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Would Jesus Want Universal Health Care?

No Support for the Public Option

There is a lot talk right now about the current health care plan (HR 3200) sitting in Congress.  A couple months ago, Democrats tried pushing the "Public Option" through Congress so fast that we later learn most of them didn't read the bill.  In August, during Congress' recess, Democrats caught an earful from angry constituents about the Public Option's plan of dipping into Medicare, shrinking the market of private insurance companies, and costing taxpayers an extra trillion dollars as estimated by the Congressional Budget office.

In August, Rasmussen polls showed a declining support for the Public Option.  In a last ditched effort, President Obama decided to reach out to religious leaders to guilt them into supporting HR 3200.  This cued people like James Iaquinta, a community columnist from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, to publish a column arguing that the Bible teaches Christians to support universal health care.   He says,

"Now, Jesus teaches that we are all children of God, which means everyone is to be considered our brother/sister. So we are obliged to care for all as if they were our blood relatives without exception. There are those who would protest that some are undeserving of this status due to their behavior or beliefs. I direct them to the Golden Rule, which makes no such distinctions, and Matthew 25:31-40, where Jesus describes how our fitness to enter heaven will be determined. He says, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me (emphasis added), I was in prison and you came to me." Asked when they had seen him in these situations, he says, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

A few things should be corrected.  First, the Bible does not teach that we are all the children of God.  John 1:12-13 says,

" Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

I know it sounds nice that we consider the entire human race to be the children of God, but the scriptures say that only those who have faith in Christ's name earn the right to become His children.  We are not children of God by the mere fact we've been born in the world, but because we've chosen God to be our Father.

Second, Iaquinta is right that Jesus asked his followers to love others as they loved themselves and to care for those who are in need.  Iaquinta is wrong if he thinks this rationalizes a government-run universal health care system.  Jesus believed in charitable giving, not a government-sponsored tax and spend welfare system.  

Charitable Contributions are Voluntary, Government Contributions are Mandatory

To be clear, charitable giving requires a voluntary act.  There is no external authority, like the government for instance, telling you that if you don't give, they will penalize you.  Jesus warned his disciples not to put their charity on display, for if they did, they would not receive their reward in heaven.  Jesus said,

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Christian Charity is more about Personal Sacrifice than Improving the Condition of Others

An important point was made here.  If giving to the poor was about the "poor", then it wouldn't matter if the giving was a public show or something done in private because ultimately the poor would get something.  Jesus is saying that giving is about the person giving, not the person receiving.  If someone gives to the poor because they want their name inscribed into some hospital wall of philanthropists, then Jesus says they will not receive their spiritual reward.  The purpose of charitable acts, therefore, is to improve one's soul, not to improve the material well being of the poor.

This is important because Iaquinta is telling Christians they ought to support a government run health care system because Jesus says we should be our brother's keeper.  However, a government run system is clearly what Jesus would denounce.  Jesus would denounce it because it replaces charity with a government mandate; it puts your "acts of righteousness" on a public display, which is exactly what Jesus spoke against.

To answer Mr. Iaquinta assertion, yes, as Christians, we should help our neighbor.  Many contemporary Christians shirk this divine duty, and they shouldn't.  But placing a mandate on Americans to provide for the needs of their neighbors is not Christian; in fact, it's not even righteous.  Acts of righteousness are voluntary, not compulsory.  Bottom line, proponents of socialized medicine shouldn't be using the Bible to promote their agenda when the Bible condemns it. 

 

Comments (16)
  • Zeus Rodriguez  - Not bad

    I think you make some good points. But what about the possibility that by personally supporting "Universal Health Care" that that personal "choice" becomes "voluntary" and "charitable?"

    Sometimes, as a rational Christian, you have to concern yourself more with results and not just ideals.

    If "Universal Health Care" could sensibly create an avenue of healthcare support for those who currently cannot afford it without compromising -too much- the current coverage of those who have it, then I believe that that would be the Christian thing to do, both voluntary and charitable.

    A person's dignity is not dependent upon their belief in Jesus Christ but on the mere fact that they have been made in the image and likeness of God's only son. So while Laquinta's exegesis may not be perfect, his seems to be closer to what Jesus would want than yours.

    Romans 5:8

    "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

    I think you make good rational points that need to be considered, but I don't see Christ in your response.

  • Jason Crye
    Quote:
    I think you make some good points. But what about the possibility that by personally supporting "Universal Health Care" that that personal "choice" becomes "voluntary" and "charitable?"

    Sure. A voluntary choice to support legislation that mandates universal health care can be righteous, if one misguidedly believes that the government will not mandate the giving. The problem is that compelling someone to give to the needy strips the charity out of charitable contributions.

    Quote:

    Sometimes, as a rational Christian, you have to concern yourself more with results and not just ideals.

    Jesus told his apostles that if they gave so men would see them, they would not receive their reward in heaven. If it were about the results, why would Jesus restrict the way his apostles gave? Or better yet, why didn't Jesus just make sure that the needy were cared for? He had the power did he not?

    Quote:
    If "Universal Health Care" could sensibly create an avenue of healthcare support for those who currently cannot afford it without compromising -too much- the current coverage of those who have it, then I believe that that would be the Christian thing to do, both voluntary and charitable.

    I don't see it as the Christian thing to do unless the gospel message is being heard. When Jesus healed the blind man, he told his followers that the man was blind so that the glory of God may be revealed. He wasn't healed because it's good that blind men receive sight, but because the gospel message was expressed in the miracle. And the last time I checked, the government hasn't been a key supporter in spreading the gospel message.

    Quote:
    A person's dignity is not dependent upon their belief in Jesus Christ but on the mere fact that they have been made in the image and likeness of God's only son. So while Laquinta's exegesis may not be perfect, his seems to be closer to what Jesus would want than yours.

    You may have to explain your conclusion a little better.

  • Zeus Rodriguez  - re:
    Aaron M Rodriguez wrote:
    Sure. A voluntary choice to support legislation that mandates universal health care can be righteous, if one misguidedly believes that the government will not mandate the giving. The problem is that compelling someone to give to the needy strips the charity out of charitable contributions.

    It only matters what the intent or determination of the individual is, not on the intentions (or mandates) of the government. If I support the government's Health Care bill because I think my small contribution will help another person, then it doesn't matter if I would have been forced to do it or not. The fact remains that I would not be forced because I would be consenting and therefore charitable in my intentions.

    Jesus told his apostles that if they gave so men would see them, they would not receive their reward in heaven. If it were about the results, why would Jesus restrict the way his apostles gave? Or better yet, why didn't Jesus just make sure that the needy were cared for? He had the power did he not?

    I think you take his admonitions too far. Jesus was warning his disciples to understand why they give not how they give. He was merely stressing the point that good works should not be done JUST to be glorified by men ("to be seen by them";) he is not suggesting that if someone "finds out" that you loose your reward in heaven, it is a matter of ones intentions.

    I don't see it as the Christian thing to do unless the gospel message is being heard. When Jesus healed the blind man, he told his followers that the man was blind so that the glory of God may be revealed. He wasn't healed because it's good that blind men receive sight, but because the gospel message was expressed in the miracle. And the last time I checked, the government hasn't been a key supporter in spreading the gospel message.

    The Gospel message is spread loud and clear in good works of compassion for the love of fellow mankind done in the name of Jesus Christ, even when one word is not spoken. Like the old saying goes, "Preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary." St. Francis of Assisi

    Not trying to be offensive, but that is one of the problems with certain forms of protestant philosophy, i.e. if there isn't a man speaking for hours about the Bible, somehow the Gospel message is not being spread. Balderdash.

    You may have to explain your conclusion a little better.

    Because Laquinta is trying to help those who need help, even if his "way" is imperfect. Your response sounds more like what James condemns in 2:15:

    "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

    It would SEEM as if Laquinta is actually doing and you are only preaching.

    Just Saying.

  • Jason Crye
    Quote:
    It only matters what the intent or determination of the individual is, not on the intentions (or mandates) of the government. If I support the government's Health Care bill because I think my small contribution will help another person, then it doesn't matter if I would have been forced to do it or not. The fact remains that I would not be forced because I would be consenting and therefore charitable in my intentions.

    I'd be careful when using terms like "only" when providing an analysis of ethical or religious issues.

    When the government gets involved and expands health care coverage to everyone, including those who don't need or want it, it takes money from the hands of those who would have contributed voluntarily to the needy, but are now restricted from doing so.

    Also, when our health care system begins to mimic the government-run systems of Canada or Europe, there will less access to care than there is now. Right now, we don't have access issues, we have coverage issues. When you insure 30 million more people without hiring more physicians, you will create an access issue. So the question is, are intentions the only thing that needs to be considered here when it will affect the voluntary actions of others?

    Quote:

    I think you take his admonitions too far. Jesus was warning his disciples to understand why they give not how they give. He was merely stressing the point that good works should not be done JUST to be glorified by men ("to be seen by them";) he is not suggesting that if someone "finds out" that you loose your reward in heaven, it is a matter of ones intentions.

    I see your point, but why haven't you answered the other question. If we are supposed to give to the needy because it is righteous that the condition of the needy is satisfied, then why didn't Jesus, who certainly had the ability, provide for the needs of all the needy?

    Quote:
    The Gospel message is spread loud and clear in good works of compassion for the love of fellow mankind done in the name of Jesus Christ, even when one word is not spoken. Like the old saying goes, "Preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary." St. Francis of Assisi

    And how does this relate to health care coverage. Are you saying that the government is spreading the gospel by implementing a government mandated health care insurance?

    Quote:
    Because Laquinta is trying to help those who need help, even if his "way" is imperfect. Your response sounds more like what James condemns in 2:15:

    "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

    It would SEEM as if Laquinta is actually doing and you are only preaching.


    Let me get this straight. Because Laquinta is advocating for universal health care coverage, he is doing rather than preaching? Excuse me, but Laquinta is doing exactly what I'm doing, and that is writing about an issue. He is not lifting a darn finger to help the cause unless you refer to striking keys on a keyboard.

    The difference between him and myself is that we fall on different sides of the issue. The issue is that Christ never called for government intervention into the lives of the needy. Instead, he instructed his apostles to make a personal sacrifice for the benefit of others.

  • Zeus Rodriguez

    I'd be careful when using terms like "only" when providing an analysis of ethical or religious issues.

    Nothing I said proves otherwise.

    When the government gets involved and expands health care coverage to everyone, including those who don't need or want it, it takes money from the hands of those who would have contributed voluntarily to the needy, but are now restricted from doing so.

    Also, when our health care system begins to mimic the government-run systems of Canada or Europe, there will less access to care than there is now. Right now, we don't have access issues, we have coverage issues. When you insure 30 million more people without hiring more physicians, you will create an access issue. So the question is, are intentions the only thing that needs to be considered here when it will affect the voluntary actions of others?

    The problem is is that you have meshed two separate issues into one. No one said that the current proposal or any possible healthcare proposal would be perfect and even work at all, for that matter. We are talking about how Christians should view and specifically tackle the issue of taking care of the needy.

    Laquinta's solution is for government run universal healthcare. As flawed and as wrong as it may be, on the other hand your solution is.... well nothing, let the poor deal with it. That's nice coming from someone with good health insurance.

    And how does this relate to health care coverage. Are you saying that the government is spreading the gospel by implementing a government mandated health care insurance?

    NO, I am saying that individuals who actually make a positive move towards actually doing something whether it is through their own giving or through giving extra taxes to provide for those who are in need are spreading the Gospel.

    I don't know Laquinta and I don't really care what his actual motivation is. All I know is that Christians should be willing to do something more than just talk and at least the ignorant liberals are trying to do something and not let time keep passing on the needy.

    What you need to realize is that at some point America, Democracy and Capitalism is not ALWAYS going to coincide with what Christ would do and you need to recognize this as a Christian.

    Mother Theresa RULES!

    ;)

  • Jason Crye
    Quote:
    The problem is is that you have meshed two separate issues into one. No one said that the current proposal or any possible healthcare proposal would be perfect and even work at all, for that matter. We are talking about how Christians should view and specifically tackle the issue of taking care of the needy.

    I'm not sure why that is a problem. When people advocate government intervention into providing care for the needy, the two will be meshed together naturally.

    Quote:
    Laquinta's solution is for government run universal healthcare. As flawed and as wrong as it may be, on the other hand your solution is.... well nothing, let the poor deal with it. That's nice coming from someone with good health insurance.

    I see some fallacious reasoning here. This isn't a science classroom where the critique of one theory is necessitated by the proposal of another. Let's identify the problem first, then work on a solution later.

    Also, your ad hominem won't bolster your point. Mentioning the fact that I have health care insurance does not detract from the argument I've made.

    The Christian way is to promote Christ through voluntary giving, and there is no need for government to do what we could be doing without the mandate. So unless you can show that my last statement is false, you don't have much of a case.

    Quote:

    NO, I am saying that individuals who actually make a positive move towards actually doing something whether it is through their own giving or through giving extra taxes to provide for those who are in need are spreading the Gospel.

    When one considers taxation in order to compel others to give, how is that any different than when the biblical pharisees nullified the word of God by their traditions?

    Quote:
    I don't know Laquinta and I don't really care what his actual motivation is. All I know is that Christians should be willing to do something more than just talk and at least the ignorant liberals are trying to do something and not let time keep passing on the needy.

    I hope you don't think that liberals are passing universal health care to help the needy. They are doing it to create a permanent dominance of political power. Like I said before, if it were just about the results, then Jesus would have let his apostles give the needy regardless of whether it was in public or in private.

    Quote:
    What you need to realize is that at some point America, Democracy and Capitalism is not ALWAYS going to coincide with what Christ would do and you need to recognize this as a Christian.

    What you need to realize is that you should stop putting words into my mouth or pretend to know what I'm thinking.

  • Zeus Rodriguez

    I see some fallacious reasoning here. This isn't a science classroom where the critique of one theory is necessitated by the proposal of another. Let's identify the problem first, then work on a solution later.

    Says you, some one who has the luxury of good and current healthcare. There's always time when you you are in the driver seat.

    The Christian way is to promote Christ through voluntary giving, and there is no need for government to do what we could be doing without the mandate. So unless you can show that my last statement is false, you don't have much of a case.

    Care to disclose your charitable giving, I will? That's all the case I need. In other words, case closed!

    What you need to realize is that you should stop putting words into my mouth or pretend to know what I'm thinking.

    Alright, then why don't you tell us how you think America, Democracy and Capitalism is not always congruent with Christian philosophy?


  • Jason Crye
    Quote:
    Says you, some one who has the luxury of good and current healthcare. There's always time when you you are in the driver seat.

    Circumstantial Ad Hominem: a logical fallacy in which one attempts to attack a claim by asserting that the person making the claim is making it simply out of self interest.

    Quote:
    Care to disclose your charitable giving, I will? That's all the case I need. In other words, case closed!

    Ad Hominem Tu Quoque: a logical fallacy committed when a conclusion is drawn that a person's claim is false because it is inconsistent with something else a person had said or done.

    Quote:
    Alright, then why don't you tell us how you think America, Democracy and Capitalism is not always congruent with Christian philosophy?

    Shifting the Burden of Proof: a special case of argumentum ad ignorantiam whereby putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion.


    Now that we had a thorough lesson in how to use logic in an argument, would you like to present a logical argument or keep wasting my time with undisciplined thinking?


  • Zeus Rodriguez  - LOL!

    Let me interpret your last response, "No Comment."

    Obviously your last question is a bluff, you no doubt want to run away.

    Let me know when you answer the questions.

    This post was made @ 0839

  • Jason Crye

    Debating people who don't follow the rules of logic is like talking to a person with ADHD. A lot of arguing goes on, but nothing gets accomplished.

    For this reason, I referenced the logical fallacies you committed with the hopes that you will stop trying to change the argument into something you think you can win.

    The points I made are quite specific and have nothing to do with whether I have health insurance or if I make charitable contributions. These are tools of distraction that opponents make to sidetrack the issue.

    I think the best point you made was showing that someone can still make a voluntary choice in a compulsory environment. Fair enough. But if that is the case, then the compulsory environment isn't necessary.

    Liberals who argue that Christians should endorse a government-run universal health care system because it involves being our brother's keeper ignore the fact that people don't need the government mandate to be our brother's keeper. In fact, by mandating the care, they further restrict the capacity for individuals to provide charitable contributions while providing less access to a lower quality of care.

  • Zeus Rodriguez  - Still waiting

    Well Aaron, if you think you look intelligent in this debate by running away and Googling "logical fallacies" you need to wake up and drink some coffee.

    What is a little irritating is that you are not even responding to me, you are only responding FOR those who you "think" may be reading this. People who you think respect you for your intelligence and supposedly don't know me. Well at least you have one fan, that's obvious. But for those who do know me -that includes you- know that I am as logical and as rational as they come and for you to suggest otherwise, just because people may not know me, is sad and intellectually dishonest.

    I have done none of the logical fallacies you have charged me with and I doubt anyone who actually cared to read the whole thing would agree with you. My questions are very relevant to the argument. Unless of course you are not a Christian and you live in an impractical world of make believe.

    The irony is that you are the only one using both Ad hominem and red herrings to dodge the argument.

    The point remains, that practicing Christians are willing to have less for themselves in order to give more to those in need. Unless you can show an alternative to what Laquinta is proposing you shouldn't claim to know that Jesus would not support those who are supporting the governments effort just because some would be "mandated" to give.

    Let's see how a similar situation played out 2000 years ago in the Bible.

    Acts of the Apostles

    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

    Obviously the "Churches" now a days aren't doing enough to make sure there aren't any "needy persons."

    But I assume that your No-solution is to urge that the Churches do a better job (so it would be "charitable" and in conformity with the Bible) and in the mean time, you personally aren't helping the churches do a better job. So as a result many Christians (and non christians) go without the help you personally have received and for how long Aaron? For you to suggest that your personal comforts of health care and undeserved benefits that you have personally received from "mandated" tax payers is not relevant to your argument against universal healthcare for others in need is arrogant and IMHO quite disgusting. Well, I hope the GOP doesn't depend upon your analysis to gather in Hispanic votes.

    Let us now see what happened to those people in the Bible that seem closer to your position:

    Acts of the Apostles:

    Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

    Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

    When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

    Just Saying...


  • Walter Ballard  - Thanks Aaron Rodriguez

    Hey Aaron thank you for writing this article and dispelling the lies of liberal "Christians" who are not really Christian at all. I also read your comment and it seemed like all Mr. Zeus wanted to do is argue with you. He reminds me of certain people who claim to be of God but then they turn around and support gay "marriage", abortion, all the while not taking the Bible seriously on such issues.

    I know the truth when I see it, and you did a good job Aaron. Keep up the good work sir and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. As long as you are where God stands in the Bible, then don't worry about what folks like Zeus have to say. They are the types who like to argue and mock the Lord's command and doctrine in the Bible but the Lord will separate the sheep from the goat upon His return.


    Have a nice day sir.

  • Clinton Cooper

    People and Christains reading this,

    I am very deeply troubled by any one of you who support the Government and Government run heathcare. THIS IS MAN"S WAY OF DOING THINGS. NOT GOD'S. Government is man's way of ruling.

    God rules how he sees fit. Our government has been set up based on God's plan, but is imperfect because it was set up by man. God's law and plan is God's law and Plan and therefore perfect. Therefore any attempt we try to rule and govern ourselves is corrupt and should not be supported, especially from corrupt leaders who will to stand or even believe in God and his ways.

    If you cannot see this as a Christian then I will challenge you seek his truth and find your beliefs in principles especially as they are rooted in God. Any such denial of his WHOLE message or belief in only a partial bit of his word shows your immature/childish view and understanding of him.

    To be close to God and to be in his will demands that you grow and learn in him. It is ok to to have a childish view if you are a new Christian, but you have to grow or you will be rebuked by him. "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16

  • Gibberish

    Clinton Cooper writes:
    "God rules how he sees fit. Our government has been set up based on God's plan, but is imperfect because it was set up by man. God's law and plan is God's law and Plan and therefore perfect. Therefore any attempt we try to rule and govern ourselves is corrupt and should not be supported, especially from corrupt leaders who will to stand or even believe in God and his ways."

    Can anyone make any sense out of this? All I can draw is that this person is suggesting that we abandon the rule of law as set up by man in favor of God's law. As popularly understood, man's law is approximate to the social contract, wherein when you break the law, you go to jail. With God's law, when you break the law, you go to hell. So this person is suggesting that we implement the ten commandments as our only laws and the penalty for not obeying them is going to hell. Sounds like a real good plan. Good luck with that.

    And back to this:
    "Therefore any attempt we try to rule and govern ourselves is corrupt and should not be supported...
    "
    So you're openly advocating total anarchy because man is completely unable to govern himself in your opinion? Or are you calling us to some biblical theocracy? Try living in Iran then.

  • Zeus Rodriguez  - Walter Ballard

    Walter Ballard's inane comments are laughable.

    The ironic thing about his statements are that it only makes my case stronger.

    I guarantee that my Biblical knowledge far surpasses the fire and brimstone theology of Walter's. He needs to step outside the farm and take a look at the world as it is.

    For the record I am not for the current health care reform bill. And Aaron will tell you that I am as socially conservative as it gets.


  • Luis Polo  - The Bible Commands us to Give Charitably.

    The idea that the Bible commands us to give charitably raises some serious confusion... How can I be commanded to do something freely? Well the idea is that we have to do it, but God wants us to want to do it, and if we don't want to do it, that doesn't free us from having to.
    -"That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and others in need” (Deuteronomy 15:11 NLT).
    This passage pretty obviously commands us; it does not ask us to debate or choose whether or not to give. How does the government mandating us take the authority of this command away from the Scriptures? It doesn’t. On the contrary, universal health care provides us with an easier way to carry out this command. The job of a Christian is to now do it with a joyful heart.

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