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Why Christians are against Universal Health Care

“the “right” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate morality. The “left” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate compassion. Both approaches fail miserably and are an abdication of our responsibility to be the voice, hands and feet of Jesus in this world.” – spoken by a friend.

Someone slid this article across my desk that inquires as to why evangelical Christians are against universal health care.   Now, strictly speaking, I’m not an evangelical.  Also, I don’t think that all Christians oppose universal health care, and I will not presume that Christians who do will share all my reasons.  I hope this caveat spares me the litany of comments accusing me of ‘generalizing.’

I will take the article as my foil as it is one of the finest expressions of liberal hubris and arrogance that I’ve seen in a while.  The author begins by indicating he seriously wanted to know why Christians who are supposed to be all about love would oppose health care.  The end includes a long screed:

(p.s. this opinion is reserved for those Christians who have not actually thought about the consequences, and decided that more people are harmed than helped by the new law. They are being consistent with their beliefs. That being said, if you think you are in that camp of people excluded, you probably aren’t. You probably are just being geedy [sic], selfish and jerkish, but convincing yourself that this is why you oppose it, while the truth remains you just dont want taxed, or adhere to some abstract notion of how this bill is UnGodly).

Now, I haven’t been accused of being geedy in a long time, but I suppose it was overdue.  What you see embodied in this paragraph is the supreme conviction that, in fact, the author already knows what our real reasons even better than we know our real reasons and the reasons we state are not likely to be the real reasons.  Now, I find communication to be difficult in general.  Truly sincere communication requires earnest listening.  The paragraph above reveals that he isn’t sincere or earnest in his request for clarification.  We shall keep this in mind.

I should note that this will be long, so if you cannot endure a sustained argument let me direct you to another medium such as Twitter, or if that is too much as well, TheDailyKos.  Granted, this article is long even by my standards… maybe I’ll make it available as a pdf for downloading and printing.

Let us begin by exploring the premise of the man’s argument:

“Isn’t the greatest of virtues love? Isnt that right in the Bible? What is getting lost in the translation from what Christianity should be and is, and what it has become?”

Here we see the hubris on display in vivid colors.  Now, we’ve already agreed at this point that ‘born-again, evangelical Christians’ are the most opposed to universal health care.  Does it strike anyone else as a little odd that this fellah, who is not a Christian, thinks he’s in a better position than Christians themselves to understand what Christianity should be and contrast it with what it has become?

Let me submit to Mr. [H] that it is an unwarranted assumption to believe that he will have the same understanding of the word ‘love’ as how it is portrayed in the Bible.  I find this to be a common difficulty regarding ‘love.’  No one bothers to define it and systematically understand it because everyone thinks they know everything about it instinctively.  I include fellow Christians in that.

The net result of this approach when we turn to the Bible is that we insert our ‘instinctive’ meaning of the word ‘love’ wherever we see it, never considering that perhaps the Bible embodies a different meaning.

This comes to play when we consider another statement by the gent:

The more clear Christian response, from my understanding, should be to whole heartedly endorse anything that helps their fellow man lead a life of less suffering

So, apparently ‘love’ is about doing anything to help their fellow man suffer less.    Based on this premise, Mr. [H] makes the interesting and logically fallacious inference that if we reject universal health care we must simultaneously not want to help our fellow man.  In short, in order to meet Mr. [H]’s standard of ‘love’ we’ve got to ‘love’ in the particular manner that Mr. [H] prescribes, and this apparently is only by implementing universal health care.

The idea that there may be other ways to ease suffering does not appear to cross his mind.  I will not here counter the unfounded reduction of ‘love’ to simply easing people’s suffering.  I think it can be said that it is at least that but it is certainly more.  For a simple example, at its heart we can say that orthodox Christianity certainly does aim to spare people from suffering–especially the eternal and everlasting sort.

But this leads to a very important point that helps us to finally segue into the myriad of reasons for why I reject universal health care and health insurance.  Mr. [H] says, “There are about a zillion verses in the Bible saying we should help the poor, show compassion, be loving…”

But there are other verses, too.  For example, Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  (Matt 10:39).  Suffering- even to the point of death- seems to be anticipated in this passage.  He also said, “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”  (Matt 5:29).

These passages and others like them do not justify ambivalence to the human condition but they help illustrate that easing temporal sufferings is not the whole sum of what Christian love will be all about.

Mr. [H] is not to be faulted for highlighting the passages that he likes from the Bible and ignoring (or remaining ignorant) of all the other ones.  Liberal Christianity already does that, visible in particular in pursuit of ‘social justice.’  These folks have dispensed with the notion of ‘hell’ that Jesus spoke of before so it naturally follows that once you’ve cut out that and other aspects of the Bible that seem ‘out of date’ that you’re basically left with ‘easing the suffering’ of people as the only lasting value.

The problem is that these same passages they accept come in the context of passages that they don’t.  In order to understand them all we must take them all together.

So, I, as a conservative, am not against ‘social justice,’ per se, just as I am not against easing the sufferings of people.  How I do this is not unimportant, though.  For example, in easing the suffering of some am I morally justified to increase the suffering of others?

The Liberal dismisses the objection that paying for health care out of taxation is improper by saying it ought to be endured for the sake of humanity and to say otherwise is simple greed.  It must be acknowledged at the minimum that taking money from someone will indeed cause them suffering at some level.  Just because we have in hand a noble cause is it right to inflict this suffering?  The Liberal says, “I’m going to extract 40% of your income in order to help the poor!  Why the long face?  Don’t you WANT to help the poor?!?!?!?”

The earnest Christian cannot go along with this reasoning.  The Bible certainly does describe Christian love as being concerned with the poor and showing compassion, and calls for Christians to provide monetarily for the material needs of other Christians abound.  But there are two important things that must be noted:  1., At no time are Christians called upon to be generous with other people’s money.  Their own money, yes.  But not the rich neighbor’s down the street.  2., Their generosity is meant to be as un-coerced as possible.

Both of these points are important.  Universal Health Care can only happen by ‘coerced compassion’ that makes primary use of ‘other people’s money.’  You see, there are other passages in the Bible, too.  Remember “Do not steal?”

It might be said that it isn’t stealing if ‘the people’ (otherwise known as the proletariat)  take it by force of the Government.  If that is your argument, I don’t see where you can non-arbitrarily suspend it.  You may as well go whole hog and call yourself a full blooded communist.  If you concede at any point that it is possible for the Government to go too far in extracting resources, that at some point, somewhere, the forced extraction of funds and resources is in fact stealing, then you allow Christians the right to decide for themselves where that threshold is.

I for one believe that it is stealing, even if the ‘forced extraction’ is for putatively ‘compassionate’ purposes.  In saying this, I set myself out of the category of  Mr. [H]’s where I ‘just don’t want to be taxed.’  In fact, most of the evangelical Christians he refers to cannot belong in this class, because in fact it is I and we who will largely benefit from this forced extraction.  As it currently stands, my family is among those that has the most to gain from the health care bill that was recently passed.  My family will be ‘passed over’ and all the benefits we receive will be derived, somehow, from some rich family in some other place who was forced to be ‘compassionate.’

And I think that’s wrong.  If some rich Christian family wanted to reach into our lives and help tend to our health care needs and that sort of thing I would probably be deeply appreciative.  If rich Christian families did all they could to help the poor out of their own initiative, I don’t have an objection.  But to force them at Government-Gun-Point… that I object to.

In another article on the same Psychologytoday.com website a woman, in a very hilarious argument ‘proving’ that liberals are more intelligent than conservatives based on the novel (and faulty) evolutionary logic that ‘whatever is evolutionarily newer is evolutionarily superior’ she defines liberalism in this way:

liberalism (as opposed to conservatism) in the contemporary United States as the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others.

From the foregoing, however, we understand that this is not entirely accurate.  We must add a modifier if we are to honestly define ‘liberalism’:  “the willingness to contribute larger proportions of OTHER PEOPLE’s private resources for the welfare of such others.”

Conservatives that I know are all about helping others, just not on someone else’s dime.  This is true on principle, and pragmatics:  “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” (Margaret Thatcher).

You see, the Bible presents love as the highest virtue but not as the only virtue.  Not all that is done in the name of love is justifiable.  Not all that is done in the name of ‘social justice’ is just.  The Christian must seek to balance all of the virtues together.   Because the orthodox Christian understand that temporal matters matter but they pale in comparison to ultimate matters where injustice perpetrated in the name of love will be called to account, they cannot dispense with these other elements, no matter how nobly they are presented.

If one really cares about what the Bible says, you will see that there is little to no justification found within it for the forced extraction of resources to give to others.   Generosity is encouraged, true, but it is only generous if it is your own money and it is only credited as generous if it comes freely.  If anyone cares about what the Bible says, they may wish to take a look at 2 Corinthians chapter 8.

Or, they might want to consider a reading of that famous passage about Christian charity/communism in Acts 2:44-45:

All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

I note that they sold their own possessions and goods.  They didn’t go across the street with a bludgeon and say, “Give me some money so we can help the poor or we’re really going to clock you!  Oh, don’t whine!  Aren’t you loving?  Don’t you care about the poor?  You should be happy to give us your money.  Give it up, now!”

We can also make the observation from this passage that the generosity on display in this Acts passage and described in 2 Cor 8 do not come with any justification or imperative to extend Christian notions of ‘charity’ to non-Christians.  In other words, there is no warrant in the Bible for taking the principles of compassion and imposing them on others.

We now arrive at a discussion of the wisdom embodied in the opening quote of this article.  The ‘right’ tends to legislate morality.  The ‘left’ wants to legislate compassion.  The left, filled to the brim with secular humanists and liberal Christians, are often up in arms about the efforts of the ‘right’ to impose their moral view of the world on everyone else.  We must see the deep irony, here:  the left intends to do the exact same thing!  Only it is far worse!

The left reasons that everyone will share their notion of care and compassion for the poor and suffering and insists that we all should go along with them if we are compassionate people (like they are).  They are, in fact, violating ‘the separation of church and state’ that they hold dear in order to enshrine their values on everyone else.  They believe this is a ‘secular’ value.  The fact that Christians don’t go along with them is understood as being selfish and greedy.  In fact, Christians do not share those values in that sense as already described in brief above.

But another difficulty arises when we view it in these terms and we see it in display in the health care bill that has just been passed.  Namely, the left believes that ‘easing suffering’ ‘compassion’ and ‘caring for the poor’ means allowing women to get abortions.  Now, don’t misunderstand me.  It is not my point here to argue the case against abortion.  My point is that if we all sat down to decide precisely what ‘health care’ consists of, there will be many, many differences of opinion.   They cannot be resolved simply by declaring, “Ah, but the majority has spoken!” because they would not cease for that reason to be a matter of conscience and personal conviction.

If ever there was a time for a ‘separation of church and state’ as the Liberals understand that phrase it is in questions of ‘charity’ and the ‘public good’!

If you believe that all of these things are of importance however you define them, then fund them from your own money.   Don’t make us financially support your pet causes and we won’t make you do the same.  In fact, historically, we haven’t.   Christians are the ones that founded all institutions of higher learning.  They are the ones that founded schools, and when these were co-opted by Liberals, they started their own schools again out of their own funds while still paying for the public schools, set up their own health clinics and hospitals and any number of charities.   If you ‘compassionate liberals’ did the same with your own funds, I doubt we’d be having this discussion.

But of course you don’t want to do that, do you?   Is it because you are selfish and greedy and prefer to subsidize these programs using the resources of others and merely cite the ‘public good’ as your excuse?

I should here clarify that I refer to myself as a ‘Libertarian-Constitutionalist.’  In other words, I am not the sort who is interested in ‘legislating morality,’ but if we are going to legislate such things (any thing) then we should at least do so in a uniform manner according to a firm respect for the rule of law.   Don’t try to foist the knee-jerk response, “Oh yea, well you’re legislating YOUR morality…” because if you say that, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  If you read my blog even a little you will see that that is not my position at all.  Research before you speak.

We are 2,500 words into this and you are probably thinking we are done.  Sorry.  We aren’t.  Here we go.

In the original article, Mr. [H] says,

It seems I live in a parellel universe where somehow this equates to “but people who are poor are lazy and shouldn’t get our help.” Do you really think Jesus would oppose universal healthcare because his taxes would get raised? Really?

Given my previous discussion, I think Jesus would oppose universal health care because it embodies the silly and naive notion that Man can really spare himself from all of the hardships that come from being alive.   I think if Jesus were asked this question he wouldn’t even bother to state a position.  He’d say something like, “My kingdom is not of this world.  This world will be consumed in fire.  Unless you believe in me, you too will perish.”

This isn’t to say that this ought to be the full sum of the Christian attitude.  I’m only saying that if one actually bothers to read the Bible in full, it is evident in numerous places that Jesus came to carry out a rescue mission and not to issue moral platitudes or lay out the blueprints for a utopia.

Simply appealing to wussy notions about a ‘compassionate’ Jesus without remembering times when he was hard, insulting, and abrasive won’t cut it.  Nor can we limit our discourse to only what Jesus said and did because, well, like I said, he had a specific mission in mind and that mission pertains to the mission of the Church but is NOT the mission of the Church.  I cannot die for the sins of the world.

So, has Mr. [H] ever read this passage?

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you have received from us.  For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.  We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it…. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule:  ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10

What about this passage from 1 Thess. 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Now, we should be clear here that these passages–like nearly all passages about ‘social justice’ type issues–are speaking only to the Christian within the Christian community.  So, it would not be right to mindlessly extend these prohibitions to the non-Christian community.  We might chastise a lazy fellow believer, but we are not called upon to chastise our lazy neighbor, because we do not have the same basis to make our appeal, which is Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:2).

That said, we can from these and other passages draw some important principles.  Let us begin with one big one:  in the name of love it is never right to enslave anyone.

In New Testament terms, slavery is anything that masters us or controls us other than God.  See Galatians 3:26-29, Gal. 5:1, 1 Corinthians. 6:12 and 1 Cor. 10:23-24.  The last passage reads:

“Everything is permissible” but not everything is beneficial.  “Everything is permissible- but not everything is constructive.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

And the Galatians 5:1 passage reads:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

In the first place, it should be understood that when we talk about seeking the good of others, we cannot pick our concept of ‘goodness’ out of the air or allow our own natural inclinations to be the sole determinant of what is ‘good,’ especially if we are Christians.  What is ‘good for others’ can be a matter for discussion and it doesn’t follow that just because a liberal secular humanist says, “Let’s do good” that he has in mind the same sort of things that a Christian would.

The liberal secular humanist ought to realize that.

I say this because for the Christian, enslaving people for their own good is not a morally sustainable path.  Christianity is about freedom and being free.  Wherever Christianity has gone, freedom followed in its wake.  Certainly I believe it has followed in the way that really matters- spiritually and eternally (which is surely what the Galatians passage is primarily referencing) but it has demonstrably brought temporal freedom, too.

Orthodox Christians, and conservatives in general, understand that the pursuit of love must come hand in hand with freedom.  (I must here give credit to Ayn Rand and the Objectivists for getting this basically right… these are the rare atheists who tend to be conservatives.)

Some examples will do.  For example, the Christian Church has historically maintained that marriages should be pursued in such a way that both the man and the woman consent to the marriage.  A more striking example can be made by contrast:  unlike the Muslims who spread their faith by the sword, the Christians understood that saving faith cannot and could not come from coercion.

There will be instant reaction to this citing a number of notable exceptions which I do not deny.  However, exceptions are exceptions.  They do not obliterate the general truth.

I do not suggest that this path of freedom- temporal and spiritual- has been straight and without incident but it is a historical fact that the freest nation on this planet was founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution in their native lands who, when finally given the opportunity to enshrine their values, created a Constitution that would prevent such things from happening again.  It wasn’t religion they were against, but religion as a tool for abuse by the Government- and it wasn’t the only tool they were afraid of.

For whatever its faults, it cannot be denied that America has been the freest most tolerant nation on this planet and this has come in large part because the nation’s founders enshrined the biblical value of freedom into its founding documents.

From this you may infer that I see universal health care as an enslavement.  You infer correctly.

I do not see how socialized health care is not in effect even if not in name, essentially making us all wards of the state.  I do not believe that it is good to be a ward of the state.  I do not believe it is good to make anyone wards of the state.  It therefore follows that I oppose universal health care which makes people wards of the state.  I am seeking the good of others when I say:  let us not enslave them.  And yes, I don’t want to be enslaved myself.

The liberal will say that this is a ‘good enslavement’ but I vehemently disagree.  I am not here speaking of the forceful extraction of funds from people, but rather the effect that such ‘social justice’ programs actually have on the people they say they want to ‘help.’  I already mentioned how liberals see abortion as ‘helping people.’  I can’t go along with that.  However, creating a universal health care system is the same as creating a universal welfare state.

I do not see why if the ‘let us love in the name of the public good’ argument is extended it should not be extended all the way.  Why not have a ‘universal food distribution,’ too?  How can it be fair and right and socially just for one man to have a $40 steak but another man can only afford $3/lb hamburger?  And what about the people who are going hungry?

Mr.  [H] said,

“By not backing healthcare reform, it is as if every Christian who opposes it is indirectly inflicting harm and suffering onto others.”

If not going in for universal health care is actually backing the harm and suffering of others then it should follow that not having a ‘universal food distribution’ is doing the same thing.

Surely it follows that if there are 5 people out of 100 who do not have access to quality health care then we should take the whole lot of them and redistribute the wealth equally among them!  Or, what about just helping the 5 people and allowing the other 95 to retain their freedom?

If there are 5 people out of 100 who are going hungry we do not put forward the solution that we must put everyone under a universalized food program.  At least, not here in America.  Rationing cards and the like are the things of communist countries.  So, some people have obviously followed Mr. [H]’s reasoning to its logical conclusion.  Why doesn’t Mr. [H]?

We can be thankful that he is inconsistent but inconsistency isn’t the kind of thing we really commend people for.

Everywhere that ‘universal health care’ has gone lower quality and rationing has come with it.  And why not?  Where public dollars are at stake, surely it follows that no one should get special treatment.  And who can possibly deny the reality that someone–the government, of course–will have to decide who gets what treatments based on the finite available dollars?

The freedom to make one’s own health care choices is preserved by allowing them to pay for it out of their own pocket.  I leave aside dealing with the painfully naive notion that these government agents will always have our interests in mind.  This is out of touch with reality.  History gives no reason to hope in such nonsense.

Moreover, the fact that a finite pool of ‘public’ resources has to be carefully administered ‘equally’ to the public has given rise to a series of big problems.  First of all, whenever something is ‘socialized’ the quality tends to go down.  It has to.  The laws of reality require it.  Let me explain.

Remember the guy with the $40 steak and the guy with $3 a pound hamburger?  Let us suppose that the government has to balance this out ‘fairly’ and ‘equally’ since it is administering public dollars.  Well, life is life.  No matter how you cut it, there just ain’t no way you’re going to be able to distribute quality steaks to everyone in America whenever they want it.  Oh sure, you might be able to petition for one and on occasion get your wish, but you would never be able to go out and get one if you so chose because its all has to be withheld for fair administration.  So what can the government afford to give out to everyone?  At best, the $3 a pound hamburger.  In reality, it will be even worse than that because without the profit motive to spur people on to raise, slaughter, and distribute quality beef, the quality would decline.

This is exactly what happens in any place where this philosophy is fully implemented.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

You can expect that the quality of health care, and access to health care in general, will both decrease if ever a universal health plan is imposed fully.  Not only will we become wards of the state, but the freedom to seek and pursue quality health care will be seriously curtailed.

You may disagree with me and say that somehow we’ll be able to pull it off this time, but regardless, you see that my objection is not about simply being ‘greedy’ and ‘selfish.’  I earnestly believe that more suffering would result from universal health care and so, in the name of love and decreasing temporal suffering, I feel compelled to resist it.

But of course it doesn’t matter what I say.  Liberals know what I really mean.

The above presumes at that our government agents really are working out of noble reasons according to good common sense moral dictates.  Unfortunately, as the abortion thing serves to illustrate, this presumption cannot be made.

There is a threat to freedom and liberty that accompanies the equal distribution of finite resources for the public good, and it is embodied in the very common and utterly logical conclusion that one of the most effective ways to raise or sustain the quality of living on this basis for all people is to… reduce the number of people.

Population control reasoning almost always comes right along with this way of thinking.  It makes perfect sense, right?  If there are only 100 $40 steaks available but 1,000 people to share them between, and you hate having to pick cow hooves out of your hamburger, surely the simplest thing to do is just get rid of 900 of those people!

Abortion is horrible in my estimation but just as repulsive is the reason why so many people support it–not because it is ostensibly about a woman’s choice but because it decreases the number of people the state will have to tend to.

The (in)famous Bart Stupak reported that this very reasoning was in play in discussions about abortion and the Senate health bill that was passed:

What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue–come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

The article I use to document this is interesting in its own right and I submit it for your consideration.

The aptly named Jacob Appel, a ‘bioethicist’ has made a similar argument  in regards to eugenics:

The most obvious advantage of mandatory screening [of embryos] is that it will reduce the long-term suffering of the children who are spared disease. At the same time, preventing future cancers will certainly save tax dollars. These savings could be redirected toward researching new therapies and providing quality care for current patients.

Here you see a clear case of finding a way to give out the quality $40 steaks.  You do it simply by eliminating all those people who might otherwise have been competing for those dollars.

This latter quote also calls attention to one of the other despicable aspects of this reasoning- and which I want no part of as a Christian- is the notion that you will ‘reduce the long-term suffering’ of these children, sparing them from having the disease by…. watch this… preventing them from coming into existence in the first place.

Oh ho, Mr. Appel!  What a stellar solution!  We shall eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferers!  Is this what you wanted, Mr. [H]?  This is exactly the sort of reasoning that statists quickly turn to when trying to figure out how to extend equal services in the public good.  I find it evil and repulsive and morally repugnant.

Keep in mind that Mr. Appel uses as his example for screening a disease that while 4 out of 5 women with the gene may get is one that is treatable in 9 out of 10 cases.

This is what some people mean by ‘compassion’ and ‘reducing suffering’ and how they mean to go about ‘cutting costs’ in order to ‘improve quality.’

In the face of these examples, which I wish to be clear are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive, for I could produce many more *cough* John Holdren *cough*, I must flatly condemn any such program that inspires such thinking.  If we must wonder why ‘born again evangelicals’ so often are most opposed to universal health care we may begin to wonder why liberal secular humanists (whether atheists or ‘Christians’) so easily embrace tyrannical and totalitarian malthusian and Nazi style thinking.  But that is another post.

So you see that there are a great many reasons why I reject universal health care.  These things I have listed which are urged in the name of ‘love’ do mischief with other virtues expressed in the Bible:   It deprives people of their work ethic, lowers the quality of care, reduces the access to care period, reduces humanity to temporal beings (I mean, if you really wanted to reduce suffering why not hook everyone up to morphine for their entire lives a la the Matrix?  What?  Don’t you care for people?), takes money away from people who worked hard for it whether they consent or not and uses the money and resources to do things that they may not find morally acceptable.

On top of all these things, already bad, I find that the people who are really committed to bringing about ‘universal health care’ in the name of ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ and using the government to ‘help people’ are very often (I do not say they all are this way!) pursing a program that I consider to be vile, disgusting, abhorrent, and… evil.  Pure, out and out evil.

I have no confidence that we could ever implement any socialistic program in this country without having these despicable people pushing for it and carrying it out.  The people most likely to implement it with moral sanity are the very people that the left wishes would just stay out government altogether.  People don’t want Christians to ‘impose’ their morality on others, but it is precisely this ‘morality’ which gives rise to Jesus’ statement that the whole moral law can be summed up in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and the second is like it- Love your neighbor as yourself.”

You can’t have one without the other, friend.  Not from a Christian viewpoint, at least.

And I should say, in conclusion, lest I be misunderstood, the notion that if we care and love people so much that we’ll just deny them existence and enjoy the consequence of having them not around to dilute the available ‘public funds’ is so despotic that there is no way, ever, that I can be reconciled to it or any program that exhibits even a hint of it.  I should rather die.  And I shall stand against this tyranny to my dying breath.  Those who espouse this point of view I count as my enemy.  I shall not even dine with them.

Because I do love people–enough so that I should like them to exist, and I have every hope that we can ease their suffering, but not at the same time by enslaving them and making them the chattel of the state.

If this means that I reject this bill because it is ‘ungodly’ and that makes me unloving, well, you can eat my shorts.

I have a solid dozen other posts on this blog that talk about these topics.  The search tool in the right column is your friend.

[edited and very slightly updated November, 2013]

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17 Responses to Why Christians are against Universal Health Care

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  2. “but not at the same time by enslaving them and making them the chattel of the state.”

    maybe you should actually read the bill. It is not about the governement controling healthcare as it is about the governement regulating the insurance companies.
    And maybe if you took yourself out of your middle class neighborhood for two seconds and actually spoke to people who havent been to the doctor in YEARS and YEARS because they can’t afford health insurance who would understand the desperate need for the government to take control. but obviosuly nobody else gives a damn. I certaintly don’t see any “christians” coming into the neighborhoods where I work offering a solution to why a mother of three who works 40 to 50 hours a week to support her family by herself is not entitled to see a doctor.

    your post just confirms my belief of the hypocritic nature of you so called “christians” who in reality there is nothing that resembles christ about you. I had to use my hard earn tax dollars to pay for a war i did not support….where were all the Christian protestors then? was that simply too far away for you to care? Next are you going to start saying only those with insurance should be able to call the fire dept if their house is on fire. should only certain individuals be able to call the police if they are robbed? no it is an entitlement of being a citizen in our country. we pay taxes so everybody can feel safe and protected.

  3. Hi Hillary, I honestly don’t see why I should read the bill if our legislators don’t read bills before voting on them.

    Ok, that was a cheap shot, I know. In truth, I’m pretty sure I was more informed about the contents of this bill than the legislators who voted on it, but since my post was not specifically directed at this bill but rather universal health care in general this is irrelevant, isn’t it? You did read my post, right?

    Rather than responding with emotionally charged ranting you might want to try responding to some of the arguments actually made in the post.

    You said: “we pay taxes so everybody can feel safe and protected.”

    This is probably the main difference between you and me. You are content to do things that will make you FEEL safe and protected. I would rather do things that ACTUALLY make you safe and protect you. This is the real world, and good intentions are not enough. I indicated in several places that I had care and concern for the poor but that this did not justify perpetrating injustice to help them. For some reason you didn’t want to address that. I indicated also that I believed that in actuality the quality of care would decrease. You didn’t address that, either. In short, you are happy enough to do things that will make you FEEL like you are caring and compassionate but in fact you will be engaged in thuggery and subjecting people to equal- equally crappy- care.

    No offense, but in my view you don’t occupy the moral high ground. You are very much in the swamp of sentimentality where anything can be justified by citing good intentions.

    “your post just confirms my belief of the hypocritic nature of you so called “christians” who in reality there is nothing that resembles christ about you.”

    Surprisingly, I find myself not caring at all what you believe. Moreover, since you didn’t bother to actually cite any Bible passages in defense of your rant, I doubt if you even have any notion about who Christ was and what he stood for based on the texts. I would be willing to bet that for you, if someone is a Christ-like Christian, that just means that they are nice. If you think that, you’ve never actually faced Christ as he presents himself in the Bible.

    You should try that. Especially if you mean to offer a critique of a position that is derived from the Bible.

  4. I don’t want to argue, but some of this just isn’t accurate.

    1. I am a theist, as in, I believe in God. I often stick up for religion, both in my blog and in comments to other people’s blogs on psychologytoday.com (see for instance, \when belief in God is rational\). That being said, I certainly am not a traditional christian as you probably think of Christians. But, I am not just some bitter left-winger who is anti-religion, as I come across in your post (IMO).

    2. I was a little over the top, but I was writing from a very emotional place involving my father’s care for his cancer. I still think I make a lot of solid points, and my critique applies to many, if not most, evangelical, born again christians.

    3. I have highly edited the end section where I make a \this does not apply to you\ statement. The statement basically excludes people like you, who have actually given much thought to the issue. I may underestimate how many of this \group\ have done this, but it is safe to say that many haven’t.

    4. I said \in my experiences.\ I never said I have any data at all on how many evangelicals compared to other groups oppose the bill. it wasn’t fair to say I said that.

    5. The anti right wing evolution post was actually by a man, not a woman. And the site had a reply to it sticking up for right wingers that was highly critical of the initial post. I personally hate most of what he (the initial poster) writes, because he makes really broard statements (without data to back them up) and tries passing it off as solid science. Dont get me started on that, a true pet peeve of mine, and why many people (I think) dislike or dont trust science.

    6. You have never been called \geedy\ before? -:)

    7. Arrogant post you say? I dont think so, not anymore than many post that oppose it. We both think we are right, and to the other side, it seems arrogant. It is the nature of disagreement. If I think I am right, then I am indirectly saying you are wrong, and that can seem arrogant. Dont you think?

  5. Hi Nathan.

    Thanks for your reply, especially in that it was courteous. Here is a quick reply to each of your items:

    1. I did notice that in your article you said that you had defended religion before. I didn’t search out your views in more detail. It is perhaps unfortunate that folks like myself are getting hammered on this (see Hillary’s comment as an example) and I found your post in the midst of fielding numerous posts/comments/etc with similar themes. I’ll take you at your word.
    2. My own columns take the Christian church to task very frequently so I think there is room for critique. I am sorry to hear about your father. I honestly believe that if my (brand of) ideas were implemented that care and access would improve for everyone.
    3. I took a look at your revision and I still am not getting the idea that its only for those who haven’t though through their positions. It still sounds like, “Even if you say you’ve thought through this, in truth you’re just [fill in the blank.]
    4. I don’t think I challenged your experience on this count. No worries there.
    5. Thanks for the correction on that. I think I just saw the pic of the woman, whom no doubt is probably someone famous that I should recognize, and assumed.
    6. Not even once! 🙂
    7. There were two main parts that I thought were arrogant and I don’t think they are the things you think they are. I don’t consider your post arrogant for having your views on health care. I thought it arrogant to reserve to yourself the ability to speak to what Christians believe from the Bible. You are not a ‘traditional Christian’ as you say. I would have felt better on that point if you’d done more than merely cite love as the highest virtue as though you’d said all there is to say. The other thing that I found was arrogant was the last paragraph which seemed to be ‘reading my mind.’ I will take you at your word for what you say that paragraph is meant to communicate… but it still looks like that is what it communicates. 🙂

    Peace out homeslice.

  6. In January 2007 I was struck by a drunk driver while crossing the street in New York City. The driver ran a red light. I had a up-start construction and design buisness. I had insurance that covered work related accidents, but not this. The aftermath of the accident was devistating. I lost nine months of work, my company failed and I was nearly homeless.
    I had broken my back in three places, fractured my skull, tore my left Acl, broke my right arm and numerous other troublesome injuries.
    Because I was a pedestrian I was covered by the drivers no-fault insurance for medical cost up to a six month period. After three surgeries I was tired, and couldn’t get the needed medical attention needed in the set amout of time. The Drunk driver had the minimumn coverage. I got Sixteen thousand for a year of my life. I made around forty-five thousand a year at my usual job.

    I haven’t even got to the bad part yet.

    After a major accident it takes atleast a year to find a health insurance company that will cover you. It will cost you.

    I didn’t make it a year.

    In October of 2007, after being advised by my Dr. that bike riding was the best thing to rebuild my knee, I was struck by a car again.

    A gypsy cab T-boned me while I was in a crosswalk with the right of way. That situation only got worse with a botched surgery and severe Staff infection that nearly killed me.

    I have not recieved any compensation at all for any monies I have paid or loss of work. The total is around twenty five thousand dollars, just for medical

    My health was in serious trouble. After two years of barely surviving I had to relocate out of the city and stay with family for a year.

    Finally almost a year had passed since any major operation and I began researching insurance. I could not get coverage for less than Twelve hundred dollars a month!!!! I am 35 non-smoker no history of serious illness in my family.

    It turns out I never made it to that year anniversary. July 30th 2009, while on vacation with my family, our car was struck by an un-insured elderly man. It was struck on my side. It broke my leg and tore my “good” Acl.

    I will never get compensation for these injuries.

    I am a hard working, Tax paying, God loving american.

    Jesus has helped me through these times and I do not fret for myself. I worry about any other person that would have to endure these trial.
    This took immence strength and courage that not everyone has.

    So what do you say to that author? You see it is Insurance reform more than Health care reform. Do You think all those bailed out big wig insurures are justified in the eyes of the Lord? If you do, then you my friend… are no Christian.

    A healthy country is a strong country. Health and security walk hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Wake up sir.

  7. I say that you need to read my post and respond to what it actually says and not go beyond it. This post constitutes an argument against universal health care. That was what it was talking about. It is your job as a reader to keep that in mind as you read it. I have in other places on this blog proposed what I believe are better solutions. For example, as my post says, my objections to universal health care does not mean that I don’t care for people. If you insist on putting it into that kind of dichotomy you are either lazy, dishonest, or illiterate. Lazy because you didn’t bother to note these statements, dishonest because you were aware of them but decided not to take them into account, or read them and didn’t comprehend them. For all this, you are probably still a Christian. I guess I have to say that since one’s view on health care is now the new litmus test on what constitutes being a Christian.

    Moreover, you are ignorant of what my views are. You think that I want to help all those ‘bailed out big wig insurerers’? You mean, all those insurers who are now going to benefit from the fact that every American is going to have to – by law – buy insurance from them? And those who can’t afford to buy insurance from the private insurance companies will be able to do so with subsidy? Don’t you understand that this is the most monumental windfall and bailout that these insurers could ever hope for?

    Sir, I implore you to use your brain. The very people you are reacting to and want to call down holy hell upon are the very people who will benefit the most, financially, from this bill. Note, please, how the Democrats- the party of the people and against big corporations- have been on a tear for the last 15 months funneling tax money into one big business after another… the banks, the automobile industry, student loan lending, and health care. Regarding the last, the ‘big business’ Republicans voted unanimously against it. You are getting played. You are the one who needs to wake up.

    As I said, you are ignorant of my views. How can I want the ‘big insurers’ to get rich when in fact I am the only person that I know who has actually issued a call for the elimination of these insurers in the first place? See: http://sntjohnny.com/front/health-care-solutions-from-a-conservative/649.html So you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Not only would I get rid of the ‘big wig insurers’ but I would take the government out of it as much as possible. Costs would come down to something much more manageable, allowing people of good will to afford to help people who really need it. Moreover, as I argue, there would still be room for ‘catastrophic health care insurance,’ and in your case this would apply. In short, in my view, on my proposals, health care quality would improve and access would skyrocket, leaving only the truly destitute left to deal with.

    But I guess I’m not a Christian for wanting to adopt a strategy that will actually work rather than one that will only make me feel better but will do much less than promised and carry with it all kinds of baggage I don’t want to carry.

  8. […] week I posted a very long post explaining why I was against universal health care.  There was a comment posted that I’ve […]

  9. […] Any argument along those lines is much more sophisticated.  For example, when laying out my long argument for why I was against universal health care, after providing passages speaking about ‘laziness’ I […]

  10. I think those that pay their part in a subsedized system with competition eliminated by state borders with some experimental programs in eliminating bureaucracy will go a long way in providing health care to everyone. I for one wouldn’t consider it a thou shall not steal just more like sharing by the inproportionanant amounts of wealth swindled from others in the business market. Let’s look at the professions shall we? The lawyers are socialists aren’t they? They steal from one to give to another and get away with it with no criticism. Then, we could talk about the republicans waste of money, which is never spoken much about on the far right much in the name of Jesus? Thirdly, lots of problems with interpreting any religious text is that too many literal not figurtive interpretations of it and interpretations have lead to the justification of slavery as well. Your point being is too allow poorer more literaate and less fortunant than art thou to get a decent human right of a checkup without being pistered over pre-existing conditions? Also, you neglect you can opt out of the current plan if you wish to keep your own health care of your own choice?
    Another thing many people neglect is the abortion proposal. Many democrats opposed it and without strict limits on abortions it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. If true capitilism would have worked, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. It’s just sad that some people are ilinformed about how the true or working class are treated in this country. We are one of the most hard working working class and below societies in the world and most percicieve them of being lazy? If it wasn’t for the union groups, we wouldn’t have our fourty hour work week either or have work regulations. The conservatives would have worked children and women to death in coal mines or factories instead of getting an education or taking care of their offspring. Secondly, I want to point out that the Golden Rule \Do onto others as you would like them done onto you\ because personally you have a social net to fall into in hard times instead of paying for mammoth sized health bills. Remember many pseudo christians like doctors, nurses, administrators, insurers and middle men are profiting off of the current system to absurd proportiomns. Have you watched Michael Moore’s documentery on Sicko? Another thing a free nation of the United States of America? This is bologna because of this: slavery, indentant servitude, discrimination of minorities;disabled;immigrants;elderly;homosexuals;etc, constant needless wars: Vietnam;Mexican-American war;Lebannon Conflict;Iran-Contra affair, GINI report, Tuskgeegee Experiment(s), treatment of indians, and other things that seriously undermine your point of view like Watergate, and other governmental christian right wing politicians with democrats seriously undermines your point of view.
    Thirdly and finally, I at one time was a conservative and have gone to the moderate democrat side. I think that eliminating all political parties and unmasking the politicians will go a long way in stopping corruption. Then, I would eliminate termlessness to two-three most U.S Senator or Represenative. The lobbyist organizatyion both good and bad are all gone in my vision of a true slaveless America without interference of transparency, accountability, ethical treatment and of judgement of domestic affairs. Currently business puts a dollar symbol by a human life and this isn’t christian at all. So, the subsedization of a tax bracket to pay your portion depending on where you fall without disproportionantly affecting the poor with penalties on having exessive amounts of offspring with regulation of food stamps, cancelation of fertility medicines, lowering paperwork, stopping all health commercials, requiring exercising and health preventive courses and other things to alievate the intergenerational tug of illiteracy will complete the cycle of this distute system as is right now. The competition across state lines and stopping of elective surgeries will help as well in this process. If we opened our hearts instead of shoving out bullets and arms int oforeignern affairs as much we could really benefit long tem and become closer to one another for it instead of being divided among class or health by fortune not so much by hard work which I don’t believe so much in. Let’s face it there is x amoutnt of middle to upper class jobs and that is it and nothing can change this fact unless you are trying to lie to everyone about the facts now? If true health care of the republicans propose would have worked then the 19th century would have been great right? Instead you see we had to pass Sherman Anti-Trust laws, Civil Rights admendments to the U.S Constitution, Chinese Exclusion Act, Monroe Docterine, spoiler system of Jackson, assassination of Lincoln, impeachment of Johnson, Last stand of Custer, encroachment of caucasians on native american lands, mexican-american war and annexation of the sw, and other things? Think about those things and the distute like the impudent, blind and the abled bodied poor under the tennants of the Elizabethian Poor Law and how much you benefit from socialism? The benfits shortly before I go are police, fire fighters, roads and bridges, airlines, EPA, FDA, EOC, FBI, CIA, Department of Education, Department of Energy, and other benefits that the middle class inproportionantly benefit from as during most down time economies they get massive tax cuts and unecessary ones like Bush jr in 2001 and 2003 for no reason and the debt we face is due to him in part as well.

  11. It is understandable that money makes people autonomous. But what to do if someone doesn’t have money? The one way only is to receive the loans and college loan.

  12. […] 4.Why Christians are against Universal Health Care | Athanatos Someone slid this article across my desk that inquires as to why evangelical Christians are against universal health care.   Now, … But this leads to a very important point that helps us to finally segue into the myriad of reasons for why I reject universal health care and health insurance.  Mr. [H] says, http://sntjohnny.com/front/why-christians-are-against-universal-health-care/842.html […]

  13. Before we dive into the religious issues Americans spend more money on healthcare than any other country and it is the leading cause of bakruptcy in our country. All that money that is taken goes somewhere. It lines the pocket of a relatively new cabal of greedy bloodsucking gangster insurance companies. Health insurance wasn’t fully privatized and deregulated until that “great Christian” Reagan. The Canadian healthcare system works just its not perfect but it works well for them. And Canada is a capitalist country with a stronger economy than us. I suppose I am a “liberal” Christian and I do happen to believe in hell. Its where the respectable and “responsible” Dives went for ignoring the starving man Lazarus. Hell is chock full of money grubbing TVangelists and bible thumping republican politicians. It is full of “christian” business owners that rip people off and expect no one to prosecute them because they are Christian. It is full of those who preach hate towards Muslims and those of other faiths and it is full of racists, its full of CEOs and its full of lobbyists its full of torturers and war criminals who lie and bomb and maim and kill and destroy Gods earth and attack Gods people while arrogantly taking up his name. Perhaps the ignorant and misinformed who vote and act to keep the poor poor and those who are suffering in suffering will be forgiven but perhaps not. How much sin done in his name can God forgive

  14. Hi Bryce, thank you so much for your unconstructive rant. Thank you.

  15. Bryce, you are 100% correct in your post. Anthony, that is the second time on this post that you have called a dissenting opinion a “rant”. You are pathetic. I have dealt with “Christians” like you my whole life. You refuse to answer any of the very spot-on issues raised by Bryce and Hillary, because you know you cannot truthfully respond to them and still be seen as a “Christian”. You did nothing but demand Biblical proofs from Hillary and insist that she only comment on a very specific topic, and accused her of ranting. You refused to answer the very accurate comment from Bryce concerning true Christian charity. Well, I neither need nor expect a response from a piece of work like you- I’m just here to give you a heaping dose of look in the mirror, boy.

    You are not a Christian. You are another money-grubbing conservative who uses the precious name of Jesus to make a buck. You have what appears to be a popular blog that I’m sure you are making some good monthly revenue off of. Probably have ad sense and all that crap. I don’t use adsense or other revenue “creating” things on my blog, so I don’t know what all kinds there are. But no, you are a merchant scumbag who only puts on a mask to garner an audience. You have realized you can make money for being as divisive as the other idiots who agree with you, and so you do it. You do not care about healthcare or the good of others, you only use them as a source of revenue, like every other conservative. You even said it yourself to Hillary- “I don’t care what you think.” Of course you don’t care, it’s no surprise. Christians care about other people and their opinions, even if they disagree with them. And you are not a Christian. You are a thief in my Father’s house.

    Oh, and you demanded Biblical proofs, as though any of the spiritual truths in the Bible can be discerned by your blind eyes. Here you go:

    He who does not love me does not keep my words. John 14:24

    What words? What did Jesus tell you to do, Anthony? Feed the hungry? Take care of the sick? Do good things for one another? When is the last time you kept any of Jesus’ commandments? Can you even name one of Jesus’ commandments to his followers?

    …not as the world gives do I give. John 14:27

    The world gives with the expectation of something in return. Jesus and His followers do not. You say, I am hurting others by giving my hard earned money to them. I know you have tried very hard to come to the conclusion that universal healthcare will somehow hurt more than it helps, and it’s all borne of one thing- Greed. Now it hasn’t been long at all since you’ve been called greedy! Because, like it or not, what comes out of your mouth is, “I don’t want ‘my’ money to go to a common good. But I bet you don’t mind taking it, do you? You don’t mind having clean water and food thanks to the government of the people using taxes to regulate greedy merchants who would otherwise poison us all for profit, do you? Or, as was said in another “rant”, to call the fire department or cops when you need them, or an ambulance to get your sorry ass to a hospital, hopefully a Catholic one that doesn’t care if you have insurance. The word “sick” appears 57 times in the New Testament, and the word heal(ed) twice as often; almost every time it appears it refers to Jesus healing the sick. Jesus healed the sick more than anything else- it was his primary miracle. He obviously cared for sick people and knew that sickness and disease is the number on killer in this world. But you are nothing like Jesus, so you cannot understand this. No, I don’t know you personally- I don’t have to. Your spirit shows loud and clear.

    But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar’s. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s. Matthew 2:18-21

    Now, Ant, go ahead and take out a dollar bill. Who is on it? What does it say on it? Is your face and name on it, or God’s? No. It is the property of the state, as are you, assuming you signed a social security card. Therefore, taxes, including those which provide healthcare to those you don’t want it going to (or rather, for procedures you don’t approve of- we all know abortion is the real reason you oppose helping millions of sick people), are something that you must accept, whether you like it or think it’s fair or not.

    Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone. Matthew 23:23

    This reminds me of you. Again, you have no problem with taxes and common goods- you use them every day, assuming you drive on state and federal highways, drink water, eat food, breathe air, etc. And if you went to college you certainly took Pell grants; 90% of students do- it’s very expensive to be educated in a country where conservative merchant scumbags run the schools. Regardless, you are a hypocrite, as was already said. I’ll bet you also like to cry about how much money you pay in taxes, while at the same time neglecting to mention that you use more than you pay in, as most conservatives do. “Red” states ALL take more money from the tax pool than they put in. It’s probably because they can’t afford anything, since they were stupid enough to vote for a conservative who would put corporations above them, costing them jobs, wages, insurance, and healthcare, all for the increased profits of the merchant scumbags.

    So, there you go. Hope you enjoyed my rant! I hope that someday you will come to know Christ and accept Him into your heart, should you find one.

  16. http://www.unicef.org/sowc08/docs/sowc08_table_U5MR.pdf

    Oh, by the way, good thing you kept those babies from being aborted (even though that’s a non issue in the healthcare reform plans)- in America, they are five times more likely to die before they reach five years of age, as are children in countries with universal healthcare. Go figure. Yeah but universal healthcare is more harmful than helpful…

  17. Yea, that one was pretty much a text book description of a rant.

    Here’s the thing with me and other people’s rants: I don’t enjoy them, because I don’t even bother reading them. I could tell by the third sentence what kind of comment would be made and by what kind of person. I then skimmed quickly to the end. That’s about it.

    So, the only thing you managed to do here is make yourself feel better. And I hope you do.

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