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Why Is It God's Way to Allow the Government Control Over Health Care -- Life or Death -- by Taxing and Rationing?
Aug. 12, 2009
I received an email from Jim Wallis today. You can read it here.
It had a link to a page: A Christian Creed on Health Care Reform.
This is odd language. I searched for "creed" in the on-line dictionary that is attached to the Google Toolbar. You can read the definitions here:
1. any system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief, as of a denomination.
2. any system or codification of belief or of opinion.
3. an authoritative, formulated statement of the chief articles of Christian belief, as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed.
This seems clear. A Christian creed is a formal statement of faith drawn up by a representative ecclesiastical body. It is not a political position paper drawn up over a weekend.
Your introduction to your "creed" proclaims this:
In the face of negative ads, partisan rhetoric, and a news cycle filled with fear and half-truths about health-care reform, Christians must affirm that we believe in: quality, affordable access to life-giving services for all people.
Christians believe in personal responsibility before God. This has to do with the doctrine of final judgment: heaven and hell.
Jesus healed a few people. He did not heal everyone. To heal even a few people for free led to huge crowds lining up to get free health care from Jesus. So many came that Jesus withdrew to the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:15). He could not heal the entire nation, let alone the whole world. Your slogan does not limit concern to one nation. It is universal: "all people."
Christians affirm that the world is under a curse (Genesis 3:17-19). This curse involves death. It also involves thorns and thistles. It affirms, loud and clear, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." The economist says, "At zero price, there is greater demand than supply."
It was Satan, not Jesus, who suggested turning stones into bread (Matthew 4:3).
Nothing can heal everyone except God. The State is not God.
Sign "A Christian Creed on Health-Care Reform" and a copy of it will be sent to your members of Congress. In addition, after you sign you will be given a link to Sojourners' free discussion guide about health-care reform, to help guide discussions in your congregation or small group.
Your health care creed is more in the nature of a political party's platform. Let me explain. My comments are in bold.
I believe God created each person in the divine image to be spiritually and physically healthy. I feel the pain of sickness and disease in our broken world (Genesis 1:27, Romans 8:22).
This slogan sounds strangely familiar. "I feel your pain." Anyway, disease is part of God's curse. We are to pay out of our own pockets to roll it back, along with all other curses imposed by God because of sin. But there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that the State is to take money at gunpoint from one voting bloc to heal people in other voting blocs.
I believe life and healing are core tenets of the Christian life. Christ's ministry included physical healing, and we are called to participate in God's new creation as instruments of healing and redemption (Matthew 4:23, Luke 9:1-6; Mark 7:32-35, Acts 10:38). Our nation should strive to ensure all people have access to life-giving treatments and care.
Jesus claimed to be God's Messiah. He healed people as proof of this claim. You move from Jesus' healing by Messianic miracles to a vision of "our nation" striving to ensure universal health care coverage. This is an appropriate goal for a Messianic State. It is therefore not appropriate for the United States government.
Again, you do not limit this universal to residents of the United States. Or legal residents of the United States. You do not limit it at all: the healing of "all people" is your goal. It is a very expensive goal.
I believe, as taught by the Hebrew prophets and Jesus, that the measure of a society is seen in how it treats the most vulnerable. The current discussion about health-care reform is important for the United States to move toward a more just system of providing care to all people (Isaiah 1:16-17, Jeremiah 7:5-7, Matthew 25:31-45).
You equate "society" with "the State." They are not the same. Society is composed of voluntary associations: families, churches, charitable organizations, etc. The State is armed, organized force that insists on a monopoly of violence. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that the State should function as an agency of healing.
I believe that all people have a moral obligation to tell the truth. To serve the common good of our entire nation, all parties debating reform should tell the truth and refrain from distorting facts or using fear-based messaging (Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:14-15, 25; Proverbs 6:16-19).
So do I. "Physician, heal thyself."
I believe that Christians should seek to bring health and well-being (shalom) to the society into which God has placed us, for a healthy society benefits all members (Jeremiah 29:7).
So do I. They should do this with their own money -- not the State's.
I believe in a time when all will live long and healthy lives, from infancy to old age (Isaiah 65:20), and "mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Revelation 21:4). My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters who watch their loved ones suffer, or who suffer themselves, because they cannot afford a trip to the doctor. I stand with them in their suffering.
You quote Isaiah 65. That is an eschatological passage that predicts lifespans so long that a child will die at age 100 (Isaiah 65:20). It is a fine goal. It has to do with God's reward for widespread repentance and belief in Him.
Beware of any politician who promises anything on this supernatural scale in the name of God. Such an offer is always demonic: a variant of "stones into bread."
I believe health-care reform must rest on a foundation of values that affirm each and every life as a sacred gift from the Creator (Genesis 2:7).
So do I. I also affirm that the State is not the Creator.
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