“…I was sick, and you visited Me…” (Read Matthew 25:31-46)
Lately, you can’t watch the news without seeing angry people at a town hall meeting on health care reform. There are angry people (mostly European-American conservatives and in some cases evangeical) who are mad at President Obama and they want to know how this health care plan is going to be paid for. I get why they’re asking how this proposed plan is going to be paid for. To be honest, I have the same question myself.
What I don’t get is the anger about big government spending big money on a monthly basis. If that’s what the anger is about, you’re a few town hall meetings too late. The proposed health care bill could cost 100 billion dollars a year over the next 10 years. Wow! But, before you get angry, what about the 8-10 billion dollars a month being spent on the war in Iraq right now? This monthly cost is probably less than when the war was at its height under President George W. Bush. Where was the anger then? Isn’t spending billions of dollars a month on a war, that brought forth no weapons of mass destruction and may have contributed to our economic collapse big government as well? It funny to me, (but I’m not angry yet) that when it’s about war, for some people the checkbook of the government can be unlimited, but when it comes to providing healthcare for the poor and marginalized, to consider writing any checks at all from the government is socialism.
For the Christian the bigger question becomes, should the church be in the business of healthcare? I believe the biblical answer is yes. Jesus was in the business of healthcare and so should evangelical christians. Now if we were talking about Africa, I wouldn’t have to make this point. But if I’m talking about Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis, I’ve probably got a debate on my hands. If you happen to be one of those Christians that are against the proposed healthcare reform of President Obama then you need to be apart of crafting a church run proposal. It can’t be the Obama plan or no plan, this is not a biblical option. When I served as an Associate Pastor at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of my responsibilities was to serve as Executive Director of the Park Avenue Foundation. This outreach ministry of the church has a computer learning center, a free legal clinic, and a free health clinic still going today. If, as a Christian, you don’t agree with government driven health care reform, then redistribute some of your church budget dollars to starting a free health care clinic in partnership with healthcare professionals in your local area. This is something we seek to do at The Sanctuary Covenant Church, where I pastor now through a larger initiative called, The Exchange Center for Compassion, Mercy, and Justice.
If you’re not willing to take this biblical step, then you should get out of the way of some type of reasonable health care reform. Maybe the problem is that government is working at trying to move something forward that the church should actually be addressing in a creative and innovative way. If I had my way, I’d rather see the church leading the way on this issue, not government. Because the church in the United States of America has lost sense of biblical insight on issues such as housing, healthcare, education, and incarceration, the current government proposal must be at least considered. To be honest I wish there was a town hall meeting where I could vent my anger with the church.
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