Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Jesus never excluded anyone He healed due to a ridiculous "pre-existing condition" clause. He never engaged in healing for profit, either.

He repeatedly instructed His followers and humankind in general to tend to the poor and sick. He did not give instructions to exploit them, deny them help, or profit off them, plain and simple.

Why, then, should insurance and pharmaceutical companies be practicing such unfair, profiteering nonsense? Why, then, do conservative Republicans and members of the far-right "religious right" (who loudly claim this to be a "Christian nation") support the unjust status quo and oppose health care reform which would limit profiteering on human health and guarantee medical care for all citizens regardless of their physical condition or income status?

Jesus never instructed humankind to make the rich much richer at the expense of everyone below them.

It is clear these people who actively support health insurance companies' pursuit of excess profit at the exclusion of millions from coverage are not only not following, but are actually contradicting and opposing the teachings of Jesus. So are the defenders of the greedy health insurance and pharmaceutical companies when they loudly protest on their behalf.

This is not a mere economic issue. It is a moral one as well. For this reason, it is high time Christian churches enter the discussion on health care reform, just as they did regarding civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. It is high time they come out strongly in support of a plan that will ensure everybody gets the same high quality medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay (i.e. a universal, national health care plan). Just as Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple for a good reason so long ago, it is now time for the religious community to throw greedy, immoral profiteers out of our medical care delivery system. It is time for all our synagogues and mosques to come out in support of this, as well.

Failure to do so would be defying the will of God.

I awoke this morning to the news that Senator Edward M. Kennedy had passed away, losing his battle with brain cancer. For all who care about social justice and health care for all citizens, this is a very sad day.

Teddy Kennedy made some mistakes in his 77 years on this earth, to be sure. But the truth remains that he could have lived a life of leisure, enjoying his wealth without another care in the world. Yet he chose instead a lifetime of public service, devoted to the causes of the poor, the weak, and the sick. He was, understandably, entirely devoted to the adoption of a universal national health care system for this country. He was recently quoted as saying, "that is the cause of my life."

So, too, must it now be OUR cause.

It is time to, in Teddy's memory, put petty partisan bickering aside for just long enough to do the right thing and pass a health care reform bill that forbids exclusion due to pre-existing conditions, prohibits recission, and guarantees medical care to every citizen of this country. NOW.

That is most certainly God's will.


Stimpson said...

Of course, this argument doesn't do much to convince us non-believers. But then I don't need any convincing.

Just FYI, Roger Ebert has been blogging about health care reform. A fairly devout Catholic, he quotes the New Testament in his latest entry.

Max's Dad said...

Bravo, Jack. Turn this issue into a morality play and see where it goes. This has always been about what's right. These so-called Christians need to be slapped back to reality. Their Jesus is shaking his head at best and throwing up at worst.Once again, it's about what is right.

Manifesto Joe said...

Hey Jack:

You mean, like, Jesus didn't ask Lazarus for a co-payment?

Jack Jodell said...

Hey, Stimpson, nice hearing from you, and I'll check that out. Remember, believer or not, civil rights would never have passed without great moral indignation and pressure from the religious community. That is why I have called out to them on this great moral issue.
Max's Dad,
As is so often the case, you and I see eye to eye on this . Must be our upper midwest sense of fairness and common sense. If you're ever in Minneapolis during baseball season, we should hook up and do a Twins game together! :)
Manifesto Joe,
Yeah, no co-payment, no deductible, no profit---period. Of course, Jesus wasn't greedy, nor did He put the wants of a greedy broad of directors or other dividend-hungry stockholders before the needs of the afflicted. Must have been one of them there nasty socialists, huh?

Vigilante said...

Yeah, Jack, I'm not aware of any room for Jesus or God in these pofiteers' RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI).

Jack Jodell said...

That's right, Vigilante. Their ONLY concern seems to be with huge profit. What we have is not so much a health care system as a "profit generating system." Morality demands we have far more of the former and much, much less of the latter!

Tim Fleming said...

I've never thought of the health care issue in these terms, but you are right, of course. The Church has no problem inserting itself into secular/political matters when it comes to abortion. How is the health of any LIVING soul any less important? Ah...but the Catholic hierarchy is staunchly right wing, and that makes it, by definition, an institution built on hypocrisy; thus, 46 million unhealthy Americans can just die for all the Church cares.

mud_rake said...

Excellent post, as usual. I am continually harassed on my blog by evangelical fundamentalists [because I challenge their 'gosh golly' minds]and I find many of these oh-so righteous christians [small c] some of the most intolerant and self-centered individuals on earth.

Jesus would have wept over these so-called followers.

To me they are charlatans, just using the name, 'Christian' as an excuse to live their haughty, rich and insular lifestyles.

Jack Jodell said...

Your points are well taken. But at least as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the cold iceberg of siding with the far right on many social and economic issues they erected may finally be starting to melt. I have long been frustrated by their departure from social justice and social activism, but that may be changing at last. A good friend pointed out to me `that the US Catholic Conference of Bishops has issued a 10 point proclamation on Catholic stances on economic life (much good stuff there!) which can be found on their website at Also, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has begun two major new endeavors. One is to involve more young Catholics in learning the Church's social teachings, and the other recognizes young adults' efforts to address root causes of poverty. And the first thing new Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul did was to march in an interfaith rally for health care and economic reform for the poor. These are all hopeful signs we should encourage more of.

I still maintain that important reforms of today will not be possible without active help from the religious community. Civil rights and War on Poverty legislation would never have passed without their support and pressure, and so will it be today with health care and economic reform.

Jack Jodell said...

I'm with you 100% on your take on the loud, socially conservative fundamentalists. Ian Anderson described them perfectly on the back cover of the old "Aqualung" LP when he paraphrased the quotation from the book of Genesis by saying, "In the beginning, man created God in his own image and likeness."

The religious community is at its very best when it speaks out and acts against war, injustice, and deprivation on principle. It is at its very worst when it acts as the self-appointed judge, jury, baliff, and warden of Jesus on a personalized level, which, unfortunately, it does much of the time, especially the fundamentalist faction. Thanks for your accurate observations and keep up the fight against hypocrisy!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Mornin' Jack...
I'm in accord with the rest of the commentary here. Great polarity! Bravo.

YES, it is a very sad day. Very.

Jack Jodell said...

Thanks, Gwendolyn. It will be a very happy day when President Obama signs into law a decent health care reform bill, which I hope he will do right at Teddy's gravesite. That would be only fitting and proper.

Stella by Starlight said...

Talk to ultra-conservative Fundamentalists who believe in scripture, and I support Freedom of Religion (not forcing it down my throat). Seems to me that we could learn a lot from Jack's post. Arm yourself with passages of how Christ healed the sick and cared for the poor. Then ask them to explain how they are following Christ's example.

Allow for sputtering and incoherent, illogical responses.

Jack Jodell said...

That's a great idea, Stella! Thanks for sharing, and I hope it helps "convert" some of those hard-core fundamentalists opposed to health care reform!

Stella by Starlight said...

Why are most Christians against abortion but are proud to send their children to war?

Jack Jodell said...

I would say most Fundamentalist "Christians" have a rigid and authoritarian world view. Morality with these people is cut and dried. They see themselves as enforcers, juries, judges, wardens, and executioners of God's will. While God Himself gave humankind a free will, these people use their deluded interpretations as justification for killing athiests and others they view as "non-Christians" (i.e. communists and Muslims) since they view those groups as a threat to Christianity. In other words, abortion is wrong, but killing criminals and other they view as dangerous to Christianity is perfectly acceptable, even commendable. It is a paradoxical stand, but one they will split hairs with you on forever.