Posted by: John Adams | March 23, 2010

Jesus and the Healthcare Bill

After more than a century of wrangling, the era of socialized healthcare is finally upon America. Writing at Out of Ur, Christianity Today’s leadership blog, Pastor Gordon MacDonald says that he feels “a sense of gladness” at its passing. Pointing out that Jesus showed great concern for hurting, sick people, MacDonald concludes that “any effort that is made to bring health benefits to more people (especially the weak, the poor, the children) is an effort with which I want to identify.” Americans can afford to pay a bit more in taxes in order to make sure the “least of these” in America find adequate care. “We just have to conclude that compassion in the face of human need is a greater value than accumulating more stuff,” he writes.

I must say that I share MacDonald’s sentiments exactly, with the exception that I am a bit skeptical as to whether the eleventh-hour pro-life language written into President Obama’s executive order will actually stick. As always, government in a fallen world is a give-and-take. The hearts of broken people in a sinful world are strange things, rife with contradictions. The same people determined to bring affordable healthcare to the masses turn a deaf ear to the plight of millions of unborn children aborted for the sake of nothing more than mere convenience. Abolitionists must have felt much the same at the establishment of the Mason-Dixon line — everyone north of the line will be free from hereon out; everyone born south of it is still subject to injustice.

Will our nation eventually have to pay for its sins, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword”? Only God knows. For now, we can rejoice in the righting of the wrongs that our nation does see even as we pray for the day when it repents of those it does not.

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Responses

  1. John, let’s have a discussion.

    “Jesus showed great concern for hurting, sick people” is true, but he urged people to willingly give. He never forced people into charity, like the government does. If you want to give of all you own, I applaud you for it, but forcing others to physically replicate your views is wrong.

    “Any effort that is made to bring health benefits to more people (especially the weak, the poor, the children) is an effort with which I want to identify.”
    Do you condone socialism, then? Why not go all out and advocate spreading everyone’s wealth– it’s what’s “right” after all (I don’t agree with this).

    “The hearts of broken people in a sinful world are strange things, rife with contradictions. The same people determined to bring affordable healthcare to the masses turn a deaf ear to the plight of millions of unborn children aborted for the sake of nothing more than mere convenience.”
    And you trust these people why? Because they happened to make a choice that aligned with your world views for once? How much will it take to make people understand that they do what is best for *them* in the end.

    Always glad to hear a Christian perspective. I just think you’re much more trusting of our government than you should be.

  2. Your views are more than welcome here, Ellen, and you raise some important points.

    As to Jesus’ views on giving, his commands with regard to paying your taxes was pretty much…just do it. Granted, the Roman Empire wasn’t a democracy, but Jesus didn’t seem to have a problem with paying taxes. Taxes get used to fund all sorts of things we wouldn’t have otherwise (schools, roads, public utilities, etc.). Paying a little extra to have healthcare as a public service rather than the exclusive right of those who can afford better insurance is a good move, in my opinion.

    I don’t see this as full-blown socialism – America is a compromise between capitalism and controls on capitalism. The struggle is to maintain a tension between freedom and fairness.

    I’m not convinced that the Democrats are just doing what’s best for them, either. Many of them probably just voted themselves out of office for this. And can’t that logic be turned on its head? Couldn’t Republicans just be doing what’s best for them?

    The fact remains that America is the only first-world nation where a serious ailment can bankrupt a middle-class citizen. We’re the world’s richest nation, and we can afford to take care of the least among us, and so I believe that we should.

  3. “his commands with regard to paying your taxes was pretty much…just do it.” I take issue with this. That time was not this time. Would you still advocate “just doing it” if you lived in a 100% corrupt country? The government isn’t God, they are fallen humans as you said, and I think it’s wise to question where your money is going. It’s important to contribute to society via taxes; I don’t advocate living somewhere expecting it scott-free. But there is a spectrum, and we are most definitely on the other end of it– we are being stolen from to pay for things that some (you) are for and others are not at all. Stealing is wrong. It’s not something I bow down to. I think you’re really taking Jesus’ message out of context.

    For example: by your logic, the government can take from our income to fund abortion, and we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t question it because Jesus, one time, said we should pay taxes. Period.
    And I know you disagree with that one.

    I didn’t say this was full blown socialism. I said would *you* advocate full blown socialism? You seem to have absolutely no problem with the government redistributing wealth (“in the name of the poor” and oh yeah maybe a lot of it gets pocketed but some still gets to its destination). Where do you draw the line? Or do you?

    Either party can and does do what is best for them. I mentioned Democrats because they’re the ones that passed this bill– literally, them alone. First MASSIVE piece of legislation that had not a single Republican vote. To me, that’s why it is historic.
    And they may have, but that’s not what they are betting on and you can watch some live debates or read up on it– they are hoping/expecting people to soften to the idea of this bill before election day; the initial perks, they are hoping, will sway them back.
    What about the disaster to come years from now when the program is broke and pulling the deficit down even more? They’ll be long gone by then, who cares.

    You can believe it all you want, John, and many agree with you, but forcing others into charity *is wrong*. Especially by Christian beliefs. Lead by example, not command.

  4. “Would you still advocate ‘just doing it’ if you lived in a 100% corrupt country? The government isn’t God, they are fallen humans as you said, and I think it’s wise to question where your money is going.”

    Yes. Jesus’ time and place was far more corrupt than ours. Taxes were going to fund emperor worship, and yet Jesus still commanded his followers to render to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what was God’s. I don’t think that’s blind obedience. It’s just a statement that ultimately, Caesar can have his coin. Give to God what is truly important – our whole lives.

    I’m not saying that we can’t question where our money goes, or that we can’t try to stop government from doing some things. But no government in a fallen world is going to be perfect. There is sin interwoven with the best human attempts to fix things, and this healthcare bill proves it.

    You read me wrong if you thought I was giving this bill my unqualified approval. My original post was more of a lament than a celebration, actually. I believe that God judges nations, and I believe that God will eventually judge ours for our callousness to the unborn.

    At the same time, I don’t want to be guilty of callousness to the poor. At least this bill will benefit them in a tangible way.

  5. John,
    You speak very graciously and I empathize with your thoughts on this.
    Peace.


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