The New Christians

The New Christians


What’s a Christian to Think about Healthcare Reform?

posted by Tony Jones

I’m self-employed. That means that I pay for the health insurance premiums for all five members of my family — it’s about 9% of my monthly gross income. But, because I’m not part of a group plan, the plans available to me aren’t very good, so each member of my family has a $5,000 deductible every year.  That’s a maximum out-of-pocket of $25,000 per year, plus the premiums. This year I had back surgery, so I tore through that deductible for myself in about 90 minutes on February 10.

As a small-business owner, and independent writer/speaker/consultant, I know first-hand that health care costs can be crippling, and they are a huge disincentive for entrepeneurialism, in the for-profit or non-profit world.


In fact, if there is an affordable, national, government-backed health insurance program, I think we will see a huge exodus — in the corporate world, from big corporations; and in the church world, from big denominations. More of us who are wired up as entrepreneurs and risk-takers will jump ship and go it alone. And, IMHO, that will be a huge boon to the US economy and to the life of Protestantism in America.

I realize that paying for it will be hard. We’ve got some choices to make as a society. But it’s one of those pay now or pay later things. It will cost a lot to get a national health insurance plan going at first, but in the end, it’s going to save us — literally save us from national bankruptcy.

I also realize that the reason to fight for national health care is not for me — it’s for the 50 million uninsured Americans. The other 300 million of us are a paycheck away from being uninsured.

Tonight, President Obama will have a prime-time presser which will deal largely with his health care plan (and its torturous path through Congress). So, at this time, it’s good for all of us who profess to follow the God of love to think about where we stand on this important issue.

That’s why I was glad to get an email from Ryan Bell who directed me to this resource. Ryan, pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church, and a tireless advocate of voiceless people, has blogged about his work with the PICO Network and their resources for congregations. I urge you to check it out.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(56)
post a comment
brian

posted July 22, 2009 at 10:56 am


Sounds like empty rhetoric Tony. Really. THIS plan will bankrupt us. Literally. Where will the $ come from?



report abuse
 

MIke L.

posted July 22, 2009 at 10:56 am


Exactly! I run a small business (16 employees) and insurance costs are outrageous. I think most people do not understand what health insurance actually costs, because they only see the employee paid portions, co-pays and deductibles (that’s only the tip of the iceberg). Anyone who thinks the current system provides “choice” is kidding themselves. So many employees are trapped and can’t exercise their entrepreneurial skills because of the risk of having a lapse in coverage or being tagged with a “preexisting condition”.
Universal Health care is not simply an issue of compassion. We need a universal system that provides incentives for entrepreneurship. The current system is a drain on capitalism. People complain that European style socialized medicine would raise our taxes, but they should add $10k-$20k per year in premiums before comparing the numbers.
I’m not sold on Obama’s plan, but I’m glad there is finally a public discussion.



report abuse
 

Evan

posted July 22, 2009 at 11:20 am


I just posted something about healthcare today on my blog (link above). Will Nicholson, M.D., talks about why he left his employer’s healthcare plan so he could understand what it was like for many. I think healthcare needs to be re-thought since it is crippling to many who cannot afford it. As someone who lost his job this past year, I had to pay for healthcare with a ridiculous deductible, as well. As far as bankrupting the country, we must be careful not to do this. However, we have to rethink the money we give to some other areas.



report abuse
 

Kenton

posted July 22, 2009 at 11:40 am


Can I just say that opposition to a national government-back health insurance program does not mean opposition to more affordable health care? I like most of what you and Ryan are saying. OTOH, there are many of us who have reason to oppose the thousands of pages going through congress (including the fact that it’s thousands of pages), who would love to see more government oversight and tort reform that would make health care more accessible and affordable without the government doing to health care world what it’s already done to the economy, the banking world and the automotive world.



report abuse
 

Lance

posted July 22, 2009 at 12:35 pm


Excellent topic Tony!
A few questions:
1) Is health care a right?
2) Should universal coverage be extended to illegal aliens (non-taxpayers)?
3) Do we reform or address the issue of malpractice litigation that has driven up the cost of health care?
4) Will this current proposed plan remove private plan options? (While the proponents of this say no, the reality is yes due to the biased taxation of private plans) Furthermore, can we propose that are legislatures/elected officials/government workers be placed on this plan – currently this proposal was voted down by the congress…or I should say the majority…why?
5) What does bankrupting our nation mean? Terms like this while they may become a reality, are actually scare tactics, if they weren’t then clearly there is a threshold for too much national debt, which of course we have not breached.
6) What is our government’s track record with socializing programs like this (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.)? If I am not mistaken, we have a huge national deficit (leading to bankruptcy) because of programs like this! Be careful what you wish for.
Unfortunately most of us buy into the rhetoric of party lines, rather than attempt to become critical thinkers. Why should we vote for bill simply because it is the only one available? It seems that our country as of late is a nation of continually choosing “the lesser of two evils” approach. I would hope that more thought and creativity would go into a bill like this, rather than to cram it down our throats. This is a nation built on entrepreneurs and do-it-your-selfers…why can’t we have a better plan than this? Why does this bill have to be pushed through so quick…are we going to go bankrupt in 1 year, 2 years, 3? Again, what is the threshold for bankruptcy?
Lastly: Maybe we should live with the tension of social justice and good stewardship. Do we compromise the one at the expense of the other? Like many other issues in the Christian life, this must be a tension for all of us or else we become biased.



report abuse
 

RJohnson

posted July 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm


I pay 1/3 of my monthly wages for health insurance through my employer. For this I get an insurance package that has a $2000 individual/$5000 family deductible, then the 80/20 kicks in. I also am limited in the doctors I can see, the drugs I can take, and the pharmacies I can use. I also have had a wait of anywhere from 30-45 days for non-emergency tests and procedures…all of which must be approved by an insurance company hack on the phone who lacks a medical degree and has never seen my medical records.
Brian, Kenton, Lance…even if my taxes QUADRUPLE under Obama’s plan, I will be saving money.



report abuse
 

RJohnson

posted July 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm


“Should universal coverage be extended to illegal aliens (non-taxpayers)?”
Many of these illegal workers are paying taxes into the system, both from payroll taxes as well as sales and excise taxes.



report abuse
 

Annie

posted July 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm


I have a better question: Is it right to continue with a system that unquestionably favors the wealthy because it works for some people? Because how it works for those people might change? Tony is right–this isn’t about people like him. This is about people who are uninsured. It’s about the working poor, who are uninsured or underinsured but who don’t qualify for social programs like Medicare. My family income is only $16,000/year–there are five of us–and we don’t qualify for Medicare because we have more than $2,000 in the bank. The point being it doesn’t take very much before one doesn’t qualify for what’s in place but still can’t really afford to make up the difference, at least not without serious detriment to one’s family finances. It’s about those people?
Relating the question to the Christian life, I honestly don’t see a tension there between preserving self and having compassion for another in Christianity. I think Christ’s example is clear.
Then again, I don’t even think this is about compassion simply. It’s also about public health. We’re all better off if we’re all in better health. And we aren’t in good health, as a nation. Our standard of care is below that of other industrialized nations–nations who do have national healthcare systems. It seems reasonable to assume we’re doing it wrong and it needs to be fixed, no matter how good a wealthy Republican congressman feels about his insurance plan.



report abuse
 

Annie

posted July 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm


no question mark at the end of the first paragraph: It’s about those people!



report abuse
 

Greg

posted July 22, 2009 at 1:47 pm


Perhaps the question isn’t whether or not the poor need help with medical coverage, but where that help originates.
To me it’s a cop out for the church to thrust the care for the poor on the government so we can go about our daily lives simply paying our taxes and thinking we are doing our part. That people go through life without medical care or other base needs is a failing of the followers of Christ.
IMHO by nature a large entitiy (the federal government) will make laws based on vast generalizations that will apply to many situations, but not near all. The only way for all people to get what they need is for local institutions (the church or other ministry organizations) to give on an individual basis. A government program may solve some current problems, but it will also create a set of new ones.
Christ said the kingdom of God is taking care of the widows and orphans. Not paying the government to do it.
P.S. Don’t worry about the rich. They will always be able to afford private insurance above and beyond a public plan. It will be the poor who bear the brunt of government inefficiencies.



report abuse
 

tripp fuller

posted July 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm


I agree Tony. When there is a national health care plan a number of ministry related things will happen.
– In the first year ministers will preach all the sermons they didn’t preach before because they had to keep their kids insured.
– Then a bunch of those ministers will loose their jobs because the church is full of people who have no interest in following Jesus or well even listening to his message long enough to actually consider it. (ministers can’t be too mad about this since we are the ones facilitating their apathy)
– Then there will be a boom of church plants and neo-monasitc communities and house churches all run by committed and trained clergy who will take the risk and work an extra job to do something that doesn’t make them hate themselves for being a wussy Christian.
After that I have no idea, but this is only my first attempt at futuring.



report abuse
 

zach roberts

posted July 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm


Greg,
The western church abdicated healthcare, education, and disability care to the government when the reformers started shutting down all the monasteries and convents that used to provide those services back in the late 16th century. I’m not sure the outcome was intended, but we are where we are, and we cannot go back.
Churches could better serve the needs of the poor If they themselves were not strapped with healthcare costs reflected in staff salaries. What’s more, if innovative clergy could find alternative means of earning an incoming, the church could invest their personnel costs in missional ventures.
I also don’t buy this unequivocal division between sacred & secular that I think wrongly informs our notions of church/state separation. The government is made up of human beings, and all human beings have a responsibility toward one another. The church doesn’t own the rights to “doing good.” The government can and should do good and treat people well.



report abuse
 

John Vest

posted July 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm


Great post, Tony. While I’ve long held the same opinions about providing health care for the poor and uninsured, I hadn’t thought so much about for-profit, non-profit, and religious entrepreneurs. What an interesting idea that a national health care plan would liberate people within and beyond the church to take risks beyond the establishments. It might even get pastors like me to get off my Board of Pensions crutch and try something new.



report abuse
 

Richard Clark

posted July 23, 2009 at 7:58 am


I’m glad my Christian denomination – Presbyterian Church USA – is taking a lead in supporting the best health-care plan, Single-Payer Health Care (HR 676).
It’s naive to think that private charity and the churches alone can handle the health care crisis and the nearly 50 million uninsured, and growing.



report abuse
 

Jim

posted July 23, 2009 at 9:31 am


It’s even more naive to think that government help doesn’t come with strings attached, strings that will only hurt the church in the long run.



report abuse
 

Larry

posted July 23, 2009 at 10:00 am


What I don’t get is the number of people who affirm a “right to life”, but don’t seem to think that the right, if it means anything, must include rights to those things necessary to sustain life, food, clothing, shelter and health care.



report abuse
 

Larry

posted July 23, 2009 at 10:05 am


It’s even more naive to think that government help doesn’t come with strings attached, strings that will only hurt the church in the long run.
No strings attached to corporate provided health care? I’m sure insurance companies are only motivated by the desire to help their subscribers and have pure hearts, untouched by the greed and other base motives known to infect the human heart, but somehow they still manage to act like greed is their sole motivation (or at least my insurance company does).



report abuse
 

Jim

posted July 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm


The difference, at least in theory, is that there are multiple private insurance companies. The consumer can choose a company that works best, fits his needs, values, and new companies can start to fill felt needs.
Consider secondary schools, for comparison. There are many different types of private schools, of various religions, values, motivations, educational philosophies, but only one type of public school, teaching government values. There is always more freedom is found from private organizations (however greedy they may be), than from the government.
Now, health insurance may not be working very well at the moment. It most certainly requires reform. I just don’t think throwing ourselves into the hands of one big organization located in Washington D.C. is the way to ensure ourselves and our churches freedom and liberty in the years to come.
As to the right to life thing, there’s an important necessary distinction. Saying somebody has a “right” to something does not mean that we believe the government should provide it. When a person has a right to life, we do not mean that the government provides that person with life. Quite the opposite, we mean that the government ought not interfere or infringe on that person’s right to life (which is endowed by his creator). The government should furthermore defend that right, prosecuting murder, preventing invasion, etc. When we say a person has a right to private property, the government does not provide that property, but refrain from confiscating it.
The case of “things necessary to sustain life,” the case is the same. If we were to say a person has a right to food, we would not mean that the government must provide everyone with food, but that the government cannot take away what food we have, and ought to defend us from thieves who would. The same goes with health-care. If we have a “right to healthcare,” it doesn’t mean the government should provide it, just that the government can’t take it away.



report abuse
 

Alex

posted July 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm


I admit I know squat about this stuff, but I saw this on a news program a few months back, it looks useful for independent worker types…
http://www.freelancersunion.org/membership/index.html



report abuse
 

Heretic_for_Christ

posted July 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm


I find the entire premise of this essay, as given in the title, ludicrous and offensive. “What is a Christian to think?” Does being a Christian dictate how one is supposed to think on every social-economic-political issue facing America?
I know the drill: “Oh, no! Christians can have a wide variety of opinions on different issues, just like everyone else… But being a Christian means having certain values, and those values will influence what we think.”
No. Christian doctrine (which is NOT a “value”) dictates what is required in terms of theological belief; in terms of social issues, “guidance” from Christian bloggers and commentators is NOT based on Christian values because there is no such thing as Christian values — that is, the values held by Christians are largely the same as those held by Jews and by many other religious and cultural groups. That guidance may be perfectly fine, the perspectives offered may be fair and honest — but there is nothing uniquely Christian about such guidance.
This seems like a nit-picky issue, but I think it is important, because I am appalled at the degree to which Christians in America have willingly marched lock-step to the preachings of lunatics and demagogues who know how to shout “Lord! Lord!”
You want to know what to think about health care or Afghanistan or the environment or any other issue? Read widely, think, discuss, argue; by all means, see what various Christians think, but not BECAUSE they are Christians. And see what people of other faiths and of no faith have to say, as well.
To the title question, the answer is: “A Christian should think whatever he or she concludes based on research and rationality — same as with non-Christians.” And before you disagree, consider what you would be arguing to defend: the right of Christians to let other Christians tell them what to think?



report abuse
 

Larry

posted July 23, 2009 at 1:58 pm


When we say a person has a right to private property, the government does not provide that property, but refrain from confiscating it.
1. We never say somebody has a right to private property, a person has a right to obtain property.
2. Your formulation of “rights” boils down to “I have a right to get whatever I can attain”. How is this different from the state of nature where the strong have rights and the weak have whatever the strong will let them have?
3. If “right to life” is not just empty rhetoric it must entail certain things, it is not that the government must supply these things, but somebody must, especially for those who cannot supply them themselves.



report abuse
 

Jim

posted July 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm


Larry,
I believe you’re wrong on point 1. The “right” is to the property that we obtain. (I had to go back to Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Government to make sure I still knew what I was talking about, it’s been a while). Whatever a person makes or obtains, he thereafter has a right to, and nobody else has that right. We may or may not have a “right” to obtain property, I’m not sure. But when we talk about the right to property we mean exclusive rights over whatever property we have obtained or made.
Which brings up point 2. I do not say “I have a right to whatever I can attain.” Rather, I have certain rights endowed upon me by nature/God, that may not be infringed upon. Civil society differs from the state of nature in that I have an external authority to apply to when these rights are violated, rather than attempting to redress them myself.
As for point 3, I rather agree. If someone spends all their time protesting outside an abortion clinic and no time volunteering in a homeless shelter, hospital, or food pantry, they aren’t valuing life as much as they should.



report abuse
 

Richard Clark

posted July 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm


It’s incredible that Christians could be against any government health-care plan that helps provide health insurance to the more than 47 million uninsured.
I’m glad the Presbyterians are on board supporting Single-Payer Health-Care (HR 676).



report abuse
 

Tom Lo

posted July 24, 2009 at 3:04 am


My only thought is this: do we own our bodies or does the government? I understand the compassion for those that are uninsured, but the trade-off here seems a bit lopsided in favor of submitting the kingdom of God to the kingdom of the world.



report abuse
 

Tim

posted July 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm


Attempting to answer the question imbedded in the title of this blog post seems a bit problematic to me–primarily because there is no single Christian perspective concerning the current problem with healthcare. The commentary following this post suggest that much. Christians have differing views on the issue. I know Christians that support healthcare reform under Obama. I know other Christians that don’t. Both parties do so in the name of Christian values.
So any notion that Tony has the definitive answer as to what Christians can think is quite silly. What he can do is give us his perspective on the issue given the values he supports as a follower of Jesus. And any other Christian can do the same thing.
But what concerns me in either case is the attempt to use theology to somehow reinforce a political agenda. What concerns me about Tony’s blog post is that somehow anchoring his perspective on healthcare to God will make his argument stronger. And I got some news for you, Tony, people throughout church history have used God to back all sorts of poor political decisions. I think it is time we move away from that.



report abuse
 

Sylvia Sproul

posted July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm


I have a hard time with so many people dying in this country because they don’t have health care (or adequate health care). If we are indeed followers of Christ it seems to me that we would want to care for those who need it most, both physically and emotionally. We know that many of the home forclosures and even bankruptcies occur because of medical problems and yet we don’t act. How can we pay more for health care than any other nation and yet are 37th in the world for quality of health care? Could it be that insurance companies, drug companies etc. want profit more than adequate health care for the American people?



report abuse
 

debi

posted July 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm


Alright Already!
When does this all stop? As if we don’t give enough to the under privaliged.
They get housing, food stamps,ect and we even have collections for school supplies for thier children.
Now the goverment wants a health care program – to help those who cannot afford it? Generations of people did without to get what was needed for them and thier families – today, we stand in line with our hands out wanting for the goverment to take care of us! What happened to the good old American Pride?
Tony Jones talks about how high the preiums are and how large the deductible is, am I wrong or isn’that one of the things you think about before stepping into your own business?
It seems to me that people today do what they want and not worry about something going wrong. And why should they, one of our Goverment agencies will take care of them. And everyone wonders why we are going broke. We cannot afford what we have now and yet the Goverment wants a health care program.
When your going broke, you start getting rid of things that you don’t really need. not go out and buy more. Not our Goverment they think – Let’s get a health care program – we can’t afford it, but what the heck. The working people of America will just have to do without something to handle the cost. I don’t know about any body else there but I’ve had enough of providing for others and doing with out so they can have.



report abuse
 

Brenda Cosby

posted July 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm


You need to read Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny” to see how wrong you are. I guess the NEW Christians are liberal statists.
You should research your topics more thoroughly before you post them.
You probably would not have been able to get back surgery on Obamacare.
Christ did not shed His blood so we would be dependent on the State for our care.



report abuse
 

SuzanneWA

posted July 24, 2009 at 11:17 pm


“We’re from the government – and we’re here to help.” How Ronald Reagan’s joke comes to fruition. I agree with the blogger here who said that we work HARD for the money to AFFORD our OWN health insurance. And this is suppose to cover ILLEGAL aliens, too?? No wonder we need “border security.” If this bill is passed, we’ll have emigrants FROM the US crossing the border to get health care.
I don’t think that God chooses EITHER side on the health care issue. If it were TRULY charitable – leave it to the non-profits and the churches. Fortunately, I have excellent insurance, but, honey, I WORKED for it…



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 25, 2009 at 12:18 am


I think that it is just great to want to help out the needy. Manny can’t afford
to pay for Doctor visits and services.
Better to lend a helping hand than to contibute to Wars.
Manny are greedy and are rich. They have so much money that they
do not know what do with it. They are bored.
Shareing is careing . Right?
Do this rich People really want to get the ultimate goal?
Which is eternal life.
Even middle class and semi poor People should help out
the needy.
I Am not saying that nobody helps.
Just saying that it is better to give than to recieve.
I thank God and Son Jesus for those that help the
poor. In Jesus Name.
Yes I Am a Christian.
Sincerely ,ARG
Bless You All.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 25, 2009 at 12:45 am


I just think that if aliens are going to enter Our country for health care reasons.
They were entering for other reasons anyway. Manny corporations and companys do not
want to loose their hard workers that are illigels. Why You ask? Could it be because
of lazy People from Our country that do not want to do hard labor or are too busy
getting money the easy way?
Maybe this hard working imigrants(illigels) should be given a way to get papers
(citizenship) . To continue doing work for Us to better Our country.
And be entitled to get help with Health care too.
Yes some of Us worked hard to get Health care. But there are Some that Are not
illigels and Need Help too.
There are not enough jobs to go around. So they stay poor
and are in need of Health Care.
We need to create jobs not Wars.
Sincerely , AG



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 25, 2009 at 1:15 am


Yes I understand that We the working class help to pay for the unfotunate poor and needy with ,housing,food stamps ,etc.etc,etc,
But I figure that there would not be a need to help this poor unfortunate souls,if there
were jobs for them.
Oh yes We have money for Wars. And for other things that We really do not need.
Can You imagine all the money waste or use for wars.
All this money could be used for creating jobs and other services to better our
Country.
So why not stop being greedy and lend a helping hand.
Donate to the Help the Poor organizations and to to Our own poor of this nation.
There will be alot more crime if We stop helping the poor with housing and
food stamps. So what will it be? Stop the free housing and food stamps and
have more crime or help the poor and keep crime low ?
Bottom line. We need more jobs and counceling for Our Country.
Sincerely, AG



report abuse
 

George

posted July 25, 2009 at 8:31 am


there are so many people abusing the steym now we need reform now don,t we? there so many people abusing it who are to lazy to work and don,t need it so it has gooten out of control we have to do something or its going to go broken thanks to those who abuse it



report abuse
 

Nancy

posted July 25, 2009 at 9:11 am


I am a Canadian and although we differ we are the same. We get sick, we have children, we have spouses, and we have ourselves. You have to step into this asap, you will not be sorry. In times when we are short of dollars the last thing on our list is ourselves. Well be a little selfish put yourself first and go for this. We in Canada are not fearful to go to a doctor, yes we have long waiting periods and yes our doctors come times go south to you for the money, but do have the opportunity to walk into to any doctor and get help, and emergencies are on a triage need basis.
The one thing that I forget to thank God for is our Healthcare system, but you will too. OUrs is approximate 60 years old and is it perfect no, but it is available.



report abuse
 

Mike R

posted July 25, 2009 at 9:41 am


Our health care so called system is a national disgrace – delivering below average outcomes at sky high prices compared to other industrialized nations who cover all their people.
It is especially appalling in the self proclaimed most powerful Christian nation in the world. Is it Christian that a few are made wealthy because of the suffering of the unhealthy and unwealthy?
The problems are deeply rooted in several associated but not coordinated elements: doctors, hospitals, drug companies, insurance companies, and at the bottom, patients. All, except patients, are focused on profits and, in publicly held companies, meeting Wall Street expectations for growing profits each year. Insurance companies employ armies to find health patients and deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions along with limiting coverage to those who have faithfully paid for years. This is called “increasing earnings” by cutting expenses.
Profits have gotten out of hand with insurance companies having pretty much a monopoly in most states and the same for hospitals, many who operate with tax advantages as “non-profits.”
To balance profits with patients rights for quality treatment at a fair price, real competition must return either by government regulation or using market forces to drive cost down, coordinate care, and drive out fraud and abuse both in private and public programs.
With a Congress long ago corrupted by legal bribes, where corruption is normalized, this is not likely to happen. We have a congress of millionaires hoping to join the billionaire club which pays for their services.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 25, 2009 at 6:02 pm


The value of coming under other people with self-sacrificial love is most commendable. For that reason every Christian should want to see people receive adequate care with regard to their health. I think both sides can agree on that. We should want to see people have their health care needs met.
The real issue is the best way to go about making sure that happens. And from my vantage point government is hardly the answer. They do not have a proven track record–social security, medicare…etc–all failures. Moreover, consider the fact that about 40% of Americans are actually taxpayers. Government involvement ultimately leads to restricted freedom.
I am sick of people on the religious left thinking that they have a greater concern for the socially marginalized–that they are more altruistic. That’s a bunch of crap. The real issue is not altruism, but teh most effective solution. That is where the disagreement centers.



report abuse
 

Larry

posted July 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm


. The “right” is to the property that we obtain. (I had to go back to Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Government to make sure I still knew what I was talking about, it’s been a while). Whatever a person makes or obtains, he thereafter has a right to, and nobody else has that right.
This really points out the difficulty I have with Locke, his idea of rights favors those that already have over those who don’t have. I have difficulty squaring this with the Gospel and Jesus’ treatment of the poor and oppressed. Those who “join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you” find plenty of justification in Locke.



report abuse
 

Ted Seeber

posted July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm


Mike R: I actually had somebody more conservative than me- and I know, I’m a conservative in THIS group- argue that a large gap between the rich and the poor was necessary for Christianity- for without the poor, who would we have to be charitable to?
I’m in a slightly different class, in that pre-existing conditions mean that if I got health insurance for my family, the cost would be 125% of my income. I have no employer health care, so we go without. I fear for the day my child breaks a bone, for we are too rich for the government programs in existence, but too poor to have insurance.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 29, 2009 at 11:37 am


” If I am not mistaken, we have a huge national deficit (leading to bankruptcy) because of programs like this!”
Lance, I can’t say if you are mistaken or not, but I think what America spends on bombs and fighter jets and wars might have a lot to do with ‘leading to bankruptcy’ (moral or otherwise).
I’ll support war when America has spent the same amount on peace and found that it didn’t work.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted July 29, 2009 at 11:50 am


H4C,
“Does being a Christian dictate how one is supposed to think on every social-economic-political issue facing America?”
Well, according to the ‘leading’ “Christians”, yes. Take a look at any website from the Let’s Focus on SOME People’s Families to Westboro Baptist Church.



report abuse
 

Not looking for an earthly king.

posted July 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm


The founders of our great country fled their homeland in search for freedom and liberty. Do we want a goverment that forces it citzens to pay for healthcare or force others to pay for health care? It is not the governments place or role to take care of the needs of citzens, it is the resposibility of the church. What will your church do when it is required to pay the healthcare insurance for every employee including part-time employees? My family does not have healthcare and we do not live in fear. For the government to force us into healthcare is taking away our freedom. The person or agency who controls your health controls your life and I am not looking for a earthly king (Uncle Same) to run my life.
Let healthcare be a option in life, not a requirement to live.



report abuse
 

JW Morrison

posted July 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm


As I read the scriptures I have never come across any verse that indicated that governments were the end all for us. To the contrary, I read where the Savior tells his followers that it is up to us to succor the poor and disadvantaged. Governments job is to protect its citizens from invaders and to have laws that protect the citizenry from those who would hurt them. If we allow government to take our money and provide all things to everyone we abdicate our responsibilities to Christ and our fellow man. My faith and Church believes that we take care of ourselves when we can and that the membership shares the burdens of all. We have our own system to help people in need, including food, clothing, shelter, and money when needed. We donate to a church wide fund for the poor and needy, of which I have found myself requesting a few times in my life. When we allow government to do everything for us we allow ourselves to become slaves to the government, for after all, if we become dependent upon the government we will be less likely to protest the abuses of government for fear of losing our ‘benefits.’ One other thing, government passes laws initially to protect its citizens but as more wickedness comes to society it is soon passing laws to make its citizens criminals. They government has absolute power. If you think I am wrong then try to understand all the laws that are passed and if you did you will find that we cannot possibly go through life without doing something that could put us in prison, no matter what you think of yourself. Our compassion comes from within as we reach out to those in need. It does not come from taxes which allow the government to decide our largess for us. Also, my faith stands firmly against abortions, yet my taxes would be going to a guaranteed right to abortion under a government plan. If a woman wants to abort life, then I guess she can, but she has no right to use my money for it when I am morally opposed to it.



report abuse
 

Susan

posted August 1, 2009 at 11:48 pm


Illegal aliens will NOT be covered unless they sign up illegally! I have never seen so many uninformed people opposing this in my life. My own children do not have coverage because they can’t afford it. They all work and there boss does not have health care coverage. We NEED something and doing NOTHING is NOT an option.



report abuse
 

JJoe

posted August 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm


Oh my God that a sick alien might get relief. What is the world coming to, when the sick are healed?
(From what I can tell, there are a lot more Americans sneaking into Canada for health care than Mexicans into the US.)
Lack of a public health care system is like abortion. In both, we kill children because it’s cheaper and more convenient.



report abuse
 

Brian

posted August 4, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Yes, health care reform is an urgent priority. Many families have inadequate coverage and 47 million people have no health care at all. This is true even when people are working full-time. Most of these folks live in fear of getting sick or injured. Any kind of medical emergency could send an already struggling family into financial debt and distress for the rest of their lives. The reality is that about 60 percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills. These are real people dealing with real illnesses who have to deal with real financial burdens. And worse, some people cannot afford the treatment that they need. Around 18,000 people die unnecessarily each year because they lack health insurance. This is not acceptable. It’s literally a matter of life and death. Health care should be a right for all people, not a privilege for the few.
The Gospels are filled with stories about Jesus and the disciples caring for people. They fed hungry people. They healed people’s illnesses. They helped poor people. They brought comfort to hurting people. The list goes on and on. The movement they started grew into what we call the Church today. We are the modern disciples of Jesus. Our challenge is to follow Jesus’ actions and words. In the end, Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) and to take care of the needs of “the least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46). He asks us to do these things because his ministry was centered on bringing and preaching good news to the poor (Luke 4:18). Jesus makes it clear: If the Gospel isn’t good news for poor people, then it isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Gospel-following Christians, we need to care for sick and hurting people – especially the poor. This is nothing new. It’s been happening for a long time. Many hospitals, including Mayo Clinic, were founded by Christians. Many doctors and nurses, including those initially at Mayo Clinic, were active members of their church. In fact, the word “hospital” comes from the Latin word “hospitalis”, which means “hospitable.” Health care started out rooted in the Christian tradition of hospitality that cared for all sick and hurting people. Now we need to figure out how to ensure that hospitals are hospitable to all people – especially people who cannot afford health insurance as it exists today.
There is not a perfect health care system nor is there a God-ordained system of health insurance. But one thing is clear: the current system is broken and desperately needs fixing. Health care reform is an imperative, not an option. We need to stand together, as Democrats and Republicans, to ensure that all people receive the health care and health coverage that they need. One possibility is President Obama’s proposal that we add a “public option” to all the private options of health insurance. This would provide the competition needed to ensure that the health care in the US remains among the best in the world. But this would also provide a much-needed refuge for all the people who cannot afford adequate health care. It’s a win-win. The public option is one way to ensure that health care and coverage is a reality for all God’s children.
We need to demand health care reform from our elected officials. This isn’t a time for political games. It’s a time to go deeper. And it’s a time for results.
Here are a few practical actions we can take to help bring about real results:
(1) Pray
(2) Sign the Health Care Creed to support health-care for all people. Sojourners will send this petition to our national elected officials.
(3) Download and share the Sojourners’ health-care discussion guide with your congregation and friends.
(4) Read perspectives from trusted organizations such as the Mayo Clinic Health Policies Center.
(5) Thank a doctor or nurse for the healing they provide.



report abuse
 

warren

posted August 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm


Government is not evil. Government is simply a group of people. People we elect. There are almost 50 million people that have no coverage many that struggle to pay high premiums. What has the church done to help these people?
why are so many operating on the principal that government is evil. We have the system of government we want don’t we? If we don’t like them we vote them out.
My question is how does a christian reconcile aversion to a healthcare plan that provides a way for everyone to have coverage with their wholesome christian values? I really do not understand that. What about taking care of the least among you. Why such great opposition to a health plan that would be run not for profit. If you don’t support single payer or a public option, you support protecting the profits of the insurance companies and for-profit hospitals. I didn’t see where Jesus tried to make a buck of the sick. Why do we accept that everything has to be about making money. Can’t health care be a right?
We are the wealthiest nation on the planet and we have 50 million people without coverage, relying on emergency rooms for their health care needs. Our system is NOT the envy of the world. Our system is ranked about 38th. It only works really well for the very wealthy and most of us, over 90%, are not that wealthy.
Stop being so angry about government and think about welfare of everyone and not just “keeping your money”. That doesn’t seem very christian. I read you should worry about laying up treasures for your self on earth and something about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven. Capitalism and Christianity are a strange mix unless you are following the prosperity gospel taught by so many televangelist.
Even Jesus showed respect for the government. He instructed his followers to give god what is gods and give ceasar what is ceasar’s. I think that was Jesus and not Paul.
Show some respect for the government our military is paid with your tax dollars to protect. Show some empathy for those who are out of work, or disabled. Love your enemies, protect the vulnerable. Try living like a christian instead of spouting anti government gibberish and demonizing those who have different opinions than you. And realize that you are fighting to protect a disgusting system that takes money from the sick and ill in society to benefit wealthy investors and corporations. Look at the amount of money insurance companies have made over the last 10 years. Look at the percentage of bakrupcies caused by medical expences. Look at the rate at which premiums have increased vs inflation and growth of wages. The health care system is killing our economy. There are so many reasons to support reforming our system. Educate yourselves on the facts.



report abuse
 

Blake

posted August 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm


It is really very simple. Those that don’t want government healthcare simply want poor people to die if they get sick. They can sugar-coat this all they want, claiming that government healthcare for the poor somehow forces people to “abdicate our responsibilities to Christ.” They may also say things like “my faith and Church believes that we take care of ourselves” but that only illustrates the selfish mentality of the people that oppose universal healthcare.
They might claim that there are already mechanisms in place to help the poor, and point to all the money their church donates, but the reality is that far too little money is donated to even begin helping the poor pay for healthcare.
Seriously, anyone that is opposed to univeral healthcare would have to be a very weak Christian at best. They can make all the excuses they want, but ultimately, they would rather people die than pay a few dollars more in taxes to keep them alive. Same goes for people that would rather illegal aliens to die rather than provide them medical care. Would Jesus want someone to die just because they entered a country illegally? I honestly don’t know how these people can even call themselves Christians.



report abuse
 

Josh

posted December 14, 2009 at 2:24 am


This is a very interesting topic indeed. I must say, at the forefront, that I am very strong proponent of universal health care. Quite frankly, I could care less about the economic issues surrounding this debate. They are simply tangential to the real issue. Ultimately this is nothing more than a moral issue. Sure it has economic results that spring forth from it, but; do not be deceived: this never was, is, or will be an issue consisting solely in economic and political concerns. Additionally, it seems rather clear to me that either the rejection or acceptance of a universal health care system comes with some pretty serious implied philosophical assumptions. To my mind there are two very important assumptions that must be true of those who opposed universal coverage. First, those in opposition must affirm unequivocally that health care is a privilege of monetary status. Do not think that you can oppose health care for all and still maintain that health care is a right. If you support a system that necessarily excludes some then you cannot think that all should be included. Secondly, and proceeding from the first, you must assume that it is acceptable for people without the proper funds to die. This necessarily follows from the first assumption. If health care is a privilege of monetary status then those without the proper status do not deserve health care (which lack of can lead to death), therefore; you must think that people are worthy of death if they cannot afford to live. It seems that if you oppose universal coverage your are forced to believe at least these two things.
To me it does not seem that those two assumptions can be reconciled with sound Christian theology.



report abuse
 

Jeffrey J. Rodman

posted February 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm


The government interference in healthcare will not solve problems long term. Just like Social Security and Medicare this programs will suffer from not having enough financial resources, funded through tax dollars, to support the program and the inevitable cuts will come. A better solution is to allow faith-based and community-based health clinics to care for their own citizens within the community. Government grant funding could help these ministries and non-profits but these clinics are most effective when they are supported with local funds by individual contributors and local foundation grants.
In my work with Here-4-You Christian Grant Consulting I meet ministries striving to provide healthcare services, healthcare sharing programs, free clinics, pregnancy centers, and other health related organizations. It is predicted that these programs will be harmed or even shut down by “healthcare reform.” The Christian and faith-based organizations are most concerned as to how new regulations may interfere with their missions.



report abuse
 

tlane

posted March 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm


I have recently started to read the bible in more depth. I really think the problem is that most “Christians” don’t read the bible at great lengths (some don’t read at all). They don’t meditate and pray regularly and are blind to our responsibilities as believers. I have been guilty of this in the past and as a result, I had ignorant thoughts about a lot of issues. Jesus expects us to care for the poor. This is clear in many scriptures throughout the bible.
I listened to Michelle Bachman last night on CNN and I was truly troubled by her whole attitude about healthcare for all. Yes, the Obama team probably doesn’t have it “perfect” but I think that is an unrealistic expectation. Michele basically stated that people need to take responsibility for themselves and their families and if the unexpected happens it’s your fault if you weren’t able to set aside enough money to cover your healthcare. So go die. Or go to the emergency room (is that the dumbest thing you have ever heard….who is paying for the high cost of emergency room visits… US)
What Michele and the others who agree with her point of view fail to realize is that people can’t help if they lose their job and then get sick. It’s not something you “plan”. And I don’t think people are going to sit around and say “now that I have government healthcare I’m not going to work”. If someone has this attitude they probably aren’t working now and we are paying for their healthcare… at the emergency room. Reform is needed.
Last night, I prayed for Michele. I am afraid that if she isn’t careful the wrath of God is going to come down and silence her. She thinks her life is so “together” and that she “planned her life” and “took responsibility”. She went to graduate school and has a good job with benefits that she earned and blah blah blah. That’s great and it’s the story of most people who have now found themselves without healthcare.
I don’t wish anything bad on anyone. But what if she and her husband get in a terrible car accident but they don’t die. However, they can no longer work and require extensive medical help. Then her kids all get life threatening illnesses. She will see that her “nest egg” will be depleted pretty fast. I’m sure if she reads this she’s got an answer… she has so much money and different insurance policies she thinks they will be okay. But here’s the thing about life… God knows where the “hole” is in her plans. There is one. Nobody in this world can plan their lives to avoid all of the possibilities of disaster even after trying really hard to be a responsible citizen.
I consider myself a responsible citizen. I have a credit score above 790. I have never relied on government aid. I pay my share of taxes. But I’m not arrogant about it. I am blessed and fortunate and it’s that simple. My cards could all fall down just like some of the unfortunate folks who need healthcare help now.



report abuse
 

David

posted March 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm


I believe that all Christians should be opposed to the proposed “healthcare reform” bill. Scripture clearly places the responsibility of caring for the poor, widows and orphans upon the Church and the individual. We do not have any Scriptural authority to transfer this responsibility to the government, and if we do it, we are undermining the our responsibility as Christians. God is glorified when we voluntarily give up our resources and comforts to help the poor, widows and orphans. When the government does it, the government points to itself, not God, and says “Look what I did for you! Look how I’m taking care of you! Now go out and vote for me.” When we look to government to supply our needs (or even the needs of the less fortunate), we are robbing God of the glory that is due Him alone, and we are shirking our responsibility as Christians. Our dependence should be on God, and not the government. And our response to the poor should flow from our gratitude for the blessings that God has poured out on us. There are many that do not have access to healthcare, and Scripture teaches that we will always have the poor among us. But does God not know the needs of the birds of the air and care for them? How much more will He care for His children? Mt 6:26. And because of the incredible sacrifice that God has made for us in the form of His Son, and because of His faithfulness in providing for us, we as Christians should be driven to care for the poor and helpless. Throughout the centuries, the Church has been at the forefront in caring for those in need. The more the Church fulfills this Biblical mandate, the more the Church will distinguish itself from the world, and the more God will be glorified. We should not give up this opportunity to the government.



report abuse
 

Finally

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:50 am


Finally we have a policy. The republicans are going to try and reverse this, but they never talk about “Pre-existing condition” protections.
I would like to find christians who are not greedy selfish mean-spirited people being lead around by ear-ticklers like Fox news.



report abuse
 

Paco

posted March 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm


I absolutely agree with “David” that Christians should take the joy and responsibility in caring for the poor, but by asking the Government to also do this, does this mean that Christians then stop doing this? Should we then petition the Gov’t to stop “caring” and “protecting” by other means? Fire stations, police officers, lawyers, city services, libraries, food stamps and many other governmental aid are realities that most people take advantage of. Our taxes pay for all of those services, so I assume that we as “Christians” are giving up our opportunity to care for other people? We have the government regulate our flight (FAA), communications (FCC), food and drugs (FDA), streets (DOT), and many other utilities (water, gas, electricity, etc.) all to protect and support the people of our country. They don’t do it perfectly, but we’re all glad they do it, and so we pay our taxes to see them accomplish their task. Millions of Americans are without healthcare and if we have to pay some more money to help them out, then wouldn’t it be worth it. The argument that we lose the opportunity assumes that we were helping before, which is just not the case. I would rather the government help with it, and something be done, rather than Christians “say” we’ll do it, and nothing happening.



report abuse
 

John

posted March 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm


If we truly believe we are a democracy then WE are the government… You are right the responsibility is on US. There are those of us who believe Christ urges US the PEOPLE to share among ourselves, that He preached social equality and social justice. To suggest that if the PEOPLE vote for the PEOPLE providing for socially just healthcare is somehow unChristian is beyond mind boggling. Is it that Christians really don’t want socially just healthcare… or is it that Christians are inextricabley wound up in coservative Republican politics… and so have no choice but go along, like some sort of “teabaggers for Jesus” After all, didn’t He say a rich man will enter the kingdom heaven faster than you can stick a needle in a camel’s eye… or was it the other way around



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted March 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm


Please, look at this new law. It is not just about healthcare. Yes, we need healthcare reform. Not this way. Too much is added to add to our debt. Be careful: words like “social justice” or “economic justice” are Maxist terms. If you don’t believe me check it our for yourself. Do not be a sheep and lead astray by Marxist ideologies in the name of “healthcare.” The “entire” law is a conglomerate of things not relating to healthcare & sets us up for more debt than you can possibly afford. Not only can you not afford this, but our children & grandchildren will not be able to pay this off. What then? Print money? That leads to crazy inflation or the collapse of the dollar. Borrow more from China? Think twice about that too.



report abuse
 

credit repair companies

posted July 29, 2014 at 9:51 am


I think this site has very excellent pent written content articles.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

My Blog Has Moved
Dear Readers, After a year with Beliefnet, I've decided to move to my own domain for my blogging.  It's been a fine year -- some things worked, other things didn't.  But in the end, I'll be a better blogger on my own.  My thanks to the Bnet editorial staff; they've been very supportive. Ple

posted 12:13:57pm Nov. 13, 2009 | read full post »

The Most Important Cartoon of the Year
By Steve Breen, San Diego Tribune, October 18, 2009

posted 8:51:22am Oct. 25, 2009 | read full post »

Social Media for Pastors
Following up on Christianity21, we at JoPa Productions are developing a series of boot camps for pastors who want to learn about and utilize social media tools like blogging, Twitter, and Facebook.  These are one-day, hands-on learning experiences, currently offered in the Twin Cities and soon

posted 10:45:52am Oct. 22, 2009 | read full post »

Ending Christian Euphemisms: "Fundamentalist"
I've taken some heat in the comment section for using yesterday's post on "unbiblical" and a "higher view of scripture" as a thin foil for my own disregard of biblical standards. To the contrary, I was pointing to the use of the word unbiblical as a stand-in for a particularly thin hermeneutic. Ther

posted 10:15:41am Oct. 21, 2009 | read full post »

Why You Should Get GENERATE
Last week at Christianity21, GENERATE Magazine debuted. With the tag line, "an artifact of the emergence conversation," it fit perfectly at the gathering. When I actually got around to reading it last weekend, I was truly surprised at how good it is.There have been several efforts to begin a paper j

posted 3:14:37pm Oct. 20, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.