Fr. Jake offers a rhetorical question that nevertheless deserves a response.

I must admit to being simply astounded that anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ would be against providing health care for every child of God.

Unless you cut out the 25th chapter of Matthew, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the year of Jubilee, and various other big swaths of scripture, it is simply impossible to refute the clear message that God has a preferential bias for the poor.

This is dishonest rhetoric. It is true that the Christian eschatological hope is exactly, in part, what Fr. Jake yearns for here, that everyone have succor and find their peace. How could a Christian be against that? [An aside: The Good Samaritan? How is that about poverty? Who is poor in that story?]

Well, first of all it isn’t charity. It is charity when I give to the poor and for other causes. It is not charity when, by force, I take money from my richer neighbor and give it to the poor. The revenue gotten from taxation, while the IRS is in now way anywhere nears as corrupt or likely as rapacious as the average 1st century Middle Eastern Roman tax collector, is not my nor anyone else’s charity. If a person does not pay, like then, that person faces a jail sentence. Charity is a principal virtue for the Christian. Charity cannot be given when there is no choice.

Fr. Jake continues with some statistics, the origin which he may be unaware, which are dishonest as well. “46 million” in this country are without healthcare. If you take out the millions who can afford healthcare but, because they are young and/or foolish and choose to spend their money elsewhere, don’t avail themselves of it … are not part of the crises as is normally considered. They are not the “poor” to which the church fathers sought to aid and of which the Gospels preach. The 46 million figure also includes the illegal residents … which Fr Jake notes “are not covered under this bill.” so then why include them in the 46 millions? Why not use a more accurate figure, which has been estimated elsewhere but is far less than 46 millions. Or “It will not raise your taxes” … which (so far) remains true … unless you consider your employer’s provision of your current healthcare part of your remuneration for your services (which it is) … for that will in fact be taxed. So not raising your taxes requires a particularly narrow evaluation of what “your taxes” means.

Thus while he notes that “a lot of disinformation and likes” have been spread about HR3200. Well, well, a lot of disinformation has been spread in favor of the bill as well. The (pseudonymous) Czar of Muscovy blogging at the Gormogons, has read the entire bill … and found it lacking in many respects, i.e., has quite a number of unmet criticisms. In fact, one might offer, that there is enough here that is objectionable that one might offer that while anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ might like to see everyone receive the aid and succor for which their heart yearns … HR3200 is not in no way shape or form the sort of bill by which that goal might be reached.

Furthermore, while yes, detachment from material things is seen as a virtue. I would offer this post from long ago on healthcare in the more abstract. Or here where I wrote:

Fr. Schmemann suggests that counseling and care (of Christians by Christians) at the end of life is incorrectly motivated. What he calls for is that instead of looking at quality of life and extension of the same, the priority of a Christian as he nears the end of his days in this life should be martyrdom. Now martyrdom doesn’t mean dying spectacularly in defense of the faith. It means, essentially witness. In this context, martyrdom means that the end of your life should be sign, a witness of your life in Christ. Extension of life, for a Christian, should be the highest priority, after all there is the life to come. Your life should be an expression and witness to that fundamental ontological freedom.

Filed under: ChristianityGovernmentHealthcareMark O.Religion

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