Universal health care: The Christian Thing to Do

Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, where a traveler finds an ailing foreigner on the side of the road, and tends to his wounds, and pays for his bills. His broader teachings emphasize the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. His greatest commandment was to love one another. I wonder how these lessons would translate into today’s political arena. Hard to tell, but I would suspect the Heaven on Earth ideal would be a LOT closer to universal health care than the profit oriented system we find in the US today.

Whatever the case, it’s surprising that so many self-professed Christians, and especially the evangelical type, are so eager to maul, mangle and manipulate those words, those lessons, so that it comes out as “every man for himself”, which of course is the exact opposite of the meaning and spirit of those teachings.

They’ll use phrases like “self-determination” or “market forces”, but it’s really just code words for “you’re on your own” and “don’t expect any help from me.”  Likewise, they will use negative words to describe the concept. It’s been found that a majority of Americans favors universal healthcare, but if you change the language to “socialized medicine” the approval rating drops below 50%. And the greed-oriented apologists are quite expert at word-smithing.

The point is, any good-hearted Christian would not begrudge the care given to a needy neighbor. The true Christian remembers those words “As ye have treated the least of these, my brothers, ye have treated me.” Fortunately, the evangelical movement has matured since the days Bush used it as a political wedge issue. Now, evangelicals are waking up to the implications of brotherly love, and are addressing the values of caring for each other, poverty, and healing the planet. Certainly, universal health care fulfills the plea to love your neighbor as yourself. Even those who are not of the Christian faith would have to agree, upon reflection, that we all benefit from having healthy citizens.


~ by christianliberal on September 3, 2008.

10 Responses to “Universal health care: The Christian Thing to Do”

  1. My point is that universal health care is unachievable in this country. And why is the government responsible for providing? The government is more a machine than a provider. The government is there to ensure we all have an equal opportunity for health care, not to provide us. I don’t want my good will to be limited to the government. Private organizations and people should be responsible for such an outreach. Once again, my point is, universal health care is unachievable. Now we must figure out where to go from there.

  2. If that was kind of jumbled, sorry. See if this helps:
    (1) I am a Christian. Not a so-called or whatever anyone chooses to label me.
    (2) Government is here for three things: to protect us from our neighbor, protect us from foreign invaders, and protect our pursuit of happiness.
    (3) I love my neighbor. The government is too irresponsible to handle loving my neighbor for me. I’ll take care of that myself.
    (4) Who would you vote for in this upcoming election? Obama (who made over 3 million dollars last year), has yet to help his own brother who lives off of less than $1 a month in Nairobi. Just a thought.

  3. You’re a good man, Colt, and I am pleased that people on the opposite ends of the spectrum can create a rational dialogue, when it can so easily slip into name calling.

    Good points – – why do governments have to provide the caring. Wouldn’t, shouldn’t individuals or churches do it?
    The point is they don’t. There were some donations, but not the millions of private dollars going into New Orleans, or Darful

    Well, you are an economics major, so I wonder if that clouds your thinking with preconceived definitions. You define the roles of government too in narrow way.
    Coupla things . . .
    EVEN if we could not provide full health care, we could at least take a few steps to help our neighbors. I never advocated it being free or extravagant, but the right wing seems to want to guarantee that NOTHING gets done to help the poor.

    Yes, I will vote for Obama – – many reasons, but the most prominent is that (unlike McCain) he is opposed to spending TRILLIONS of more dollars on a senseless war. Estimates are that Iraq will cost us $4 TRILLION dollars. Thanks George!
    Universal health care would lower costs to about $150 a family per month.

    Do the math: $1800 for health care for a household per year.
    300 million households in America. That’s $540 billion year.
    We could have had FIVE YEARS of FREE healthcare for what bush has spent on this war. And for what? 4400 dead Americans and a nation that will collapse ten seconds after we leave.

  4. This is a concept actually just as old as the U.S. itself. In terms of welfare, no government involved in aid would result in a stimulated and revitalized sense of giving. In other words, people step up. That’s the libertarian side of me, and we can probably agree that both government won’t back out completely, nor will people step up completely. Just kinda wanted to drop that.
    Also, Bush is blamed for spending on the war, but congress has a smaller approval rating than Bush and they are responsible for the budget, and mostly democrat…(sorry I had to).
    Where can you find that McCain wants to spend trillions more dollars on the war? McCain and Obama both have a pullout strategy, but I don’t know where it says how much they are planning on spending. See, the benefit I see here goes to McCain because we are where we are. Like it or love it, we are at this point. Now what is going to be the best way to pull out and who would have a better idea of this and actual experience with this field? No one is pro war, and we all want our troops to come home.
    Because of time, I will only address one more thing right now: “the right wing seems to want to guarantee that NOTHING gets done to help the poor.” Having a strategy that doesn’t directly take from the rich and give to the poor, is not the same has not having a strategy. I think something alot of people don’t understand is that very concept: the right wing doesn’t want to help the poor. Its actually quite the opposite. We are trying to level the ground for everyone to have equal opportunity to help themselves. Giving money directly will never help the poor and you can mark my words exactly. Democrats promise this exact thing every election and have failed to produce real lasting results. Sounds good on paper, but is not economically sound.

  5. We’ll discuss spending later 🙂

  6. Thanks, Colt. Again, all good reasoning and valid arguments.

    Well, McCain didn’t actually promise to spend any amount on the Iran conflict, but Obama is opposed to that war, while McCain wants to go on until we achieve victory, however that might be defined. Point is, one wants to continue pouring money down a rathole (on welfare OR war), while Obama would rather save that war budget, or better yet, spend it on something constructive, like health care.

    Your education in economics helps, as no one wants to waste money, and even liberals don’t necessarily want to GIVE universal health care away, but rather have an affordable systems. Right now we are already paying way too much, because masses of people use the most expensive form of health care, the Emergency Room, as their primary resource. If we had subsidized HC premiums for the poorest of the poor, and a universal carrier, we could cut overall costs by an estimated 40%.

  7. I’m trying to figure out your blog, either it is a satire or you’re using the label of Christian to hide behind while you attack Christians and Conservatives. I think the latter. Your bible knowledge seems a little superficial for a Christian. Most Americans have a general knowledge of the bible, so when you use inaccurate references like “his greatest commandment” being to love one another, I tend to think it’s a sham. Kinda like saying “I’m gay, so it’s OK for me to bash gays” when you’re really not. By the way, Jesus actually said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 He also said to love your neighbor as yourself, which universal health care probably wouldn’t do. Most countries who do have Socialized medicine also have private medical clinics and doctors because the government ones are grossly inadequate and overcrowded. So who ends up getting the best health care? The ones who can afford it. We actually have some of the best health care in the world right here at home if you take the time to do some honest comparisons.

    Since you brought it up, and I’m sure Colt being an economics major might agree, the money spent on a war or conflict doesn’t just evaporate into thin air or go down a rat hole. You might be surprised to find that most of the contracts for equipment and supplies went to U.S. companies. Do the corporate big-wigs make a profit? Sure they do, but the blue collar worker on the factory floor also benefits. Like the 1,000 plus employees in Ladson, South Carolina who work for Force Protection, Inc. building IED resistant vehicles. This is just a small example of what a few internet searches can dig up about where all that “wasted” money is going.

    I think your blog would be more sincere if you’d just drop the whole “I’m a Christian and a Social Liberal” act. Pick one or the other and then make some compelling arguments using real facts and sources not just misinformed rants. Seriously.

    Here’s a good verse for you to look up. John 9:41


  8. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Todd.
    Yes, I have to agree there is an element of satire, even cynicism, in my posts, but I AM serious about being a liberal Christian.

    I guess getting right down to the core, the rant comes down to exposing the rampant hypocrisy of self-appointed Christians, who distort Christ’s teaching for the purposes of justifying their desire to murder people in cultures they don’t agree with, protect their own financial assets at the expense of the environment and the working standards of people in other countries, and to segregate and dehumanize anyone of lower class status or non-traditional ideas.

    This can be seen even in your own response, which seems to suggest that money going into the war machine somehow actually helps Americans, completely ignoring the fact that the output of such production goes to bombing houses in other countries, “peacekeeper” missiles, billion-dollar bombers, and occupying other lands half-way round the world. What a disgrace!
    We could really do good for the American workers and world by putting that cash into health care, infrastructure, science, and research.

    There’s a favorite hymn here in California . . . “They will know we are Christian by our love, by our love . . .” But there’s no love in a B-1 bomber, no love in a nuclear bunker-buster bomb, or remote drone that rains death down from the sky.
    Oh, is that too cynical for you?

  9. Christ was the most liberal figure in history. It saddens me to see these posters using whatever tools and talking points the status quo has given them to rationalize their abandonment of Christian principles.

    This is America. WE are the government. If we have Christian values towards helping the least among us, we will vote for representatives who further those goals. Jesus never asked a leper for a copay.

    And if you guys really think socialized medicine is evil, I hope you’re both actively trying to overturn medicare.

    The irony is that to be a real ‘conservative christian’ one must be liberal, as Christ most assuredly was.

  10. Heathy Care Review…

    […]Universal health care: The Christian Thing to Do « A Christian Liberal Perspective[…]…

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