An entry in the blog series “Religion and The Health Care Reform“
The United States Supreme Court has just upheld as Constitutional the largest change to the American health care system in decades, the Affordable Care Act, commonly, and derisively known as Obamacare.
As expected, Conservative opinion regarding SCOTUS’ decision ranges from mild disappointment to denial to full on foaming-at-the-mouth outrage.
God told me to send you folks a message.
“You honestly think that all this wealth, this fame, this fortune is all your doing? HA! You’ve forgotten that everything you have belongs to me and you are merely stewards of what I’ve blessed you with. You’ve let your pride and your arrogance get in the way, and you’ve prostituted yourselves out to to the almighty dollar.
Prostitute is too good a word for you. Prostitutes charge for their services. You went to your lovers with gifts for them, to entice them.
You sacrificed the blessings I gave you at the altar of the false god of Profit.
Worse than that… you sacrificed your children, your neighbors, your neighbors children at that same altar.
Your selfishness disgusts me.
You rant and rave about Sodom, but I tell you this…your sins are worse. Sodom’s sins were pride and gluttony while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.
You, in your worship of the corporate idols at the altar of profit, made sure the poor and needy would suffer because YOU didn’t want to be inconvenienced.
And now your wickedness and hardened hearts have been exposed to the world.
You often quote my other prophet Jeremiah saying that I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper. Yes, that is true. Those are my plans for you if you seek me with all your heart.
You shall seek me in your neighbor, for I have created all of you in my image. When you treat your neighbors as I have commanded, then I shall prosper you.”
…and I thought the Galatians were a stubborn people. Did you not understand when I said “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” In every letter I ever wrote I said that it was vital that you do good to everyone, ESPECIALLY those you don’t think deserve it, for one simple reason.
That’s what Christ did for us.
We did not deserve his love or his sacrifice, but he gave it anyway.
That is what is meant by love your neighbor.
Opposition to the Affordable Care Act often comes down to two very simplistic arguments.
- You (read: The Government) can’t make me!
It’s distressing that these arguments are offered up by people, some I know personally and have been friends with for years, who cloak themselves in Christianity.
From the OT to the NT, faith has never been an individual pursuit; it’s always, always, always been about community and society.
The OT law was designed for a community of people. The “common good” was second only to God. The society designed in the OT took the Canaanite and Egyptian models and turned them upside down. Instead of those who had the wealth and land ruling over everyone (sound familiar?), all the material things belonged to God and we were to simply be stewards. This included land, housing, food, etc. This is also why there are numerous requirements to treat the poor, the elderly, the foreigner, well, because of how they were treated.
The OT tithe was not to support a church, as it’s commonly viewed today, but a mandatory tax of sorts to support the needy within their society. Today, most view taxes as an evil thing that must be eliminated.
Jesus paid his taxes. Paul says it’s our duty to pay our taxes. Neither of them lobbied for tax cuts for “job creators”.
We, as Christians, are called to be followers of Jesus.
This is not a part time job.
Scripture teaches us to look out for those who are poor, oppressed, sick, trampled on, and forgotten.
Scripture teaches us to pay our taxes, for that is our duty.
Scripture teaches us to be a ‘light to the world’ and to ‘bear each other’s burdens’.
Our faith is to inform every single area of our lives…. even if we’re part of the government.
Yes, you heard me.
We don’t check our Christianity at the door if we’re elected.
Does this mean the US should become a theocracy, ala the Massachusetts Bay Colony circa 1630?
But it does mean that we are to look at how the policies put forth by those in government impact the greater good, particularly those who are poor, powerless, and voiceless.
As Paulo Freire said “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means siding with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
The OT prophets are all about criticizing the ruling class, the wealthy, the government for allowing the poor and needy to suffer and, in some cases, facilitating their suffering through unjust laws that rob them of what they have so that the wealthy can have more.
The big “C” church and we, the church, need to honor our prophetic heritage in that way.