgh defunded its soial services. Why? Because the church took care of it. THe church took the Gospel seriously and made provision for the poor.

That was in the 1870s. I don’t think there would be many takers for church-based healthcare now. Especially considering that in the Scottish Parliament the Conservative party only holds 17 seats out of 129, and they have recently voted to abolish even the token charge for medication in the NHS in Scotland.
And if it is the duty of the Church in the US to make provision for the poor in welfare and healthcare, they don’t seem to be doing it. This isn’t a new problem that’s suddenly arisen, the issue has been here for decades if not centuries. If the Church hasn’t stepped up to its responsibilites by now it can hardly complain if people look elsewhere for other means of providing comprehensive care for the people who need it.



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:49 pm


“I agree, but the delineation still stands. In fact, in Paul’s letters he often refers to his fellow messengers’ “love for the brethren,” which insinuates that a Christian’s second loyalty is to fellow believers. Doing works of mercy and service flow out of that dual relationship.”
This is where my theology differs from yours. It doesn’t just flow from that. It flows from us seeing all humanity as my flesh. All humanity bears God’s image and as such I must treat all w/ that. I take the gospel at its face value and treat those that have not accepted Jesus as I would my brother in sister when it comes to treatment. I do not prioritize the Christian over the non-Christian. I go where my Father tells me to. It doesn’t matter if they are believers or not what matters is that we love. My theology sees the distinctions btwn those of us as faith and those of us not as merely superficial.
p



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:22 pm


canucklehead:To quote one participant here, “I am a lassical evangelical, not a neo-evangelical.”
Ergo, I don’t have to DO a dam ting, yust beleev!
Paul: Sorry the “c” key on my laptop is sticky, and even thought I press it, it does not always register.
Let me define classical verses neo evangelicalism, a bit.
I am classical as Calvin, Luther, and Chalmbers understood the Gospel. The Gospel is the fact that we are far worse off than we think we are. Our standing before a holy and righteous God is not a good one. We deserve two things, death and hell. However, God does not leave His people there. We are far more loved than we should dare to dream or hope. Gad is so incredibly gracious that He does not give us what we deserve, rather He gives us Jesus.
Neo-evangelicalism has a far more narrow view of the Gospel. It dumbs the Gospel down to a list of a few things we have to believe in order to escape hell.
Do not put words in my mouth, or motives in my heart that you do not know to be true. You cannot know what I do with my life, and if you are a believer, you are required by Scripture to accept my confession of Christ unless and until I give you reason to think otherwise, and I have not done so.
Payshun: In the mean time people are suffering. There are too few workers to meet the demand. I ought to know I used to work alongside religious urban projects quite a bit. It’s not working that well. Discipleship is a hit or miss process. It’s a long term process. It takes decades to reshape poor areas. If we go by your paradigm more people will go w/o food. I don’t have time to wait and neither do they.
Paul: Where did I say that the church must take over now? That is not a game plan for success. I agree that it will take time for the church to reclaim its role, and it is happening in small, local; pockets, which is where charity belongs. THe charity of the church should never become this masive juggernaught, like the welfare system. Charity is local. That local focus allows for the church to meet the needs of the area it serves. If affordable housing is not an issue in, say Memphis, for example, but affordable food is, then the churdh in Memphis should direct more resources to food distribution.
There is a community redevelopement project going on, litterally 3 minutes from my apartment. It was started by 2 pastors, one of them mine. They project that it will take about 10 to 15 years to finish. Most of the work is donated (my involvement is), some of the materials are, and what is not is funded by either fundraisers, and the subsidised financing provided to the home owners. I understand it will take time. I estimate it would take the US 2 to 3 generations before we start to see a significant return to the Biblical roles for church and state.
Payshun: The goal is not just change it’s about becoming one w/ God. Well I am contemplative so my outlook will be different but we should worry about making sure people get fed. The fastest way to do that is the government. Not only that but God still holds governments responsible for how they treat their poor. Charity is not merely something for the church. It’s for all.
Paul:
As to the brotherhood, that is nowhere in Scripture.
Payshun :
Yes it is. read the prophets.
Paul:
Um, which ones? I can’t recall anywhere in Scripture where the universal brotherhood of man is espoused. I can take you to several plaes where image bearers is espoused. We are not all brothers. Revelation talks of the seperation of the sheep and the goats. The OT speaks of Israel beign th echosen people of God which He would send to us a Redeemer. The NT makes clear that the true Israel is the Church, the Bride of Christ, His chosen people called out befor the foundations of the earth.
Payshun :
Paul the gospel can’t solve everything sorry to tell you and I do. I preach the gospel all the time…
Paul: There is just not enough Scotch to calm me down enough to deal with this comment rationally.
Payshun:
I preach the gospel all the time and most of the Christians I run into are too lazy to implement it. That or their priorities are on their on families. So again Paul you are living in a fantasy land.
Paul: I would submit to you that you should examine what you are preahing, taking care to preach the Gospel alone, and not something that looks like the Gospel. Historically, if the Gospel is actually preached, it is then believed, and actually lived. Spurgeon, Calvin, Latimer, Chalmbers, Luther, Sproul, Grant, ect.
Payshun: Universal brotherhood is in scripture. It was there during the early myths in genesis.
Paul:
Fortunately, there is enough Scotch to deal with this. If Genesis is a myth, then Jesus is as well. I believe that in Romans, Paul says that sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and redemption was brought about by the second Adam (Jesus). It makes no literary sense for the first Adam to be a myth, if the second Adam (Jesus) is not a myth.
Cushy: That was in the 1870s. I don’t think there would be many takers for church-based healthcare now. Especially considering that in the Scottish Parliament the Conservative party only holds 17 seats out of 129, and they have recently voted to abolish even the token charge for medication in the NHS in Scotland.
Paul: Chalmbers died in the late spring of 1847. Europe suffered greatly at the hands of communist, socialist, eugenicist, Hitler, et al, economicallu, socially, spiritually, morally, and they are just now begining to see the fruit of that destruction.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:32 pm


Historically, if the Gospel is actually preached, it is then believed, and actually lived. Spurgeon, Calvin, Latimer, Chalmbers, Luther, Sproul, Grant, ect.
And that’s part of the problem. The Gospel must actually be lived, not just become an intellectual/theological construct that can actually keep you from knowing Christ and “the fellowship of his sufferings.” I’ve read Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, Sproul and others, and do you know which Christian remains the greatest influence on me? Martin Luther King Jr.!
Europe suffered greatly at the hands of communist, socialist, eugenicist, Hitler, et al, economicallu, socially, spiritually, morally, and they are just now begining to see the fruit of that destruction.
That does not mean that it will return to the Protestant Reformation, which had as much to do with its secularization as anything. Christianity then meant undue authority for its own sake rather than service — it was no different than the world.



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:47 am


Paul: Chalmbers died in the late spring of 1847.
And then what happened? To the initiative he founded?
Europe suffered greatly at the hands of communist, socialist, eugenicist, Hitler, et al, economicallu, socially, spiritually, morally, and they are just now begining to see the fruit of that destruction.
Yes, we’ve been seeing it for quite a while now. Take my Mum. She’s 81, has hypertension, an underactive thyroid and parkinsons. She takes a lot of medication to keep that under control. It’s free. As is her regular check-ups with a care of the elderly specialist, her blood pressure checks (a nurse visits her at home for those) and any visits to her family doctor. She’s not means-tested for this, she gets it by right and not because she’s paid into the system (although she has). She gets it because after the suffering of the 2nd World War the people of the UK decided that if people are sick, they should be treated. All of us.
Or take my neighbour, Bill. He’s in his 50s and was a self-employed carpenter. He developed throat cancer a couple of years ago. He’s had treatment at one of the best cancer hospitals in Europe (Christie’s in Manchester). He’s had a really miserable time of it. He had radiotherapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy and is still on pain medication. His family have (naturally) been worried sick. But they’ve never had to worry about how they were going to pay for all this.
And Bill and my Mum aren’t special cases. There are people like them all over the UK and all over Europe (and Canada!). It’s not free, of course, it comes out my taxes. But I’m not complaining about my standard of living, it’s fine, thank you. But I’d pay anyway, because sooner or later I’m going to need this system and I’d rather it was in good shape when I do.
That’s our fruit. And what is your fruit? A President refusing the will of the people to provide more care for their children. It’s not my place to criticize how you run your own country. But don’t think I don’t have an opinion on it.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 4, 2007 at 8:25 am


Rick: That does not mean that it will return to the Protestant Reformation, which had as much to do with its secularization as anything. Christianity then meant undue authority for its own sake rather than service — it was no different than the world.
Paul: Having studied the Reformation for some time now, I have a hard time seeing how returning to Biblical theology brings about the secularization od a society. Did you really read Calvin and Luther? Have you read how they gave their lives away? Spurgeon and Chalmbers as well. Chalmbers did it against a cold, and nearly dead presbyterian church, that did everything it could to assure his failure. And, yet, he preached the Gospel. And those that heard the Gospel began to live it.
I reccomend reading the Letters of Thomas Chalmers, as well as his memiors, both can be purchased from the Banner of Truth Trust. I also would reccomend reading the St. Andrews Seven, available form BTT as well.
Cushy: And then what happened? To the initiative he founded?
Paul: Liberalism of a variety of sorts infected Europe, and unfortunately, the Gospel was not preached much anymore. It is why Europe is in suh a difficult state now.
Cushy: And Bill and my Mum aren’t special cases. There are people like them all over the UK and all over Europe (and Canada!). It’s not free, of course, it comes out my taxes. But I’m not complaining about my standard of living, it’s fine, thank you. But I’d pay anyway, because sooner or later I’m going to need this system and I’d rather it was in good shape when I do.
Paul: At least you recognise that it comes from the taxes you pay. Most people I disagree with on this will not admit that. But what a cost!!! Tax rates over 50%? That is repressive. Why would you do that, would it not be better to take responsibility for your own health care? Isn’t that more dignified?
I know that some people do fine on the European system, and unfortunately, it probably is coming here. Conservatives have lost the debate on this, because emotion, not logical adherence to the rule of law has won the day, but will your system allow me to opt out and take care of my own health care?
Cushy: That’s our fruit. And what is your fruit? A President refusing the will of the people to provide more care for their children. It’s not my place to criticize how you run your own country. But don’t think I don’t have an opinion on it.
Paul: Don’t forget to add high unemployment, and the repression of need reduces advancements and the human spirit. I am aware that the US health care system is not perfect, but there is no other system that exists in the world that I would want.
As to the will of the people, every president takes an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not bow to the will of some people. France showed the world why bowing to public opinion is not the best idea.
SCHIPS does not provide more care. Hospitals are requiored to provide care regardless of the ability of the patient to pay, per fedeeral law. Most larger systems will reduce payment, or forgive large debts altogether, I have seen it happen. And, this new bill would pay for people who make enough to cover the expense on their own. Bush is fine with SCHIPS, but there are some things that he does not see as helping those who actually need it. Perhaps Congress should send him a more reasonable bill, instead of playing politics with children. But I don’t expect that to happen. The leadership of this congress is more interested in getting Bush than actually helping children.



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Anonymous

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:06 am


Paul: Liberalism of a variety of sorts infected Europe, and unfortunately, the Gospel was not preached much anymore. It is why Europe is in suh a difficult state now.
Yeah. Really difficult. I’m suffering so much right now. [/sarcasm]
Paul: At least you recognise that it comes from the taxes you pay. Most people I disagree with on this will not admit that. But what a cost!!! Tax rates over 50%? That is repressive. Why would you do that, would it not be better to take responsibility for your own health care? Isn’t that more dignified?
Tax rates over 50%? Where did you get that from. Basic rate income tax is 22%, the upper rate is 40% and that only kicks in on income over £34,600. National Insurance is 11% for most people, but that pays for social security and the state pension. The average income is about £25,000 which means people paying 33% tax – which covers the NHS, pensions and the whole government.
I do take responsibility for my healthcare – I pay my taxes. I don’t see how it is more dignified to pay into a private insurance scheme that wants to maximise profit to its shareholders. And how dignified is it to rely on charity (ie begging) to pay for healthcare?
I am aware that the US health care system is not perfect, but there is no other system that exists in the world that I would want.
Despite the fact in a WHO survey in 2000 that the US spends the highest percentage GDP (16%) on healthcare that anyone else in the world, but ranks 37th in terms of health outcomes? For comparison, the UK spends 6% and ranks 18th. I think you’re getting bad value for money.



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Cushy Butterfield

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:08 am


Paul: Liberalism of a variety of sorts infected Europe, and unfortunately, the Gospel was not preached much anymore. It is why Europe is in suh a difficult state now.
Well we gave up on charismatic individuals and miracles as they were a bit unreliable. We went in for solid, comprehensive, reliable, publically funded healthcare.
Paul: At least you recognise that it comes from the taxes you pay. Most people I disagree with on this will not admit that. But what a cost!!! Tax rates over 50%? That is repressive. Why would you do that, would it not be better to take responsibility for your own health care? Isn’t that more dignified?
Tax rates over 50%? Where did you get that from. Basic rate income tax is 22%, the upper rate is 40% and that only kicks in on income over £34,600. National Insurance is 11% for most people, but that pays for social security and the state pension. The average income is about £25,000 which means people paying 33% tax – which covers the NHS, pensions and the whole government.
I do take responsibility for my healthcare – I pay my taxes. I don’t see how it is more dignified to pay into a private insurance scheme that wants to maximise profit to its shareholders. And how dignified is it to rely on charity (ie begging) to pay for healthcare?
Paul: I am aware that the US health care system is not perfect, but there is no other system that exists in the world that I would want.
Despite the fact in a WHO survey in 2000 that the US spends the highest percentage GDP (16%) on healthcare that anyone else in the world, but ranks 37th in terms of health outcomes? For comparison, the UK spends 6% and ranks 18th. I think you’re getting bad value for money.



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Payshun

posted October 4, 2007 at 12:58 pm


Paul,
You really don’t know much about how the Genesis account was written do you? Do you have a lot of Jewish friends? Any Jewish scholars that might explain how this works.
Here let me explain:
The story of the Creation can not be historically true, for the reasons
(1)
that there can be no human traditions of these events;
(2)
its assumption of a creation in six days, with the sequence of events as recounted, contradicts the theories of modern science regarding the formation of the heavenly bodies during vast periods of time, especially that of the earth, its organisms, and its position in the universe. The popular view of Genesis can not be reconciled with modern science. The story is a religio-scientific speculation on the origin of the world, analogous to the creation-myths found among many peoples. The similarities to the Babylonian creation-myth are most numerous and most striking. The extent of its dependence on other myths, the mode of transmission, and the age and history of the tradition and its adaptation are still matters of dispute.
I took that from here.
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=137&letter=G&search=Genesis%20origin
That is not say that a real Adam may or may not have existed. By faith I believe he was there but faith is not fact. It’s trust.
You:
There is just not enough Scotch to calm me down enough to deal with this comment rationally.
Me:
Got to love evangelicals, clueless as ever. Can the gospel balance your checkbook? Can the gospel make it rain? Can the gospel create the schematics to build a bridge or grow a plant? No it was not designed to that silly. It was designed to unite Man back to God. It can’t do everything.
Unversal brotherhood of all mankind existed in the mythic story of the tower of Babel. They all had one tongue, one language, one culture. The story of Abel’s murder is a call for mankind to look out for all mankind to take whoever hears it as their brother and by that become man’s keeper.
That doesn’t mean that we do not have a spiritual kingdom and family in christians. Ofcourse we do. But as long as we are on this earth we all share the same flesh and as such must look out for all mankind. That’s what the good samaritan means.
Paul:
I would submit to you that you should examine what you are preahing, taking care to preach the Gospel alone, and not something that looks like the Gospel. Historically, if the Gospel is actually preached, it is then believed, and actually lived. Spurgeon, Calvin, Latimer, Chalmbers, Luther, Sproul, Grant, ect.
Me:
You really are clueless. In case you have not noticed I know the warped teachings of Luther very well. I am not an evangelical so I could not care less about those folks you mentioned. The people that lived the gospel for me are: St. Theresa, Hildegard, St. John of the Cross, St Patrick, the Desert Fathers… They preached it and they lived it. They suffered for their faith and did not settle for dead faith of evangelicalism.
God bless you Paul. May your ministry and fruit grow abundantly. May your life reflect our Father’s love for all. Blessings and love be upon you.
One more thing God wants to use the government to help people. If you doubt that ask him? See what he says.
p



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Payshun

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:03 pm


“SCHIPS does not provide more care. Hospitals are requiored to provide care regardless of the ability of the patient to pay, per fedeeral law.”
Me:
Yes it does. The people that get the care still have to pay. There is debt forgiveness for a small amount of people but everyone has to pay. I don’t think that’s fair for a sick cancer patient do you?
p



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Payshun

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:05 pm


I forgot this pithy little quote.
The story of the Garden of Eden (ch. ii., iii.) is a myth, invented in order to answer certain questions of religion, philosophy, and cultural history. Its origin can not be ascertained, as no parallel to it has so far been found.
p



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 2:58 pm


Having studied the Reformation for some time now, I have a hard time seeing how returning to Biblical theology brings about the secularization of a society.
You have to understand the times — the Reformation was as much about power politics as, and perhaps even more so than, redefining the historic Christian faith. No doubt you understand there was carnage on all sides, with the Reformed (my heritage) being run out of nearly every European country where it had a presence — do you think that John Calvin ended up in Geneva by accident? — because in those days its theology taught that, for all practical purposes, it was supposed to take over. The Puritans actually ruled England for a period of 40 years until they were tossed out. Besides, all those theological wars between the Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Calvinists were fought primarily among the nobility, with the common folk all but ignored. It is in that context which I wrote about secularization.



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Father Anthony

posted October 4, 2007 at 5:41 pm


George Bush is Machiavellian in what he does.
I think there is evil in the White House, and
he is the Satan, in the Biblical sense as the
tempter, and the tester.
He certainly tests my patience. Christian he is not no matter how he likes to portray himself, or his disciples like Limbaugh, Hannity, and others like to portray him.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted October 4, 2007 at 7:55 pm


Someone posted: I do take responsibility for my healthcare – I pay my taxes. I don’t see how it is more dignified to pay into a private insurance scheme that wants to maximise profit to its shareholders. And how dignified is it to rely on charity (ie begging) to pay for healthcare?
Paul: No, you farm your health care out to the government. Taking responsibility would be shopping for trhe best care at the lowest cost. Why is maximizing profits bad? I own a business and my first priority is to maximize profits. Those profits put food on my table, and a roof over my heard.
As to dignity, let me pose a ouple of real events that actually happened, and ask you what is more dignified.
Several years ago, my wife and I opted to not take the insurance that was offered to us by the companies we worked for. Some months later, we found out that we were expeting our first child. We were unable to get on insurane then, so we looked at paying out of pocket. That was not a possibility either. Keep in mind, this is when I had no probelm with government welfare. When my wife applied for the insurane program, she was told that she probably would not qualify. When my wife asked why, she was told that she was white, and looked rich.
A few years later, we hit a rough patch, and hat to move in with some friends for a few months. We also had a couple thousand dollars in back rent from the place we moved from. When I approached the deacons at church, they couldn’t wait to help take care of that, along with a few other needs we had at the time. Within 36 hours, checks were made out to the people we owed money to. The deacons also offered help with financial planning, and help in looking for a second job for me, to get us through the rest of the rough patch?
Now, which is more dignified, getting marginalized because of race, or having people beg to be the ones that bring the help? You keep your government welfare, I pick the church.
Someone again (Cushy, is that you?): Despite the fact in a WHO survey
Paul: Yes, we should trust the WHO, they never get it wrong. And if their findings are not politically correct (like their supressed tobaco study) they have a real reason beyond politics for supressing it.
Cushy: Well we gave up on charismatic individuals and miracles as they were a bit unreliable. We went in for solid, comprehensive, reliable, publically funded healthcare.
Paul: No, you just traded philosophies, you still go on charismatic leaders and miricles. Public health care is far from solid. I just found out that an acquantence of mine from Canada, is imigrating to the US because he has had enough of the Canadian system. He tried to pay out of pocket, but that was a nightmare. He came to the states for his health care, and now is trying to get a job here, and leave Canada. His experience is not as glowing as yours seems to be.
Payshun: You really don’t know much about how the Genesis account was written do you? Do you have a lot of Jewish friends?
Paul: I don’t think that I know anyone who is Jewish. However, I interpret Scripture with Scripture. THe best way to view the OT, is to find out how Jesus and the writers of the NT viewed it. We an’t do that? Yes we can.
Rom 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
1Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
In all of these instanes, Adam was compared to real living human beings, not myths. It is illogical to make such a comparison if the Genesis account is not a real event in time-space history. While my explaination is rough, let me recommend “Genesis in Time and Space” by Dr Francis Schaeffer. He developes this far better than I can in this forum.
Payshun: Got to love evangelicals, clueless as ever. Can the gospel balance your checkbook? Can the gospel make it rain? Can the gospel create the schematics to build a bridge or grow a plant? No it was not designed to that silly. It was designed to unite Man back to God. It can’t do everything.
Paul: You are asuming that these minute details happen in a vacuum. The Gospel changes how I spend money. It changes how I view the reated order, and gives me a basis for being a good stewart of the earth. The Gospel gives me a reason to finds a vocation that uses all of the gifts that He bestows on me, not for my own sake, but for the sake of advancing His Kingdom. Dutch theologian and statesman said it something like this, “There is not one corner in the whole of creation that Jesus Christ, who is soverign over all, does not cry our, ‘Mine!'”.
Payshun: Unversal brotherhood of all mankind existed in the mythic story of the tower of Babel. They all had one tongue, one language, one culture. The story of Abel’s murder is a call for mankind to look out for all mankind to take whoever hears it as their brother and by that become man’s keeper.
Paul: I think you are streaching that quite a bit. Look at Genesis 1:26:
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God created man in His image. We are His image bearers. Brotherhood is reserved for His elect. Nonetheless, we are to treat fellow image bearers acording to His revealed will. That far more radically changes how we view Hitler, Pol Pot, Hussein, et al, than just this idea of the brotherhood of all mankind.
Payshun: You really are clueless. In case you have not noticed I know the warped teachings of Luther very well.
Paul: I have noticed that, however why do you view Luthers teachings to be warped? I know he carried a few things with him when he was kicked out of the Roman church, but what did he teach that was out of line with the Scripture?
Payshun: I am not an evangelical so I could not care less about those folks you mentioned. The people that lived the gospel for me are: St. Theresa, Hildegard, St. John of the Cross, St Patrick, the Desert Fathers… They preached it and they lived it. They suffered for their faith and did not settle for dead faith of evangelicalism.
Paul: Are you Roman Catholic? I do not intend for that to sound accusatory, I am just trying to understand yor presuppositions a little better. To be fair, I am conservative presbyterian (PCA). I fall closer to Kuyperian thought than the “high-calvinism” that is more esoteri in nature. Kuyper, Chalmbers, Sproul, Dr. George Grant, Luther, Clavin, all of these guys got their hands dirty, and gave their lives away for the sake of the Gospel.
Payshun: God bless you Paul. May your ministry and fruit grow abundantly. May your life reflect our Father’s love for all. Blessings and love be upon you.
Paul: Thank you. And may the Gospel of Jesus drive you to further His kindness, and mercy.
Payshun: One more thing God wants to use the government to help people.
Paul: Can you give me the chapter and verse on that?



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Payshun

posted October 5, 2007 at 12:29 am


Paul:
Can you give me the chapter and verse on that?
Me:
Well considering the United States was not founded till nearly 2000 years later no. But I can show instances where God used pagan nations to feed the world. he does this consistently throughout every culture and calls the nations to love mercy and look out for the poor. Besides ask him
Paul:
Are you Roman Catholic?
Me:
God no, I don’t like worshipping the church. But I am a liberal contemplative. All the mystical traditions of Christianity are things that inform my faith. From the orthodox to the Coptic, to the Protestant to the Catholic and a little beyond.
Paul asked:
I have noticed that, however why do you view Luthers teachings to be warped?
Me:
Well because some of them are. Like his hatred of Jews for one thing. His avoidance of the strong and ancient history of Christian mystical teachings. He was a catholic that ignored what founded him. It was sad. His classism and belief in the rich over the poor was absolutely heretical. I guess that’s enough.
Well first off I was not referring to that part of Genesis. Second the implication of universal brotherhood is implicit in the question “am I my brother’s keeper?” Second Jesus himself identifies w/ convicts, and sinners so strongly that he calls us to visit and love convicts saying that when we do it them we are doing it him. Since we are one w/ him that would mean that we are one w/ the prisoners and convicts meaning we are all one under God.
Paul:
You are asuming that these minute details happen in a vacuum.
Me:
No I don’t. I just understand the gospel has limits. Jesus doesn’t. But the gospel he proclaimed is by it’s nature limited. It can’t build a house but it can influence you to build one. See the difference.
You:
It is illogical to make such a comparison if the Genesis account is not a real event in time-space history.
Me:
Well considering the Genesis account is actually high poetry from the near east it’s hard to tell what is exactly literal. The creation of the universe for instance could not have happened the way Genesis chapter one described because we know that the stars were created first before the planets. Genesis says differently. That doesn’t mean an Adam did not exist but quite honestly I can’t know for sure. I can trust but it’s not the same thing, unless you have pictures or something?
p



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Elizabeth Schmitz

posted October 5, 2007 at 12:56 pm


From Schmitz Blitz: schmitzblitz.wordpress.com
With regard to all of this SCHIP business, the Economist tries to account for the rationale behind the President’s veto, noting:

Neither fiscal restraint nor the veto pen has characterized President George Bush’s time in the White House. America continues to run a deficit, and Mr. Bush has vetoed only three bills in his whole tenure. But now that he has a Democratic Congress to battle with, the president is promising to be tougher.

Mr. Greenstein [of the Centre on Budge and Policy Priorities] speculates that the president is really trying to force Congress to attach the health care tax-incentive proposal he unveiled in January. An aversion ot government-run health-care programmes and new taxes—a tobacco-tax increase would fund the SCHIP expansion—may also be driving Mr. Bush’s opposition. Or he may simply be trying to reestablish his credentials as a fiscal conservative

In adding to Bush’s reasons behind the veto, I argue that moral reasoning also played a role. I base my analysis off of the book Moral Politics by Berkeley Linguistics Professor George Lakoff. Lakoff argues that the liberal/conservative split over key issues is based on more than just partisan politics—he argues that these differences “arise from radically different conceptions of morality and ideal family life—meaning that family and morality are at the heart of American politics.”
Lakoff offers two structural models for the ideal family—the Strict Father model and the Nurturant Parent model. ‘Conservatives’ tend to prefer the former, ‘liberals’ the latter. From these differing conceptions of the ideal family, arise different moral systems for discerning what is good.
Lakoff characterizes the Strict Father model as:

A traditional nuclear family, with the father having primary responsibility for supporting and protecting the family as well as the authority to set overall family policy. He teaches children right from wrong by setting strict rules for their behavior and enforcing them through punishment…He also gains their cooperation by showing love and appreciation when they do follow the rules. But children must never be coddled, lest they become spoiled; a spoiled child will be dependent for life and will not learn proper morals.

If you accept Lakoff’s thesis, then President Bush’s veto of SCHIP makes perfect sense, assuming he adheres to the Conservative/Strict Father moral worldview (a pretty safe assumption I’d say, noting the President’s deep devotion to a conservative strain of Christianity, which espouse traditional family values).
The President would see SCHIP as undermining the ‘traditional’ family that his whole moral system is based upon. He would see SCHIP as transferring the responsibility of providing for the family from the father to the government. This diminution of the father’s authority strikes the heart of the Strict Father moral worldview. If this primary tenet is struck, then the whole moral conception loosens and waivers. In vetoing SCHIP, the President may believe that he is maintaining the very foundation his moral system—the authoritarian patriarchal father figure.



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Katherine Wall

posted October 6, 2007 at 1:16 pm


Well noted, Jim. As a Canadian, I will never understand all this US fuss about “socialized medicine”, because nobody in the US is advocating government-run health care. They are advocating government provision of funds for health insurance so that people too poor to buy it can receive care from private health care institutions.
The market does fine in terms of commodity purchases (ie, controlling the price and avaliability of items which are not necessities, and which are sold for profit). But it cannot ensure the provision of services where the ultimate goal is not profit, but the public good. This is why there is public education, this is why water and electricity are provided by governments, and this is why the government must intervene to see that all people can recieve health care, regardless of income levels.
The Bible places strong emphasis on how we treat the poor, and as such this IS a moral issue.



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