Christians and Universal Health Care

When Otto von Bismark proposed universal health care for all the citizens of Germany in 1881 he described it using the term “applied Christianity.” If you think about what the most moral goal of this health care debate is — creating a system to ensure access to health care for those of use that cannot afford it — it seems completely in line with what Christianity is supposed to be all about . Its a debate about how best to provide charity to those in this country with the most need. It’s a debate about how to achieve something that has so far been patently unachievable in America, even with the great charitable works this country does. This seems like something that would be representative of the kinds of Christian ideals that Christians insist are the reason that Christianity is so important and still relevant.

Why, then, do I not see a huge uprising of support for this from the Christian right? Why are Christians not mobilized to encourage our nation to help those of us in most need? Why do they seem to only get riled up with controlling people’s lives, and not riled up when they have an opportunity to influence something that will save people’s lives.

Do they honestly think that Jesus would vote no on universal health care?


7 Responses to “Christians and Universal Health Care”

  1. People prefer churches getting their money by choice, not by force from the goverment through taxation like Universal Healthcare.

  2. Josh Wittner Says:

    Oh I figured they wouldn’t mind that since they were going to give that money away to help pay for poor people’s health care anyways.

    Also since they don’t seem to have any issues using the government to control people’s lives in other, arguably more significant ways I figured they wouldn’t have problems with taxes.

    I guess just like in these other cases they’re taking the moral absolutist high ground, which in this case means letting people die instead of raising taxes a relatively insignificant amount on those significantly more wealthy.

    Sorry for the rant.

  3. Josh Wittner Says:

    I guess my point is that I really don’t believe that if Jesus had to make that choice — the choice between saving thousands by providing access to health care or not raising taxes on the upper class — he would choose to let so many people die.

  4. That’s assuming that Universal Healthcare is as good as the government says it is. The people you group based on religion who disagree don’t think it is and that it will in fact make things worse for everyone. I tend to agree with those people.

  5. Josh Wittner Says:

    I’m not the one who grouped the people who are Christians, they have grouped themselves by using that title. And while there are many different forms of Christianity, which differ in various ways and degrees, the unifying factor that groups them is a belief that Christians should be Christ like.

    My statement is that I don’t believe that Jesus Christ of the Bible would make the choice that I stated earlier, and thus I don’t believe that Christians should, if their desire is to be Christ like, make that choice either.

    And this is where my confusion lies, if they are making the choice that I believe is the more Christ like, why do they not as fervently support it as they seem to the other issues on which they make Christ like decisions. Especially when this is such a demonstrably life or death decision.

    So there are really only a couple arguments against my stance, other than against my assumption that it will help. One is that you don’t believe this is what Christ would do and the other is that they do support universal health care but for whatever reason not nearly as fervently and so my premise — that a significant number of the Christian right don’t support universal health care — is flawed. The latter is probably the stronger argument, but I’m not sure the statistics exist to answer the question. I admit my premise is based on my general perception.

    Now what I’m wondering is whether you think universal health care in general or what our legislature is starting to shape right now is what will “make things worse for everyone?” Either way, how and in what way do you think it will make things worse? And also how will it make things worse for everyone when some people are clearly benefiting (namely those who can’t get health care now, who will be able to)?

  6. I understand your point, but I would think the Christ-like decision would in fact be to support the church helping people in their own way, not by order of the King/State.

    I don’t think Universal Healthcare in general works… There are people in Canada who have it and cross the border to the US because they have to wait to get treatment in their country… Countries in Europe who have similar systems get most of their medicine from the US because the best medicine and technology comes from the efficient competition-based free market of the US.

    When you see stats about people who don’t have healthcare, keep in mind that some people don’t want it and others can in fact afford it, but just don’t get it for whatever reason. So the people who really need it and don’t have family and friends to help them and don’t go to current free clinics that are available, there are a very few of.

  7. I agree with you Josh. I am a Christian and I have the same questions. Why do most Christians oppose something that, to me, is a very Christ-like.

    Ovi is somewhat right too about the more Christ-like thing to do is to support the church. It is the church’s responsibility to take care of the poor and sick. However, most Christians don’t even tithe the 10% God calls us to, if they even tithe at all. So while I do believe there are Christians out there that can make the claim to prefer supporting their church, instead of the government, it is statistically not true. Most Christians just want to hold on to their money for themselves. Which is why I am for public health care. Not just because that is what I believe as Christians we are called to support. But it will help enforce proper stewardship from the Christians who seem to think that the money is “thiers” and that they “earned” it, when in fact the money is Jesus’ and he has only loaned it out to us. That is why we are stewards of our money, not owners.

    So while it is the church’s responsibility to take care of the poor and sick, keep in mind the church is God’s people. It isn’t a building or a group of pastors and elders. God calls his people to take care of those who are in need. And this is just one way I feel the government is helping me do what God wants me to do. And there is no church establishment is in a position to make as big a difference as the government.

    Just my two cents, sorry if I upset anyone.

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