Would Jesus Support Healthcare Reform?
I can’t tell whether John White is being intentionally fatuous or whether he genuinely doesn’t understand Christians on the Left, but either way, his response to John Blake’s article–“Would Jesus support health care reform?–is riddled with nonsense. Blake’s piece collects quotes from various Christian leaders to show that “Christians are as divided about this question as others. Many cite Jesus, but come up with completely different conclusions.” White, perhaps expecting Blake to provide us with a definitive answer despite initially indicating that he wouldn’t, “realizes”–i.e., pretends–he’s been duped, and goes on to insist that Blake’s question is a dumb one.
I differ to beg. First, there’s nothing dumb about applying the principles proclaimed by Jesus to contemporary political problems. The folks at CatholicVote, where White blogs, describe their very purpose as such: “CatholicVote.org is a lay movement, foremost, of committed Catholics who are passionate about living out the truths proclaimed by Christ and His Church in the modern world.” Second, the deeds and teachings of Jesus do, in fact, speak to the issue of health care. Not only was Jesus himself a healer, he taught in no uncertain terms that we will be judged according to the care we offer to the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and the otherwise needy. As a society, we provide such care predominantly through our healthcare system, a system that works very well for those who have wealth and/or extensive insurance coverage, but very poorly or not at all for millions of others. We can do better and, according to the principles of Jesus, we should do better. We’re not providing for those to whom we could be providing. Jesus was clear about where this sin of omission leads.
So, yes John White, it is a no-brainer: Jesus would support healthcare reform. No, not because Jesus is a Democrat, but because his principles demand it. Now, it behooves me to note that support for healthcare reform does not necessarily translate into support for a particular means of reforming our healthcare system. Saying that Jesus would support healthcare reform is not to say that he would approve of “Obamacare” or single-payer or whatever concoction Paul Ryan would come up with. However, it is to say that if we are not interested in reforming healthcare and make no genuine attempts to do so, then, if Jesus is to be believed, we’re in for a world of hurt.