Monday, August 17, 2009

The Christian Side of the Health Care Reform Debate

While I myself don't proclaim to be a practicing Christian, I have read the Bible cover to cover and have grown up in the Methodist Church with an ordained elder for a father. I do, however, enjoy reading about and researching all religions, and the fascinating (and sometimes destructive) impact they have on their followers and the rest of the world.

I do know that Christianity is largely based on the teachings of the New Testament, and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the story of Jesus. There are parts of the Old Testament added to the original Torah (Pentateuch- first five books of the Bible) also followed by Christians. Jesus himself had a righteous message; one of stewardship, nurturing, charity, humility, and a universal Christian brotherhood (communion).

It's no secret that today, most churches in the Christian faith are heavily represented by the right wing; churches adamantly refuse to marry homosexuals or even recognize their lifestyle as a normal one. The role of women in the church has long been suppressed by the right wing, at least in leadership positions. The religious right also claims to venerate the "traditions" and "heritage" of our Puritan ancestors. As we all know, our country was founded by Puritanical settlers with very conservative views of society and people.

That carries on through today, where Glenn Beck's "9/12 Project" venerates a strong faith in God as one of the primary values of American conservatives. That being said, it's safe to say that not all Christians are conservative, but a vast majority of conservatives are Christians. So, to those on the right wing who identify themselves as Christian, I'm writing this especially for you. This goes double for those who stand against health care reform.

In last week's health care poll (I'm still collecting data, conclusion to come shortly) I conducted here, most conservatives who took the time to answer my questions believed health care was not a right, but a privilege. They believed it was wrong for taxpayers to demand that their money go toward public-funded health insurance to cover those who can't afford a premium from a private insurer. For the most part, these conservatives sided with the wealthy private health sector, and were united in their cause of health care accessibility only for those wealthy enough to afford it. When questioned about the poor 47,000,000+ in our country with no insurance, their response was something along the lines of "should have worked harder," "not my problem," and "no government mooching."

A friend of mine who works for a Christian-based broadcasting network shared with me a wealth of Bible verses from the Old and New Testaments, and these verses speak volumes about how the conservative Christians of the modern era have failed in their Biblical duties as true Christians. Particularly when it comes to their apathy toward the poor and uninsured. These Bible verses speak for themselves. If I have prompted you to respond, feel free to do so.

"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."
-Proverbs 21:13

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
-Proverbs 31:8-9

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
-Matthew 6:24

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 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 19:23-24

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'"
-Matthew 25:41-45

"He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished."
-Proverbs 17:5

"He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich--both come to poverty."
-Proverbs 22:16

"Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'"
-Matthew 19:21

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."
-Proverbs 28:27

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
-1 Timothy 6:9-10

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
-1 Timothy 6:17-19

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
-Ezekiel 16:49

"Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all."
-Proverbs 22:2

"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
-Proverbs 14:31

"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."
-Proverbs 22:9

"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse."
-Proverbs 28:6

"A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished."
-Proverbs 28:20

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern."
-Proverbs 29:7

"Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."
-Proverbs 11:4

"Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them."
-Proverbs 22:22-23

"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."
-Proverbs 23:4-5

"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."
-Ecclesiastes 5:10

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
-Proverbs 22:1

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."
-Deuteronomy 15:11

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."
-Hebrews 13:5

"You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge."
-Psalm 14:6

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done."
-Proverbs 19:17

"A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him."
-Proverbs 28:11

"A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare."
-Proverbs 21:6

"The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall."
-Proverbs 18:11

No comments:

Post a Comment