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Jesus Creed


A Sri Lankan Christian asks us a question

posted by Scot McKnight

This from Vinoth Ramachandra… please read it all if you can, but here’s a clip of the end of the piece. What would you say to the question at the end? And I’d love to hear some Republican Christians explain this, and I mean that only in a good sense. One thing that has been missing in our public rhetoric is a clear Republican explanation of how to handle the problem of the lack of health care for so many.

Our health depends so much on factors outside our control. Being born into a poor family means that we have poor nourishment, less access to information about health and nutrition,  more exposure to pollutants, less educational skills and job security, lack of political influence, and so on. This is what makes the right-wing rhetoric about “personal responsibility” for health mere hypocritical cant.

Economists limit their discussions of healthcare to the provision of medical services. But healthcare involves much more than good hospitals: concern for social justice in healthcare forces us to look at everything from sanitation, waste disposal, and climate change to the ethics of TV advertisements and food companies, the quality of secondary education and disparities in income and work opportunities. Prevention is far more effective than cures- and prevention mostly requires cash transfers to develop education and infrastructure, whereas curative medicine absorbs real resources.

Most of us non-Americans are naturally nonplussed at the fury that Barak Obama’s health care reform bill has unleashed. It perplexes us that so many suburban American Christians who do not care one iota about a trillion-dollar military budget, and wax eloquently about being zealously “pro-life”, are now indignant about their state spending public funds to make the poor Americans more equal to them when it comes to receiving medical treatment and enjoying good health! Please, could some Republican party Christian explain these anomalies to the rest of the Body of Christ around the world?



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Matt

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm


Well said. As a Christian who lives in Canada, I have wondered the same thing.



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Nancy

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm


As a Christian who lives in the United States, I have wondered the same thing.



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Jon Snyder

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm


I think this excerpt creates a straw man argument against those who oppose the healthcare bill. For starters, nobody I have heard in the past year has claimed that the system is good as it currently is. Nobody I have heard has claimed that our current healthcare state is primarily an issue of personal responsibility. Nobody I have heard has claimed that healthcare is purely a commodity (though some say it might not be an inalienable right). Nobody I have heard is satisfied with the status quo.
Further:
Virtually every state currently has programs to help those who cannot afford medical care get the care they need. Under the current system, nobody will be refused care they need based on their ability to pay (a common misconception).
The primary problems most republicans have with the healthcare bill focus on the lack of integrity used in passing the bill, the financial viability of the bill as presented, and the fact that the government has passed a giant, comprehensive bill:
-loaded without pork without listening to the American people,
-without debating the issues with the promised transparency this administration was supposed to bring,
-while breaking promises of waiting 5 days to sign the bill, .
Instead of passing a series of smaller, transparent bills focused on fixing the problem rather than taking controll of one of the largest industries in the united states.
Sadly, the bill has become an economic, not medical one.



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Jon Snyder

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm


One could also ask the question of how this bill actually provides insurance or healthcare to those same people mentioned in the article.



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Larry

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm


I think there are a couple of issues here that are important. It’s more complex than simply “why do rich Americans not want everyone to have good health care.” I doubt there is any American who does not want everyone to have good health care. The difference is in how to go about a good goal. Being opposed to this bill is not the same thing as being opposed to health care or wanting people to not have health care.
Here are some issues for consideration.
1. Military vs. health — For many the issue is the Constitution. The constitution (by which America should be governed) declares military to be a legitimate federal pursuit, but does not include health care. Health care, by the Constitution, is left to the states to regulate. The constitutional argument is a significant. There are a lot of things that may be good that are not the purview of the federal government. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them; it means that they should be done another way.
2. This trillion dollar bill is widely agreed on by both sides as not addressing actual issues like costs. It does not bring down the cost of care. Therefore, it is misguided from the beginning. It spends a lot of money and does not solve the problem. Let’s face it, if health care were important, it wouldn’t be put off until 2014 like it is in this bill.
3. Abortion — Part of the opposition was over the use of federal funds for abortion. Whether or not that is actually in the bill remains to be seen. If it is, the executive order means nothing. The Democrats could have easily had health care months ago if they had been willing to drop the abortion issue. But they weren’t. There were some very vocal pro-abortion Congresspeople who said essentially, “No abortion, no bill.” So their primary concern wasn’t health care, it was abortion.
4. Health care accessibility — No one in America is denied health care. It is already illegal to deny health care to someone who needs it simply because they cannot pay for it. We can say it isn’t equal health care, and it isn’t. But it isn’t anywhere in the world. And nothing else is equal either. Some people live in nice houses and others in bad houses. We don’t need a bill trying to rectify that. It is simply a recognized fact of life all over.
5. Good health — Much of bad health in America is due to lifestyle. Many health problems could be solved simply by changing one’s lifestyle. It doesn’t take a government mandated health plan to do that.
6. Mandated health care — Many people don’t have health care because they don’t want it. They could afford it, but choose not to. It is not the government’s legitimate role to require anyone to buy anything. To make it available is a good thing. To make it free is probably not a good thing. To make it mandatory is definitely not a good thing.
7. Money issues — Many people who don’t have health care have several cars, cable TV and internet, cell phones. They eat out regularly (usually junk food). The point is that many people without health care could have health care with some spending adjustments. I buy my own health care and that means I do without some things I could otherwise have. There are some people who can’t afford it; there are some who do not want to prioritize their money. We have to see both sides of it.



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Mark Baker-Wright

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm


Nobody I have heard has claimed that our current healthcare state is primarily an issue of personal responsibility.
While won’t say anyone has explicitly said what you say here, I think the “personal responsibility” mantra has been repeated so often, and yes, in debates about health care, that I do not think that saying that Christians on the “right” believe this at all unfair.
Nobody I have heard is satisfied with the status quo.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone would say that. However, I honestly think this is far more political than rational. While no one would say so, and perhaps few would even admit it to themselves, I think you’ll find a LOT of people who would rather have the “status quo” than any reform that find it’s origins in the “wrong” political party. The rage we’re currently seeing has little to do with the actual content (which few people are even familiar with) and everything to do with coming from (in this case) a Democratic president and congress.



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Kenny Johnson

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm


@Jon “Under the current system, nobody will be refused care they need based on their ability to pay (a common misconception).”
Are you sure about that? Emergency care, yes, but what about care for chronic illnesses like mental health, cancer, diabetes, etc. etc. Does our current system really protect those people? Why are so many people forced into bankruptcy for medical bills if everyone who can’t afford medical care are getting it for free?
And Republicans were against the bill from Day 1 — not for any of the reasons you said, but for purely political/strategic reasons.



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Steve S

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm


I think it is misdirection to talk about this bill helping poor people. The poor aren’t the ones who are uninsured. It is the lower middle class that is uninsured.



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Rick

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm


Kenny #7-
“but for purely political/strategic reasons.”
I was not aware that the Republicans had said that.
Please give some sources or evidence.



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MattR

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Great question!
At the end of the day, these are some of the real issues for those of us who support health care reform, and think this bill though not perfect, takes us in a positive direction.
Jon Snyder,
Your comments echo a lot of what I hear Republicans and conservatives say… but it still doesn’t answer the question, ‘how do we get health care to everyone, especially those for whom there is currently injustice in health care!’ And no, I don’t think a few “small” proposals will fix such a big problem.
About debate and transparency: Has any bill ever been so hotly, and so openly debated for so long… It’s been a year, where we know every detail of the deals made etc, seems like a pretty transparent process to me!
About listening to the people: The people spoke when they elected their senators, and when they elected Obama as President… and he promised to do to this! Elections have consequences. What about the voice of the people who elected these congress people and this Pres knowing they would try to pass a “big” heal care bill… don’t their voices doesn’t count?!
I think the reality from my perspective is, the current conservative side hasn’t and can’t provide an answer, because of a few reasons:
-Ideological. There is a basic ideological divide here, Rs think health care is a market commodity and is a privilege not a right… therefore we should make the market more humane but don’t need to make sure everyone is insured. Ds think it’s a right. And, in general, Rs are against anything that involves ‘government’ instead of just the ‘market’ solving problems…
However, many of us think the health care system is such a big problem the market alone can’t do it, and we need to get past ideology towards solutions that work, and those are often hybrids between markets and governments, which is what this current bill is trying to do.
-Not to mention the political calculation… the leadership of the Rs in congress clearly thinks mis-characterizing this bill, and trying to block Pres Obama is a ‘win’ for them. I think it will eventually backfire on them.



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Kenny Johnson

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm


Rick,
How about the fact that not a single Republican voted for it? How about the fact that they’re already trying to use it for the upcoming midterm elections? How about the fact that Republicans have pretty much been obstructionists with everything the Dems have tried to do so far?



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Mike

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm


Why must everyone have health care? That has never been answered or even asked. For this one reason, you ask it and the retort is, “Do you have it?” If you answer yes, then you are immediately dismissed. If you answer no, and tell people you do not expect your neighbor to pay for your health care, they roll their eyes. The problem is we want equal outcomes under the guise of fairness. Fairness is built into a system. It is not outcomes.
Somehow we believe that in “the greatest nation in the world” this illness or this malady should not happen. No, it will happen because life itself is unfair. We attack the outcome instead of looking at the system.
I remember as a kid my parents only had major medical (like every other family) and the doctor office visit was $25. Today my health care provider doesn’t accept insurance. So it costs me $30 to see them. How in 30 years did the price go up only $5? Compare that to the rest of health care costs. It does not make sense. The explanation is simple. Government got directly involved. Any place government gets directly involved it causes problems with normal economic balance. Government choose this route. They could have exerted their influence in indirect ways that could have prevented an inflexibility within the system. Take out this inflexibility and prices will reduce. My current health care provider is an example of that. Another is lasik surgery.
Furthermore, there are Christian health care plans. $200 per month. You may not have all the bells and whistles but it does provide a service.
To view the military as something other than defense is another problem with the argument presented. Rightly or wrongly, the U.S. has adopted the same basic strategy the British did in regards to foreign policy. It has traces of being an Empire. The U.S. acts as an arbitrator within geo-political landscape. Trying to balance powers between each other. Trying to make sure neither one is strong enough to take out the other. In order to do this, the U.S. uses military presence. It is a like being a policeman on patrol. Just by being visible people will behave. I think this has merits of mercy and affirms the value of life. Our presence keeps war from breaking out. The problem is the U.S. is not everywhere and has not stopped all wars from breaking out. I personally do not like this theory. But I do believe it does, as best as man can, create peace.
I find it more interesting that Republicans Christians must defend themselves and Democrat Christians are not required to.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm


@ 12 Mike
“I find it more interesting that Republicans Christians must defend themselves and Democrat Christians are not required to.”
Really? This might cut both ways but you honestly don’t see Christians that vote democrat having to defend that they love Jesus?
And Christian Healthcare Plans are covered under the bill. But they don’t cover non-Christians so I think a case could be made that we still need something more.



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Scot McKnight

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm


Mike #12,
Not sure that last line is true or fair. The Dems have fought for this on the basis of the millions who are uinsured etc.
The particular beef many observers, and someone like this person in Sri Lanka, seems to come to this question, which is a good one but needs nuance of course: What are the Republicans doing and proposing about the problems posed by this health care/insurance reform?
Personally, I think that is a good question, and one I’d like to see Republicans discuss and answer and show that they’ve got enough conviction about it to show their own actions and proposals. (Not that I”m saying I totally agree with this bill.)



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Daniel Rose

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm


The reason we have this problem to begin with is because we as the church has abdicated our responsibility to care for the poor, dispossessed, widow, and orphan. Many, dare I say most, of the hospitals in this country were created by the church. The church has since abdicated responsibility and the government has stepped in.
The church is concerned with the redemption of all things. This includes bringing justice for those who need it. The underemployed in this country experience great injustice in our system (even beyond health care). Will the church step in and help or will we continue to abdicate to local, state, and federal government?



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steve sherwood

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm


Rick,
Sen. Jim DeMint (R) ?If we?re able to stop Obama on this (healthcare) it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.?
This was said at the beginning of the process as Mark Baker states.



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Rick

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm


Kenny #11-
Maybe it is because they actually disagree with the proposed policies.
But that is not what you orginally said. You claimed it was just politics. So please provide sources that support such a claim.
I am sure you would not want me to say, “the Democrats only want to raise taxes and spend money just so they can stay in power”, without some proof.



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nick gill

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm


The issue is not with public funds being spent to help the poor. Medicare, Medicaid, etc already do that.
The problem I have is that the Tenth Amendment specifically reserves unenumerated powers (like requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance) from the federal government. That is precisely why income tax had to be passed as an amendment to the Constitution.
Further, if the Democrats are correct and a Constitutional right to privacy protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, the same right to privacy should protect my medical records from being collected in a central government database.
Finally, this particular statement: “It perplexes us that so many suburban American Christians who do not care one iota about a trillion-dollar military budget” is a straw-man of the highest order. Many Republican Christians (not to mention Christians like myself with libertarian leanings) are deeply troubled by the size of the military budget and the interventionist strategy of the Bush Doctrine.
So, in conclusion:
1) I, at least, am not troubled by government funds being spent – I’m troubled by Americans being illegally obligated to purchase health insurance.
2) I don’t trust any principality and/or power of this world to have anyone’s best interests at heart but its own. I’m deeply skeptical, and thus I’d like the government to collect as little information about me as possible.
3) I’m all about smaller government, period.



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Rick

posted March 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm


Steve #16-
First, that is just one representative saying that.
Second, even if others agree with him, it does not indicate just a “political” or selfish motive. He, and others, may actually disagree with the effectiveness of the policie(s), so hope to limit its (their) implementation.



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Larry

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Steve Sherwood (#16) says, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) ?If we?re able to stop Obama on this (healthcare) it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.?
This was said at the beginning of the process as Mark Baker states.

At the beginning of the process, weren’t the basics pretty well known? A lot of people knew from day one what was being proposed and what the effects would be. Remember, this was not new. People knew what was being talked about for years. And yes, stopping it would have had great affects on Obama’s ability to govern, which would have been a good thing wouldn’t it? Is anyone here in favor of spending the amount of money he is spending? Bush spent way too much, as did Clinton, Bush, and Reagan before him. But Obama is outdoing them all.
Scot (#14) says, What are the Republicans doing and proposing about the problems posed by this health care/insurance reform?
Several things like (1) interstate insurance purchasing (which would lower costs dramatically by creating competition), (2) tort reform (which would lower costs by lowering insurance premiums), (3) lower taxes (meaning more in pocket money to pay for insurance and health care). The Republicans offered a number of options, but the Dems had the majority and were going to do it their way. Remember Obama to Cantor: “We won”?
My own health insurance premium went up by 30% this year, and that was after I switched plans because my old one went up even more several years ago. On top of that, because I am individually insured, my premiums are taxable. A simple solution is make the premiums an above the line deduction (dollar for dollar reducing tax liability).
Again, the Dems (and someone here) commented on the Republicans obstructing. The bigger question is why aren’t the Dems obstructing this? Where are they when we need someone to stand up for us?



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samb

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm


What are the Republicans doing and proposing about the problems posed by this health care/insurance reform?
Can someone answer this question with proposals for improving health care?



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Mike

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm


#13 Rick,
I see your point. It is I do not believe that a Christian can vote democrat. I do not see their justification other than the uninsured are uninsured. This is not a biblical position. Of course this is a generalization about the bill.
#14 Scot,
For me it goes back to rights, God and God alone it the person who gives rights. Not the federal government.
So as I read the bible I see we take care of those who cannot take care of themselves: Medicare and Medicaid. These are people who lack the ability to pay (in theory)for their medical coverage.
I believe this bill address the other inequalities to lifetime limits, pre-existing condition, and portability of insurance. These items also are biblical. This bill may not address them sufficiently but it might be a step in the right direction
Again, what I see as unbiblical is calling health care a right and the unintended consequence of rationing care that will happen. Massachusetts has double the wait time to see a doctor as the national average. If life is precious, then wait times must be reduced. This legislation will not do that.
The rationing of care will happen. I am not trying to be inflammatory. We are already in a doctor shortage. There are counties in southern Indiana they have 1 doctor for the county. This is even before the passage of the legislation. The county I grew up in southern Ohio currently does not have a pediatrician. This point is where Christian democrats fail in the argument. There thinking becomes inconsistent. It moves from principle timeless)to temporal. And in effect, goes back to an original point, fairness is not about outcomes. Fairness is about access.



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steve sherwood

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm


Larry #20 states
“And yes, stopping it would have had great affects on Obama’s ability to govern, which would have been a good thing wouldn’t it?”
Perhaps I am reading more into your statement than you intend, but is your assumption that everyone posting on this site (it is a Christian site after all) voted against Obama and wants his presidency to fail? If so, that seems like quite a sweeping assumption.
Have we (myself included) lost the very good questions raised in Scot’s initital post?



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oldfuzz

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm


“…could some Republican party Christian explain these anomalies…”
No, they can’t… but they’re right.



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ChrisB

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm


I’m going to try to be nice here, but bear with me.
Has anyone noticed that we’re not in Sri Lanka? No offense intended to the author of our question, but the US is not a third-world country. Until you get to the absolutely dirt poor — a tiny fraction of American society — the difference between rich and poor on “nourishment, … access to information about health and nutrition, and …exposure to pollutants” as well as sanitation, etc, is tiny. In reality, we take darn good care of our poor. The middle class often gets the shaft (too wealthy to get help, too poor to not need it), but our poor have a pretty good deal.
The fury at Obama et al is based on 1) their determination to do what most Americans are against 2) namely go with a big-government approach that has failed in many states and many other countries 3) and run up a huge debt when we’re already broke 4) and eventually raise taxes when we feel like we give the government enough money that it wastes 5)and they show no willingness whatsoever to even consider that there may be another way to approach this problem.
Finally, you have to consider that our Constitution carefully spells out what the federal government can and cannot do. Some don’t give a rip, but some of us think it’s very important. If nothing else, if we can’t trust them to obey Article I section 8, how can we trust them to obey the First Amendment?
The argument in our country has NOT been over ObamaCare vs the status quo. It has been over big-government state-directed reform vs small-government market-based reform. IT’S THE ARGUMENT WE HAVE ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY.



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Mike

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm


I see a problem with my responses above (#12 & #22). I have answered the question as an American Christian instead of a Kingdom Christian. I need to re-think this.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm


@25 John Frye
Bottom line, on the televised health care reform summit, the main talking point from the Republicans was “we have to start over before we can begin.” Then, when they finally shared some of their ideas regarding malpractice, fraud, etc, something amazing happened- many of their ideas were incorporated into the bill that was passed without any Republican support.
The GOP went all in and lost. Now their only hope is to make the Democrats appear to have forced something down our throats when the only thing Obama and the Democrats did was follow through on his campaign promise. Heck, it’s not even a public option plan- that’s a massive compromise in itself.



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Mark Baker-Wright

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm


#22,
There’s a lot of use of the word “unbiblical” here that I think is wholly uncalled for. I’m not saying that the Bible specifically addresses government-run (or at least -moderated) health care, but certainly there are principles in the Bible telling us how we (both as individuals AND as governments, I would argue) should treat other people.
How would you react if I said democracy was “unbiblical”? It’s not mentioned in the Bible, either (indeed, how could it have been?).
Of course, I don’t democracy is unbiblical. But I do think it’s exactly as “unbiblical” as these thoughts about health care are. Just because something isn’t explicitly mentioned doesn’t mean that’s it’s forbidden for Christians to care about.
Calling something “unbiblical” is a bit of a discussion-stopper anyway. We really should just stop using that word in these contexts.



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John W Frye

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm


Richard (27),
Time and again the R’s approached Obama’s administration with ideas to reform the health care industry. You know and I know they were purposely shut out. At the televised meeting you reference, the R’s had nothing to do but critique the Senate Bill (which is a fiscal nightmare and solves nothing health care-wise). Yes, the public option as we knew it is out, but the demands placed upon the insurance companies in the passed Senate Bill guarantees their demise in 2 – 4 years and the only health insurance provider will be the government–the single plan option. The D’s had a plan B if Plan A failed on the public option. Anyone who reads BOTH sides knows this stuff.
BTW, I asked Scot to delete my comment #25 because it was unnecessary and sassy. I am sorry.



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Larry

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm


Steve (#23) says Perhaps I am reading more into your statement than you intend, but is your assumption that everyone posting on this site (it is a Christian site after all) voted against Obama and wants his presidency to fail? If so, that seems like quite a sweeping assumption.
Have we (myself included) lost the very good questions raised in Scot’s initital post?

Two issues you raise, and I will address them quickly:
First, I am not assuming everyone here voted against him. But isn’t it becoming increasingly obvious that the policies of Obama are not good for our country, no matter who you voted for? He has not bettered the financial state. The country is in worse financial shape than ever, and that’s saying a lot based on the previous administration. He has spent money hand over fist. There is no justification for this kind of spending, and I don’t think many (if any) would dispute that. He has not bettered the job market (not the government can do much about that anyway). He hasn’t helped the housing crisis. His health care plan is atrocious to say the least. His foreign policy is laughable. I admittedly am no fan of Obama, nor was I of Bush, but I find it hard to think of anything good that Obama has done.
So why wouldn’t you want his policies to fail? They aren’t good politics and they aren’t good policies. And I think most Republican policies are bad too. Obama campaigned on some stuff that would have been decent, but he hasn’t done it. But I don’t want to sidetrack this, so let’s not get too far afield here.
Second, I and others have given some fairly concrete answers to Scot’s original question including arguments against the very premise of the question. I have listed a number of alternatives that the Republicans have brought up. So no, I don’t think we are missing the point of Scot’s post.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm


Re: 27, the comment I responded to has been deleted apparently, as noted in #29
@25 ChrisB
“Has anyone noticed that we’re not in Sri Lanka? No offense intended to the author of our question, but the US is not a third-world country. Until you get to the absolutely dirt poor — a tiny fraction of American society — the difference between rich and poor on “nourishment, … access to information about health and nutrition, and …exposure to pollutants” as well as sanitation, etc, is tiny. In reality, we take darn good care of our poor. The middle class often gets the shaft (too wealthy to get help, too poor to not need it), but our poor have a pretty good deal”
Can you unpack that for me because that’s a bold statement to make. I’ve worked in Haiti and I’ve worked in the US and while the scale might be different, the issues are the same. There is real squalor here that human beings shouldn’t have to be born into, let alone say in.
Re: your points about Health Care Reform Law:
1) does your view change in light of the recent poll that the majority of Americans are glad the bill passed?
3) CBO says it will decrease the deficit, not run up more debt.
4) I’m okay with taxes going up as long services are improved
5) The debate was over a year long and they held a nationally/internationally televised summit where the Democrats incorporated many Republican ideas and even backed away from a single-payer system… that sounds like a willingness to consider all approaches except absolute capitulation.
And while the Constitution is important, to claim that it is clear and absolutely spells this out ignores the reality that we have professionals that dedicate whole careers to constitutional law and still have disagreements. Those arguing on behalf of health care reform would suggest that it’s allowed under the federal power to regulate interstate commerce, especially in regard to the general good.
@ Mike 26
Great example sir. I have tremendous respect for that kind of humility.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm


@ 30 Larry
The first two items you mentioned, Tort Reform and interstate exchanges (Sec. 1333 I think) are addressed in the bill. There are also credits to help people pay for insurance and tax credits for small businesses…
I’m not sure the financial mess of the country is because of Obama, as you admit. Not sure what miracle you were expecting but I’m impressed that things aren’t worse.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm


The health care debate is matter of figuring out how to justly allocate a limited good and the trade-off between efficiency and equity.
One way to allocate health care is first come, first serve ? those that can get in line at the service provider first, win. Or we could just say everybody gets the same allotment of health care no matter what their health issues are. Another way would be to have health care godfathers with control over care where the way to get care is to get on the good his good side as a loyal patron. Or we could simply have open conflict and those with the most firepower win. All of these are tried in various contexts and they are both horribly inefficient and inequitable ways to allocate goods.
Another option is the auction method. People take responsibility for themselves, sell their labor or goods made from their labor, and use proceeds to bid for what they need at the auction. More bids for something brings more suppliers into the auction and they begin to compete for customers. If people want more of something they find ways to shift spending priorities or to make more money. Suppliers find ways to cut costs and attract more customers. The auction method becomes a real time feedback loop efficiently moving resources to those who most desire the goods. It effectively links the production of goods with consumption. But hold on a minute.
Health care isn?t just a matter of whether to drive a GEO versus a Lexus. We are in many cases talking about the ability to live is a vibrant and productive human being. Apart from the purely moral question of aiding another in need is the crass economic question of decreased productivity and vitality due to incapacitated citizens ? which is to say there is a significant economic impact on the public when there is inadequate health care. We publically fund education because of the positive spillover effect education has for the community versus leaving it purely up individual choices which may be influenced by an inability to afford an education otherwise.
But health care is different from education. The cost of educating one high school student is pretty much the same as educating another. But health care costs can vary widely from person to person. So rather than calculating the number of students and multiplying by a dollar amount, we must equitably allocate according to each particular individual. But what constitutes equitable? Where is the ?Great Mind? who knows every circumstance and can allocat the care according to some prioritizing standard assuming we could get everyone to agree on what an equitable standard would be?
So we could can have a market that would efficiently allocate health care services but only for those with the resources to participate in the auction. Or we could attempt to distribute equitably without market discipline to keep prices in check, thus making the system grossly inefficient for society. The conservative that balks at finding ways to make the system more equitable is being morally irresponsible in letting others go without care and placing a significant drain on the economy. The liberal who ignores the need for allocation efficiency and competitive cost control is equally irresponsible for wasting resources and almost certainly diminishing the quality of care for many.



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Brad

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm


I’m not sure that arguments about the federal government mandating or providing health care being unconstitutional will fly. Sure the constitution doesn’t mandate it, but it sure seems to allow it. It allows for taxing income. It allows the federal government to “promote the general welfare.” The federal government currently taxes people’s income based on a variety of situations and gives credits and deductions for all sorts of things. It’s apparently constitutional for them to tax income if someone doesn’t buy health care (though there may be some quibbling over it being called a fine in the bill instead of a tax.) The federal government also already currently spends tax money on providing health care for certain people, namely the poor and elderly via medicaid and medicare, albeit somewhat indirectly and that is not considered unconstitutional.
I guess I can see a distinction being made between spending money for the military and for spending money on health care in that one is definitely mandated by the constitution (provide for the common defense) while the other is merely allowed (promote the general welfare.) But for Christians, we are commanded as believers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick. We are not commanded to defend our country with military might. So one might say that health care is a higher priority for believers than military. But we are not commanded to heal the sick by using the military power of government to force others to provide money for healing the sick. And that is essentially what is happening here.
But on the other hand, in the form of government we have here in the U.S. we are allowed to participate in governance. So we may bear some of the same responsibilities (and rights?) to govern in a godly way as kings and other rulers in the Bible. In that case, we would need to honor the law (the constitution) and provide for the common defense. But as participants we are not prohibited Biblically from feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick, are we? Even the kings listed in the Bible as godly taxed their citizens and used the money as they saw fit. Can’t we do the same? Or more precisely, can’t we elect rulers who do the same? Shouldn’t we?



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Dan

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm


The Republican proposals were apparently first introduced a couple of years ago. Some detail can be found at Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” site:
http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=8516
Highlights, from “The Daily Caller”:
Health Care
? Provides a refundable tax credit ? $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families ? to purchase coverage in any state, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs.
? Allows Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of options by using the tax credit to purchase high-quality care.
Medicare
? Establishes and fully funds Medical Savings Accounts for low-income beneficiaries to cover out-of-pocket costs, while continuing to allow all beneficiaries, regardless of income, to set up tax-free MSAs.
Social Security
? Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to federal employees.
Tax Reform
? Provides taxpayers a choice of how to pay their income taxes ? through existing law, or through a highly simplified income tax system that fits on a postcard with just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions, credits or exclusions (except the health care tax credit).
? Promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends and eliminates the death tax.
Richard 32. I’m not sure the concessions to the Republicans such as the interstate exchanges go far enough, but you are correct they represent a small nod to bipartisanship.
But, really. At some point Obama has to take some responsibility for the economic mess. Personal income is down, unemployment has been hovering near 10% for months, new home sales are horrible. The CBO reported today that Obama’s policies could raise the national debt to 90% of the GDP by 2020. This bill will worsen the economy and will not address the real causes of the health care mess.



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gingoro

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:16 pm


wrote out a long comment but got the captcha code wrong and it threw my text away even though it said that my text was preserved. I really hate automation that lies. The message should read “your text may or may not be preserved”.
Dave W



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steve sherwood

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm


The stock market has stabilized and rebounded. The banking industry has not fallen into the abyss. The job market is slowly improving. We just signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. Insurance companies can no longer kick you off their roles for having a pre-existing condition. Personally, I think it is appropriate that the U.S. begin to consider the Palestinian side of issues in Israel and not just Israel’s (not suggesting we be anti-Israel, just balanced).
Obama hasn’t done everything I hoped he would, but given the status of things in the summer and fall of ’08, I’m not too disappointed.



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Jeremy

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm


John (29), big points for use of the word ‘sassy’! I love the use of ‘rare’ words. (;
Anyway, I think the original questions are quite valid. I know a large number of Christians in my hometown (I currently live in Canada for reasons other than politics) that do not view the welfare of others as their concern (and I don’t mean Welfare); not in any real sense anyway…Maybe they do the occasional fundraiser or volunteer in a soup kitchen once a year, but things like health care only figure in to their minds as far as it affects their pocket book. They toss the occasional tithe at the church and feel good about the missions work it does on their behalf.
I also honestly do not understand how someone can subscribe to the idea of the Cross and sacrificial calling while insisting that others do not have the right to good health. Is that truly love for others when we are more concerned that our own personal care may suffer under the strain of the unwashed masses? Can we honestly take a pro-life stance which protects the unborn but gives no real value to those of us who made it into the world?
This is not to endorse the current reform as, frankly, I don’t know enough about it and there’s entirely too much emotion to get a decent analysis. However, I think it’s fair to state that, at least to my knowledge, the only time any sort of health care reform gets tabled is when the Dems are in power. If this truly is just as important to the Reps, where were their reforms when they were in power? (honest question! I don’t know of any, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.)
Sure, we know that a very small percentage of the 40m in question are actively choosing not to have insurance, but as a former member of the “too rich to have medicare and too poor to have insurance” club, I suggest that they should matter very little in the conversation. Going without because you can’t afford it is a terrible place to be when it comes to something like this.



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James

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:24 pm


My congressman, a decent honorable Christian man whose pastor wife baptized my daughter, received a death threat yesterday because of his vote for health care reform.
That’s the Republican plan for health care reform, right there. Violence, intimidation, bricks through windows, angry mobs spitting on civil rights heroes and calling them niggers. I’ve not heard a single repudiation of these tactics from any Republican, Christian or otherwise, only excuses.
Here’s a link to an interesting study from Psychology Today. They measured racial attitudes of a population one year ago. A year later, they asked the same population about health care reform, but told half the respondents it was Clinton’s plan from 1983 and the other half it was Obama’s.
Quoting: “When the plan was portrayed as Clinton’s, respondents’ personal racial attitudes were unrelated to their support for it. But when the exact same plan was portrayed as Obama’s? In that case, the more implicit racial prejudice a respondent indicated one year prior, the less supportive he or she was of the health care proposal now.”
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-small-talk/201003/the-not-so-great-debate



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Jeremy

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm


Michael (33), Since you seem pretty knowledgeable and fairly balanced on this whole thing, I have a question regarding something I’ve been mulling over since this whole thing started. Do you think subsidiarity works for health care? As I understand it, insurance works by having a large pool of people whose payments overwhelm the costs of individual customers. The smaller the pool, the harder it is to successfully insure the population (One of the reasons the nearest state to me, Maine, has serious insurance problems). Is health care really something that can be tackled at the Church level as some would imply or even the state level?
In essence, do you think there is some way to answer both the efficiency, fiscal and moral concerns of the health care debate that does not involve the federal government?



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stephen

posted March 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm


John#29
“…the demands placed upon the insurance companies in the passed Senate Bill guarantees their demise in 2 – 4 years and the only health insurance provider will be the government-”
Have you looked at the health insurance stocks since the bill passed? What do you know that Wall Street doesn’t?



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Rick

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm


James #39-
“I’ve not heard a single repudiation of these tactics from any Republican, Christian or otherwise, only excuses.”
From the Huffington Post (yes- the liberal Huffington Post):
“Republicans and Tea Party activists condemned the threats and violent actions directed at a host of lawmakers this week in the wake of the passage of health care reform, but warned Democrats not to make a political issue out of it.”



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm


@ Dan 32
I could only find one article from the Washington Times citing the 90% figure you referenced. I didn’t see 90% referenced in the executive summary to the CBO report but did see 67% referenced as a projection. Fox News didn’t even have this story up. However, I did see a warning that it could climb to near 100% of the GDP if the tax cuts enacted in 2001, 2003, and 2009 were made permanent. Is there another source you’re referencing? Do you have a link?
Obama and Congress seem to be working very diligently toward helping the economic mess but I’m still not convinced that the majority of it can be laid at his feet the way some seem to try. He’s been in office 1 year and his policies weren’t the ones that led us into this. And as #37 Steve pointed out, it could be a heck of a lot worse.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm


#40 Jeremy
I don’t have a silver bullet solution for the health care conundrum. I think the subsidiarity applies in the sense that I doubt the problem can be solved without government assistance. The problem is what kind of assistance.
The problem we have now is that health care is like an all you can eat buffet. Your insurance is your entry fee and then you have no clue what anything costs and you don’t experience any of the cost impact. There is no incentive to be discerning about your use of health care. Furthermore, most other types of insurance are intended to cover catastrophic events not recurring events. Its like having a car insurance policy that covers you gasoline purchases and oil changes. It also makes no practical sense to me to have your insurance connected to your employer.
You could detach basic recurring that most people use from insurance and use instruments like medical savings accounts, tax breaks and subsidies to the people below a certain economic status to encourage basic health care. Then you would have insurance for catastrophic care. You could have a payroll tax that covers a basic publicly provided insurance policy. You could have an open market for people to purchase whatever insurance they want to cover service that goes beyond the basic government plan. For situations that develop where someone of limited means develops a circumstance that is beyond the public option coverage there could be charitable foundations, and possibly special breaks for people/businesses/institutions, that help people in these circumstances. All of this keeps significant market influences in place which should make health care less expensive and thus more accessible.
I’m not saying this particular plan works but it hopefully illustrates what I mean by trying to find the balance between efficiency and equity.



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Matt

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm


I am neither a republican or a democrat as neither party (inc. the tea party) speaks for me. I really don’t like toe asertations that if you are against the health care law you are automaticaly a democrat. There are lots of reasons why we should be against it, but not because we are simply republicans.
I think the main reasons people are not for this bill is that it is going to hurt (and close down) many small businesses as well as insurance companies. No one wil be left to insure people- except the governement- which is all of us!!
As far as the coment about people not blinking an eye about the war budget, It is something that will go away (hopefully) soon, but the health care law burden never will- and it will only get bigger and bigger.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm


@42 Rick
Every Republican leader that has referenced the threats has said they don’t condone them and that the one’s doing it should channel their anger into the campaign. But none of them have acknowledged that the very rhetoric used by opposition to the Reform Bill (“pick up your guns,” a “second revolution,” etc) has added fuel to the fire.



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Rick

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:01 pm


Richard #46-
I was addressing the claim by James that Republicans had not spoken out against those actions. They have.
In regards to the language used, I agree that it needs to be toned down- on all sides. But that is nothing new to politics (ie. “battleground states”, the “war room”, etc…).



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Matt

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:01 pm


i think a better plan for health care is the Kaiser model. It focuses on preventative medication. It rewards Doctors (financially) for keeping people from getting sick. They get extra money when they can help their patients get their cholestoral levels down, or can get their blood pressure into a manageable range.
Once the hospitals and doctors are focused o this, the price of medical care goes way down and can become affordable to all. To those who still can’t afford it then, the government can step in, but at a price tag that won’t bankrupt the country. It seems so easy, but that is probably why the government is not working toward this goal.



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Richard

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm


@ Rick 47
Thanks for clarifying. I wish they [GOP leadership] would lead the charge on toning down the rhetoric though. It doesn’t help anything. And to be honest, I’m less concerned with specific Republican congressmen/women as I am Glenn Beck, Rush, Palin, etc. They’ve been adamant that reporting the violence is a “liberal” tactic to slander the Tea Party movement.



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Andy Holt

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm


As part of a response to the original question, I would say that the reality is a lot different than it appears from a distance. When my first son was born, my wife and I were quite poor and qualified for Medicare. This was, by far, the best insurance coverage we’ve ever had. When our next two kids were born, we were in the upper-lower class and lower-middle class brackets, respectively. Despite having a “full coverage” insurance plan, we paid thousands of dollars out of pocket. In some ways, we are still trying to dig out from underneath the debt we accrued because of our medical bills. All this to say that, from a health insurance perspective, it is far better to be poor (at least in Ohio) than lower-middle class.
So, from my perspective, I don’t see why this bill is necessary. Maybe not every state is like Ohio, but I had much better coverage when I fell below the poverty line than I do now with my “full coverage” insurance plan.
On a semi-related note, I’d like to make a point about rights. I don’t see how health care can be a right when it is a service provided by another human being. Claiming, as our right, the services provided by our fellow men and women is a dangerous road.



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ChrisB

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm


@Richard #31,
“1) does your view change in light of the recent poll that the majority of Americans are glad the bill passed?”
Given that the day the vote was cast most polls had ~60% opposed and the Dems didn’t care? No. I know it varies depending on which poll, but there was a solid majority across many polls. We’ll have to see whether the current acceptance is a poll or a broader result.
“3) CBO says it will decrease the deficit, not run up more debt”
Aside from the logical impossibility of that, and from the fact that the CBO always obeys their accounting gimmicks, just today the CBO said we’re looking at $10 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years. WE’RE BROKE.
“The debate was over a year long and they held a nationally/internationally televised summit where the Democrats incorporated many Republican ideas and even backed away from a single-payer system”
I was Lieberman, not the GOP, that killed the govt option. The only thing they marginally took from the GOP was allowing some interstate insurance purchases, but they limited it so much as to make it ineffective.
Re: the constitution, the professionals don’t have to tell us what the thing says. It’s written in reasonably plain English even for its age. The professionals are there to tell us how it’s been bent, folded, and mutilated over the years. You can’t use interstate commerce clause to regulate this because by law it’s not interstate until they choose to regulate it.



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PJ

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm


@ Larry #5
I’m late into this conversation, but feel I need to address your comments a second. I am Republican. I’ve been one since the day I registered to vote over 25 years ago, but I’m really starting to struggle with the party and the logic. I’m Republican, at this point, almost exclusively because of the pro-life issue.
My problem with your argument is that as a Christian who is an American citizen, I think a lot of the Constitution, but the Constitution isn’t my ultimate authority for what is good and right.
Next, I am not an expert on the Constitution so you could show me where it says that a large, unified, and offensive military is addressed. I know it talks about a “well regulated militia” but my understanding is that the framers of the Constitution gave that role to the people, not the federal government.
I would assume that you are right that the Constitution doesn’t grant healthcare pursuits to the Federal government. It seems odd to me that the Constitution’s authors really perpetually wanted the Federal government to plant troops around the world protecting our best interests but would reject other means of protecting the interest of the people of this country.
I really don’t know how my Christian sisters and brothers would think that sending troops into the third world is a better cause to stand for that resourcing those who are struggling to resource themselves.



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dayspring

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:46 pm


Please understand, there are many Christians in both parties who are against Obama?s Health Care plan. Today, in America, most poor people are poor because of the person?s lifestyle choice. They choose to be poor, by their life choices. They choose to not pay attention to instruction in school?they choose to drink and take drugs?and they choose to not go to work or look for work. They choose negative lifestyle behaviors which lead to unemployment and/or underemployment.
Then, there are the working people. We are told to pay for our brother’s lifestyle consequences by buying his or her?s insurance.
If Obama plan focused on paying insurance for those who choose to work, there would have been less backlash.
In America we are free to choose our lifestyle. But when consequences of our choices erupt, we turn to others to help us avoid our consequences.
Does not the bible states, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”



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Peter

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm


This article
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MGZmNTIwZjIzNDg2YTY2M2JjN2Q3NmJiYmIzZDkwMTA=
includes a reference to “How American Health Care Killed My Father.”
I highly recommend it. Please consider that just because what the present administration has inititated is dramatic and enormous does not mean that it actually focuses on any of the real sources of our present crisis. Really appreciate the tone in today’s discussion.



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Peter

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm


Clarification: What I was recommending (above) was “How American Health Care Killed My Father.” The article containing this reference, not so much.



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Mike

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm


A possible kingdom answer….
Health care reform is necessary. However we choose to reform health care in context of U.S. laws must be balanced by the biblical ethic of life, i.e. life is precious gift from God and it should be treated as such. Here is why this bill does not fit into my biblical worldview:
1. It does not affirm the dignity of a person providing for themselves. Anytime government does something for some one it erodes the basic dignity of that person. They begin to take unnecessary risks and lose their sense of personal responsibility. In time government becomes their care-taker as that personal abdicates the innate desire to be a productive person.
2. The church has a role in taking care of the needs of the community. Should someone have a financial need that rises, they should turn to the church for that support. Instead this bill requires people to turn to the government for care. The church misses an opportunity to minster to them. This could happen if the church is not reaching out. Is the American church reaching out in this manner?
3. Free will? As an arminian, I believe free will is all encompassing, including the political arena. This bill does not allow me to exercise free will. I am required to have health insurance.
4. Finally anything that becomes between me and God is a stumbling block to my faith. With this bill, I no longer need faith for God to provide health care for me or money to pay be health care bills.
5. Using the tax system to fund social programs is unjust. Why? Those who have no means get something for nothing. Those who have means pay in their share and some one else?s share. This is not just.
These five reasons are why this is a bad piece of legislation. These five ideas, I think, are more Kingdom reasons rather than my American Judeo-Christian reasons. This is what I would tell our Sri Lankan brother.
I do believe health care reform is necessary. I think there are some worthwhile ideas in this bill. People should not have to choose between health care and housing. People should not be forced into financial ruin because of premiums or treatment costs. While our intentions might be honorable, we have not seriously thought through the impact of this bill. This will cause a series of unintended consequences that could have been mitigated. Our congress needs to be reminded of the parable of the talents. We have given them our money to be used to promote our society. They need to spend it as if were their own money. (I guess this could have been a sixth point).



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Carin2Learn

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm


Jeremy #38 Re “sassy”: Who says that word is rare? You need to come to girls’ night out more often. :-D
Michael W. Kruse #33: I really appreciated your synthesis of this matter.
I’m a Christian, not a Republican and not a Democrat. I’ve been purposefully ignoring this issue because it’s to inflammatory, there’s no source of information I can really trust, and because figuring it out for myself would require too great an investment mentally and of time. Yet I read this post. Thanks, everyone for this discussion.
Over a year ago I talked with a Republican, non-Christian friend about the health care issue. The issue for her is the cost of health care. Because of certain laws and the way we do insurance, the proper market mechanics for reducing the costs of health care are not allowed to operate properly. At least I think that’s what she was saying. She wanted people who couldn’t afford health care to be able to afford it too. She just thought the solution was the opposite of more legislation; it was doing away with certain legislation.
Because I’m not really familiar with what kinds of laws and how even the insurance world might interfere with properly delivering health care services, can anyone elaborate on that idea?



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Jeremy

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:37 pm


Mike (55), I think you need to retry your rethink again and spend less time trying to shoehorn your presuppositions and political ideology into kingdom terms. Can you support every one of those in kingdom terms? They’re all questionable and #5 is…well. It’s no kingdom theology I’ve ever heard.
Carin (56), ok, rare for American males then! I don’t have much experience with girls’ nights out! (;



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Peter

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm


Carin (#56) – I would refer you to the article, “How American Health Care Killed My Father” that I mentioned above (#’s 54 + 55). It is narrative, well written and, I think, convincing. I am in the medical field and have worked in the developing world (mentioned to indicate that I do have a heart for the poor), but I do believe that the reform that is needed is much bigger than what this bill has addressed.



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Jeremy

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm


Michael (44), thanks for that. I need to think about this for a bit. I’m personally more leaning towards a hybrid single-payer system that places a large amount of the peripherals into supplemental insurance scenarios but ensures that no one ever has to decide between health and bankruptcy.
At a minimum, I’m completely in favor of a national single-payer system for children under the age of 18. This would protect our most vulnerable members who have no say in the whole thing, and potentially give parents more options regarding their own health care. To defray costs, it could be built similar to the VA system for veterans that bases co-pays and coverage on income and other things (minus the requirement to have had someone try to kill you to get full coverage, of course!).



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Deborah

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm


I have to agree with Daniel #15
how much longer will the church continue to abdicate its role to care for the poor, widowed and orphan – why should we ask or expect the government to be in the Kingdom business?



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Rick L

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm


You would never know it because media never spoke word one about it, and obviously the majority party wouldn’t tell you – but there was an alternative bill to the one proposed by the majority party that was one-tenth its length and would have accomplished many of the changes that most Americans agreed with.
http://rules-republicans.house.gov/Media/PDF/RepublicanAlternative3962_9.pdf



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MattR

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:09 pm


Mike (#55),
I agree with Jeremy (#57), the answers you give aren’t necessarily Kingdom answers… they kinda sound more like conservative/ libertarian answers.
Regarding your points:
1. “They begin to take unnecessary risks and lose their sense of personal responsibility.” One of the big misunderstandings is that many people don’t want health insurance, or if they can’t afford it they should just work harder… in my state (California) health care costs are rising rapidly, up 30% for some this year. Many people affected are lower middle class or working poor… some people I know work hard, more than one job and can’t afford health care.
Once you start talking with and ministering among poorer people, you realize the myth that they need to just ‘take responsibility for their choices’ doesn’t always ring true.
Not to mention those who are starting small businesses and can’t afford insurance for their families, let alone those of their employees. Rather than being irresponsible, on the contrary, small business help drive jobs in this country… this bill helps small business owners.
3. I lean more Wesleyan/Arminian as well… but free will has nothing to do with this current bill. Why are there mandates? Because those of us who have insurance are ALREADY paying for those without! When someone sick or injured goes into a hospital with no insurance they are cared for… who pays for this? Some is written off, most is handed back to us in higher insurance and taxes. Putting everyone into the system drives the cost down, and asks everyone to take responsibility.
5. “Those who have means pay in their share and some one else?s share. This is not just.” Maybe this is an American view of what is ‘unjust,’ however, throughout Scripture justice is defined as caring for the least, the poor, sick, widow, etc…



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MAC

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:28 pm


I think it is very interesting to now know that there was an alternative bill but very little to nothing was mentioned. Why was this not brought out at the so called “bipartian summmit”? I have read parts of it that Riok L provided in his comments. This makes so much more sense and I could understand it. It’s scary to know that our President may have known about but was unwilling to share this with the public. Was this ever put out there for the public? I have been staying on top of this issue and I never saw this. I kept looking for an alternative. And yes we as Christians need to care for the poor but God also wants wants us to be good stewards in our finances. So continuing to look for a less costly health reform would have been acting in a more Godly way and helping the poor at the same time.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 1:00 am


God’s commandments –
Thou shalt not steal.”
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors property.”
America’s Constitution was written in this understanding, to only provide only for the common defense, and to promote the general welfare – not provide the specific welfare.
An unrepentant thief, cannot a child of God be.
God’s providence – He makes one man wealthy and the other poor; social justice can only be found in God’s providence.
The way health care for the poor works in America is that it is funded as a general item to serve as a catch-all. Everyone has access to health care in America, but no one is entitled to health care in America.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 1:04 am


There are a few Papal encyclicals written in the past 100 or so years which explain that socialism is stealing, and a violation of God’s commandments and providence.



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JimF

posted March 27, 2010 at 1:50 am


Heritage Foundation:
The Aftermath of Obamacare: What America Will Look Like If The White House Gets Its Way
Posted March 19th, 2010 at 3:27pm in Health Care, Ongoing Priorities with 67 commentsPrint This Post Print This Post
The Future under Obamacare
America stands on the precipice of sweeping liberal health care reform that will radically reshape one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and a 153-page House bill is all that stands between us and a fundamentally changed America.
What will that change look like? Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, ?we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,? and President Barack Obama said, ?By the time the vote has taken place, not only will I know what?s in it, you?ll know what?s in it.?
In other words, here?s a ticket to ride, get on board, we can?t tell you where it?s going, but you?ll like it once you get there. We promise.
A picture of America?s future under Obamacare can be revealed, though, after peeling away the pages and digging through the dirt. Here?s 10 things you can expect:
1. A Massively Engorged Government, to the tune of $2.5 trillion in new entitlement spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), new entitlement spending in the plan would cost $216 billion by 2019, then increase by 8 percent every year thereafter.
2. A Cornhusker Kickback for All. No, special deals aren?t removed from Obamacare this time around. Instead, the House bill extends new federal funding for Medicaid to all states. Incidentally, you?re paying for it.
3. A Freight train of taxes, slamming the American people in 2018. You?ve heard of the ?Cadillac? tax on high-cost insurance plans? It will be pushed back to 2018, and given the way ?high-cost? plans will be defined, a large segment of the middle class would get hit with the tax over time.
4. Beware the shape-shifting tax monster. New taxes will take many forms, including taxes on prescription drugs, medical devices (like wheel chairs), and health insurance.
5. Unconstitutional mandates, courtesy of Congress. Don?t want to buy health insurance? Congress will penalize you if you don?t, regardless of income.
6. Lock your back door. Higher health care costs will be sneaking in. The plan gives subsidies to low-to-moderate wage families, but the subsidies will increase at a lower rate than the rate at which premiums increase. In other words, those families will pay more every year.
7. Lights out for small businesses? Companies that hire certain low-income Americans will have to pay $3,000 per employee, per year, even if the company offers insurance.Oh, and if a company employs 50 or more workers, they?ll face higher tax penalties to the tune of $2,000 per full-time employee.
8. Abortions. You will pay for them, like it or not. The House bill includes major funding for community health centers with no restrictions on federal taxpayer funding of abortions.
9. Want to play the stock market? Maybe not, after you hear this. The House bill slaps a 3.8% tax on investment income.
10. It?s not a federal system, after all. States will have less power. They?ll no longer have authority to regulate health care premiums. Instead, the federal government will take on the job. States and local governments won?t be able to control their own employee health plans; they?ll have to abide by new federal regulations.



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Kate

posted March 27, 2010 at 7:58 am


Mike @ 55 I’m impressed to see someone prepared to actually change / rethink their views on this polarized issue. There is, however, a problem with the 5 points yo make- they would also argue against the provision of free education for children:
1. …Anytime government does something for some one it erodes the basic dignity of that person… So people ought to pay for their own children’s education.
2. …this bill requires people to turn to the government for care. The church misses an opportunity to minster to them….So people (or the church) ought to pay for their own children’s education.
3. … This bill does not allow me to exercise free will. I am required to have health insurance… At the moment, you are required to pay taxes towards education. So people ought to pay for their own children’s education.
4. .. With this bill, I no longer need faith for God to provide health care for me or money to pay be health care bills… In the same way, free public education means you don’t have to depend on God for providing education for your children. So people ought to pay for their own children’s education.
5. …Those who have no means get something for nothing…have This is not just…… So people ought to pay for their own children’s education.



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Kate

posted March 27, 2010 at 8:34 am


Dayspring @ 52 “Today, in America, most poor people are poor because of the person?s lifestyle choice. ”
(“….and I thank God I am not like this tax collector…”)
Can you cite research evidence for this statement? Honest question, I am interested in the real evidence because my experience in Europe and Africa teaches me that people are poor because of other people’s choices eg alchoholic father or grandfather, unjust wages, unmoderated greed by corporations, exploitation, war, and of course, (in the USA but not the rest of the developed world) severe or chronic illness not fully covered by one’s insurance plan.
So all these poor choices you cite, yes, poor choices, but not really free choices, bad choices by people who have long ago lost any real freedom to choose. eg “They choose to not pay attention to instruction in school” but there are some schools so poor only the exceptional can succeed in them, and they’re not in your nice, suburban neighbourhoods…
I (a doctor) didn’t really choose to pay attention in class, it simply wasn’t an option not to behave well in the nice, middle class school I was priveleged to attend. I didn’t choose to steal, because I didn’t need to, nor to drink excessively, because I had no pain I needed to forget. I did not choose not to get cancer (although not smoking helped, and being in the UK meant I could have got proper treatment without going broke)
Not good choices(though I hope I made a few!), just privelege, because my great-great-grandfather was a successful businessman, and I grew up in a country with great healthcare (UK) so my illnesses (including congenital deformity, corrected early but with prolonged treatment) and those of my family did not burden us financially.



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Kate

posted March 27, 2010 at 8:42 am


TDavid@65 “… socialism is stealing, and a violation of God’s commandments and providence.”
Good health care for all, free at the point of provision, is not stealing or socialism, just sound government provision and good medicine. Works for the rest of the (non-socialist) world. What’s so special about America that you must demand inequitable health care?



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Ken Buck

posted March 27, 2010 at 9:37 am


JimF – That list is not a well written list of concerns. Here are just a few points of rebuttal:
1. “A Massively Engorged Government, to the tune of $2.5 trillion in new entitlement spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), new entitlement spending in the plan would cost $216 billion by 2019, then increase by 8 percent every year thereafter.”
This seems to me to be either on par with the increases or cheaper than the insurance increases that we have seen over the past 10+ years. Of course health care cost will be going up! The baby boomers are getting old and want treatment for everything and that alone is going to raise costs. So your criticism is that the health care costs will increase at a modest or normal rate while covering many (31+ million people??_ more uninsured people? That sounds like the reforms are good to me.
2. & 3. “Lock your back door. Higher health care costs will be sneaking in. The plan gives subsidies to low-to-moderate wage families, but the subsidies will increase at a lower rate than the rate at which premiums increase. In other words, those families will pay more every year.”
Oh no!!! Lock your door! There is an intruder! Could we PLEASE stop using emotionally laden fear based language to make points? This sort of rhetoric, while it is effective, it is NOT HONEST. And this sort of crap is being propagated to and by Christians. WE NEED TO TAKE THE HIGHER GROUND. Also, last time I checked, fear was not a quality given by God to His church…
Subsidies not increasing at the same rate? I thought the Conservatives would love this language of taking responsibility for themselves. If a family knows what their care will cost them they need to be active participants and prepare for it. You know, budget, save, adjust our whole standards of living to fit withing our means…
4. “Abortions. You will pay for them, like it or not. The House bill includes major funding for community health centers with no restrictions on federal taxpayer funding of abortions.”
There are two answers for this: Either this is another lie or a representation of how “you are paying for abortions” already. The bigger issue is that the pro-life movement needs to reform from trying to abolish the laws to trying to effectively reduce the actual abortions from happening. This is a discussion for a different thread.
5. JimF, in your cutting and pasting from a known right wing propaganda group, you still didn’t answer the man’s questions.



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Richard

posted March 27, 2010 at 9:41 am


@61 and 63
You’re right that it wasn’t covered by Television outlets beyond the initial announcement but that includes Fox News and conservative outlets so I highly doubt the suspicion in comment 63 that Obama can be charged with hiding this. If anything, be ticked that the GOP didn’t do more to promote it.
Maybe part of the reason they didn’t is that according to CBO it leaves 52 million uninsured (http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10705/hr3962amendmentBoehner.pdf). And it sounds a lot like the plan that was already in place in Massachusetts and is a huge break from traditional Republican plans toward a more “liberal” stance that the insurance and health care market is too complex for the average person and needs heavy government regulation. Not exactly GOP platform items.



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Richard

posted March 27, 2010 at 10:06 am


Early in the comments, it was alluded to the perception that the GOP is doing anything they can to score political points while opposing this. Quite a few folks on here have argued against that but I wonder if any of you have compared the Health Care Reform Law of 2010 with the Republican proposal of 1993 when they were looking for an alternative to the Clinton Plan.
In 1993, the 20 GOP Congressmen sponsored a bill that included an individual mandate, created purchasing pools, standardizing insurance plans, investing in federal panels to research what treatments work and what ones don’t (which requires access to anonymous health records), and a ban on raising premiums on sick people or denying based on pre-existing conditions.
Interesting that 4 of them are still in Congress and sided with GOP opposition. I suppose that’s just coincidence though, like GOP leaders using violent rhetoric and average “Joe’s” throwing bricks and mailing white powder…



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Jjoe

posted March 27, 2010 at 10:52 am


The fact that wealth has become more and more concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people illustrates why if you’re born poor, you’re more likely to die poor. It’s a fact.
Government implements policies that transfer wealth upwards to make the rich richer — because government is controlled by money, who would expect any different? — and then they get around the morality of it by telling poor people it’s their own fault they’re poor.
Yeah, sure, people choose to go without health care, food and transportation because they’re lazy. Jesus wasn’t Herod because he didn’t want to work that hard. Yep.



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Richard

posted March 27, 2010 at 11:08 am


Wait, Jesus was poor and depended on others to take care of him? Next you’ll be trying to tell me he was Jewish…



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Richard

posted March 27, 2010 at 11:12 am


@ 73
Wait, Jesus was poor and had to depend on others to take care of him? Please, next thing you’ll be telling me is that he was Jewish and the early church sold their private possessions to take care of each other…
Yeah right, and Grizzly Adams had a beard…
(Never thought I’d use a Happy Gilmore reference on Jesus Creed)



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Richard

posted March 27, 2010 at 11:14 am


stupid captcha



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Jeremy

posted March 27, 2010 at 11:18 am


Richard (72), There actually seems to be a biological explanation for some of the problems we have in this arena. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-political-brain
God knows I fight this every day, but I fail more often than not.



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Jim

posted March 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm


?For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth? There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.?
?But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.?
?But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.?
7,000 years is coming up very quickly! GET OUT of your local congregation!



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Larry

posted March 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm


@ PJ #51
You say, as a Christian who is an American citizen, I think a lot of the Constitution, but the Constitution isn’t my ultimate authority for what is good and right
I agree, but that’s not the issue here. I am not describing the ultimate authority for what is good and right for a Christian. I am describing the way that our government is set up. I am convinced that it is “good and right” for every person to follow Christ in faith. But it is not the job of the federal government to pursue that. So that distinction has to be made.
The military is clearly in the constitution in terms or providing for national defense. IT is hard to stretch “general welfare” into “mandated health insurance” without severe damage to any legitimate hermeneutic. I think everyone should have health insurance. Most have no problem with that. But we need to distinguish that issue from the issue of how we provide it. I am convinced that this current plan is atrocious, and I haven’t seen anyone here (or anywhere else) put any facts on the table to dissuade me from that. There is a lot of emotion, but not much in the way of argumentation.
I am not convinced that sending troops into the third world is a better cause, but I think that was largely a Democratic approach in the 90s under Clinton. Bush sent troops into combat in an attempt to address terrorism (debate somewhere else whether it was right or wrong, or successful or not). It was clearly an issue of national defense (though perhaps it got stretched into more; however, I think history will reflect much more positively on Bush/Iraq/Terror than current sentiment does for a lot of reasons).
But bottom line, I think you present some false alternatives (troops in 3rd world v. health insurance) and you misunderstand the nature of my comments on authority. The authority for a nation is not the same as the authority for believers, and there are many good and right things that are not the purview of government.
really don’t know how my Christian sisters and brothers would think that sending troops into the third world is a better cause to stand for that resourcing those who are struggling to resource themselves.



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Darryl Schafer

posted March 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm


I couldn’t help but notice, after 79 comments, that no one really answered Scot’s or Mr. Ramachandra’s questions. They were indirectly answered on a few fronts, our faith made it in almost as an ancillary point, but no one directly answered them. What about our faith? What would a Christian response (“A” Christian response means that there could be several) to health care reform look like from those in the Republican party? Could someone please answer?



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Jeremy

posted March 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm


WARNING! Out of context proof texting inbound:
Isaiah 28:11 & 1 Corinthians 14:21: “Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me”
Yeah, the authors are talking about other things, but I think the point still stands. We would do very, very well to not ignore criticism from outside as if the very nature of being foreign or less than perfect negates the words being spoken. God doesn’t limit himself to avenues of communication that we deem appropriate, and sometimes, an outside view is the clearest.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm


Kate,
Providing free health care is not stealing; but voting to take your neighbor’s wealth against his will so that you can give free health care to someone else is stealing. And voting to install someone in office with the purpose of taking your neighbor’s wealth against his will so that you can give it to someone else is also stealing, and covetous.
And yes Kate, people ought to pay for and conduct the education of their own children, bringing them up in the way they should go.
Incinerators work Kate. Communism works Kate.



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Larry

posted March 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm


Actually Darryl (#80), both Scot’s and the article’s questions were answered (which were actually the same question): Scot asked ” What would you say to the question at the end?” The “question at the end” was “Please, could some Republican party Christian explain these anomalies to the rest of the Body of Christ around the world?”
So some could answer and did answer to explain these “anomalies.” We answered by explaining constitutional issues, economic issues, showing how the bill doesn’t really address the problem, showing moral qualms over abortion, and the like. We gave a number of answers to the questions that were asked by Scot and the author of the article.
Neither Scot nor the article asked your question which is “What about our faith? What would a Christian response (“A” Christian response means that there could be several) to health care reform look like from those in the Republican party? Could someone please answer?”
Notice how those are very different questions. Scot/the article asked to explain the anomalies listed. You asked what health care reform looks like.
However, even your question was answered in several places in the 80+ comments where Republican ideas about health care reform were given.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm


Dear Darryl and the Sri Lankan Christians,
The reason there can be no direct response to the question as posed, from people like myself, is that the question is loaded. It makes assumptions, and to answer it as posed would validate those assumptions.
So, let’s look at it from a purely natural point-of-view. Which is really my point-of-view. I believe Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, et al, had this in mind – the natural point-of-view.
That is that life is a competition for survival. We all know this from our schooling and research. We also know that all creatures great and small can only change for the better by overcoming obstacles through struggle.
Man cooperates in this struggle either by dictate of a king or kings, or through voluntary action. But, historically, and Madison and Jefferson knew this, the best social organization of man promoted the struggle for the available benefit of those willing to struggle; while the worst social organization came when man attempted to remove the struggle.
Removing responsibility for one’s personal life and actions is at the core of all fallen nations. It is the fatal step leading a nation to behave errantly. The ideals of the fellowship of believers in Christ, which should only be exercised within the congregations of believers, when adopted into government as law, have always been the downfall of society because struggle is removed as a matter of principle rather than being elevated in reconciliation to it.
All people want what Christ charged his church with; and many within His church, do not understand this.
So, America is the wealthiest nation on the planet by far; but it is ignoring history today, in a spirit of universal conformity, by making a church of the State, of the most horrible kind, and thinks it can get away with it.
Jesus Christ, the One I know, created all things. He is the Truth, and Nature is His design. So, whether a man or woman accepts or rejects what Jesus Christ has exampled and promised or not; Nature still stands, and speaks to everyone.
Giving from the heart of the individual, should be done to reconcile the receiver to Nature, and always with responsibility attached. Taking by weight of law, in social justice, and freely distributing without reconciliation to nature, helps nothing but a bleeding heart.
So, I am as concerned for the non-believer as I am for my own children. And stand to preserve freedom for all, that each can choose the way he or she will go, while suffering the consequence of bad choices.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm


I just heard Democrat Senator Wiener state that America has, perhaps, the highest tax compliance rate of any nation. This is good.
Although Americans pay a smaller percentage of their per capita product in taxes, they pay as much in value per capita as their European Union counterparts. This is good too.
Here are some numbers:
America’s and the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, are each about $14 Trillion annually.
There are about 308M Americans, and 475M EUians.
This means that the per capita GDP of every man, woman and child in America and the EU are $45,454.00 and $29,473.00 respectively. This is really good. One must ask himself how this is possible. I mean, Europe’s been there a really long time.
Americans cough up about 45% of their productivity in taxes, while EUians are robbed for about 65% of their productivity. I like this lower overall tax rate.
This means Americans pay approximately $20,454.00 of their product, per capita, in taxes each year, while EUians pay about $19,157.00 of their product, per capita, in taxes each year. This is good too. Even with a lower overall tax rate, Americans pay as much in taxes per person as Europeans.
So, while Americans match their European counterparts in taxpaying, Americans produce half again as much product, earning half again as much in real value. And, while they do this, Americans are several times more generous both at home and abroad, and still can afford to purchase half again as much quality health care while they lead the World in medical technology and discovery.
I would propose to you that Americans do a better job of keeping their hands out of the cookie jar and are highly rewarded for it.
Higher incomes, lower costs for goods and services, and, this is really cool, America’s poverty line income is just below the median income in the EU.
Why would anyone think America needs to be remade in the likeness of socialist welfare state?



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm


Matthew 5 is reason enough for me to reject national socialist programs like Obama’s.



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Jeremy

posted March 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm


Matthew 5? What am I missing?
Also, while I’m somewhat with you on welfare, I’m not sure I see the connection with health care. Being assured of medical treatment doesn’t seem to encourage a poverty mentality.



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TDavid

posted March 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm


Jeremy,
Matthew 5 was written to you to observe, not to the State.
Not one iota of “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet” was overturned by Jesus Christ, all will be judged by it.
God will not forgive theft by proxy anymore than if you had done it yourself, even if you give it all away.



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Jeremy

posted March 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm


Right. I wasn’t missing anything. I don’t think you and I are even talking the same language, so with that, I bid you good evening and I pray that God reveals His will to us both.



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Marg

posted March 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm


Our system up here in Canada is not perfect but most of us are very grateful for our health care. Especially those who have experienced surgeries and hospital stays. I am actually happy for my taxes to go to this. Cut somewhere else.



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JoanieD

posted March 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm


To Mike in #12 who said, “Furthermore, there are Christian health care plans. $200 per month. You may not have all the bells and whistles but it does provide a service.”
Please tell me more about this. Thank you.



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Richard

posted March 28, 2010 at 8:58 am


@ TDavid, any comment.
“So, let’s look at it from a purely natural point-of-view. Which is really my point-of-view. I believe Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, et al, had this in mind – the natural point-of-view.”
I don’t think Jesus did so I’m pretty sure I don’t want to. I’m a Christian because I believe in a better way made possible through following Jesus in faith that is lived out in practical ways. Jefferson wrote his own bible so I’m really not inclined to follow him. But you’re spot on that he had a natural point of view that didn’t take resurrection into account.
As for Matthew 5, I’m assuming you’re not talking about verse 42, just the parts about stealing, right? Cuz I would think v. 42 might put a whole in your framework.
BTW, question for anyone still reading- since when are taxes equatable to stealing, especially when you vote in the members that establish the tax rate every couple of years? You do realize that the original Tea Party was about taxation without representation right?
@ JoanieD
CHministries.com is one such program. My wife and I are under this type of set up and the new health care reform continues to allow this type of arrangement.



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EricG

posted March 28, 2010 at 9:28 am


The constitutional argument against the health care bill is weak, and won’t get anywhere in the courts. The Commerce Clause has been interpreted very, very broadly since the 1930’s, and will easily cover this. Folks making this argument are either not lawyers/not familiar with the case law, or are doing it for purely political reasons (e.g., the dozen or so state AGs who have filed suit for political reasons).



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TDavid

posted March 29, 2010 at 1:24 am


Richard,
Matthew 5:42 does not negate the weight of the rest of the chapter. It supports Thou shalt not steal. You can give. But not steal. The chapter speaks to individuals not to government.
If you vote to put someone in office for the purpose of taking money from one man and redistributing it to another man, you are stealing. This is the whole platform of the Democrat Party.
But I agree with you, christendom will make life better for all; for awhile; but this christendom is a form of the Truth, and to the degree it denies the Commandments of God, it will be destroyed.
This is why the founders saw government as a necessary evil; and why the larger and more encompassing government becomes, the more evil it becomes.



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Richard

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm


@TDavid
And if I consider giving my taxes to the government to take care of the least of these as part of obedience to the command of Christ? What then?
Are all taxes theft? I ask because it seems that all taxes take my money and give it to someone else.



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Observer

posted March 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm


Yes, fire departments, police protection, and our military — every penny given these organizations is stolen from taxpayers.
Clean water, electricity in rural areas, and food inspection are all based on theft.
Libraries, universities and public schools — all are built by taking money from taxpayers at the point of a gun and are therefore evil.
Traffic signals are built with stolen funds. Interstate highways are created with theft. The road you drive on to work is built by theft.
For a good conservative Christian, the only alternative is Somalia, where you are fully free to keep every cent of the money you earn. There’s no socialistic schemes to separate you from your money to pay for stupid, wasteful things like police protection and public schools.



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Rick

posted March 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm


I am a recovering republican. From my own view point as a Christian, recovering republican I have issue several issues with the current health care bill.
One is that is simply costs to much. You have to buy health insurance and if you don’t, you will be fined. How is that helping the poor? I definitely think something needed to be done, but I think there were better first steps than this.
The second problem I have is that this was a political nightmare. When CNN starts bashing Obama, then there is obviously a problem. Where was the CSPAN coverage of the debates has promised? This wasn’t more open government, this was “we know better than you and by hook or by crook we will force this down your throat” government.
I am afraid that in the long run, this will set back something good that should have happened.



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TDavid

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:02 am


Observer,
It is not that it is stolen, it is that one deliberately steals. It isn’t in the obeisance, it’s in the participation.
When we elect leaders, as the founders of American government envisioned, we expect them to provide the common defense and promote the general welfare, this too as the founders envisioned and Constitutionally mandated.
But, when we elect leaders on the platform of PROVIDING the general welfare, we depart from Constitutional intention. We then steal.
Those who elect their leaders to provide the common defense and promote the general welfare do not steal, as they are already subject to the Constitution.
If we steal a cookie from the cookie jar when our parent has said not to, but our siblings say that’s OK, is it then alright to steal another, and another?



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TDavid

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:12 am


Richard,
You wrote:
“And if I consider giving my taxes to the government to take care of the least of these as part of obedience to the command of Christ? What then?
Are all taxes theft? I ask because it seems that all taxes take my money and give it to someone else.”
If you want to give, then give. There is a line on your tax form for this, and many Americans give money this way. You can give to the United Way or to a mission. Give all you dare before your Maker and men.
All taxes are theft to one degree or another; then you must decide if those taxes are providing the common defense and promoting the general welfare as it is your duty to God and man to observe.
Taxes spent on providing the common defense and promoting the general welfare do not go to someone else unearned.
America has already stepped over the line in pooling social security and medicare funds when these things should have been placed in enumerated individual accounts to promote the general welfare; that the money and interest would always be the property of the one who earned it and no other would be forced to provide his or her welfare.



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Mike

posted March 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm


@92 Joanie D,
http://medi-share.org/ I have had friends who have used this service for many years. Be sure to do your due diligence if this is choice for you.



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Richard

posted March 30, 2010 at 8:53 pm


TDavid
If “All taxes are theft to one degree or another,” why do Jesus and Paul tell us that we are expected, even commanded, to pay taxes? Are they condoning theft? They don’t seem to make the qualifier that you make. They said Christians should pay the taxes that are due, and those were taxes to a government that was killing Christians and spending the money on new palaces for Caesar and the power-brokers. I could understand your viewpoint as based on a Libertarian framework but I still cannot see how your framework is based on Christian teaching and practice. Even then, Congress has the Constitutional responsibility of levying taxes, does the Constitution condone theft?



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TDavid

posted March 31, 2010 at 12:48 am


Richard,
You wrote:
“And if I consider giving my taxes to the government to take care of the least of these as part of obedience to the command of Christ? What then?
Are all taxes theft? I ask because it seems that all taxes take my money and give it to someone else.”
If you want to give, then give. There is a line on your tax form for this, and many Americans give money this way. You can give to the United Way or to a mission. Give all you dare before your Maker and men.
All taxes are theft to one degree or another; then you must decide if those taxes are providing the common defense and promoting the general welfare as it is your duty to God and man to observe.
Taxes spent on providing the common defense and promoting the general welfare do not go to someone else unearned.
America has already stepped over the line in pooling social security and medicare funds when these things should have been placed in enumerated individual accounts to promote the general welfare; that the money and interest would always be the property of the one who earned it and no other would be forced to provide his or her welfare.



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TDavid

posted March 31, 2010 at 12:55 am


Richard,
You wrote:
“If “All taxes are theft to one degree or another,” why do Jesus and Paul tell us that we are expected, even commanded, to pay taxes? Are they condoning theft? They don’t seem to make the qualifier that you make. They said Christians should pay the taxes that are due, and those were taxes to a government that was killing Christians and spending the money on new palaces for Caesar and the power-brokers. I could understand your viewpoint as based on a Libertarian framework but I still cannot see how your framework is based on Christian teaching and practice. Even then, Congress has the Constitutional responsibility of levying taxes, does the Constitution condone theft?”
I am not insinuating that we not pay our taxes. Biblically, governments, although ordained by God, are also self condemned. Caesar, was not a believer, but God had him on the throne for a purpose, yet condemned as all unbelievers are condemned. Once a tax is in place, it is no longer theft to pay them, because we are commanded to pay them.
We are supposed to pay taxes. The difference is, when we vote, we are in fact the Caesars of America electing people to rule over us; and we must abide by their rule and pay the tax they levy upon us.
When we elect people on the premise of them taking money to be given to someone else who has not earned it, not only are we stealing, but we’ve hired thieves to do it. We are the responsible party before God. When we elect people to preserve and protect the basic premise of the Constitution to provide the common defense and promote the general welfare, we are simply being obedient to a law already set over us, and we are not redistributing the money to other people who have not earned it.
This is why it is important to begin using personal interest bearing accounts for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid instead of pooled wealth. This way, government takes the money and holds it, it is still yours, and it earns interest as it should. It is promoting the general welfare, not providing it. This is what is called, enumeration. The reason the Republicans have not been able to put this in place is because wealthy Democrat investors like George Soros would lose their playground and windfall profits and wealth as all the people’s accounts would swallow it up.
When the children of Israel saw that other peoples had a king, they too demanded a king to be like their neighbors. God took offense at this because He was their rightful King. But God gave them a king, not without dire warning at what would happen to them under a king. If God was irritated about Israel having a king, what would His position be on worldly kings who used christians as bar-b-cue patio torches by impaling them live through the bowels and into the cranium with sharpened poles, then dipping them in hot tar so they’d burn a long time?
Today, Jesus is the believer’s King; choose ye this day whom you will serve.



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TDavid

posted March 31, 2010 at 1:05 am


When I tried to post what is now #104, beliefnet reposted #100 as #103.
So please forgive the duplication.



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Richard

posted March 31, 2010 at 7:41 am


So basically you don’t like the way the taxes are being allocated and that makes it theft. That’s all I keep hearing from you. If that’s not accurate, please show me how social programs like welfare, public education, public libraries, vaccinations, etc are theft. It seems that electing officials to do something (including health care reform, etc because the majority elected Obama with the agenda to do so) seems to be the majority saying, we approve of this allocation of funds which would seem to negate it being “theft.”
If liberals trust too much in the governments ability to solve everything, I think it’s fair to say that conservatives trust too much in the individual’s ability to make the right decisions all the time.



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TDavid

posted March 31, 2010 at 11:44 am


Richard,
These are not my ideas. I have come to these understandings through years of study in history, religions and the Bible. The Bible in its original languages.
The way taxes are being allocated bears no burden on me; I do not care. This because Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesars. Taxes mean nothing to me because I trust God.
But the hearts of men and women do mean something to me, this is all I care about, and God said Thou shalt not steal or covet the wealth of another.
If you vote for an elected official for the purpose of providing the common defense, and promoting the general welfare, constitutionally, you are not taking from anyone because you are rendering unto Caesar what is Caesars in a contract long standing – you are being obedient.
But, if you vote for an elected official to, or vote for a law to redistribute wealth, you are not operating under the contract that is the Constitution.
The founders of this nation knew this, even the Popes, albeit belatedly, knew this.
God did not put man on Earth to save himself; he put man here because we tried to save ourselves. We broke His order. Social justice is God’s, not man’s.
You wrote:
“If liberals trust too much in the governments ability to solve everything, I think it’s fair to say that conservatives trust too much in the individual’s ability to make the right decisions all the time.”
I trust God. History shows repeatedly and with a sounding gong that trusting government’s ability to solve anything leads to the individual’s lesser ability to make the right decisions any of the time, even the decision to trust God.



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Marie

posted April 1, 2010 at 1:07 am


I’m not a Republican. Nor am I a Democrat. Party loyalty is, to me, inherently illogical. What if you end up voting in a group of corrupt officials because you cannot see the good in the other “side?”
That being said, I don’t think that this question is being addressed in the right way. Admittedly, I have not read all 107 comments, but I think the real issue is this:
What are we Christians going to do to take care of the poor, the needy, the disenfranchised, the widowed, and the orphan?
God has a more to say about this in His word than almost any other subject. To me, this is obviously where His heart is to a large extent. Perhaps if we forego the latte for a few days, we could afford to pay for someone’s co-pay. Perhaps if we ourselves made concrete lifestyle changes, understanding that our bodies are the temple of the Living God, then perhaps others around us will see that Christian belief is meant to transform all aspects of life. Perhaps if we took seriously the call to love others, there would be none in need.
I’m not claiming that the world is going to suddenly get better, but I think that there might be an impact if we Christians started showing up on a day-to-day level. Governments come and governments go. This or that law is passed. It is fickle, changing. What is unchanging is God’s call on our lives to care for others – in every sense of the word.



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TDavid

posted April 1, 2010 at 3:24 am


Hi Marie,
I see myself in much the same way as you.
I might suggest that if believers do what they are asked to do, the rest will follow.
It is too easy to fall into thinking no one is doing anything when you really can’t see what people are doing. American “Christians” give multiple times more than any other national group in the World. We run missions here and abroad while contributing heavily to universal charities as well. The true church are the body of believers, not just the group we meet with every Sunday in a 501C3 organizational structure. There are literally thousands of “Christian” missions groups operating in America and around the World.
Almost everything that is good in America was started by believers in Christ.



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TDavid

posted April 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm


Dear Mr. President,
I really am happy to know of your conversion to the faith of our forefathers. But I am alarmed that you are professing a knowledge of the faith in the political arena, on national news, when it appears you are still on the breast.
So here is one more piece of information which I would hope would bring you up in the way you should go:
You shall not steal.
You shall not desire so as to take anything that is your neighbor’s.
I have paraphrased these commandments of God a little because it is difficult to translate it properly.
This should really be meaningful to you in that it’s from a set of injunctions delivered to the leader of a group of people God brought out of slavery.
I have tried to get around this LAW, but every time I do I am shown that it is an absolute. God will not excuse a man if he hires a thief to take another man’s wealth no matter how noble the purpose might seem. God will not excuse you or the thief even if you take another man’s wealth with the purpose of giving it to someone else; President or not. This is the beef of our faith.
But God is not mocked, and in a society which denies Him, he will appoint thieves to take the wealth from one man and give it to another as He puts it in their hearts to do, but these are not men of the faith, and their fate is sealed.
What kind of a man are you? A Son of God, or a hired man?
You have been appointed to the highest office in the land, and as such must uphold the laws of the land though they be of the hired man; but as a believer and follower of God’s tenets, consider your path carefully in view of His will; sending His people back into slavery could be too costly to bear. It is better you fail as President than to fail as God’s son.
Your brother



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