Who Would Jesus Heal?

Featured, The Remedy — By on October 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

JesusHealerWindowIn 1883, Emma Lazarus, a young American woman from a wealthy Jewish family, wrote a sonnet called, “The New Colossus.”

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In 1886, the sonnet was read at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.  A plaque with this inscription was to have been mounted on the pedestal for the Statue’s unveiling, but this detail was overlooked and no plaque was made.

Emma Lazarus died of lymphoma the following year.  One of her friends took up the cause to have the poem engraved on the Statue, and in 1903 it happened: an engraving was mounted in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.   The Statue and its silent summons became familiar and comforting to the immigrants sacrificing all they had to accept Lady Liberty’s open invitation.

I was thinking about this poem the other day, in the context of the vitriolic dialogue our country has been having about health insurance.  I thought of the heated words that have been expressed about extending health insurance to the uninsured, and, even worse, to the illegals.

I thought of these people who embody Emma Lazurus’s words.  Many uninsured Americans, and most illegal immigrants, fulfill the criteria listed on the Statue.

Tired?  More like exhausted.  Poor?  Yes.  Destitute, even. Huddled masses? I thought of the immigrants who’ve suffocated in crowded trucks on the long journey from Mexico to the U.S. border.  Yes, huddled.  Yearning to breathe free?  Check.  (Suffocating in cargo holds of ships and wheel wells of airplanes probably constitutes yearning to breathe.)   Wretched refuse?  To some, yes.  Homeless?  Uh-huh.  Tempest-tost?  I thought about the people drowning on homemade rafts en route from Cuba to Miami.  Yes, tempest-tost.

And yet, we do not stand with Liberty at the mouth of the harbor and invite them to find refuge on our shores.

We tell them to get jobs, but we won’t give them working papers. We tell them to feed themselves, but even those who are working don’t get paid enough to buy basic necessities like food – let alone luxuries like health insurance.  We arrest them for sleeping on our streets, but God forbid they should try to move into the house next door.  We purport to welcome the world to our shores, but not if they have communicable diseases or speak Spanish. We’ll let them sew our clothes and scrub our toilets and change our oil and add fries to our Value Meals while we’re busy building our capitalistic empire, but they’d better not take one single cent from the money we make standing on their backs.

It seems to me if the poor among us took America to court, they’d have a strong case for a successful class-action lawsuit.  All they’d have to do is point to the invitation on the Statue of Liberty and argue that it’s false advertisement.  And they’d be right.  So far, we’re all talk, and mournfully little action.

As I’ve followed the recent healthcare discussion, I’ve been most interested in how Christians enter into the debate.  Various sides contend to have the answer to the question, “Who Would Jesus Heal?”

Granted, the question is a bit contrived, because Jesus didn’t need health insurance policies or medicine or hospitals to make people well.  He just did it.  With a touch of His hand, with a word from His mouth, with the strength from His robe, He healed the sick.

But His ascension left us in a lurch, and now we have to figure out how we as Christians, who claim to be the tangible presence of Jesus on the earth, should handle this critical issue.

One side of the aisle argues Jesus would support a privatized system where health insurance is synonymous with employment.  Capitalism, with its privately-run companies, is the only and obvious way to run a country, they say.  The other side of the aisle argues Jesus would support a government-sponsored healthcare system because it does the most good for the most people.

Both sides can point to examples and verses from the Bible to support their positions. (Although it seems to me both arguments have their fair share of holes.)  And yet we argue on, playing tug-of-war with Jesus, intent on proving whose side He’s on.

But if our behavior as Americans disappoints the Lady of Liberty who stands in the harbor with a torch in her hand, surely our conduct as Christians devastates the Man of Sorrows, who stretched out his arms on a cross and invited a world of lost and hungry sinners to come to Him.

We may not be able to clearly conclude from the Bible whether Jesus would favor universal health care for Americans or not.  But what we know for certain is whose side Jesus is on: not the Republicans or the Democrats or even the Independents, but the orphans and the widows and the hungry and the weary and the sick and the lost.

It seems to me that while we are busy shouting at each other from opposite sides of the aisle, Jesus is in the middle, sitting with the huddled, tired masses dying on the floor.

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  • Michael Dallas Miller says:

    I don’t know who “we” are. What real percentage of the American population would be up in arms if a tax-paying citizen who happened to be from another nation moved in next door? In our time, I doubt many. But, there is a reason that a person is an illegal immigrant why our government makes the distinction. This is a society. I am a part of this society so I pay into it with the money I earn but never see. And that’s fine. I get roads and policemen and other benefits I don’t even know I get. But, I pay into that system and I receive from that system. If wanted to move to another country, I would expect to be documented and I would expect to pay taxes and have roads and policemen. Our national government has gotten into its head that it needs to solve our problems. But it cannot and it will not. I think sometimes, “we” forget how to care and demand a wide-sweeping policy change in order to feel good about ourselves. I welcome anyone into our society and I honor their language and customs. But I only ask that anyone who wishes to reap the benefits of a society, he must pay into it. If someone really wants to help another person, he should make as much money as he can and give it away to those in need. Don’t blame people who happen to have money and a “capitalist empire.” As it is, they might be the only people actually keeping our crippled system on at least one leg.

    • Josiah says:

      Thank-you Sarah for the article.

      Michael, I agree that “we” are a part of a society in which we both give and receive and that is something that needs to be protected. And when some people do not go by these terms, it is unfair. But aren’t most illegal immigrants unable to attain citizenship? If we, as Americans, wanted to move to another country, we probably wouldn’t have a very difficult time doing so, but when the roles are reversed, it’s a tough road to travel. Meanwhile, the “others” are left in a place where they cannot provide for themselves. I guess I’d rather error on the more inclusive side when it comes to health care, which often relates to life and death circumstances.

      Just my thoughts…

  • James says:

    Sarah, you decry “the vitriolic dialogue our country has been having about health insurance” and the “heated words”, then go on to use vitriol and heated words to describe your own feelings toward those of us who do not feel that it is the place of government to insure its citizens. We have good reasons, sound reasons, and we care about people just as much as you do. It is simply a difference of opinion. I respect yours; I’d appreciate it if you respected mine.

  • Troy says:

    I enjoyed reading this.

  • Annie says:

    This is frustrating. You take really good elements, like the fact that Jesus cares about all people and wants us to care for them too, and combine it with masked hatefulness and complete fallacy.

    The whole thing starts out with an allusion to the Statue of Liberty, which is a beacon standing at a legal point of entry for those who are applying for legal citizenship. Yes, many people gave up everything and lined up on her shores to legally enter America. To say that we are refusing to stand with Liberty by wanting a sustainable answer to the problem of people breaking the law based on that poem is laughable.

    To say that capitalists are oppressing them by using their services is a perversion of how sociological systems really work. I could make an equally strong argument that they have made it completely impossible for me to legally compete for certain jobs by willingly engaging that employment in an illegal way.

    Really, a class-action lawsuit? The poem promises healthcare and education and jobs and happiness? I must have missed something…

    The real problem with this whole thing is that you’re muddling the idea of being a Christian and being an American. I agree that we absolutely must care for the dignity and lives and hearts of all who are among us, immigrants or not. But make no mistake, that flows out of the laws of God and of compassion and love, and not out of political laws. We simply cannot try to force a politico-military entity to do the work of the church. Marginalized and oppressed does not equate to criminal, and we are, in fact called to serve the prisoner, but we are not called to deny their crime. Plenty of immigrants are oppressed and marginalized, and totally legal, and we are called to love them too, but in a totally different way. The Bible gives numerous examples of being called to welcome aliens and the poor into our midst, but always demands that they obey the law and be punished if they don’t. That doesn’t mean that we don’t show them personal compassion. It simply means that we refuse to deny their wrong. Isn’t that more powerful – to love someone through their crime and its consequences, whether it’s political, relational or spiritual?

    Two things I don’t recall Jesus doing are denying peoples’ failings and trying to assert Christian ideals by making them political law. People probably would have liked him more if he had started a revolution of government, but he just wasn’t interested in affecting that kind of change. He was less interested in allowing us to abdicate the responsibility of molding our hearts to his will by passing laws based on what we think he would have done, and more interested in how we relate to the person standing in front of us.

    The Bible, in fact, speaks to this respect of the law of the land repeatedly. And, while it makes faith the priority and defining standard in our lives, it never allows that we will not have to face the consequences of being obedient to our faith. I mean, Jesus was crucified, and he was the definitive example of faith and Christianity costing us enormously in terms of the law of the land. Abraham had to live as an alien, not a citizen, as did Moses when he fled to Midian, and Mary and Joseph when they fled to Egypt. There is no mention that they were given the rights of citizenship. They were aliens, being bound to God and unable to comply with the culture around them, and therefore dependent on the compassion and respect of those around them.

    I feel like you would agree with those things, but you mix in it with the poorly hidden agenda against capitalism and an obvious setting aside of social contract, while somehow mingling Christian citizenship and national citizenship. Americans are not called to love people with the love of Christ. Christians are, and that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with where I stand on healthcare, and has everything to do with the people on my doorstep.

    • EmilyTimbol says:


      1) I think you are being unfair in claiming that Sarah used hateful language, and complete fallacy? Can you prove anything she said was a complete lie when it was largely opinion? Who’s being hateful now?

      2) Do you know, personally, any “illegal” immigrants? I do, I know several, and unlike what many people think they did not come here illegally, they came here with Visas that expired. Every single one of these people tried, for YEARS up to the point where there Visa would expire to get citizenship. It cost thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours with lawyers, and tons of stress and hardship. I work with a woman who is a legal immigrant who’s lived, worked, and paid taxes in America for over twenty years yet still has not been able to get citizenship. She’s never been able to vote or have access to many government programs. It’s not a black and white issue of people hopping fences to steal our jobs, it’s usually because of desperation, fear, and danger, things that require compassion and understanding.

      3)Are you honestly saying that you want to compete for the jobs that most immigrant workers do? You want to be a maid? Clean houses? Pick fruit or cotton for far less than minimum wage? Work in a meat packaging factory? Many of these places depend on the workers who put up with the near sweat shop, often brutal conditions because they have no other choice. Very few people want those jobs. Please, find me an illegal immigrant who’s a CEO, bank manager, or someone you think is “stealing” your job.

      4)The poem promises to welcome in exiles, weak, poor, homeless. Welcoming someone with open arms usually does not mean putting limitations and restrictions on what kinds of help you’ll give them. I think it’s a fair assumption to make that this poem provides the allusion of “happiness” for immigrants.

      5)Do you have Biblical references for these verses you speak of where God commands us to help the sick, poor, and immigrant, but then turn around and punish them if they break the law? I wasn’t familiar with any.

      6) I agree with you wholeheartedly that, as you said, “I don’t recall Jesus doing are denying peoples’ failings and trying to assert Christian ideals by making them political law”. This is why I don’t agree with creating an amendment banning gay marriage, or having prayer or any type of religion in schools. I’m glad that you’d agree with me on that.

      7) You are totally right that, “Americans are not called to love people with the love of Christ”. I don’t think Sarah was trying to imply that. I think what she might have been saying was that American Christians are called to love people with the love of Christ, and really, if you are a Christian, the American part should be a far smaller part of your identity and opinion when it comes to helping others than the Christian.

    • Annie says:

      1. Hateful= “I thought of the heated words that have been expressed about extending health insurance to the uninsured, and, even worse, to the illegals.”
      Fallacy (which doesn’t mean lie, it means misleading or an unsound argument)= “It seems to me if the poor among us took America to court, they’d have a strong case for a successful class-action lawsuit. All they’d have to do is point to the invitation on the Statue of Liberty and argue that it’s false advertisement. And they’d be right. So far, we’re all talk, and mournfully little action.”

      2. Yes, I know many. I actually work to help many of them. If she’s ever walked on a sidewalk, she has access to government programs. She’s had access to emergency rooms, free clinics and employment also. I never said that it was black and white or that we should not show compassion. In fact, I clearly said quite the opposite, but at the point where she comes or stays illegally, she is a criminal, and I still show compassion, but it manifests differently.

      3. Absolutely, I would love those jobs. In fact, I am currently trying to get many of them. Currently, I make less than many of them because I obey the law and people who would employ me to do them would rather hire someone cheaper, even if that person is only cheaper because they are breaking the law. After nine months of unemployment and being laid off three times in 18 months, I would happily scrub your toilet, Emily. I would pay taxes on that money, too.

      4. Welcoming someone to enter a country, I would argue, doesn’t promise any help at all. The statue’s presence at Ellis Island, in fact, encourages them to come and apply legally for entrance to country built on freedom, often to escape the oppression of their own government’s “help”.

      5. Deuteronomy 5, 14, 16, 26; Exodus 12, 22; Leviticus 16, 17, 19; Romans 11, 15; Psalms 39, 119; etc. They are, repeatedly, both celebrated and required to abide by the social contract.

      6. I’m not sure that we’d agree, only in that I would take it one step further and allow more freedom. I would neither make prayer a rule, or completely ban it. The same would apply to all other religious acts as the school and local community decided upon. Same with most other “hot button” issues. As long as they do not infringe on life, liberty and property/pursuit of happiness and have not been willingly traded for protection/benefit under the social contract that a citizen makes with it’s government, I would be pretty much against any laws made above a local level.

      7. Most of MY point was that HER point gets lost in the other (arguably mildly offensive) stuff that was mixed in, which makes me sad because the point was so good.

      I sincerely wonder if Christians on both sides wouldn’t be better served trying to figure out how to help the poor personally, right now and in their own communities, instead of trying to make Christians on the other side seem like they are either stupid or don’t care about the poor.

    • Jordan Green says:


      How “I thought of the heated words that have been expressed about extending health insurance to the uninsured, and, even worse, to the illegals.” could be interpreted as “hateful”, I have no idea, but I don’t appreciate claims like that being tossed around on these boards. If you’re going to claim hate, it’d better be directed at more than a renunciation of “heated words”.

    • Annie says:

      My problem is more with the tone of it.

      Sorry if you don’t like it.

      I don’t think, on my part, it’s either wrong or a position worth arguing to defend.

    • Jordan Green says:

      I’m not sure how you can apologize for how I interpret it, but okay.

      I appreciate debating a point, but referring to Sarah’s piece as “hateful” is just simply over the top, ESPECIALLY in reference to the sentence you mentioned. I mean, even referring to the piece as “hateful” isn’t hateful, so how is that sentence hateful. As far as I can tell, this was a fairly middle-of-the-road angle disappointed in each side of the popular debate. It might be untrue, inaccurate, or guilty of similarly aggressive rhetoric, but I can’t imagine how this qualifies as “hateful”.

      My point is, feel free to debate the topic all you like, but I’d prefer if we avoided that kind of broad hyperbole.

    • Annie says:

      I thought I kind of dropped it, but apparently not.

      To clarify, I did not call Sarah or her piece hateful. Again, I apologize if you thought that. I don’t feel like that’s what I said at all, even after re-reading what I wrote, but if it was taken that way, then I do apologize for that.

      Sorry if you don’t like that word. I am fairly comfortable having an interaction of ideas and not taking criticism of an idea personally. I realize that is not the case for everyone.

    • Dan Gibson says:

      I hate to join the editors pile on the comment section theme going on here, but you did write: “You take really good elements, like the fact that Jesus cares about all people and wants us to care for them too, and combine it with masked hatefulness and complete fallacy.”

      So, I don’t know if that can be extended to calling Sarah “hateful”, but you did say her article had “masked hatefulness”. That’s a fair (although, in my opinion, inaccurate) thing to say, but I don’t know if you can backpedal from something you wrote merely hours before.

      By the way, that last paragraph where you said you realize not everyone can participate in debate in the same mature manner you can is a nice bit of passive-aggressive rhetoric. Well played.

    • Annie says:

      It wasn’t me being passive aggressive. I was actually trying to acknowledge that I am direct to a fault. I am rarely offended, even when I should be, and sometimes forget that not everyone else operates that way.

      I’m not even trying to backpedal. I still feel the same way. Thanks to Emily for interacting with all eight paragraphs.

      I’ve apologized more than once.

      If anything, I’m disappointed that one word in eight paragraphs made the comments more about me than about the issue being addressed.

      I would love to hear opinions about my

    • Jordan Green says:


      The reason I chose to address that single word was because it fell outside what we deem polite conversation here. I wasn’t interested in debating you point by point. In fact, I think you made a number of good points in your comment, particularly in focusing on a perspective beyond being American.

      Not to split hairs here, but you haven’t apologized for anything.

      “Sorry if you don’t like it.”

      “Again, I apologize if you thought that. I don’t feel like that’s what I said at all, even after re-reading what I wrote, but if it was taken that way, then I do apologize for that.”

      “Sorry if you don’t like that word.”

      Saying you’re sorry for how another person interpreted your words is not an apology, because you’re not taking any responsibility for the offense.

      I’m not asking you to apologize anyway…I’m just letting you know I felt the rhetoric was out of hand. If you’re not sorry for saying it, no need to apologize, but I appreciate our writers here, and I’ll back them up when I feel a comment is rude.

  • sarah says:

    James and Michael, thanks for your comments. My point was not to support a specific platform or agenda, but to suggest that our attitude precedes our actions, and our loyalty to Christ comes before our loyalty to America.

    I don’t think I was vitriolic as much as passionate, because I think Jesus is passionate about loving people. His harsh words were reserved for the religious leaders who put systems and rules before people, who faulted him for healing on the Sabbath instead of realizing that broken people had been made physically and spiritually whole.

    I think our response to the broken people in our society needs to be patterened after his compassion instead of party lines or political systems.

  • Ryan Jones says:

    What if health insurance disappeared altogether? What would that do to the cost of medical care? What if the billions we now invest in health insurance went instead to charities that feed the poor and help treat the sick? Would the American attitude toward preventative medicine and notural alternatives change? Good article Sarah. I just thought I would toss in a third hypothetical I haven’t heard any discussion on.

  • Laurie says:

    Thank you, Sarah, for writing this. I really agree with your article and the idea that we cannot allow ourselves to put systems or rules or government structure before people without incurring upon ourselves the same harsh words used on pharisees and religious leaders.

  • Tim McGeary says:

    I’ve been tossing around thoughts of writing a column here touching on healthcare here, but I just couldn’t find a confident way to do that, so I applaud Sarah for putting herself out there with this article.

    The problem with this topic is that there is not really a happy medium that can be found in politics, in scripture, or even common sense. It’s a profitable business for some people, it’s lifeblood for other people, it’s a dependency for most people. We are all slaves to the system when you want care for your sickness or your health.

    But I read into Sarah’s post highlights the delicate nature we, as followers of Jesus, must enter into when loving God and neighbor through an issue that affects everyone so personally. Governments can’t do that. It’s not in their nature.

    One question I’ve been tossing around in my head and heart is as someone with a holistic pro-life perspective (i.e. not just the unborn), isn’t health care for all a foundational pro-life issue? I don’t have an answer yet.

  • Steve says:

    This seems to me so much less a grey issue than the debate suggests. The Bible is pretty straightforward about providing for the sick and poor. The law of the land is acknowledged as a necessary burden for syncretism with other cultures, but it’s never held up as an ideal. The tonnage of scripture mandating — not requesting — that we provide for the poor, including the “foreigner,” makes me confused about why this issue is so controversial. God owns everything. All we have is through His generosity.

    Then there are the glaring ironies. Private health insurance IS socialism with a few people raking up a profit. Insurance is based on a social contract that we all share medical costs so no one person is unduly burdened. A government system really wouldn’t be that different from a free market perspective.

    Also, our economy would collapse without illegal immigrants. That’s reality, not politics. You can go round in circles about who could have what job in what circumstance, but the economic, cultural, and social reality is that we have an interdependent relationship with folks who are here illegally. How we treat them matters on a spiritual and practical level.

  • Terri says:

    Josiah – Americans cannot just move to any country without problems. I lived in Germany for awhile. It was a beast to get a work visa and took forever. Going the legal route is hard.

    As for the article, I wonder sometimes if we can be two people at once – one who respects the law and insists that people go the legal route to enter, and at the same time stands at the border and hands out water to the thirsty who are trying to cross through the desert. Sometimes it is hard to choose which person to be.

    • Josiah says:

      Point taken. I probably exaggerated my point too much.

      That said, I would probably still stand by the point that it’s easier for an affluent American (most of the readers here) to move to another country than for, say, a Mexican to move to the US legally.

  • Terri says:

    Josiah – Americans cannot just move to any country without problems. I lived in Germany for awhile. It was a beast to get a work visa and took forever. Going the legal route is hard.

    As for the article, I wonder sometimes if we can be two people at once – one who respects the law and insists that people go the legal route to enter, and at the same time stands at the border and hands out water to the thirsty who are trying to cross through the desert. Sometimes it is hard to choose which person to be.

  • Greg J says:

    I really appreciated your views. You clearly had thought thru your arguments and articulated them well, even though I thought you everstated some of the things Sarah said. It is difficult to come in to the lions den and state your convictions when you probably knew you would get hammered. My problem is that I am tired of other people deciding what I should have do with my hard money (thru taxes) according to THEIR agenda for what THEY believe is right. The other thing I noticed was that no one writing offered you a job, or was symptthetic to your situration or tried to help you find something, sometimes Christian love is lost in the rhetoric.

    EMILY, you clearly are the MASTER of exageration. What planet are you living on? Your misstatements of what Annie said are almost hesterical. How do you know if she wouldn’t take any job to survive? How about walking a mile in her shoes. Mabye you could help her get a job, or just help her out. You seem to write off a “brother” in Christ so easily just because you disagree with her premice, when most of yours are shakey at best.

    GORDON, jees, take a Prozak and call me in the morning. You definatly have some anger issues. Might I suggest a anger managment course. If you cannot afford it, I am sure the state would be willing to provide for you to get it.

    STEVE: Many of the issues you speak about really are not issues for the state, but rather issues for us as indiviuals. I am not sure Christ saw the “state” as an answer to anything. He always brought it back to the individual and their responsibility to his fellow man. Most of you are talking about the place of government in all of this and not about what God calls us to as individuals, which is the bulk of scripture.
    Your statement that private health insurance is “socialism” is absolutly bizarre. You talked about: ” a few people raking in the profits”. Greed is a problem not just in the private sector, but in government as will. Might I remind you that our society enjoys the freedom to “create” options (yes for money) that people can “choose”, have created some of the greatest medical breakthroughs in the history of the world.
    Another falacious statement: “A government system really wouldn’t be that different.” Really? Look at the difference between UPS and the post office. If UPS had been allowed to carry mail, the post office would not exist today. The government has shown itself to be absolutly inept at dealing with almost everything they get their hands on. This arguments shows a real lack of understanding of how we all work as people. I have worked for the government and the private sector, and their is no comparison.
    Lastly, the idea of our economy “collapsing” if illegal’s were not here is absolutly absurd. That may be YOUR reality, but I am not sure it is reality based on reality with a capital R. Tell me you don’t really believe that? Here is Reality, if, for example, illegials were not here to work in the fields, the market would adjust. Farmers would have to pay more, or do whatever it took to get the needed help. Would prices for farm products go up, yes, but the “free” market would adjust. I mean, mabye our tax dollors would not be used for farm “subsidies”.
    And as a minor point, they are ILLIGAL immigrants. Not legal but illegal. Why shouldn’t they have to obey the laws of the land that we all have agreed to. If you don’t like it, then create another system, get people to vote for it. But until then obey the LAW unless you believe the ends justify the means. And by the way, I think that is covered in scripture when the bible talks about obeying the law and rendering to Cesar ect. So as much as you think it is not right, it is a law, so you can choose to abide by it, or use situation ethics to do what you want. Annie is an example of a person willing to work at anything to survive, yet can’t get a job. How about this, mabye the they are taking a job away from her. Yes it does matter how we treat them, it matters how we treat EVERYONE. And here I will restate my orginal argument, the word of God was written to address us as “individuals” and our relationship to others. But whether you like it or not the law is the law, and until you change it, live with it.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Dan, did you start your little experiment already?

    • Jordan Green says:

      I don’t know, but I’m sure glad I got off scot-free!

    • Esther says:

      I think in your response to steve, and just as a comment of the whole article in general, it should be noted that the “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” view you are spouting is just that, a view (though the most common one) But perhaps looking at it outside the normalized lenses of today’s Christian culture we can see Jesus is implying a lot more about Caesar and money in this than what is usually discussed in most Christian circles. It should be considered that perhaps Jesus meant money or material wealth has the stamp of the emporer, the stamp of the world on it, and that we should leave what is the world’s to the world. Not necessarily meaning don’t follow the law, but that maybe only follow it so far as it applies to our Christian perspective. Another arguement, and hypothetical, could be this, if you lived in Nazi Germany do you follow along with the killings and unjustice of their government because Jesus told us to render to Caesar’s what is Caesars? Pay taxes and homage supporting that? I would think/hope not, for us as Christians, though some did and some didn’t. Something that is discussed in the Bible is taking care of the poor, the widows, the orphan and to an extent even the foreigner. Perhaps what Sara is getting at is our inherent need to question how much do our views as Christians line up with our governments policies? Not all that much I feel for a nation that calls itself Christian, or has been given that lable, to mine and others lament. Our government is not a theocracy, and that is fine, but let’s not treat it as one, as we many times do, it is a very tempting thing to do. I feel like our view of Caesar, and of the government should be more along the lines of St. Hilary, who says “The less we have of Caesar’s the less we render to Caesar”

  • sarah says:

    @ Everyone: Wow. I was going to write a follow up column about what’s wrong with the way we approach the health care debate, but it looks like I don’t have to. The above comments illustrate that better than I could.

    What happened to disagreeing without being disagreeable? What happened to grace- and love-seasoned speech? If we as a community can’t do better than name-calling and mud-slinging, how can we expect the culture we live in to behave any differently?

    The sad thing is, if public health stats are true, 125 people in the U.S. died today because they were uninsured. And we are no closer to offering up a viable solution than when we woke up this morning. In fact, after today, we may well be one step further back.

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      Yeah I feel kind of bad, I got a little too heated. I really do hate the fact that whenever anyone brings up a topic like healthcare, or gay marriage, or abortion, etc, that things always go this way. I’m claiming guilt of course, but still. It’d be nice if we who identify as Christians didn’t turn every thread into a virtual town hall meeting.

    • James says:

      Sarah, you ask what happened to civilized debate, but I suggest to you, as respectfully as I can, that you kind of set the tone with your title (as soon as I read it, it seemed you were implying that those who are against the proposed reform are against Jesus) as well as statements contained in your post itself.

      I was backlashing a bit not only against your post, but others that have appeared here. There seems to be a mentality that if one is against the govt-run healthcare plan, and uses words like socialist in defending one’s POV, then they are being irrational. But if one makes equally inflammatory remarks on the other side, they are being, to use your word, passionate.

      None of which I would have brought up if you hadn’t made a point that you were against “vitriol”, a word I had to look up. (It sounded like a brand name of a pain reliever, but I digress)

      Maybe everyone should all take two Vitriol (TM) and call me in the morning.

    • Greg J says:


      Thanks for your post. I probably went the same way, but you are rigt the article did kind of bring it out. We are all pretty passionate about what we believe. By the way Sarah, I am not sure I saw a lot of name calling, just major disagreement, it troubles me a little that instead of enjoying the debat you just write the whole thing off.
      You use words like “mud-slinging” and “vitroil” (thanks James I did not know what it ment either, probably why I did not find it at the drug store) to describe honest decent.
      But again I guess I still do not get your point. If your appeal is to get us involved, I appreciate it and it is a good reminder. If your appeal is for a government run health plan then there are two issues that you need to address. One is why you feel it necessary to force me to pay for your or any one elses agenda. The other thing that bothers me is this new “social activism” I am begining to see. The Catholic Church has been involved in it for years, and for the most part the message of Chirst as been lost in that activism. I believe it is great to rally people to help the poor in a certian area, or support free clinics for the needy. But to force people to pay for an agenda that you feel strongy about thru taxes or some sort of manditory law is absolutly wrong. The government has yet to prove that they can do anything well or cheaply. Social Security is a classic example of a good idea ruined by the government.
      Lastly, as I previously stated, you really do not see Christ talking about “public” solutions to anything, He just talks about “our” (personal and church)responsibility to feed the poor and help the needy. Even in the area of slavery, he doesnt talk about passing laws to end it or ralling people to a cause, He mearly says that if your a slave, serve well, and if your a slave holder, treat them well. Ok. are we having fun yet?

    • Jordan Green says:


      “you really do not see Christ talking about “public” solutions to anything, He just talks about “our” (personal and church)responsibility to feed the poor and help the needy.”

      You’ve touched on an outstanding point here, one I’m glad conservative Christians are turning to, even if this stance gets tossed out when it comes to issues like gay marriage and abortion. I agree completely.

      Unfortunately, issues with health care costs, tort reform, insurance companies, and providing health care to those who can’t afford it probably won’t be repaired simply by saying, “Hey, Jesus wouldn’t advocate government-provided health care.”

      The best reaction the Church could have, in my opinion, is to say, in effect, “I don’t want to give 2% of my income to the government to provide health care to those who can’t afford it. Instead, I’m going to give 5% of my income and my time to a Christian organization that provides health care to those who can’t afford it, and I don’t care if it supports illegal aliens, my own family, or members of Al Qaeda, because this is what I’ve been called to do as a Christian.”

    • Greg J says:

      Hey Gordon,

      Point well taken. Thanks for your response. I am not sure I see myself as a “conservative christian” however. If by conservative you mean theologically conservative, that would probably be true, if you are talking church conservative (mabye like some Baptist denominations, or relationaly legalsitic churches, you would be wrong, been down that road and did not car for it much. I really do agree with your last paragraph and appreciate the observation.Even though I am not necessarily saying that I believe Jesus would not by in to the public option. The issue of tort reform is seldom discussed, but again these are part of the public vs private debate. What Jesus would say about it I dont know, but I do know what he says about my responsibility and the churches. I thought your point on the was well taken. Thanks for the e.

    • Jordan Green says:

      @Greg J:

      On behalf of Gordon, thank you. He’s at his anger management course right now.

      Apologies for pigeon-holing you as conservative!

    • Greg J says:

      Bob (I mean Jordon), sorry, mabye Gordon can make room for me to. LOL

  • klu says:

    I am a stranger. I am an alien. I am a Kingdom-dweller living in a fallen piece of God’s beautiful creation. I am the fallen. The only good coming from me is He. My politics, my words, my feeble attempts at social justice are nothing. Chirst is all.

    So, then…I can drag my missing brother from the dark and frightening room in the meth house. Sit in hoppital rooms with the dying. Clean up crack spoons until they are shiney usable pieces of silverware again. Look into the eyes of the forgotten and know who it is I am truly looking at.

    Deep joy out of deep suffering. Peace that transcends understanding. Love that comes from Love Personified.
    Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    Somehow, someway, He made me, this wrecked up mess of humanity, “get it”. I am His. We are each His.
    Display His light. See the Divine in one another. They will know we are Christians, not by our policies…by our love.

  • sarah says:

    James, the title of the piece was not meant to be inflammatory or offensive, but simply a parody of the gimmicky way some Christians pose questions (What Would Jesus Eat, etc.)

    And I tried to be explicit about the fact that I’m not advocating a specific political opinion: “Both sides can point to examples and verses from the Bible to support their positions. (Although it seems to me both arguments have their fair share of holes.)”

    I think passionate words are reserved not for political positions, but for people’s souls and lives.

    I would love to use this online community to exchange ideas and information. I think you must be a thoughtful, intelligent, articulate person – you probably wouldn’t come to this site if you weren’t.

    I really want to know what you (and the others here) think about these issues without, as Emily put it, letting our words dissolve into a microcosm of the town hall meetings.

    • James says:

      Sarah, you are correct when you say I “must be a thoughtful, intelligent, articulate person.” You left out good-looking. Well, at least I feel that way when I take a couple of Vitriol(TM) before looking in the mirror. ;)

      Seriously, I don’t see you railing against the anti-reform position here, but like most Burnside articles, there is just enough in there, somewhat subtle, to fan the flames for folks like me.

      Again, I want to emphasize that I am not going to slam anyone for being for Obama’s plan. I am only complaining when, in the process of defending such a position, some writers slam the other side as being uncaring.

  • Stewart J says:

    Bravo Greg, you said a lot of what I was going to write. In addition, have any of you, living in your socialist states, ever owned a company…. Of course you haven’t or you wouldn’t drink the Obama socialist Kool-Aid. I have owned a company most of my life, so please spare me the give me your huddle masses of illegal aliens. It takes tax money to afford all these liberal programs, which are duplicated in every area, including help for homeless, illegals and medical care. 47% of the people in this country no longer pay taxes, that means the rest of us do, including you if you work. It takes small business to be strong in order for the economy and revenue to be strong, which by the way, creates jobs.

    God is about freedom of choice and personal responsibility, That includes being a good Steward with money. We know how the government is with my money. No offense is to Sarah, but the article at best is hilarious.
    The U.S. is the most giving and kind country in the world. We provide more aid and comfort to the world then all nations combined. Why, because we are strong but weakening everyday. Everyone wants our help, then tear us down after we give it, but we still keep giving. We became a great nation because our country was built on Gods laws, that are going by the way of socialism. Kind of like the insolvent states of Oregon, Washington, California, NY, and Michigan, just to name a few.
    I read some of the posts and I can’t believe you still live here. After all the U.S. is so mean. Trust me, I have been all over the world and this is the greatest nation in our world. Only with a strong economy, meaning little government interference, can we continue to help people who need help, here and in the rest of the world. God would expect that.
    By the way, how many of you have provided someone a job, paid your share in taxes, and out of your compassion, have a homeless person living in your house! Well, back to work so I can pay my employees.

    • Jordan Green says:

      “God is about freedom of choice and personal responsibility”

      I’m amazed the Creator of the universe and Lord of all things can be boiled down so succinctly.

      “No offense is to Sarah, but the article at best is hilarious.”

      Yes, no offense, Sarah. You’re just a laughable idiot is all.

      “The U.S. is the most giving and kind country in the world.”

      I know at least four Scandinavian countries that would prove you wrong there.

      “Kind of like the insolvent states of Oregon, Washington, California, NY, and Michigan, just to name a few.”

      California and Michigan, maybe, but the first has had Republican leadership (hardly socialist) for quite some time now, and the other is built on the auto-industry, which is hardly a socialist pillar.

      “Only with a strong economy, meaning little government interference, can we continue to help people who need help, here and in the rest of the world. God would expect that.”

      I feel considerable freedom now, finally understanding how low God’s standards are.

      “By the way, how many of you have provided someone a job, paid your share in taxes, and out of your compassion, have a homeless person living in your house!”

      I’d say yes to the first two things, and I guess my daughter who’s about to be born would be homeless if we didn’t give her a room.

    • Will Ferrell says:

      I am a Division Manager! That is very important! That is very important! You don’t talk to me like that! People are scared of me! I work too hard to deal with this stuff! I work too hard! I’m a Division Manager in charge of 49 people! I drive a Dodge Stratus!! I drive a Dodge Stratus! You don’t talk about my Dodge Stratus that way! I am a Division Manager! I can do 100 push-ups in twenty minutes!

  • James says:

    Jordan, I disagree with you that regarding abortion, we toss out our thoughts about unneeded government intervention. We are, in fact, against the govt allowing a person to stop the life of a human who has already attained personhood. This position is very consistent with what we say about other issues.

    • Annie says:

      And, actually, even in the arena of gay marriage, I don’t feel like the gov’t should be in the business of marriage at all. The only reasons I know of that it is, are taxes, gov’t regulations, and the issues of fringe benefits and special privileges for married people. I feel like we could eliminate all of that and it would probably be the most equitable thing to do.

    • Jordan Green says:


      I see your point there, and the abortion stance is much more tenuous and nuanced than the gay marriage debate.

      I also hate to lump all “conservative” beliefs, since I know most of us are not solely conservative or liberal, and hold stances across the spectrum depending on issues.

      I do think the vast amount of money that goes into the pro-life political lobbying would be better spent personally helping mothers who believe abortion is an option.

    • Jordan Green says:


      Well said. I agree, and I think we hold a similar stance on government health care.

  • EmilyTimbol says:

    I have a question.

    Now, this is an honest, serious, no hidden-inflammatory-motive behind it question that has been bugging me since I’ve been reading this thread.

    For those of you (Greg J, Annie, Stewart) who vehemently and passionatley disagree with what Sarah is saying, and if I remember correctly Annie you’ve also disagreed strongly on some other threads(abortion, maybe? I could be wrong) why do you keep coming back to Burnside? I am not saying that I think you should leave, I just don’t understand why you’d continue to return to a website that consistently publishes articles that make you so angry and upset. Like, I don’t go on Glen Beck’s website or read Focus on The Family articles for that very reason, they upset me because I disagree with many of the things they say. You are all smart enough to know by now that the majority of people on here are more “progressive”, and if you don’t agree, why keep coming back and riling yourselves up? Are you trying to change people’s opinions, or just express your own? Or is there some other reason maybe?

    Granted, I think it is entirely possible and desirable for very different political beliefs to be represented and debated with logic, calmness, and respect (here’s looking at you James) but I don’t understand why some of you only seem to comment on the “hot topic” articles and only then in an attempt to “shame” the author/agreers.

    If we really stop and think about it, it’s very unlikely an internet thread is going to make me change my views on healthcare, and I imagine the same goes for you, so why belabor the point?

    • Annie says:

      Well, I never said I was angry or upset. I have toyed with the idea of not coming back, because it is so slanted while claiming not to be and I get the distinct feeling that disagreeing is frowned upon. I wasn’t riled up or mad, and I didn’t personally attack anyone. To be honest, I chuckled a little that people would be so upset with me, and yet consistently ignore things posted on this site that are bordering on completely offensive.

      I don’t think you meant to, but you are actually the one who said very condescending things to me. Even when I acknowledge that my communication style doesn’t involve taking peoples’ feelings into account as much as interacting with the ideas they put forth, I was called passive aggressive (which made people who know me laugh out loud, because I am, as I said, direct to a fault).

      I didn’t even “passionately disagree”. In fact, I complimented her overall point at least twice and clearly stated why I was frustrated, which was the mingling of that point with inflammatory comments and an underlying tone of “the dreaded h-word”. If I thought she was an idiot or a jerk, that wouldn’t be frustrating. In fact, I thought she was probably perfectly capable of making the point, but making it in a better and more sound way, while eliminating such negative and unfair rhetoric.

      While I’m being direct, I think most poeple got more upset at me because of what they assumed about me than what I actually said.

      I’ve never watched Glenn Beck, and I don’t read Focus on the Family (I also don’t villainise either). I’ve actually commented on a handfull of articles (none of them about abortion), and only two of them, including this one, to express my frustration with the way the author was trying to make the point, which is not the same as disagreeing with the point. The one that I gave the longest response to wasn’t about anything political at all.

      I do think that, if Christians want to bring about the change we talk about and have visions of, we have to learn to stop blasting the other side. (Sorry, Sarah, because I don’t believe you were being malicious, but it was very one-sided and showed clear disdain for the opposing side.) It seems like, we just have to be better – better writers, debaters, thinkers, better at logic, and better at being authentically gospel-centered, if anyone is ever going to take us seriously. In many ways I think it’s a habit, on both sides, that we must ruthlessly try to break.

      You assume a lot about me, personally, that is wildly unfair and untrue. If I knew of any church, website or group of Christians that I felt in any way comfortable with, I would probably run to them. In fact, you can even pray for it, because I am in desperate and dire need of them. But, I have yet to find them, and, even if I did would probably still seek out people whose views are different from mine. It’s not healthy to be around people who agree with you all the time. I don’t think that’s what Christ did or wants, or that it helps us get to a place of unity.

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      I appreciate your response Annie and I apologize if anything I said came acrossa as malicious or mean spirited. I will admit that I personally DO get very passionate and “riled up” about these issues, for a variety of reasons. While I do disagree with many of your points, I would never wish for you to feel ostracized or like you can’t be part of a body of Christ. I’ll definitley pray for you to find a community, and also, a job.

    • Greg J says:

      Emily, I would have the same question for you. Why do continue to read and be involved in a websight that you agree with everthing they say. Does a healthy decenting observation bother you that much? I can tell you why I come to this sight, because I love what people have to say about relational living, both with others, and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I came from that “strict” living “bible thumping” church that condemd everything. Sucked would be to mild a word. I have read Donalds books, I like what he says and how he says it. Do I agree with his political views, probably not all of them, but what the hey.
      I did not mind your passion for what you believed in, problem most of it did not make logical sence. And the other problem I had was how quick everyone was to jump on Annie. Further I did not really hear anyone talk about her plight. How can any come to agreement on anything, including the meaning of Scripture without the dialog?

    • Dan Gibson says:

      @Annie: To be clear, I didn’t say you were “passive-aggressive”, but I do feel that what you said (in that one particular paragraph) was passive-aggressive. You have a right to disagree. So be it.

      The problem is that you’re confusing “directness” with “civility”. You don’t feel like you’re attacking anyone, but you called elements of Sarah’s article “masked hatefulness and complete fallacy” and mention “things posted on this site that are bordering on completely offensive.” These aren’t statements of fact. They are your opinions. Opinions you have a right to, but you can’t claim you’re being “direct”; you’re being opinionated and brashly so, with no apparent concern for how people feel. Maybe other people are (as you say) assuming things about you instead of thinking about the content of your opinions, but partially — and you should own up to this — that’s your fault for using an amount of hyperbole to back up your opinion that isn’t warranted.

      I don’t honestly have any idea what you’re like in real life and I’m not sure I care if what I said made you “chuckle” or your friends “laugh out loud”. The rest of us only have your words on a screen to go by, and you might be right in what you believe to be true about Sarah’s article, healthcare or whatever, but you have a lot to learn about how to communicate your opinions.

    • James says:

      Emily, I’m here because I agree with more stuff than I disagree with. Also, I’d like to point out that I rarely argue with people’s positions on a topic. I only get argumentative when they throw under the bus those with whom they disagree.
      For example, tell me all day long that you think homosexuality is not a sin, and though i disagree, I won’t belabor the point. But when people start saying that insisting it’s sin is not the loving thing to do, then I jump in, because I think that pretending something that is a sin is not a sin is the most unloving thing you can do.

      I bring that example up because it’s frequent lately. Point is that I will only get into arguments when I think Burnside folks are casting untrue accusations toward those with whom they disagree. If they keep the focus on the topic itself (i.e. “I think homosexuality is not a sin because you are misreading 1 Corinthians 6″, or “I think Jesus would want us to have govt health care because He said.”, etc.), then you won’t hear a peep out of me.

      So other than that one thing, I am very happy reading these fine posts here, and am a better man for it.

    • Annie says:

      As of yet, Dan Gibson, you have only commented on things you do not like about me and/or my presentation.

      I would love to hear what you actually think of the article.

    • Dan Gibson says:

      @Annie: I like the article. Again, to clarify, I don’t have an opinion about you (as a person) at all. I wouldn’t even pretend to have any idea what you’re like day to day. I don’t care for your attitude in the comment section, but you’re apparently fine with it, so life goes on.

      Sincerely, I hope you’re getting something from the site. I know the work that goes into each article and the site as a whole, so I hope you’ll understand why I might be somewhat defensive of those who contribute (hence, comments about your posts and not about the article itself).

      [Note: I have no idea why this isn't threading with the rest of the conversation. I can't seem to make it show up that way.]

  • Annie says:

    Didn’t I say that…like three times now…

  • Annie says:

    I agree about the work, and the thing I regret is that so many comments are about me, and not about what Sarah wrote.

  • Terri says:

    I think it is great when people read stuff they disagree with. Personally, even if something gets me riled up, I hon my own opinions more clearly when listening to the other sides’ arguments. I think it is a healthy thing to do.

  • Caleb says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Honestly, I have become so saddened by so many Christians. Regardless of political affiliation, I believe that Jesus wanted us to care for the poor. I know a few illegal immigrants who were formerly legal with work visas, but because of a new law passed in their home state were forced to go back to Mexico and reapply for visas. Unfortunately, they were rejected visas. These were great men that I know that sacrifice seeing their families, so that they can help support them.

  • sarah says:

    Here’s what I really want to know: How does your faith affect your position on health care?

    • Terri says:

      My faith encourages me to care about other people – and that they have their needs met. However, how that plays out in real life isn’t necessarily black and white. I don’t think people are bad Christians, for example, if they disagree with the public option, or ultimately universal healthcare.

      I am not against universal healthcare. I lived in Germany for years and got use to their system. However – one thing no one is being honest about is the cost. My healthcare in Germany was 14% of my income (for a single person with no kids). My company paid a little over 4% (which was normal) and left me with over 9% to pay myself every month. It comes out of your paycheck like a tax and everybody is reguired to have it (unless you make over 50,000 Euros a year – then you can option out of the state-insurance and buy private, but health insurance is mandatory for everyone). “Free” healthcare does not exist.

      If this system, or one like it, comes to the US – I will be paying 5 times more a month than I am now. I am ok with this because I make a decent salary, don’t have kids to worry about, and like the fact that this plan means everybody gets healthcare. But I don’t begrudge someone for not wanting this. Nor do I think them uncaring, or un-Christian like for disagreeing. There are other solutions we can take first before a public option insurance program – changing the laws governing private insurance companies for example.

      So yes, I think my faith does play a role in how I view the healthcare debate. However, it does not mean I have to ignore certain facts and realities surrounding healthcare. And I think both sides have valid points.

    • Wow. We’ve got some intense discussion going on here. I’ve been following the healthcare debate from a distance (i live overseas) and so I may not be as affected by the passionate (or hateful) rhetoric that has been flying back and forth. I want to do my best to answer your question, Sarah.

      I think there are some larger principals that we can glean from the life of Jesus and the teaching of scripture that are applicable to this debate:

      -Christians should help sick people
      -Christians should love our neighbors as ourselves
      -Christians should submit to the governing authorities
      -What we (Christians) own, earn, or have is not truly ours

      Damn, I was hoping that it would all become clear if I typed that stuff out, but it didn’t work out that way. Carrying on . . .

      If I had to extrapolate from these principles, one thing I believe I can state with confidence is that we (Christians) should be willing to give up some of our (X) in order to provide (X) for someone. Especially if we’ve got more (X) than we need, and that person is really short on (X).
      [X = money, clothes, happiness, health, anything really].

      So what we get down to, is that we should be working toward the same goal. People need to be taken care of, especially people who we have the power to care for. There are a lot of people in the USA who need help, and we have the power to help them (in large part, because of the success of our free-market economy).

      I don’t see how we can argue about whether we should help immigrants (legal or illegal) and keep them from dying or whether we should try to ensure that all sick people get medical care. We can, however, argue about the best method to ensure that happens.

      I think if we stick to arguing about methods, and recognize that is what we are arguing about, we will reduce the hatefulness and the strangely-named vitamins in this debate.

      I don’t know my conclusion. I am relatively liberal, politically speaking, but I voted for Ron Paul last election, and I know he’s not in favor of government run health-care. But I am curious to see if we can at least reach consensus on what our aim should be, and then move on to a discussion of our methods.

  • Ryan says:

    “It is harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

    “Whatever you did for the least of these, you also did for me.”

    Words from Jesus. Jesus who has set up an economy where “the last will be first,” and thus an economy, that directly opposes the economy of the United States. Of course, many disagree, but perhaps they only read these words through the glasses of dear old Uncle Sam.

    Totally agree with and support the article. Instead of arguing, we should go meet with Jesus, who we can find “in the middle, sitting with the huddled, tired masses dying on the floor.”

    • Greg J says:

      Ryan, honestly, this is just sloppy exagesis. How does the first verse you wrote apply to this article or the issues? You just throw things out like it applies. The second one could apply to a government, but it more than likely applies to us as individuals. And I absolutly REJECT your idea that the “economy” as being apposed to his word. The people, did you catch that, people to the us are the most genereous people of any country in the history of the world. The PEOPLE of the US give more money to help causes all over the world, that is more than the gross national product of about 90% of the nations. And lastly. Christ offers us freedom when we come to know him. So very many people have come here to live believing we are the freeist of the free. Do we do everything right, absolutly not, is there room for improvement, absolutly. But you remind me of those right wing Christians who declare “my country right or wrong”. Only your montra is “my country always wrong”, and that is not true either. I really dislike sloppy theology geared toward backing a political view.

    • Zach says:

      Can you back up your statement that people in this country give a greater amount of money than the GNP of 90% of the countries in the world? If this is true, is it based on the total amount given or the percentage of income donated? If it is the total amount that could be discounted solely based on the fact that we are often considered the most affluent nation in the world.
      Also, a study published in 2008 by the Barna group states that “among born again adults, [only] 9% one-tenth or more of their income”. Basically my point is that it isn’t just about how much you give as it is about how much you sacrifice in your giving (Jesus teaches about this in the story of the woman giving two coins [Lk 21:1-4]).
      Having said all that, I think as Christians we have gotten too politicized. Instead of arguing about how to fix healthcare let’s follow the lead of many churches (my own included) and provide free health care to those who need it most. Is it easy? No. Will it cost us? Yes. But is it what we’re called to do? I think so. I have the feeling that most people who are so passionate about our health care situation (not necessarily anyone here) would not sacrifice their time and money to go serve in a place like that (to be honest I’ve looked into but haven’t actually done anything myself yet).
      My point is we as the Church can’t expect any government of this world to pick up our slack. Jesus to tell the government to feed the poor or care for the sick, but that’s exactly what most us expect it to do. Let’s stop arguing and actually do something to change the situation. If enough churches and individuals got serious about providing health care to those who need it we wouldn’t have a debate, and we wouldn’t need private or public health care. Will that ever happen? Doubtful, but it’s a good dream.

    • Greg J says:

      Zack,Zack,Zack, booby,

      If you look at the amount given to counteries and people thru not only private donations (Christians organizations, aid groups ect) plus that given by our country thru taxpayer dollars this is a no brainer. You have to add taxpayer dollars (because that is part of the aid the our country) meaning our money (you and me) give in addition, if you add all of the money given privately and thru our tax dollors to welfare, food stamps, and disaster funds INTERNALLY this really is a no brainer. Any time you see a disaster on TV anywhere in the world, the people of this country jump to action. You cannot show me another country that is a pro-active as ours.

      What these things point to is that, as a nation we are generous, VERY generous. So, is your point to show that we are not generous, or we are not as generous as we should be? Zackster, that is one of the tiredest (not sure that is a word) argument in the left leaners play book. And by the way, how do you know what peoples motives are? For many of us we give out of the hard earned money we make both to our churches, charaties and yes, taxes and guess what, I can’t afford it either, but I do it because not only because my Savior give me a heart to, but he will also takes care of me, so out of that gratitude I give. We sacrafice because Christ compels us to and besides, nothing here is mine anyway.

      Ah ha, now we are getting somewhere. You saved the best for last you sly dog. The church’s involvement is the one thing you said that really is the core issue. To me the one thing that seperates us from the world (cults included) is our love for Christ demonstrated in how we love people. As a matter of fact, it could be the best “testimony” for Christ there can be (the whole “know us by our love” thing). Further it gives us the privilege to work for Christ and the joy of seeing him work. The scripture does not tell us anywhere to have the government “pick up the slack” as you so rightly stated. That is what seperates us from, from the world (and monkeys to). Soooo CHARGE!!!!!Live long and prosper

    • Zach says:

      I still see no facts backing your claims. Show me the money!…I mean numbers. Also, taxes should not be included. Is it really charitable if you have to give it?
      And yes, I believe I am saying we do not give as much as we should. A Biblical tithe is 10% of our income and according to the study I cited only 9% of Christians donate 10% of their income to a combination of churches and charities.
      Also, you have accused others at time of drawing inaccurate conclusions so I must point one out to you. You claim that my argument comes from a “left leaners playbook”. You may want to get to know me before you assume things. Because you know were assuming gets us…

    • Jordan Green says:


      Did you really call someone “booby” on here?

      I guess i’m just behind with the kids’ lingo these days.

    • annie says:

      I can’t believe I’m going to say this.

      Jordan, that is clearly a Full House reference. Stephanie Tanner. Gosh.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Yeah, I’m sure it’s been said before. In many places outside “Full House,” in fact. I actually recall that word used on the playground in 4th grade.

      Unless it’s in reference to Sarah’s article on breast cancer, though, why would someone say it?

      Honestly, reading it is like a swift kick in the nards.

    • Greg J says:

      Gosh Gorden, your such a witty guy. Must be in water you drink Please dont heistate not saying anything. And Zack, those figures will be forthcoming. And by the way, most of the “taxes” that you claim were forced, were actually voted on by people who believed th the propositions they voted for..
      By the way, just to be “biblical” the amount to be given is more like 33%. And, yes you are right on you last statement. And I would be more than happy to try to get to know you unless, like Jordon, you want to go in another direction. I said that I enjoyed the dialog, and I do but if you feel it necessary to take it to another more ugly direction, you do that alone.

    • Jordan Green says:

      I hope the use of “nards” indicated I was joking, Graig.

    • Zach says:

      Do you have any scripture that backs the 33%? I’m curious about that.
      Also, I never used the word forced for taxes, I simply stated that it’s something we have to give. Your argument there also falls apart on this point: you stated that the taxes aren’t forced because they were voted on by people who believed in the propositions. Just because they believed in what they were voting for doesn’t mean that we aren’t required to pay taxes on them now. That’s really not a good argument.
      And I’m all for being civil but I simply felt it necessary to correct your inaccurate conclusion about my politics.

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      1) Repeating someone’s name three times does not make your point any more valid.
      2) Calling someone the wrong name isn’t funny or witty and just makes you look like an ass.
      3) Just a suggestion, but proofreading your comments before you post them might help make your arguments seem a little more sensical.
      4) Having a mocking, sarcastic, flippant tone with people you are debating with on these threads is getting old. By all means, join in the discourse, but please be an adult about it and try to be respectful, the rest of us do. Grow up.

    • Greg J says:

      Sorry Emly, but your the one person who in this whole discussion was probably the most illogical of all, and childish.
      And Jordon, didnt YOU realize that when I was talking to you earlier I WAS JOKING? I was even trying to extend a hand in my short blog to you.

      And Zack, you know I have been thinking. We are quibling about certian things that are really not even the core issues. I will make this observations. It is amazing what happens to someone who comes in to these blogs with a differing opinion. It is like walking in among pit bulls. One of the problems is that because we cannot meet face to face or get to know each other personally we draw certian conclusions that may or may not be true. I gave you cudo’s for your obsevation regarding the church because I thought it was good and that it was probably the real core issue. But it is clear that is not enough, so you win. Bye

    • Jordan Green says:

      Boy, this has turned into one obnoxious conversation.

    • Jordan Green says:

      @Emily: Ridiculing someone’s lack of proofreading is not what we do here on Burnside. I want to encourage people to comment, not avoid it because they’re not the greatest spellers. Additionally, calling Greg “childish” doesn’t really help the situation.

      @Greg: Yes, I realized you were joking, which was why I joked back.

      In defense of Emily, the way you’re communicating your points is just not working right now. It does come off overly emotional and sarcastic, and generally the sort of message board dialogue that makes internet communication a problem.

      One more thing: you haven’t spelled my name correctly once, either with “Gorden” or “Jordon”, and I’m having a hard time figuring out why. Is that a joke, too?

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      My apologies, I wasn’t trying to make anyone feel like they couldn’t comment because they aren’t a great speller. I was remarking more on the fact that Greg J seemed to be spelling people who he disagreed with’s names wrong intentionally, and it was very aggrivating. And in my defense, I never called him childish, I asid he made himself look like an ass. I believe the childish mark was directed at me. Lesson learned.

      and I agree, this has turned into something ugly. I officially resign.

  • (This comment deleted at commentor’s request.)

    • James says:

      Steve, regarding your opening statement, I’d say that I don’t think that BW has an obligation to ask its writers to present both sides. One-sided viewpoints are part of the deal when you are talking about opinion pieces.

    • annie says:

      One correction to the video.

      The quote he is attributing to Lincoln, is actually from the “10 Cannots” and was written by a Presbyterian minister.


    • Dan Gibson says:

      Please explain to me how those “truisms” reflect the teachings of Scripture, because I’m not quite making the connection.

    • James says:

      Dan, I am not sure what you meant by truisms. I guess the first part of what he said if what you are referring to, but what stuck with me was what he said after the Lincoln misquote.

      Since you brought up scripture, I’d answer that Scripture directs us to give cheerfully, willingly, without being under compulsion. The proposed system would mandate that all taxpayers pay for the healthcare of those who don’t have it, including those who don’t have it by choice (and make no mistake: many of the 46 million that Obama claims are without insurance are doing so by choice). I do not see that as scriptural.

      Also, the stats he cites, that under our current system, you are more likely to survive many kinds of cancer and other ailments than under a govt system, are, if true, worth mentioning.

      I also don’t see any biblical endorsement of the mindset of looking to government to provide for our every need. As I have said in previous threads, I think that such a mindset is not good for the human soul.

      As for the clip, I was surprised, (but in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been) that the proposed reform actually allows the government to remove private insurance from individuals and companies which choose private insurance. This is alarming. Say what you want about evil insurance companies, but at least they don’t have the kind of power that the government has. At least Blue Cross cannot force you to go with Kaiser. Give that kind of authority to government, and the result is scary.

    • annie says:

      I could be wrong, James, but I think he meant what I posted. If so, I didn’t see anyone asserting the scriptural validity of the “10 Cannots”. I know I didn’t.

    • James says:

      Oh. I can be clueless sometimes. Thanks for he clarification.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Ah, the modern-day Republican’s standby when it comes to debate: “One time, a long time ago, someone said this: ‘[insert quote]‘. Therefore, my point is unimpeachable, because this one guy said so a long time ago. Don’t worry about context or historical ramifications. Just. Think. About. The. Quote. I rest my case.”

    • JamesW says:

      Jordan, did you watch the entire video?

    • JamesW says:

      Jordan, that tactic is not confined to Republicans. It’s unlike you to issue blanket statements/insults like that.

    • Jordan Green says:


      Admittedly, I had not watched the whole thing. So I watched this morning.

      Here’s a summary of his points, as far as I can tell.

      - Quote from Lincoln.

      - Socialism is bad.

      - 85% paying for 15%!?! THAT’S CRAZY!!!
      How is that NOT a solution we would come to? “You mean the people who have MORE should help out the people who have LESS? What an evil mindset!

      - Allegory about a queen-sized sheet. This point was just plain awful.

      - “Democrats offer this or nothing.” This IS a good point, but I haven’t seen Mr. Rogers offer any alternative choices yet.

      - “Disenroll individuals”. The government can also fire you from your job if you work for the government, remove you from the military, take you off welfare, etc. etc. etc. If the government is providing a service, I don’t really have a problem if they’re deciding who it goes to.

      - The Canadian health care system does not treat cancer as well as the American one. Obviously, then, if we provide health care to those who don’t have it, we will stop treating cancer.

      - List of cancers.

      - Providing health care to that 15% will cause your mother and daughter to die of cancer. Again, an awful, fear-mongering point.)

      - “Knowing how great America is.” So far, Mr. Rogers’ point seems to be that we don’t actually have an problems with health care in this country. Anyone making that point has no idea what they’re talking about.

      - A number of points about government control that I generally agree with, but that are hardly solely Democratic ideas. Subsidies for SUVs? Oil?

      - And Mr. Rogers closes with no offered solution as to how to repair the health care system.

      There are thousands of things wrong with government-sponsored health care, but this video certainly didn’t get to the heart of them. It was a simple-minded series of straw men from a guy who apparently understands very little about the US health care system.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Oh, as for the quote thing, I have noticed, as an independent, that Republicans are more likely to latch onto quotes from historical leaders. Growing up, we had that statement from Lincoln posted on the wall above our computer.

      Democrats have their own cliches, and there’s nothing wrong with quotes, but my point was it didn’t surprise me at all to hear that quote to kick off his debate. It’s sort of the Republican equivalent of “Websters defines…”

    • JamesW says:

      Wow, Jordan. I came away from that video clip with a very different opinion of it than you did. I think his points are right on. If you have a better chance, statistically, of surviving several types of ailments under a non-govt system, that’s huge. the fact that he presented it in emotional, button-pushing terms about your wife and mother doesn’t change that.

      And I think you missed the point about the government disenrolling you. He’s saying that the federal govt, under this bill, can force employers to stop using private insurance and going with the govt plan. That’s reprehensible and inexcusable.

      Also, the 85% thing is a valid point, because many of the people who aren’t insured are in that position by choice. (and it’s less than 15%, because it’s less than the 46 million Obama keeps talking about)

      You said “How is that NOT a solution we would come to? “You mean the people who have MORE should help out the people who have LESS? What an evil mindset!”

      Helping people out is not evil. Forcing them to help is the problem.

      You mention fear-mongering, but the pro-Obama plan folks have been engaging in scare tactics all along, by presenting sad, sometimes tragic stories about individuals who have gotten less than adequate care. While such stories are inexcusable, they are rare, and just about everyone in this country can certainly get healthcare if they need it.

      By presenting such stories, the implication is that the solution being offered by the Obama plan is going to fix it so that we don’t have any more sad stories, and that just isn’t the case.

      Nobody says we don’t have problems with healthcare in this country. But it’s still one of the best in the world, if not the best. And more importantly, it won’t be made better buy this plan. That’s really the bottom line.

      Disclaimer: By the grace of God, I’ve never had cancer or major health issues, but as the husband of a healthcare worker, I do have some insights from the inside. And one thing has been very clear over the years: the more government has gotten involved, the worse it gets for the patients.

    • Jordan Green says:


      For the most part, I agree with you regarding health care, and I don’t really think the Democrats’ plan is any better.

      As for why I don’t think Mr. Rogers presented good points:

      On the quality of US health care v. Canadian health care.

      I just think this is a poor argument. Just because Canadian health care is not as effective in treatment as our current system doesn’t mean an American public plan would be the same. Whatever system we come up with will be uniquely American, with all the positive and negative connotations that brings. My point is, just saying Canadian health care is not as good is not an argument against socialized medicine. It’s like saying, “Well, democracy doesn’t work in Russia, so democracy must not work anywhere.”

      On fearmongering.

      You mention the Democrats (specifically Obama) promoting fearmongering, too, but that’s not really here nor there as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like it on either side. If you’d showed me a video of Obama saying the same thing, I wouldn’t like it either.

      On the rarity of people without health insurance.

      I’m not sure of exact stats, and I’d guess the numbers lie somewhere in between what Democrats and Republicans claim, but I know of one middle-class family, close friends, who HAD health insurance, but it wasn’t good enough to help after serious complications occurred during their pregnancy with twins. They now owe $60,000, and the husband in this family is a real estate agent, so you can imagine the tough times they’ve gone through in recent months.

      My point is, the uninsured are not just lazy half-wits living off welfare and government cheese. Ideally, they’d be in a church system that could support them through that time, both physically and financially, but the church doesn’t really step to that challenge, either.

      On disenrollment:

      Your point is well-taken here. That is definitely something I wouldn’t want happening.

      On the quality of US health care.

      The problem isn’t quality, it’s cost. Maybe we do have the best system in the world, but any expert will point out it’s headed for a major meltdown. I think a MAJOR renovation is necessary to fix the system, and so far all that’s been offered are plans that will add more problems, but I’m not one of the experts, and, to me, adding a public option is one of the least radical options for repairing the system.

      On your disclaimer.

      Sarah Thebarge studied medicine at Yale. My wife is a resident at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, so we probably all have some similar insights. I’d say the one thing clear to me is the US health care system is headed for a big fall unless something can fix it. If the more radical options to reform insurance companies are off the table, I’m not sure what solution Republicans are advocating beyond opposing Democrat-sponsored reforms, and that’s what drives me nuts about speeches like the one from Rogers. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, and I didn’t see one offered solution in that speech.

  • sarah says:

    James, you asked me after the “Manifest Destiny” column where I got my stats from, and I sent you some links. According to these national polls, the number of Americans who have gone at least one year without health insurance is around 46 million (one in six), and the number of those who have gone without health insurance for less than one year is 87 million (one in three).

    I don’t know how you can look at statistics like that and still insist (without any concrete evidence to back you up) that “it’s less than fifteen percent.”

    And I checked into the statistics that the gentleman in the clip referenced to compare survival rates in the U.K. and the U.S. (http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/breast/survival/?a=5441 and http://www.cancer.org/downloads/STT/F861009_final%209-08-09.pdf).

    It turns out, the five year survival rates between the U.S. and the U.K. are nearly identitcal. There is a bigger discrepancy between the survival rates of African American women vs. Caucasian women in the U.S. than between British and American women. And this is after we’ve been living for decades under the privately-run health care system. How is that acceptable?

    Here are James’ words for the wealthy in the church:
    “Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.” James 5:1-5, NLT

  • JamesW says:


    The reason I said the 46 million number isn’t correct is because it includes many people who IMO shouldn’t be included, including those who can afford insurance but don’t have it by their own choice.

  • JamesW says:

    Jordan, I didn’t mean to talk about quality; I meant that the poor, especially those with life-threatening issues, can get healthcare here in the US. Like I said before, I have only lived in two areas (not counting my Army time): San Angelo TX and Dallas/Ft Worth Texas. San Angelo has Shannon Hospital, Dallas has Parkland, and Ft Worth has John Peter Smith. All of these hospitals will take anyone regardless of ability to pay.

    You mention the story of friends with twins. While $60k is a huge debt to have to pay, note that your story didn’t say they have to watch their twins die while care was available, but not an option for them. This is notable because much of the manipulative button-pushing used to push govt-run healthcare implies, deceptively, that people are dying all the time because they couldn’t afford healthcare.

    Secondly, that story is just that: one story. It’s anecdotal, and one thing we should never do is pass sweeping govt reform based on individual stories. If it was shown that large numbers of people are dying because of a lack of access to healthcare, that would be one thing.

    Third, and most important: there is no indication that your friends’ situation would be any better under the Obama plan.

    Lastly, I disagree with your assertion that someone can’t speak up about a bad piece of legislation if they don’t have a better one handy. If it’s a bad idea, it’s a bad idea, and kudos to anyone who points it out.

    • Jordan Green says:

      True point on the anecdotal evidence. My point was not necessarily to argue for health care, but to point out that people without adequate health insurance are not all lazy, and homeless.

      As you pointed out, health care is not denied under any circumstance. Are you claiming the proposed health care plans would deny service outright? I don’t buy it, though feel free to show me evidence.

      My problem is not the Republican disagreement with proposed government health care, it’s that they don’t seem to be offering alternatives that will make any changes. Argue against the Obama plan all you want, but the health care system DOES need to change, and so far a public plan seems to be the only option presented. If the Republicans came up with a decent alternative, one that dramatically changed the status quo, I’d be all for it.

      As-is, I’m not even sure where the Republicans stand on this whole thing. From Congressman Rogers’ speech, it sure seems like their solution is to keep things exactly the same. What do the Republicans want?

    • annie says:

      Jordan, I have to go with mystery option C.

      “Are you claiming the proposed health care plans would deny service outright?” I can say, anecdotally, yes. I didn’t fall into the parameters required for breast cancer testing. Tests gave false negatives. I would have simply been turned away under a socialized system (which is not to imply that socialism is evil, but is to say that we are talking about implementing a socialized system). I would probably have died three years ago under such a system, and there would be no other powerhouse country to go to for treatment or testing the way that many citizens who are already do. (Most have complex systems in which the wealthy can still buy private insurance which flies them overseas for things such as cancer testing and treatment. In some ways, it actually draws a wider and more defined line between the haves and the have-nots.)

      “My problem is not the Republican disagreement with proposed government health care, it’s that they don’t seem to be offering alternatives that will make any changes. Argue against the Obama plan all you want, but the health care system DOES need to change, and so far a public plan seems to be the only option presented. If the Republicans came up with a decent alternative, one that dramatically changed the status quo, I’d be all for it.”

      The demand for a political party to solve this problem assumes that it is a political problem. I would disagree with the premise of that, and go so far to argue that such a premise is a major part of the problem, especially in the church. Not to say that it doesn’t need reform, but that doesn’t necessarily beg a gov’t solution to a moral problem.

      “What do the Republicans want?”

      In some sense, I think you’re right. They don’t want to throw a poorly constructed solution at a serious problem. They don’t have the numbers to do what should be done, in their opinion. So, they are left to try to mitigate the damage and slow the process of making destructive and unsustainable choices.

      On an only partially related note, I don’t have health insurance. I could get it independently, but then I couldn’t afford rent or groceries, so I weighed the risk. I am one of the “46 million”, and even I think that statistic is misleading. Not having insurance, and not having health care are not the same thing.

    • JamesW says:

      Annie, I’ll say it: socialism is evil.

    • JamesW says:


      “people without adequate health insurance are not all lazy, and homeless.”

      And my point was that not all people in the 46 million/15% are in need of outside help. I say that because Obama is presenting it as if they are. All of them.

      “Are you claiming the proposed health care plans would deny service outright?”
      No, I was saying nothing like that. I was saying that the US system, while imperfect, isn’t as bad as portrayed. The ones who want a govt takeover are making it sound much more dire than it is.

      “My problem is not the Republican disagreement with proposed government health care, it’s that they don’t seem to be offering alternatives that will make any changes. Argue against the Obama plan all you want, but the health care system DOES need to change,”

      And that is where we disagree. It might need a change, it might not. I am not convinced either way. But that’s the point: if it’s not a given, then the best plan is to not make an overhaul.

      “As-is, I’m not even sure where the Republicans stand on this whole thing.”

      As a general rule, conservatives want less government.

    • Jordan Green says:


      Now I’m just confused.

      A couple points:

      1) If the US had socialized medicine, it would not necessarily be the same as Canadian socialized medicine. Again, it’s like arguing democracy is a flawed system because it does not work in Russia. That doesn’t mean democracy is doomed to fail everywhere. With that mindset, no innovation would ever happen in any field.

      2) The health care system does need reform. There’s no legitimate argument against that.

      3) If the health care system needs reform, who is going to do that? The insurance companies? Health care providers? What do they care if they are making profits? They don’t have an incentive to reform health care, but we, the people, do.

      4) I think the fact you can’t afford health insurance is actually a pretty heavily related note. How are you going to deal with a serious medical concern? You’re right that health insurance and health care are not the same thing, but who do you think will pay if you need to make a trip to the emergency room?

      I’m not saying you need to support socialized medicine just because you’re not insured, but you must understand why health care should be reformed, as you can’t afford it.

    • Jordan Green says:

      “And that is where we disagree. It might need a change, it might not. I am not convinced either way. But that’s the point: if it’s not a given, then the best plan is to not make an overhaul.”

      Yes, I think this is where it breaks down, and this is where I think, with all due respect, you’re wrong. If there’s no problem, then I don’t blame you for having the stance you have…I’ve just heard experts across the political spectrum, and outside politics completely, including every doctor I’ve talked to on the subject, who know danger is looming. If you want to disregard them, fine. I’m not sure where we can go from there.

      “As a general rule, conservatives want less government.”

      Republicans are not necessarily “conservatives”, and the last 8 years of Republican rule kind of blows that idea right up, which is why I left the party and registered independent.

    • Dan Gibson says:

      @James: You said, regarding the American health care system, “It might need a change, it might not. I am not convinced either way. But that’s the point: if it’s not a given, then the best plan is to not make an overhaul.”

      Adding a public option is hardly an “overhaul”. An overhaul would be a forced single-payer system, which is totally off the table at the moment. We’re talking about adding a public option, and despite what you might believe about the government’s ability to do anything right, I haven’t seen the packs of senior citizens, military personnel, congresspersons, and public employees rioting in the streets because the level of care they receive is so awful, so I’m going to assume that some people are actually receiving quality care brokered by the government. Thinking about it, since my mother is a government employee and my father is a military veteran, I know they manage to receive care they find acceptable, so it’s not even an assumption on my part. I guess that’s anecdotal and can be dismissed, but as a freelancer in an economy that seems to be going to a contract work only culture, I’d love to have an opportunity to purchase the care they receive at a price I could afford and without the fear of being dropped whenever my care became too expensive for a group of shareholders. Maybe that’s just me. I suppose you can argue that whatever percentage of Americans can’t afford health care deserve to go bankrupt if they contract appendicitis, etc., but to say there isn’t a problem seems insane, short-sighted and self-centered. Lots of people voted for Barack Obama, who campaigned on bringing health coverage to the un- and under-insured. I think it’s fair to believe that a majority of Americans don’t share your view on this issue. That’s something you’ll just have to live with.

    • annie says:

      I love a numbered list. Seriously.

      1. I didn’t say it would, and in fact had several countries in mind. However, it’s foolish not to look at other examples of similar systems to see the places where they fall short to see if a such a system would accomplish what we hope it would. I don’t believe it would, it certainly can’t love people the way that the church can, and I’ve seen no real answers as to how the proposed systems would overcome very obvious obstacles and problems.

      2. I didn’t say that either, I don’t think. If I did, I was mis-speaking. I think the healthcare system needs reform. I also think there are two overlapping issues at play: healthcare for the disadvantage and the exorbitant cost of healthcare in general.

      3. Here we get into issues which I would be happy to discuss one-on-one through email or whatever, but will not go into too deeply on here. I will say that there is a difference between a moral obligation and a right. Also, I think there are a LOT of healthcare providers who would love reform. I know my doctor would. Most consumers of healthcare want something done. That’s a pretty powerful group – why surrender power to a notoriously inefficient and impersonal federal political body? I’m not saying that there doesn’t need to be political reform, but that maybe that looks radically different than giving up our resources and options to those who have largely contributed to creating the problem.

      4. Partially unrelated because it was not in direct response to you. The last time I went to the emergency room, they sent me a bill, which I communicated with them frequently about and eventually paid off. I received a service, owed for it and paid it. I would love for it to be cheaper. I appreciate that they helped me first and sent me a bill later. I would also love to be able to pay cash at the dr.’s office instead of being required to go to the gov’t free clinic, because the costs are so high at the office that they can’t see me without insurance. (Please, don’t give me the swine flu. There’s a lot of sick people at the clinic…) (And, that was sarcasm. Please, don’t leave me angry comments.)

      I’m absolutely pro-healthcare reform. I even MORE pro-church reform. Statistically and historically, when the gov’t has tried to take on a humanitarian issue, the church, which historically does a better and more holistic job, has considered itself absolved. The church, when it really comes down to it, is called to help the sick and the suffering, and I feel like we are too quick to legislate it in an entirely separate arena then face it head-on as the church and come up with real-world, nitty-gritty, authenic, dirty-hands solutions.

  • JamesW says:

    Sarah, the verses from James (the book, not me) are appropriate when speaking of why we should help the poor. They do not address any of the reasons given for why we shouldn’t let the government force its citizens to do more than they already do in this regard.

    • Jordan Green says:

      James, aren’t you a veteran? Have you ever used the VA’s health care service?

    • James says:

      I used the military for medical care when I was active duty (broke leg, got accidentally shot, and broke a toe), and the care was fine. Never used the VA though, because I have chosen jobs which provided insurance since getting out of the Army. I have heard some who have used the VA say very nice things, and others say that it’s not very good.
      Why do you ask?

    • Jordan Green says:

      Yeah, I’ve not heard the best things, but not in terms of care. Do you think we should get rid of it?

    • James says:

      Jordan, I don’t think we could ever get rid of the VA, because it was a benefit promised to young men and women when they signed up. But if it is as bad as many say, then I guess that would bolster the argument that govt is not likely to do as good a job administering healthcare as the private sector has been.

      One thing I haven’t mentioned, also, is that the high cost of healthcare, from what I have observed, is related to lawsuits. Where I depart from conservatives is I think we should enact tort reform. People are suing doctors for anything and everything, and the costs, even when the doctors prevail, are prohibitive. And those costs are passed on to you and me.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Most conservatives are against tort reform? I’m surprised by that, though I can see why.

    • James says:

      Yeah, most people are surprised by two things: conservatives are against tort reform, and against anti-smoking laws. And by conservatives, I mean conservative politicians.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Yeah, I knew about the smoking thing. That makes sense to me, too.

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