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.