Worldview – Healthcare Reform Act, pt.1
Our sermon in church this past week was about leading people to Christ through our worldview. I don’t know about you, but ‘worldview’ is not a word I use with frequency. To make a long explanation short, we’ll define ‘worldview’ as a framework for processing and understanding how life works. In short, your worldview is the lens by which you see all things.
The topic of worldview got me thinking about an idea I had awhile back. I thought it would be a great exercise in abstract thinking, and also a great spiritual exercise, to try to figure out what Jesus really would think about a lot of what goes on in life (politics, culture, etc.). So, this will be the first of a new series here on PoG called Worldview. In this series, I’ll attempt to use the words and actions of Jesus, as recorded in scripture, to determine how Jesus would feel about today’s big issues. It should be fun because I always enjoy a good thought exercise, and scary because there’s a good chance that I’ll figure out that Jesus thinks differently than I do about these issues. First up, the Healthcare Reform Act.
Since health insurance didn’t exist in Jesus’ day, we’ll be focusing on general intent. And since I’m not a politician or an economist, and since I want PoG to remain as apolitical as possible, I won’t be attempting to persuade you to my point of view or pass judgment on this thing. I will simply be trying to look at it through the lens of Jesus Christ. Here we go!
The Intent – The intent of the Healthcare Reform Act is to provide affordable access to health insurance for more Americans than currently have access to it. This is a desirable outcome, since sick people with insurance can get access to treatment that the uninsured cannot. Whether or not healthcare is a right, a privilege, or a duty is an entirely political question. Presumably, in Jesus’ day if you were sick and you had money to pay a doctor, you could go find one to sell you medicine or other treatment. The only words of Jesus I can find that speak even somewhat directly to this come from Mark 12:38-40 and Luke 20:45-47, where Jesus condemns the Pharisees and teachers of the Law for cheating poor widows out of their property. Obviously Jesus was not okay with people being cheated (see also, Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10), so He would probably not be cool with over-charging people for health care.
The Opposition – Nearly every bit of opposition to the Healthcare Reform Act that I’ve heard is concerned with how it will be paid for. Conservatives especially are saying loudly that this law will inevitably lead to higher insurance premiums and higher taxes. Nearly every other bit of opposition I’ve heard has to do with public money being used to subsidize abortions. While abortion is at least a moral issue, neither one of these criticisms really addresses the intent (or, honestly, the effectiveness) of the Healthcare Reform Act.
Certainly no one wants to pay higher taxes that someone else will benefit from. From an earthly standpoint, we want to see our tax dollars at work protecting our borders, improving our infrastructure or education, etc. But again, this is a political issue and not a spiritual one.
I cannot find a single quote from Jesus’ teachings that supports the proposition that people should not use the money God has blessed them with to take care of the sick and needy. Quite the contrary, Jesus said things like, “If you want to be perfect, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor (Matt. 19:21)”, and told parables about people having to give an account for how they had used the money God blessed them with (Matt. 25:19). On top of that, Jesus regularly healed sick people, made the blind see and the deaf hear, and even raised a few people from the dead, all for no charge.
The Reality – The reality is that, political questions aside, Jesus probably would have been in favor of the Healthcare Reform Act. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells of coming times when all people will be divided into two groups. One group will be praised by Jesus for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to strangers, and taking care of the sick. The other group will be condemned for not doing the above things.
If we disregard the political questions of liberal v. conservative, Republican v. Democrat, FOX News v. MSNBC, I think an objective look at what Jesus valued, what He did and said, will show us that He would probably have been in favor of the Healthcare Reform Act. Certainly one of the nearest and dearest things to Jesus’ heart was seeing sick people be made whole.
1) I can hear some of you grinding your teeth through the computer screen. I am fully aware that this has been, at best, a cursory look at the issue. I fully understand that there are other issues at play, such as the financial security of small businesses who will have to provide health insurance to their employees, the increase of government presence in a private matter, the potential of reduced individual freedoms, etc. These are all political issues, and remember, the whole purpose of the Worldview series here on PoG is to take a look at Jesus’ words and deeds, not political considerations. This is an extremely complex piece of legislation, which I am in almost no way qualified to examine thoroughly.
2) I don’t mean to imply that political, social, or financial considerations should not be in play on this issue. My purpose here has been to highlight the spiritual angle to add some increased depth to your thinking process. For most of us, the political, social, and financial considerations come easily. The spiritual, not so much.
So there it is. Take what you’ve read here, add it to your decision-making process, and form your own opinions.