The Christian Aversion To Socialized Medicine

“Riddle me this” – The Riddler 

Christians should be the group of people who should be most supportive of socialized medicine, but they are not only against it, they are doing their very best to undo the changes already made in the United States.

I am not ignorant to the teachings of the character portrayed as Jesus in the Bible. Having spent many, many years as a preacher and pastor I have delivered many sermons on the subject of Jesus and his call for all to put others before themselves, to care for the sick and the poor, etc.

While I do reason that we should do our level best to take care of ourselves, I also reason that those who are unable to should not be made to suffer for it. There should never be any individual whose life is less important than a number on a profit and loss ledger. But if you listen to the religious right, particularly those who are involved in politics, you would think otherwise.

The Measure Of A Man…

Being a healthy American Citizen has become a crap-shoot if access to health care is limited or non-existent. I don’t need to use this space to expound on the horrors that encumber the uninsured or under-insured; nor the tribulations of those of us who are disabled and trying to make ends meet on a fixed income and still afford the Medicare premiums, co-payments and deductibles that we are required to pay. There are plenty of sources where you can read the data surrounding the destroyed lives that are left in the wake of our failure to join the rest of the civilized world by providing socialized medicine.

Before I expound on the religious aspect of this problem, not providing access to health care would seem to be in opposition to our constitution, which starts off:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Yes, I know there are many people who interpret this in different ways, and I expect my inbox to be full of email stating each and every one of them. Sadly, but expectedly, most will come from Christian Conservatives.  Fine, I have a “special button” that magically removes them, one of which I use on a very regular basis.

Inhumanity Justified…

The conversations that I’ve had with fundamentalist Christians regarding the need for national health care that have not devolved into their usual name-calling and threats have yielded a few answers as to why they are so opposed to it.

One reason is that they state we, as mortal humans can never do all of what Jesus would do because he is god and we are not. They state that we will never share any of the attributes of God, such as omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, and that we neither have the ability nor the responsibility to help everyone.

Another reason they give is that socialized medicine does not follow logically or Biblically is that just because Jesus would do something doesn’t mean that groups and social institutions should also be required to do these very things.

Yet another excuse is that we should not guess or speculate on what Jesus would do, even in cases where scripture does not tell us what Jesus would do and where scripture does not provide any specifically related commands and principles. They feel that it would be presumptuous speculation, which, of course, goes against all those “WWJD” bracelets, bumper stickers and such.

Choices…

When I look at a group, I search for consistency in their ideals. The religious right does not exhibit these qualities. This is particularly evident in their insistence that biblical doctrines be totally integrated into our politics when it suits them, but when it does not; they tout a “render unto Caesar” mentality.

They have no problems using the bible to tout why they should be able to regulate the entirety of the female reproductive system, why myths and fairy-tales should be replace science in the classrooms or why the Ten Commandments and prayer should be allowed in courthouses and legislative sessions. The list of what they are trying to force on the rest of the country is extensive.

But when it comes to health care, all of a sudden it’s a different story. Then come the cries that they would be forced and coerced, about how unfair it is to have someone else’s ideals imposed on them without their approval. Oh, the hypocrisy of it all.

It Comes Down To Greed…

Based on my observations, a vast majority of the opposition to socialized medicine comes down to paying for it, and the religious right cherry-pick their bibles to come up with reasons why they shouldn’t have to fork over any of their holy cash to benefit their fellow human being.

This, of course, is bullshit, because there are millions and millions and millions of holy dollars being funneled into programs, initiatives and legislative lobbies for the single purpose of putting god back into government, schools and science.

The scripture should read,

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s – unless what Caesar wants goes against what Christians think God wants and according to how much money they will have to part with.”

I find myself shaking my head when I look at the most glaring inconsistency of them all; that Charity should not be forced. The concept behind the argument is still greed, and I will tell you, and as well why the problem at hand is systemic within most of Christianity as it is practiced in the United States.

A Christian Nation…?

This is what the religious right keeps touting, even in spite of what our history states or what our actual Constitution reads. However, we are a nation with a vast majority of Christians, and that fact alone should bring shame upon them.

They say that charity should not be forced, that it should be given freely, and not compelled by the government. This is a ruse, though. A convenient piece of rhetoric that is used to avoid the very thing that their Christ should compel them to do; to care for their fellow man, to be the “Good Samaritan” that the parable speaks of.

If the Christians were more Christ-like, there would be no need for government involvement. It is, indeed, a sad testimony to Christianity when a secular government needs to intervene with compassion, kindness and altruism; a concept that should, instead, be spearheaded by the religious community – according to their own scripture.

It is a testament to the worship of the almighty dollar, and this is where their allegiance lies. The question of the religious right regarding healthcare should be “How can we help this person,” and not, “Who’s going to pay for it.

  43 comments for “The Christian Aversion To Socialized Medicine

  1. February 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    “Riddle me this” – The Joker

    That’s a joke right?

    • Al Stefanelli
      February 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

      No, actually it is a result of blogging while on codeine. Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve changed it. Lmfao…

  2. February 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Funny. It was a Baptist minister (Tommy Douglas) who led the movement for what became our universal health care system. American Christians are a different breed.

    • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
      February 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Oh man, finally some one who doesnt just throw insults. Actual cogent reasoning. Kudos.

      • peterh
        February 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

        Observing a simple matter of fact: person A performed act B on date C hardly qualifies as “cogent reasoning.” Or reasoning of any sort; the Web swarms with bots that do that a billion times every day.

  3. February 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    There is-o-simple solution 2 this fucked-up-mess that this man-made crap has caused n’ it’s in all R heads somewhere.Whatever U do! Don’t compound the problem by addressing the issue using unknown certainties such as those the church offers.
    IF U WISH TO ELEVATE UR I.Q. BY AT LEAST 10PTS. SIMPLY
    DEFECT FROM CHURCH/GOD SHIT ALTOGETHER….

  4. February 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    http://WWW.COUNTMEOUT.COM THERE THAT SHOULD WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. February 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    APPARENTLY THAT WON’T WORK EITHER,GOOGLE COUNTMEOUT I GUESS???

  6. rikitiki
    February 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Yeah, religions (esp. Christianity) are just so good at charity…NOT:

    http://www.ssireview.org/pdf/2005WI_Feature_Reich.pdf

    (scientific report on percentage of dollars actually going to those they help from secular .vs religious charitable organizations)

    Bottom line: only about 8-9% of monies collected by religious charities actually gets to the needy. Most faith-based collection-monies goes to infrastructure, missionary work, etc.
    Secular charities do much better!

  7. yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
    February 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    “Christians should be the group of people who should be most supportive of socialized medicine, but they are not only against it, they are doing their very best to undo the changes already made in the United States.”

    Correction, the radical rich religious right do not support socialized medicine. The acts of some do no apply to all, only racists use that kind of thinking.

    “Fine, I have a “special button” that magically removes them, one of which I use on a very regular basis.” Real intellectually honest. Not addressing some critiques of your views, so you discard them without listen and assume your right. Totally smart.

    “This is what the religious right keeps touting, even in spite of what our history states or what our actual Constitution reads.” Thafu?

    Okay lets see the Constitution.

    “”We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”

    “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,”

    “…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

    Also, The united states before the fathers of the constitution was founded by puritans, separatists, catholics, and protestants and anglicans. The most prosperous colony was the Massachusetts bay colony, which was by far the most religious colony of them all. Their colony served as the model for which the rest of the colonies and newly formed colonies could use as a means to be prosperous. Religious people were the foundation for this country.

    “If the Christians were more Christ-like, there would be no need for government involvement. ” Amen brother.

    “The question of the religious right regarding healthcare should be “How can we help this person,” and not, “Who’s going to pay for it.” AMEN.

    Remarkably, i agreed with most of what you said. Nice article.

    • February 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Okay lets see the Constitution.

      “”We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”

      Hey Jesus Freak, that’s the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

      • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
        February 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        Darn, my bad. I always get the two mixed up. Sorry people. You got me there, but while i mentioned the Declaration of Independence, its not unjustified to assert that the Constitution followed the Declaration and the founding fathers deep conviction that God had created the ordered world and endowed them with rights (which are laid out in the Constitution).

        • February 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

          Jesus Freak, actually the Articles of Confederation followed the Declaration of Independence. The DOI was written in 1776 and the Constitution drafted in 1787. The reason why we have a Constitution is because the Articles didn’t work out so well.

          You have to remember what the DOI really was. It was a propaganda piece to tell the world why the American colonists were seeking independence from England. The DOI was not a blue print for a system of government. Even so, the DOI does not explicitly mention the Christian god. It refers to a Creator and Nature’s god.

          If you read the actual debates at the constitutional conventions held in the various states, a number of opponents of the Constitution explicitly objected to Article VI, which declared that there would be no religious requirement for public office.

          The Constitution is not a biblical Christian document. If it were, it would have been radically different and it would have specifically said so in the Preamble, as I wrote in another comment on this thread.

          • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
            February 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

            “The reason why we have a Constitution is because the Articles didn’t work out so well.” I get that, but i dont think that my statement that the DOI reflected their views which were eventually expounded in the Constitution is wrong. The Articles only addressed states rights and their union, but not individual rights of the people. What im saying as that the DOI reflected their views that God was the sovereign and gave them rights (rights like speech).

            “Even so, the DOI does not explicitly mention the Christian god. It refers to a Creator and Nature’s god.” I cant help be in agreement with everything you say, but i differ on this. While its true its nowhere near Christian (i totally agree), it paints a very Deistic picture, because the founding fathers were very Deistic (For example, Benjamin Franklin, even went as far to suggest prayer before debating the articles and rights in the constitution). I as a Christian can admire that they recognized the divine head.

            “If you read the actual debates at the constitutional conventions held in the various states, a number of opponents of the Constitution explicitly objected to Article VI, which declared that there would be no religious requirement for public office.” Whoa, i never knew that. Thats interesting!

            “The Constitution is not a biblical Christian document.” I dont claim so, but i do think its a reflection of the founding fathers views of the rights God had endowed them with.

            “If it were, it would have been radically different,” I totally agree. My thing or beef with the whole separation of religion and states could be summed up in what the puritans did. Puritans believed that there should be a separation of church and state (they even went as far as to proclaim that if you were a pastor, minister or any part of the church, you could not run for any part of office or government), but they never denied that God should be the basis for rights and laws. Theres a difference between trying to ground laws and rights and forcing people to go to church or silencing people from free speech.

    • Al Stefanelli
      February 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      “Fine, I have a “special button” that magically removes them, one of which I use on a very regular basis.” Real intellectually honest. Not addressing some critiques of your views, so you discard them without listen and assume your right. Totally smart.

      I get hundreds of emails a day asking for my reply to a gauntlet of subjects, topics, articles and posts. I barely have the energy to do what I already do. I am not being pretentious or arrogant. Parkinson’s is a real bitch sometimes when it comes to available energy to get through a day.

      • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
        February 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

        I apologize, i was not aware of your ailment. Ill keep that in mind when posting. Its been my experience people just do that because they think high of themselves, i was wrong to pre-judge. I hope you feel better and get better!

        • Al Stefanelli
          February 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

          No worries. I don’t censor comments for precisely that reason. I do not want it implied that I do not value everyone’s comments, even the ones that are negative, as everyone has a right to their voice.

          That includes your voice, as well.

          I wish I were able to reply to more comments, though. Thanks for understanding, and please keep contributing to the conversations.

          • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
            February 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

            Will do! Take care!

        • Stacy
          February 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

          Jesus freak, Speaking just for myself, I enjoy friendly-arguing with you, but you do tend to go on. Try to limit yourself to one or two points, put cleanly and elegantly as possible, per post.

          Not trying to put you down; this is advice I try hard to follow myself, and I would offer it to anybody, atheist or theist. Frankly, we all tend to over-explain, but It Doesn’t Help. Also, bear in mind that most of us on FtB have encountered these arguments before.

          • yup, that guy they call a Jesus freak
            February 25, 2012 at 12:10 am

            “Jesus freak, Speaking just for myself, I enjoy friendly-arguing with you,”

            Honestly, its been a pleasure. If you ever wanna talk/debate more just add me!

            http://www.facebook.com/thatsexymantheycallayoungelvispresley

            “but you do tend to go on.”

            You sound like my mom and my friends hahaha.

            “Try to limit yourself to one or two points, put cleanly and elegantly as possible, per post.” I wish i could, i try to do that but i can never get my point across that way. I apologize if im giving like 60 pages worth of arguments.

            “Not trying to put you down;”
            Trust me i completely understand!

            “Frankly, we all tend to over-explain”

            Amen

            “Also, bear in mind that most of us on FtB have encountered these arguments before.” Ill keep that in mind, but i like to hear peoples arguments for/against whatever arguments i present even if they have already been presented.

  8. February 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Of course, if the United States were really a Christian nation and the Constitution a Christian document, the Preamble would have started off with “We, the God fearing People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect and Godly Union….in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  9. stonyground
    February 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Here in the UK we have healthcare more or less free and paid for by taxes. We have to pay prescription charges on medicines though certain categories of people are exempt. We have to contribute toward dental care and under the last Labour government NHS dentists became so over-subscribed that many, my family included, gave up trying to get one and went private. Sometimes the quality of our health-care can be patchy, although I personally have never had grounds for complaint. I suspect that our healthcare system probably gives very poor value for the amount of tax money that it costs, governments are notoriously bad at such things. People who have experienced French healthcare say that it is far superior to ours. I believe that they have a system of compulsory health insurance but I don’t know the details. I believe that Canada have a national health service too, I would be interested to know how well theirs works.

    As an aside, our two cats have health insurance. In view of that fact, it is pretty apalling that there are people in a wealthy developed nation who don’t. Greg Lake was inspired to write the song ‘Paper Blood’ after seeing a tramp looking through some garbage for something to eat and then seeing a cheaufer-driven car with no-one but a dog in it.

    • Dalillama
      February 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      Based on statistics for life expectancy and disability, which are commonly used as proxies for overall health outcomes, the UK performs above the US, but below France and Canada. However, in terms of percent of GDP devoted to healthcare costs, the UK spends the least, followed by Canada, then France, while the US spends the most by a wide margin. The Canadian system seems to work the best, in terms of balance between cost and outcome, having the best outcomes of the four systems under discussion for the second lowest cost.

      • James
        February 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

        The Canadian system seems to work the best, in terms of balance between cost and outcome, having the best outcomes of the four systems under discussion for the second lowest cost.

        You might be right, but I’d argue that measuring health care is too subjective to be sure – how do you choose what is measured and how, and how the metrics are weighted?

        Also, I’m not sure how many comparison studies account for one major factor which influences costs and outcomes. I don’t know the political history of health care in Canada, but the NHS has had a major re-organisation roughly every 5 years for the last few decades. Each one cost huge amounts of money to implement (it’s reckoned that the current NHS Bill will cost about £5billion) and negatively impacted health outcomes by requiring staff to adjust to new structures and ways of working (I’ve seen it estimated that each time outcome improvements are set back by 2 years) .

        Maybe this, driven by the political need to be seen to be doing something, is an inherent weakness of state controlled systems. Or maybe it’s a failure of the political class to properly evaluate, and effectively communicate, evidence to the electorate.

        Does anyone know if repeated political interference is a general characteristic of “socialised” medicine?

        • Dalillama
          February 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

          In this case, the metrics all come from the World Health Organization(WHO),except for spending by GDP, which is from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and were measured the same way for all of the countries in question. The OECD data set includes infant mortality, another common indicator for population health, and once again the U.S. is dead last. The one country without a single payer health insurance system(“Socialized medicine”) spends better than 5 percentage points more of GDP than the next highest, France, with lower average lifespans, higher infant mortality and greater incidence of disability than any of the other three countries under discussion. This indicates that whatever inefficiencies may be imposed by politically motivated reorganizations are massively outweighed by the inefficiencies imposed by the need to maximize shareholder profits and executive paychecks found in the U.S. private health insurance system.

    • Dave The Sandman
      February 25, 2012 at 3:55 am

      Stony

      the reason the UK NHS limps around like a lame duck is that the socialised healthcare system set up by Bevin was fistf*cked royally durng the Thatcher and Major nightmare F U Jack years. They are the ones who semi-privatised whole sections of the NHS, and imposed level after level of US style management that took money away from primary care and shoved it into admin and stats generation. They are the ones who turned the purchasing systems over to drug company reps. They are the ones who changed the rules to allow surgeons to devote more time to private practice that public practce whilst still maintaining NHS paid positions. The Conservatives….our version of the right wing Repubtards.

      Next time you are waiting in line for a doctors appointment you know who to blame….Maggie Thatcher The Milk Snatcher.

  10. February 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I insure cats with lead sweets:)(;

  11. February 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I have found that one of my greatest sources of amusement is confronting my very Christian and Republican friends and family members with the fact that Jesus is the ultimate liberal. They sputter and get all confused when trying to answer the question “who is more liberal than Jesus?” The hypocrisy goes so far it stuns and saddens me.

  12. James
    February 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    stonyground,

    ” I suspect that our healthcare system probably gives very poor value for the amount of tax money that it costs”

    Do a little googling, there are numerous freely available studies on health systems around the world. Within a few minutes you can find comparisons of the UK, US, Canadian, French (and any number of other) systems using any number of metrics – access (who can get treatment when they need it, or before), health outcomes (survival rates for a range of conditions), life expectancy, cost (per capita or as a % of GDP), in-patient/out-patient hospital beds per 1,000 population, doctors & nurses per 1,000 pop., waiting times (first visits, specialist referrals & specialist treatment), etc.

    It just so happens that on efficiency, the NHS is pretty good. Certainly much more efficient than the US system.

    “governments are notoriously bad at such things”

    Another quick google will tell you that even in the US, government systems are more efficient. The biggest government health program in the US (Medicare) spends something much less than the insurance companies do on non-healthcare spending (i.e. administration, marketing, returns to shareholder, etc), about 4% (which is comparable with NHS spending). The equivalent number for private insurance is typically 20-25%.

  13. Norman Lycan
    February 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Well, I did not read every word written so far on this thread, but, I think the driving force behind the push-back against health care reform has nothing to do with religious objection to it’s content, it’s the fundamental rejection of it’s creator. It is really quite obvious. Republicans, and their right wing base, entered this election cycle understanding the average stupidity of the American voter, and while the Supreme Court elected George W.(dissadder)Bush, the idiots re elected him fair and square. And while Republican deregulation of the financial sector and the “too big to fail” situation resulted in the global finacial meltdown, they were hoping that they could mindfuck Americans into thinking that Obama was a failure, because he could not clean up their mess in a couple of years. But, oops, the economy is showing some tangible, though weak and fragile, signs of recovery. So, now, Republicans have to call out “Plan B” which is basically to accuse Obama of being the “antichrist”. Christian charities give free medical care across the planet, and they may withhold condoms from the African nations that need them most desperately, their real objection to Obama is that he is not in their pocket. And they want someone who is.

    Simple human compassion testifies that a person should not die because he cannot buy his doctor a Lamburghini. The unbelievable hypocrisy is that while medicine for all tries to alleviate that injustice, religion goes to war with that supremely humane idea, because they want to restore their age old political power. Meet the new god, same as the old god.

    NL

    • Pierce R. Butler
      February 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Norman Lycan @ # 13: … the idiots re elected him fair and square.

      You seem to have a very strange concept of fairness and squareness.

      Unfortunately, your larger point has merit: enough idiots actually did vote for Dubious to get him close enough for his gang to steal the rest.

  14. Buffy
    February 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Having a socialized medical system means everyone would have equal access and treatment. That’s unacceptable to the RRRW.

    • Norman Lycan
      February 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      I just googled rrrw, and when you said it, I was immediately confused, now I’m more confused. WTF is rrrw?

      • Black Antelope
        February 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

        Rich, Religious Right Wing I’d guess, but I’d never heard of it either.

  15. Dave The Sandman
    February 25, 2012 at 4:11 am

    I wrote a little piece over at Uncle Als guest blog… http://www.alstefanelli.wordpress.com … about a simliar hypothesis and the Second Bill of Rights proposed by FDR in his 1944 State Of The Union address. It was springboarded by a book called American Fascists by Chris Hedges.

    http://alstefanelli.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/tear-down-that-big-tent/

    If you want to weaken the religulous reich in the US you need to remove the poor, the needy and the vulnerable from their so called charities and their clutches. Universal socalised health care is one major step on that path.

    • JJ7212
      February 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      That is an excellent point, Dave The Sandman! In any given US city, there are large numbers of church attendees who go to church mostly because of the side benefits they can get. By that I mean food and financial help from donations. Many church groups will often fix up a needy persons house and do other types of maintanence for free. I’m sure that there is also help in getting ‘real’ medical needs taken care of by real doctors. These are the good qualities of the church that Dan Dennett has talked about at length. They are real concerns of real families. God and jesus might not be real, but church is the one place that anyone can go to when nobody else will take you in, including one’s own family.

      If our government helps us out by way of a universal health care system, then a lot of our nation’s sick and poor could rely on it instead of so-called ‘faith healers’. People go to church because they have no other options left when they are desparate for medical attention. It’s great to have hope, but it would be even better if they left the church in favor of trusting that our secular government will take care of them. That’s the hope I have for our government. We should be more for the people, by the people, in the most secular of ways. That would be much more comforting than the fear that the church instills.

  16. February 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Around here, there seems to be a inverse correlation with the degree of fundamentalist mentality and support for social programs and personal freedoms. More liberal churches (The United Church of Canada for example) tend to support socialized medicine and equal rights for women and gays. The catholic church supports socialized medicine, and opposes equal rights, and the fundamentalists are against both. Why? I have often wondered.

  17. Amy
    March 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Wow. I think I better put on my hipwaders as this story is flowing with horse manure.

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