some ruminations on the healthcare bill passing

I’ve been jawing on Facebook all day about the healthcare bill. My wife and I had a genuine dining room table discussion about it. And a random friend of a friend got me thinking – would Jesus support this bill?

Well, you can try to answer that either asking Him through prayer, which never seems to give a good facebook (now blog) outcome, or do a little historical / theological look back, which we can give a go.

Christ did like healthcare. He raised Lazarus from the dead, spat in some mud and made a blind man see, allowed some woman to be healed of hemorrhaging after she touched the hem of his garment. He healed some other fellow whose friends lowered him through the roof of the place he was speaking.

Christ also liked a good handout – water to wine at the wedding, loaves and fishes; he gave his disciples a miraculous catch after they’d had a no-luck night.

Oh Christ was not too big on rich people – he said it was easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. He chased the money changers out of the temple. Didn’t seem to care one way or the other about taxes, though he did say give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

The real problem here is Christ cared ( and cares) more about the spiritual world than physical suffering. The healing miracles all had a teaching context. The handouts too pointed to teaching lessons.

Oddly, the problem with this bill is it grows government and further diffuses our responsibility toward each other – I may have less of a chance to show Christian love now that more people are on the government dole. As a practical extension, Non-profit hospital systems currently receive a large part of their funding based on the uninsured they cover… how will that change? Admittedly, this is not top on Rush Limbaugh’s mind, but we are talking about Jesus. Might less people turn to the church if their needs are met by the government?

Mother Theresa alleviated an immense amount of physical suffering, but that was not the goal of her ministry. It’s just hard to teach the Gospel to the starving, so she fed them.

I wish we had not spent so much in Iraq and Afghanistan, including my cousin who died in the early months of the Iraq campaign. I’m looking forward to seeing if this bill does get our poorest out of emergency rooms and into conventional and even preventative treatment, which could save us money.  I’ve heard some of the same horror stories about people with pre-existing conditions who could not get insurance, or worse yet paid for insurance and then had it taken away when they needed it based on something they did not disclose. Christ and God seem to like justice, so maybe we will see some good there.

Obama will have at least 2 years to hone this thing with veto protection. I look forward to the loyal opposition paring it down a bit where it does not work. I hope the pendulum does not swing to far back, and we lose positive, win-win progress.

Does Jesus like this bill? Yes, probably in the same way he disliked the Holocaust. But Christ is a detail, hairs on the head, lilies in the field kinda guy. When we are at our collective worst – he hopes we pull it together, show His love to each other, and save some souls. When we are on the mountaintop, he rejoices with us, hopes we inspire each other, and save some souls.

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