Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Declaration of Co-dependence

Jim Wallis has crafted a "faith declaration" for health-care. How convenient that he has done so moments after the structure of the Democratic plan has been introduced. Let's roll...


Over the course of the health-care debate, voices of faith have been raised about the moral values at stake beneath the policy discussions.


Which is relevant for no particular reason.

From the Bill of Rights to the abolition of slavery, from women’s suffrage to the civil rights movement, those who have raised the question of values have often changed our country for the better. Change can be scary in uncertain times, but it always comes when a nation chooses hope over fear.

The Bill of Rights is a document borne of a variety of fears. Fear of abuse of power. Fear of established religion. Fear of censorship. The thing talks about armed militias for crying out loud. The Bill of Rights is a fear-based document, and an awesome one.

Unfortunately, God sent Moses down from the mountain with only the Ten Commandments,


I think everyone can pretty much agree that God blew this one.

There is no one “right” religious position on how health care should be provided.

This is the sort of sentence that is always followed with a qualifer.

But I believe

Yahtzee.

there are some fundamental moral and biblical principles on which to evaluate any final legislative agreement, principles on which many people of faith — even politically diverse people — might agree.

Liberals and Democrats alike agree with Wallis.

After the heat of the summer’s confrontations over health care, it’s time for a cooler fall debate.

Nothing cools off a debate like framing a discussion around the ten commandments.

It’s time for a re-set of the health-care debate,

A debate is not a Nintendo, Jim.

and a return to some basic principles could help.

It will not help.

1. Health, not sickness, is the will of God.


Just ask Job.

We can see this from the story in Genesis of the garden, where sickness was never found, and from the vision in Revelation of a city in which death will be no more.

If our goal is to end sickness, one trillion dollars would be much better spent providing safe drinking water to third world nations.

The gospel stories of Jesus healing people, of restoring them to physical wholeness and full participation in their community, always signaled God’s presence.

Full participation in their community? Christ's followers were beaten and killed!

United we stand, divided we fall.

This explains everything. Thanks Jim.

The division between those who can afford adequate coverage and those who cannot is a threat to our unity, to the health of our neighbors, and to our nation.


When I didn't have health insurance, I was in total disunity with people.

Our moral and religious standards say no one should be left out of a system simply because of not being able to afford good health.

Which moral and religious standard would that be? The one that cannot be found in those wholly inadequate commandments?

Patients not profits.

This is nowhere in the Bible.

No one should be discriminated against in their health care because they are sick. Our faith mandates that we give extra consideration and help to those who are sick,


These two statements are contradictory.

but every time an insurance company denies coverage for “pre-existing conditions,” excluded ailments, or confusing fine print, their profits go up.


As people of faith, we do not know the way the insurance industry works. Since I, apparently, am not a person of faith, I will explain this to those who are. It is in an insurance company's best interests to provide care for AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE. Those with pre-existing conditions represent the best opportunities for profits, insofar as the risks associated with their premiums can be calculated.

Also, asking the government to reduce "confusing fine print" is like asking a whale to juggle.

Every doctor I know decided to pursue medicine to help people.


And for the money. They make lots and lots of money, doctors, and they like it.

Life and liberty must both be protected.


Unless you're an unborn child; in which case, bugger off.

The health-care system should protect the sanctity and dignity of life in accordance with existing law and the current rules,

Really, this is what our religion teaches? That life should be protected, but only within the existing law and current rules? This is Christ's teaching on life? Really?

and the prohibition on federal funding of abortions should be consistently and diligently applied to any legislation.

Or not. Wallis isn't going to get hung up on this issue because he doesn't care, because he thinks abortion should be legal.

Evidence suggests that supporting low-income and pregnant women with adequate health care increases the number of women who chose to carry their child to term — if we reform health care in the right way, we can reduce abortions in the U.S.

There is no evidence that suggests this. Wallis is making it up.

While religious people don’t all agree on all the issues of abortion, we should agree that those differences must not be allowed to derail the crucial need for comprehensive health-care reform.

Why should we agree on this? On what basis? Where do we find this in scripture? Also, how can you derail a need?

For the next generation, health-care reform should be based on firm financial foundations.

But again, let's not let this distinction derail the crucial needs.

Health care is a vital and wise investment for the future of our families and society.

Health care isn't an investment. It is something in which we invest. The degree to which we invest in it is the core of THE ENTIRE DEBATE.

But the way we pay for it should be fair and equitable and seek to lessen the burden on succeeding generations — both in bringing everyone into the system and by bringing the costs of health care under control over time.


Just like government has done with schools. Or Medicare. Or the military. Or pork spending. Or...

Our religious traditions suggest that social justice and fiscal responsibility must not be pitted against each other,

This is why I vote Republican, people.



— let’s take the best of who we are,

We're all demagogues, right?

The misinformation, falsehoods, and outright lies that have been circulating obscure the moral and religious core of this debate: that millions of people are suffering in an inequitable and inefficient health-care system, and that too many powerful people are profiting from that broken system in defiance of the common good.


Whereas nobody will profit from a government run system. We can be certain that, once we have a federal health care system for all, there won't even be a need for lobbyists. This is a reasonable opinion.



Perhaps the faith community could help model a more civil debate and find the sensible moral center that will help the country find the best solutions to the health of the nation.


Sojourners bans conservatives from posting on it's blog. Which, I guess that's one way to keep the debate civil.

Here's a wager. No matter what bill the Democrats draft, Wallis will find that it squares precisely with his new commandments.

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