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Jesus Apparently Doesn't Want Government To Help Poor, Sick, And Injured To Get Healthcare

Have you ever read the parable of The Good Samaritan? It’s the definitive read for those who self-identify as Christians for how to define who a good neighbor is, and how one should treat others as oneself. It’s a parable of pious faith leaders not helping an injured man — left beaten on the side of a well-traveled road by robbers — when they should have treated the injured man as a neighbor. A Samaritan — a spiritual pariah — was “the other” that helped that same injured man by being a neighbor to him.

The Good SamaritanSo, when some conservative “Christians” read this story with regards to the healthcare reform debate; however, they have come up with a different conclusion than the obvious ones. From the OneNewsNow article ‘WWJD’ – about healthcare reform? comes this take on this parable (link for dictionary definition of polity added):

A health policy expert at the Cato Institute believes Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan provides insight into why a new government health insurance program is a poor idea.

Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute‘s director of health policy studies, recently published a blog post on the think tank’s website titled “Health Care Reform: What Would Jesus Do?” The post, written by Cannon’s father — a Catholic theologian in Northern Virginia — took the familiar story in the Book of Luke about a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who “fell among thieves” and was “left half dead,” and applied that to the current debate in America over healthcare reform.

Cannon says while everyone has an obligation to help those who are less fortunate, it is important how that duty is fulfilled. He contends President Obama’s desire for the government to carry out that responsibility is misguided because Jesus did not instruct his followers to form a polity or put their charity to a majority vote before acting to help those in need…

Quoting the referenced piece from the Cato Institute directly (emphasis added):

[More below the fold.]

There was a man (M) going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who needed health care (Luke 10:25-37).  All bypassers were free to provide for him or keep walking.  The Priest (P) and the Levite (L) used their freedom in one way and the Samaritan (S) used his the another way.

…WWJND?  He did not say that S, P, and L should agree on the level of care and funding for M and chip in.  Maybe He realized that P and L had a bullet-proof majority.  Maybe He realized the time, attention, care, funding, and personal touch of S were very important.  Maybe He realized that even if M got to an inn, the innkeeper would be at risk for exceeding guidelines and would have to wait longer to be reimbursed.  Maybe He realized the devil was in the details and could complicate or possibly compromise M’s care: the timely availability of government run donkeys (ambulances); inns (hospitals); professionals at every point in the chain and in between; plus, auditors to prevent fraud and abuse.  The moral lesson Jesus drew was: use your freedom to care for your neighbor and do not hand it over to P and L if you want your neighbor and yourself to get to Jericho...

There’s more to be read in both the OneNewsNow and the Cato Institute pieces. Frankly, my head spins with the twisting of the spirit of the story to come up with a reasoning not to provide via government to care to the poor, sick, and injured.

I’ve now read a twisted theology for not developing an effective government means for treating the neighbors you can’t see with your own eyes as oneself…Now I’ve literally seen everything. If this theology espoused  by OneNewsNow and the Cato Institute is what their God meant for us to take away from the story of The Good Samaritan, then Christianity is a truly abominable faith in its most basic of doctrines.

Fortunately though, I believe it’s safe to say that this twisted theology isn’t what many Christians I know believe Jesus meant in that parable.

WWJD about healthcare reform in the United States? I’m pretty darn sure that it isn’t what OneNewsNow and the Cato Institute suggest Jesus would want us to do; I’m pretty darn sure that Jesus would actually approve of using government to asure that the poor, sick, and injured received adequate healthcare.


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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen