Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Health Care Debate - Why is One Side "Christian?"

It is another one of those perplexing things in life. In my view, God has given us great creative freedom. Some of us love bluegrass music, some of us heavy metal. Some of us love collecting painted thimbles, some of us love rock climbing.

So, when it comes to politics, I believe that God has given us tremendous freedom according to our likes and dislikes. Because of this, I can have great respect for Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians.

Of course there are a few issues that are essentials . . . but just a few. Abortion may be one, but even that is not so black in white when it comes to politics. What I mean is, that while the Republicans might stand more in the defense of the unborn, sometimes the Democrats stand more in the defense of the born . . . including the moms.

But what I find scary is when people wrap their political views around the cross. That is sad. I saw the video on the news of people screaming against the health care bill. Some of these people are the home-schooling, very conservative Christian groups who see the health care bill as another plot by Satan . . . you know good guys Vs bad guys.

I really think, and Frank Schaeffer brought this to my attention first, that the Republican party has bought the Evangelicals. The price the republicans paid was being pro-life. But once they got the Evangelicals in their camp, they kept them. Therefore whatever view the Republican party has, becomes become the mantra of the Evangelicals.

I vote both ways. Most of the issues are the non-essentials. We have Titanic freedom to be completely for high taxes and comprehensive single - payer health care. We also have the freedom for wanting low taxes and a free-market health care system. It is about taste, not religious dogma. God is silent on those trivial matters. Why did this become a Jesus issue? Keep Him out of it!

I just had to say something because I've been very involved in the past few days about the health care bill. But all my involvement is about my personal views, my professional views and has nothing to do with Jesus.


Anonymous said...

I think Internet Monk described it the best as "The Rush Limbaughization of Christians". Especially these days, when Rush Limbaugh shows every sign of believing his own PR.

Headless Unicorn Guy

NOTAL said...

I think there is more to many political issues than just personal preference. Not to say that there is a "Christian side" and a "non-Christian" ("anti-Christian"?) side, but there are ethical arguments to be made. I don't think ethical arguments can or should be reduced to personal preferences like music and hobbies. Doing so would be getting into moral relativist territory.

Of course not all political arguments are ethical, but with most issues there are ethical arguments to be made on both sides. With the health care issue for instance, one side posits that it is morally wrong to force person A to subsidize health care for person B (the equivalent of theft), while the other side posits that it is morally wrong to allow people to suffer without health care when their suffering could be relieved.

I don't want to debate which side is "right" or "better," I just want to make the point that there are ethical arguments (based on Christian ethics) that should not be ignored or dismissed as personal preference.

MJ said...

There are ethical argument to be made in many of the issues. The next one, immigration, is a good case in point. However, there are often many points of view, some that oppose each other, but each a different interpretation of Christian teachings.

Take the immigration debate. There are Evangelicals who would argue that in the sake of fairness, that people who illegally come into this country should be treated as law-breakers, criminals.

On the other hand, I could see a strongly Latino-Catholic church see things in the light that all people are created by God and we should all that we can to help them with food and shelter. Such churches have set themselves up to be legal "Sanctuaries" to protect those who have come to the country illegally.

Certainly there are examples that are more black or white, such as laws against the abuse of the vulnerable.

But, regarding health care, in my opinion you can make ethical arguments for both extremes. A Dutch-socialized plan or a free market plan. My view is that in these situations we have to respect the people whom we don't agree with, knowing that they have their own justifiable arguments.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being smart about this. I am shocked by the comments Christians have made about this bill. I am a Christian and I AM FOR THIS. We have a responsibility to represent a moral fair viewpoint...not hatred and misinformation. I am really dissapointed with Fox news and the very bad slant they are putting into my friends minds. Please, take some responsibility.

NOTAL said...

"But, regarding health care, in my opinion you can make ethical arguments for both extremes. A Dutch-socialized plan or a free market plan. My view is that in these situations we have to respect the people whom we don't agree with, knowing that they have their own justifiable arguments."

I agree, reasonable ethical arguments can be made for both extremes and everywhere in between. Reasonable people can have legitimate disagreements in good faith. It is sad to see people (especially Christians) demonize their political opponents.

However saying that people can legitimately disagree is not the same as saying that the matters come down to personal preference like musical taste, which seems to be what you were saying in your first post. It's the difference between saying that there is to true or false and all positions are equally legitimate; and saying that honest people can whole heartedly believe something that is wrong, but their view should be respected. I reject the first, and whole heartedly accept the latter.