Fellow Christians (from whatever side of the debate, but especially my fellow conservatives), please consider these words. I believe that our Christianity must come before our political ideology. I struggle to support a government that wants to sideline and marginalize so many people. I have great insurance through my denomination; and I feel guilty when I talk to my friends who have “insurance” with a $6,000 annual deductible, who have to file bankruptcy because one of their children got sick and required medical care that overwhelmed them, who have to choose between paying insurance premiums and buying food or paying the rent. This isn’t a democrat/republican issue. This is a spiritual issue. I don’t have the answers, but I am sure we must be a part of the solution. I don’t know how, but I know I have to do something.
I was convicted by reading Rev. William Barber’s open letter to us, challenging us to be actively involved in the health care debate, and I hope you will read it, as well.
Many years ago, church people (Christian and Jewish) were instrumental in opening clinics and hospitals, in providing counseling and help for those who couldn’t afford it. Those have largely been taken over by for-profit corporations and universities, and once again, the poor, or working poor–people who work hard to make enough to get by–cannot afford regular medical care. Some of the hospitals have funds to help, but those are often not enough. Hospitals in my community are filing lawsuits against people who are making monthly payments because they aren’t paying enough or fast enough.
Maybe those of us who have good insurance should take a little of our savings and create a fund for those who have poor insurance or none at all. Or maybe we can be a part of the answer by insisting ALL of our legislators and business leaders focus on the whole economy—-profit AND person.
I wax on, but at one time, while we were in college AND working, I remember choosing not to go to the doctor because I knew I couldn’t afford the co-pay, not taking medication because I didn’t have the money to purchase it. I think about my father who wouldn’t take his Parkinson’s medication because he fell into the donut hole and couldn’t afford to pay for it. (He later got a grant from the manufacturer when I explained that was a possibility.)
My heart breaks for parents who don’t know how they will afford insurance and feed their children. My heart aches for adult children who don’t know how they will care for their sick parents who don’t have enough money to go to a good nursing home, and so are placed in one with substandard care. We were there, too, when we had to place my mother-in-law on Medicaid so she that, along with her pension and Social Security, she could be cared for in a decent nursing home when her Alzheimers disease made it near impossible to care for her at home.
As Christians we must remember that, although we love our country, are thankful for our freedoms, and enjoy God’s blessings and the ability to live an abundant life, our true allegiance must be first to God and God’s laws.
We love the Old Testament, but we ignore God’s commands to care for the poor, the marginalized, and the outcasts, to advocate for justice in all its forms. We forget that in Jesus’ own ancestry were women whom our society (and many of us) would send away. Yet God welcomed them and others and instructed us to care for them.
Please pray about your part in this issue. I am pro-life, but I am convicted that I have to be pro-ALL-life, from beginning to end, as the God of our Bible commanded us to be. Let’s return to the church that cared for the orphans and widows and for the poor and lonely as well as for the unborn. This is my heart today and what God is speaking to me.
PS: Before you start posting about how they became poor and that they are there because they live bad lifestyles, don’t bother. I’ve made that argument with God before. Then I read Paul’s words :
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
And if you really want to be convicted, read Deuteronomy 15:7-11.
I’d love to have a conversation, but I’d really love for everyone reading this, instead of arguing political jargon and such, to spend time in prayer and seeking God. Measure the weight of these words. If you find them to not have much weight or value, feel free to flush them. But if God is speaking to you, as God is speaking to me, let’s work together, not as left v. right and vice versa, but as children of the God who loves all of creation. Maybe if we do, we can find a better way.