Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm Angry Too: the Other Half of Health Care Rage

I've been debating online again, this time about health care reform. This is an issue bound to get me agitated. It's one thing when you simply have strong opinions about a controversial subject, but it's a whole different ball game when fundamental moral imperatives are at stake in the debate.

I believe that universal health care is an inalienable human right, and it angers me to see it derailed by pure vitriol and baseless lies. The worst part is that the mouth-piece for much of the misinformation being spread has been the conservative Christian community, particularly in the Southern region of the country, a group that should be first in line to support affordable health care for those in need.

Watching some of the hypocritical health care craziness from the right, I've felt the need to understand, to find some kind of root to the rage, a reason why so many Christians are passionately arguing against a system that will bring health care to those who cannot afford it. In my search I came across this article from Bruce Gourley, a Baptist historian who makes a very persuasive argument tying the current health care rage to Southern cultural wounds dating to the Civil War, when Christians argued against abolition.
"Ironically, however, the conservative slavery-defenders of old had a much more solid biblical case than today's religiously conservative opponents of health care reform: slavery is a biblical theme and as a practice is not explicitly condemned in the Bible, while there is no biblical basis for free markets and capitalism; in fact, the New Testament repeatedly condemns the pursuit of individual wealth and warns against the corrupting influence of money."
I don't know how far one can (or should) run with Gourley's premise. I don't want to label any group too broadly, even if it makes sense. However, his article certainly makes for a fascinating read and at least helps put anti-health care attitudes into perspective.

Whether or not the anger on the right can be explained or understood by lefties like me, I sure would like to see some more anger on the left, particularly among progressive religious leaders. In the past decade, at a time when Christian's have yielded greater political power and influence than in any age since Constantine was Emperor, the wealthy elite have grown richer while the poor have multiplied in numbers. The church has passively endorsed American greed by recusing itself from its scriptural role as the mouthpiece of the sick and the poor, and that makes me angry beyond comprehension.


  1. What is masquerading as conservative Christianity in this country is what I consider to be simply right-wing nationalism with a religious veneer. Care for the poor is a basic element of the practice of Christianity, yet it is ignored in the main, and no wonder since Christianity is used more as a self-justification than anything else. I don't expect this to change.

  2. I am a Christian who supports universal health care but the plan on the table right now is a politically driven, expensive one that will do more harm than good. The system needs to be scrapped, not duct taped. The rhetoric from both sides is nauseating. I hate seeing Christian's regurgitate what the pundits are saying. Bottom line, if the church as a whole were doing their job, this would be a non-issue. We have the resources to care for the needy, we instead use it to build up our country clubs.... err... I mean churches.