Is Obama's Health Care Plan Biblically Moral?
December 14, 2009
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: You may be surprised to find an article by someone other than Tom Barrett in this space. Let me explain. I was researching an article in this vein when my friend Bishop Mattera told me about one he had written. I decided to publish his article rather than the one I had started for three reasons: I wanted to introduce him to our Conservative Truth readers. His article was well-researched and written. And he was much more polite to Obama than I would have been. Enjoy!
Since the proposed universal health care reform is facing enormous political and grassroots opposition, President Obama has made a desperate attempt to invoke a moral imperative in order to pass the plan so he can garner support from key religious leaders. He even quoted from a letter by the late Senator Ted Kennedy during his speech on September 9, 2009, which included the phrase, "What we face is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."
Obama recently held a conference call with religious leaders that involved the Sojourners, led by Evangelical minister Rev. Jim Wallis. The Sojourners support the concept of universal healthcare as shown in their Christian Creed on Health Care Reform: "In the face of negative ads, partisan rhetoric, and a news cycle filled with fear and half-truths about health-care reform, Christians must affirm that we believe in quality, affordable access to life-giving services for all people." (From http://go.sojo.net/campaign/health_care accessed September 16, 2009)
Since Sojourners has examined President Obama's health care proposal in concept and seems to endorse it as Biblically moral, I feel it is my obligation as a Christian leader to give my Biblical position.
At face value the above creed sounds highly moral with its egalitarian goals (as do most utopian far-left socialistic ideas) but in reality is not Biblical because sinful human nature financially mitigates against the ability for a universal health paradise this side of heaven. Obama is attempting to do something that even God does not promise until He personally intervenes and gives us a new earth. Isaiah 65:17, 20 says:
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind...No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old."
Scripture teaches that only when this new period emerges can it finally be said:
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4).
Also, those who have the privilege of reaching this incredible state of being will have already gone through God's sifting process as found in Revelation 21:27: "But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
In other words, there won't be any medical fraud, lazy people, self-centeredness, or health-destroying sinful indulgences - only those who love God and share God's moral values in glory! That is to say, we cannot enjoy a corporate utopia with a large percentage of folks who do not want to live morally responsible lives.
Biblically speaking, there have always been conditions attached to God's gracious provisions through His community. While the Old Testament law prohibits injustice toward immigrants to Israel (Exodus 22:21) these immigrants had to adopt Jewish customs, culture, and law if they were to be assimilated and provided for. Leviticus 24:22 says: "You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God." (Read also Numbers 9:14.)
Contrary to what Sojourners and other far-left Evangelicals teach, God does not favor the poor; they had to follow the same standards of work, sacrifice, tithing (taxation), ethics, diet, and religion as every covenant-keeping Jew in order to receive both corporate and divine provision and health. Leviticus 19:15 says: "You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor."
Furthermore, the early church was instructed to care only for widows who met certain criteria, not every widow in their midst. First Timothy 5:9 says: "Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work."
Even widows who met these criteria had to first be cared for by their children and families before they could come to the church for help (1 Timothy 5:3-8). Thus Scripture never trumps individual responsibility and choice with a "pie in the sky" universal utopia. It is simply not morally and financially possible for a community to offer unconditional quality of life health provisions to all comers without drastically raising taxes and further increasing the national debt.
Christians on the left, like Sojourners, usually cite the community responsibility enjoined by the early church in caring for all people, when the believers on the day of Pentecost began sharing all their food, housing, and goods with strangers (Acts 2:41-47). However, the early church did not promote a communistic approach to living in any later epistles or teachings because this passage merely reflected the church responding to a temporary housing and food crisis caused by the 3,000 foreigners receiving Christ who wanted to remain in Jerusalem so they could sit under the apostles' doctrine. Thus it was a response to a spectacular supernatural event, not a model for all church or societal living.
As much as I would like to see every sick person in our nation receive medical aid, a federal mandate that unconditionally forces every American taxpayer to carry this load would overwhelm and overload the already understaffed medical profession, stifle the ability for prompt quality care (as we see happening in Western Europe and Canada), possibly grant full health benefits to illegal immigrants, cause unnecessary competition for the current health care providers (thus driving many of them out of business), and create medical gatekeepers who could potentially make life and death decisions regarding which terminally ill and/or elderly persons will receive medical care (since medical care will have to be rationed given the current amount of health care professionals commensurate with the population).
In conclusion, we need to come up with a plan that will provide for the true number of uninsured U.S. citizens, which many analysts believe is only between 10-15 million people, not the fluctuating 30-43 million figure given by Obama over the past year. This plan should not destroy the superior health care system our nation currently enjoys. (In spite of all our insurance challenges, our nation still has the best health care system in the world!) Nationalizing health care is too fraught with a leftist agenda in which the president and far-left congressmen are attempting to institute a form of socialism. If socialism and its big brother communism were so effective in meeting the needs of the people, then the Soviet Empire would still exist and China would not have needed to adopt capitalist principles to survive the last 20 years.
For more analysis on "ObamaCare" go to:
Five Freedoms You'd Lose in Health Care Reform (from CNNMoney.com)
Correcting Misinformation About ObamaCare
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time church ministry since 1980 and is currently the Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York. He is also serving as the United States Ambassador for the International Coalition of Apostles, and as one of the founding presiding bishops of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. http://josephmattera.org/
Visit Dr. Joseph Mattera's website at http://josephmattera.org