Public Healthcare, the Christian Right's Moral Failure, and Jesus' teachings.

Intraluminal
Public Healthcare, the Christian Right's Moral Failure, and Jesus' teachings.

Let me start this MyTake by saying that, although I use the teachings of Jesus in this MyTake, His teachings related to our obligation to care for others are echoed in all the religions that I am aware of. It is only my ignorance that stops me from quoting other holy people. Further, atheists will find this MyTake simply puts a theological slant on what they see as an ethical imperative.

I am posting this MyTake largely in reaction to an "Influencer" on GaG who said, "Why does government (you and me) have an obligation to provide health insurance for people who cannot afford it? I am not asking whether you think it is a good idea. I am not asking whether it would have any good consequences. I am asking whether there is a LEGAL obligation for the government (you and me) to provide health insurance." He claimed to be a Christian.

Sir, this MyTake is (largely) for you.

Expanding public health care is simply the Christian thing to do. People of every faith tradition also see caring for the sick as essential to their religion, and it is part of our civic obligation as well as a Christian obligation. Anyone who believes themselves to be a "Christian" should be demanding comprehensive health care reform.

The Gospels are overflowing with stories of Jesus caring for people in need, not just a few, but whole gatherings of people. I could point out many examples, but one that springs to mind is in Luke 4:40, where Jesus healed "too many to count." If you claim to take "What Would Jesus Do" seriously, then our obligations to the naked, hungry, beaten, suffering, and vulnerable are impossible to deny. Earlier Christians understood this duty, that's why the first hospitals in the West were founded by religious communities and why so many doctors and nurses were also priests, monks, and nuns, to the point where nurses in Britain were, up until recently, referred to as "sisters."

In Matt. 10-7, Jesus commanded his disciples to “cure the sick.” Consider the next verse: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matt. 10:8). This passage, theologically and financially refers to the fact that all people live by the grace of God, which was given freely. This free God-given grace implies that Christians are called to give (freely) this grace to others. Friends, family, neighbors, and strangers alike. Jesus did not favor the rich. Remember, He's the one who said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24).

Under our current pay-for-care system, many people go bankrupt every year because of medical costs. Others delay seeking care, and die, or are refused care, because they don’t carry the right or adequate insurance. Jesus cared for whoever needed attention the most. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) makes clear our responsibility to care for the stranger. If you really want to pretend to be a good Christian, and want to be able to say that you follow Christ's teachings, then put your money where your scriptures are.

There are many examples of public services, like the Public Library system, Medicare, and public schools, that are either federally funded or use taxpayer money to care for and educate others and no one calls them “socialist.” We need to stop using the greed inherent in private insurers, which are focused on profit and rewarding consumption, and create a public system that offers high quality and affordable care to everyone.

Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, and England provide excellent care to everyone, and compared to them, the U. S. health care system is incredibly expensive, wasteful, and unfair. A federal program is the only way to provide for the nearly 50 million uninsured. It is a Christian duty, as Jesus stated repeatedly, to care for these people. Will you refuse to recognize the teachings of Jesus?

Public Healthcare, the Christian Right's Moral Failure, and Jesus' teachings.
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  • levantine99
    the very constitution of hospitals in the modern sense began from first centuries christian devotees. we are given free and we shall give for free. Christ always cared about the physical health of people and healed physical ailments countless times. as for the hypocrisy of some people that care more about their wealth well Christ was clear there as well. many are the ones He calls, very few will catch the message, even fewer will take it to the end. many are "at name" christians, but its really hard to be His true disciple. when the rich kid who "kept all commanments of the law" asked what to do to be saved, he quited when Christ asked to give all his wealth to the poor and follow him.
    Is this still revelant?

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  • OlderAndWiser
    Other users: I am the person to whom @Intraluminal refers.

    Yes, I "claim" to be a Christian. The subtle jab in that sentence was not lost on me. I am quite accustomed to "loving and tolerant" liberals attempting to smear anyone who challenges their beliefs.

    Yes, the Bible contains many examples of Jesus healing people, feeding people, and taking care of people. In my church, we support those missions. We have a food bank for the hungry. We have a social service agency which helps immigrants to get established. We participate in a program which houses homeless families who are becoming re-established with jobs and permanent housing. We financially support medical missions to other areas of the globe. We contribute funds to help control Malaria in Africa. I participate in many of these activities.

    Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus exhort anyone to use force or duress to make others participate in those things which Jesus advanced. Jesus never suggested forcing people to donate money to assist with food, shelter, or medical care. Nowhere.

    As a Christian (not just a "claim,") I accept, support, and participate in the accomplishment of these objectives. But that does not compel me to try to encourage the government to force unwilling citizens to pay for these programs, or similar programs within a secular context.

    There is no hypocrisy in a Christian being a political conservative. I respect the autonomy of each individual and their right to control their own destiny. I certainly would not encourage anything that results in financial servitude of a multitude of people.

    Liberals think that they can simply accuse Christians of being hypocrites and somehow they have "won" the argument. This is an argument which cannot be won. Liberals make a fundamental assumption that the government should do as much as possible to take care of its citizens. I do not agree with that assumption but I cannot prove that it is factually flawed and I do not respond by calling liberals debasing names as an element of debate strategy.

    Conservatives assume that government should do as little as necessary to provide for its people, interfere with our private lives as little as possible, and give us the freedom to make what we will of our own lives.

    @Intraluminal, I will not engage in extended debate, because this argument cannot be won and I do not want to be subjected to additional name calling. Respond as your conscience directs you and your actions will speak for themselves.
    • Awesome.

    • I wasn't name calling. I avoiding naming you. It simply appears that if you wish to be congruent with Jesus' teachings, you should support public healthcare in the same way that you claim governmental sovereignty over abortion. That is simple logic. You cannot claim that others (the entire state) must obey a single religions' tortuous interpretation of one biblical injunction, while denying that a repeated biblical injunction doesn't apply simply because it would cost money. Either something is right (because the Bible) or it isn't. Money shouldn't be the determinant. People without healthcare die - pure and simple. They're just as dead as if you shot them. If you fail to help them, you are failing God. Your choice.

    • I am not failing to help people; bad assumption on your part.

      No more response.

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  • HungLikeAHorsefly
    Many Christians rely on the argument that their church or other community organization takes care of the poor and whatnot, and that government shouldn't be doing it for two reasons: 1) they're bad at it, and 2) it isn't right to tax someone to pay for the benefit of someone else.

    That's a solid argument, and I applaud the millions of people that contribute their time and money toward these aims. However, churches just can't reach the scale necessary to provide for all of the poor in the world, and let's face it - many times they only cater to their own members (or those they're trying to make members).

    So one has to ask: if you have the opportunity to do more good for many more people, why don't you take it? In addition, why do you demonize people that use public assistance, even though time and time again it's demonstrated that the people who do so are not the stereotypes you describe? Why are you more concerned with keeping your money away from the government than you are with helping the needy?

    It's because they think the government does a poor job at taking care of the poor. They think public assistance programs, with clearly published guidelines, run by professionals, that are well funded and subject to public oversight operate *less efficiently* than church-based programs run by amateurs, with extremely sketchy budgets, no transparency, and full of people with just as much potential for corruption and more opportunity to do so.

    Or, it's because they think the government is using coercive measures to force people to take care of the poor. The Bible is a story about the one true God, creator and lord of everything in existence. In it, we have his son, the physical embodiment of said God, who tells us we must take care of the poor or be damned for eternity. It really doesn't get any more coercive than that, does it? They clearly aren't concerned about coercion - their concern is that other people are telling them what to do with their money.

    And... if providing for the poor through the church actually worked... we wouldn't be having this conversation, now would we?
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  • flypaper
    Yeah, that always boggled my mind. All the liberal stances besides abortion & gay marriage seem to jive more with the teachings of jesus.
  • Curmudgeon
    Oh get real. Delegating your duties to the Nanny State is NOT godly:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypkv0HeUvTc
  • Iraqveteran666
    Jesus said the laborer is entitled to his wages. Obamacare costs too much and was set up wrong if you look at Britain, France and Germany they don't allow corporationst to extort the taxpayer.
    The nation should have been given a referendum on federal health care but politician don't want average Joe to have power.
  • KnightCross
    i agree with you... USA was most of part of it colonized by protestant brittish... that's why they simply don't care about the poor... i mean, the early merchant class at the beginning of Modern Age embraced Protestantism, specifically Calvinism, because that was totally capitalist way of view of it... also the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages helped poor and sick people by opening lots of healthcare and hospitals... and they keep doing this work until nowadays
  • RegularTK421
    Christians already offer health care sharing ministries, such as medishare, Samaritan, Liberty Health Share, and Christian healthcare ministries. You know, those organizations you are so fond of wanting to tax. Not to mention EVERY homeless shelter in my area are Christian shelters. Salvation Army, Rescue Mission, and Garden city. I don't see liberals aiding the unfortunate, I see them passing health care laws that mandate Americans purchase healthcare from a private, for profit corporation under the threat of a tax penalty. Not to mention the ACA isn't universal healthcare or a single payer system. I also love how the plans sold on these exchanges, have higher out of pockets costs, deductibles, and premiums. You don't exactly help the poor by bleeding them dry financially.
    • Where I live there are exactly zero church healthcare centers. What percentage of the American population do you think is covered by faith based healthcare. Do they cover common procedures like coronary bypasses?

    • @Intraluminal Technically it isn't health insurance. These are simply members paying for other members health insurance after they are directly billed. Basically it's a giant cost sharing pool. It does count as health care coverage under the ACA, so you do avoid the tax penalty. It's an attractive option, particularly since the plans sold on the exchanges are becoming more expensive, with higher out of pocket costs and premiums.

    • Members paying for other members health care services*

      Sorry I said health insurance by mistake.

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  • TheSpartan
    Since taxation is theft, and Jesus was stridently against theft, no.
    • "Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's"

      That doesn't ring any bells with you?

    • TheSpartan

      And my money doesn't belong to Caesar.

    • According to Jesus, who I just quoted, it does.

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  • ASEXY
    Most Christians have this thing called cognitive dissonance. They have too many inconsistencies in their beliefs and I'm not in the mood to list all of them.
  • 1truekhaleesi
    I've always wondered about this. They claim to be Christians yet they care more about money than people's lives.
  • garcehoeppner
    Yes, as a Christians we should help others especially when it's something that affects their health or wellbeing.
  • Christiangirl99
    Haven't the Christians provided free healthcare in America for years?
  • mostwomenshouldstfu
    Not at the expense of other's healthcare dumbshit.

    You should be ashamed for trying to weaponize Jesus's teachings as a guilt bomb. Fuck your take.
    • How is saying we need universal healthcare "at the expense of others healthcare?"

    • "Will you refuse to recognize the teachings of Jesus?"

      You're a fraud and a manipulator.

    • You still haven't explained why *attempting* to provide universal healthcare is a bad thing.

      by the way, I'm sorry if quoting Jesus triggers you.

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  • The_flying_Frenchman
    Even an atheist like myself can give a hearty amen to that. Well said.
  • Waffles731
    you already posted this under an opinion
    • Yeah, but I edited it, cleaned it up, and made it more accessible. I also added a lot of Christian quotes, making it harder for the Theocrats to ignore.

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