Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Healthcare, Shutdown and Other crap from the News: A Gospel Approach

The talk of the town, or of the nation, is the government shutdown over funding of the Affordable Healthcare Act, popularly known as "Obamacare".  Jimmy Kimmel proved how little we know about this law, or at least how much demonization has occurred by opponents of the law. He went to the streets and asked people which law they favored, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare (keep in mind they are the same thing). Everyone that appeared on the skit said "the affordable care act" over "Obamacare" because they thought Obamacare was a waste of taxpayers money. I suppose it's funny, especially knowing that they are the same thing, but it's also sad that a very small radical faction of one political party has been able to, not only poison peoples public opinion and even understanding of a law that will perhaps grant them and nearly 50 million other Americans access to healthcare, but also cripple our government so much that it stopped operating. These 30 white privileged men have managed to take hostage the US federal government in their  terroristic ideological crusade to prevent Americans from having affordable healthcare!

As a Christian I am charged by my Rabbi and Lord Jesus, to "love my neighbor as myself." I have wonderful health insurance, which my 2-point charge so graciously provides (mostly because they are required to by mandate of the Annual Conference). As someone who loves their neighbor as themselves, or who at least gives it a very good attempt daily, I want my neighbor to have healthcare because I have healthcare. I want whats best for my neighbor just like I want whats best for myself. It's amazing to me that these 30 white privileged men, who all claim to be devote Christians have made it the utmost ideological point to prevent their neighbor from having what they have, which is quality, affordable healthcare, which you and I pay for through our taxes. This is the utmost of all evils. To lie, cheat, and bare false witness to the extent that peoples lives are at stake. These 30 men have worked tirelessly to keep the afflicted afflicted and to comfort the comfortable when the Gospel calls us to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted.

Now their godless crusade has extended into affecting not just the 50 million uninsured Americans, but also around 800,000 federal workers plus another 250,000-300,000 contract workers. All to ensure that not everybody is insured. It is during moments like this that I like to direct these 30 white males of privilege to the biblical prophets, including Jesus and John the Baptist. These men stood up for the oppressed and the under privileged and lost their lives for it. Now this isn't that serious. Honestly of the 4.1million federal workers most of them (some estimate nearly 80%) will keep working. The parks are closed, the Army/Navy game will be canceled and discretionary spending and non-essntial employees wont get paid, but the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA and VA hospitals and clinics will remain open.

The worst of this is the people who won't be paid. Many people still have to report, but won't be paid because their jobs are essential, but their pay is tied to congressional appropriations. Also people who rely on Social Security to survive will not be paid. Their payments are mandatory spending and are not affected by a shutdown caused by a failure to pass appropriations, but the people who process and mail the checks their salaries those social security dependent people will not get their checks either. Also the people who process VA benefits are deemed non-essenatital so the already back logged VA will become even more so the longer this drags on. Finally the cost is a real problem. These 30 white male privileged rich, who are always complaining about government spending will spend close to one hundred million dollars per day! (this number is based on the cost and number of days the government shutdown caused in '95).

I gospel response to anything always starts with, "What would Jesus say/think/do?" What would Jesus' response be to these white, wealthy, privileged male 30? Would Jesus advocate for the "fiscal responsibility" (as they call it, I call it congressional terroism) of these 30 men? Would he want the vulnerable who live on very little through the SSI system to not have anything? Would he want the men and women who fought and served this nation to be further bogged down by administrative back log? And would he want some kind of ideological war waged on the premise of not providing healthcare for the most vulnerable of societies population at the expense of one hundred million dollars per day? I don't think so. I want to end with this passage from Amos. This passage perfectly describes the will of these 30 men and their wealthy co-conspieres.

"I will not revoke their punishment;
because they sell the righteous for money,
   and the needy for a pair of shoes— 
7 they who trample the head of the poor into the ground,
   and push the afflicted out of the way;"-
Amos 2:6-7

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Josh

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