Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jesus Would Want You to "Heal the Sick"

I am amazed that many conservative Christians are treating healthcare reform as an unpardonable sin, but many of them were cheerleaders for President Bush who invaded two countries and killed thousands of people unnecessarily.

A popular argument against healthcare reform -- especially the inclusion of a public plan option -- cites the expense of insuring all Americans and the potential impact on the deficit. I agree that budgetary impact is an important concern (of any policy). I am doubtful that the government can provide sufficient "seed money" for the public plan without a tax increase or relaxation of the favorable tax treatment given to employer-sponsored health plans.

Some economists argue that the government can get enough revenue by taxing only the highest income earners (e.g., people making over $250,000). But even this goal should receive enlightened debate.

Bush Broke the Bank to Reward the Wealthy and to Kill Thousands Unnecessarily
President Bush slashed taxes for the wealthiest Americans and provided a modest middle-class tax cut as well. He also went on a spending frenzy, particularly by launching two wars. Although a majority of Americans initially supported both wars, they now tend to view both as unfortunate mistakes. Saddam Hussein did not have WMDs, and terrorism will not end even if the United States captures Osama bin Laden.

Most economists accurately forecast the impact of Bush's tax cuts and wars on the deficit. Bush turned a record surplus into a record deficit by cutting taxes and boosting spending. Yet, most conservatives championed him as "their candidate." Although many diehard and consistent fiscal conservatives complained about Bush's spending, in general neither fiscal nor social conservatives offered strident criticism of Bush's fiscal practices, as they are now doing with Obama. The Tea Parties, townhall brawls, and other protests could have come a lot earlier.

Healing the Sick: A Better Justification for Deficits
Although the views of Jesus (or any other religious figure) should not dictate social policy, discussing healthcare reform in religious terms reveals some interesting contradictions between the purported faith of many social conservatives (Christianity) and their political position regarding healthcare. I strongly believe that Jesus would have passionately rebuked the use of deficit spending to fatten the pockets of the wealthy and to kill thousands of men and women unnecessarily. I also believe that Jesus would approve of deficit spending for the purpose of healing the sick.

I grew up in a conservative Christian home, and I am well versed in "the scriptures" (I love shocking liberal and conservative readers). And while I have moved beyond my childhood in many ways, I have excellent recall.

I do not remember Jesus ever endorsing the unnecessary killing of thousands. On the other hand, he seemed absolutely obsessed with healing the sick, regardless of citizenship or ability to pay. He was also a huge fan of "end-of-life" counseling, and he constantly instructed people to be prepared for death or his return (in the "twinkling of an eye"). I guess he was a death panelist too.

So to conservative Christians who believe healthcare reform is the work of the devil but who voted for Bush in 2004 (after his wars and killing had begun), do you think Jesus would feel the same way? What part of the Bible demonstrates this?


Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

Conservative Christians have never made any sense to me.

But, whats even more scary to me this year... is that I find Liberal ones to be just as irrational.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I have not heard much from liberal Christians. What are they up to?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Can't help you- didn't vote for Bush the second time.

Of those Christians I know who did, they would differ from you in the 'unnecessary' part of the war. They believe the war was necessary, and that government sponsered health care isn't so there really isn't an inconsistency there.

And where they and I do agree is personal responsibility and personal, voluntary charity. Jesus miracles, his 'health care,' did not ever involve confiscating another man's property against his will. In the story of the Good Samaritan, you may recall, the Samaritan does not force the Inn Keeper to share in his charitable act by leaving him with the bill. He promises to pay for all the injured man's care himself.

So I think it's intellectually dishonest to argue that because Jesus was personally charitable and healed the sick without pay, it's somehow inconsistent for Christians to be opposed to government health care. Studies show that conservatives are, in fact, far more generous with both their time and their money than liberals.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I am sorry, but people who still believe the Iraq War was "necessary" to find nonexistent weapons of mass destruction based on forged evidence are living in denial -- or believe in deceit....

And the "voluntary" argument does not work here. Under your logic, the Bush administration confiscated our "property" to fund the war. He did not pay for it with his own money.

Also, I suspect that if "Jesus" looked at a situation where taxes were inevitable, he would vote for using the money to heal the sick, rather than killing thousands of US citizens and Iraqis looking for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. I have been unable to locate a Biblical passage in which Jesus spoke fondly of war and murder. But he clearly loved seeing people healed of illness. Ergo, I believe that spending taxes to heal the sick is more "Christ-like" than using the money to slay thousands of people.

Finally, please cite the studies that show conservatives are more generous than liberals.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

headmistress, I forgot to mention Luke 18:18-23. I think this says a lot about how Jesus felt about "private property" and whether it should benefit the poor or not:

[18] A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

[19] "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone. [20] You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

[21] "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

[22] When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

[23] When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

Given that taxation will occur whether or not the healthcare legislation passes, this passage from Luke strongly suggests that Jesus would be pleased if Christians organized to make sure that the money went to providing care for the poor -- rather than purchasing bombs to kill people.

Beltway Progressive said...

Is stigmata a pre-existing condition? If so, would Jesus be able to buy coverage?

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