Friday, September 04, 2009

Would God Back Universal Healthcare?

I don't know, I can't know, but I think so...

I was never a big fan of mixing faith and politics (despite those topics being my two undergraduate majors).  As I've started digging deeper into my faith since my mom's passing though, I've realized that my faith completely informs my sense of morality.  I think one's morality is (or should be) at the center of one's political convictions.  Thus, at least for me, it's impossible for my faith not to inform my politics.  

We should never assume to know God's will.  I've spent nearly all of my politically-conscious life under an administration that in my view completely did so, and it obviously didn't work out that great.  That said, a central part of our struggle as people of faith is to try and discern what God's will might be.  Coming from a Christian perspective, I don't think Jesus was a politician... he wouldn't vote Democrat or Republican.  I certainly don't think Jesus was a policy wonk either... he wouldn't be for or against an American Plan, a single-payer plan, or a completely market driven plan.  I do however see Jesus as an inspiring community organizer, and I think he would call strongly for universal health-care as a moral obligation:

 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matt 25: 34 - 40, NIV) 

God's call is for all of us to help the least of us... it's that simple.  As people of faith, it's our moral obligation to help society figure out how to get there.  I don't think we're called to support any particular side of the debate, but we are called to support the need for a respectful debate.  Click here for a great post from Pastor John Hopkins on that point. 
Oliver Thomas, in an editorial for USA Today, makes a much more eloquent argument for universal health-care than I can.  Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association has some good thoughts on this as well:

As a Lutheran, I was really interested to learn that the ELCA way back in 2003 took a stance on the issue.  They created a social statement called Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor.  Finally, here's the best (as in most non-partisan) online petition I could find about the issue, which the ELCA is a signatory of:

In the end, as our nation debates how to provide quality health-care for all, realize that most parties really are trying to do what's right.  Get educated, stay respectful, contribute to the discussion, and encourage others to do the same... it's what we're called to do.  Let's get this done.

As always, here's a little exit music for ya:

God's peace,

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