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The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about
Few Bible Belt pastors mention what's in their backyard, millions of poor people trapped in the Obamacare “coverage gap.”
November 8th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Timothy McDonald gripped the pulpit with both hands, locked eyes with the shouting worshippers, and decided to speak the unspeakable.

The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds. He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare.

McDonald cited a New Testament passage in which Jesus gathered the 5,000 and fed them with five loaves and two fishes. Members of his congregation bolted to their feet and yelled, “C’mon preacher” and “Yessir” as his voice rose in righteous anger.

“What I like about our God is that he doesn’t throw people away,” McDonald told First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta during a recent Sunday service. “There will be health care for every American. Don’t you worry when they try to cast you aside.  Just say I’m a leftover for God and leftovers just taste better the next day!”

McDonald’s congregation cheered, but his is a voice crying in the wilderness. He’s willing to condemn state leaders whose refusal to accept Obamacare has left nearly 5 million poor Americans without health coverage. But few of the most famous pastors in the Bible Belt will join him.

Joel Osteen? Bishop T.D. Jakes, and other prominent pastors throughout the South?

Like McDonald, they preach in states where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline yet the poor can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere. All declined to comment.

When people talk about the Affordable Care Act, most focus on the troubled launch of its website. But another complication of the law has received less attention: a “coverage gap” that will leave nearly 5 million poor Americans without health care, according to a Kaiser Health Foundation study.

Learn more from Kaiser about the coverage gap in states that refused Obamacare

The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.

The coverage gap has been treated as a political issue, but there is a religious irony to the gap that has been ignored.

Most of the people who fall into the coverage gap live in the Bible Belt, a 14-state region in the South stretching from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. The Bible Belt is the most overtly Christian region in the country, filled with megachurches and pastors who are treated like celebrities.  All but two Bible Belt states have refused to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Should Bible Belt pastors say anything publicly about the millions of poor people in their communities stranded by the coverage gap? Is it anti-Christian for state leaders to turn down help for the people Jesus called “the least of these"? Or should pastors say nothing publicly about such issues because they are strictly political?

CNN's Sanjay Gupta explains who falls into the coverage gap

Who speaks for the poor in the coverage gap?

When these questions were sent to many of the most popular pastors in the Bible Belt, they hit a wall of silence. Virtually no prominent pastor wanted to talk about the uninsured poor in their midst.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the nation, declined to be interviewed about the subject. So did Bishop T.D. Jakes. Their megachurches are both in Texas, the state with the nation’s highest number of people without health insurance.

Max Lucado, the best-selling Christian author who is a minister at a church in Texas, declined to speak; Charles Stanley, the Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia whose In Touch Ministries reaches millions around the globe, declined to speak; Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr., a father and son in Texas who pastor two of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, also declined to speak. 

Bishop T.D. Jakes declined to talk about the millions of poor people stranded in the “coverage gap."

The list goes on.

The silence is not hard to understand. Obamacare is a polarizing political issue in the Bible Belt. A pastor who publicly weighs in on the subject could divide his or her congregation or risk their job. And some prominent pastors like Osteen are popular in part because they  do not alienate fans by taking political stands.

The Rev. Phil Wages, senior pastor Winterville First Baptist Church in Georgia and a blogger, was one of the few Bible Belt ministers willing to speak on the subject.

He says he won’t preach about the coverage gap created by the state’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion because he has what he calls theological differences with the thrust of the new health care law.

Wages says the Bible teaches that the care of orphans, widows and the sick are given to the church, not to the government. Early Christians were the first to create hospitals, orphanages and hospices.

“I have an issue with the government coming in to get money through me - through taxes - to take care of people, when my argument is that I should be free to give to charities or to my church in order to take care of the sick and destitute,” he says.

Wages says he has no doubt that lack of health insurance is a monumental problem, and that many people are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. Yet there is no New Testament example of Jesus trying to shape public policy on behalf of the poor.

“I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor,” Wages says. “Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.”

Wages’ position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics."

Churches and charities don’t have enough resources to take care of an estimated 48 million Americans who don’t have health care. The Bible is filled with examples of God's fury over economic oppression of the poor, which Christians should regard as scandalous, he says.

“If you are not sharing God’s concern for the poor, it raises huge questions about whether you are a Christian at all,” he says about pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor.

“As God’s spokespersons, you ought to be talking about God’s concern for the poor as much as God. In the richest nation in world history, it’s contradictory to have millions without health insurance.”

“It absolutely stinks”

The coverage gap may inspire a religious debate, but for its victims the issue is raw and personal.

A recent New York Times article about the coverage gap revealed that many of its victims are the working poor: cooks, cashiers, sales clerks and waitresses.

“These are people who are working people but they haven’t been able to afford health insurance or their employers don’t offer it and they’re stuck,” says Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, a nonprofit news organization that covers health news in the state. “A lot of these folks have chronic health conditions.”

They are people like Shelley “Myra” Mitchell, a single mom with four children who makes $9 an hour working at a Chick-fil-A in Georgia. She makes $18,000 a year – too much for Georgia’s existing Medicaid program, but not enough to qualify for subsidies to sign up for Obamacare’s insurance marketplace in Georgia.

Mitchell’s voice grew edgy with frustration when asked to describe her health needs. She rang up about $20,000 in emergency room bills because she has no health insurance. She can’t afford to get pap smears, go to the dentist or get surgery for a two-year-old hernia. She can’t take medication for her depression and anxiety because she can’t afford it.

She thought she could get help under Obamacare but recently learned she can’t because Georgia did not accept the law’s Medicaid expansion.

“It stinks,” she says. “I’ve been dealing with this hernia for two years now, and I can’t get anyone to help me because I don’t have health insurance. It absolutely stinks.”

Why pastors should stay silent about the coverage gap

Mitchell’s plight may stink. But at what point should a pastor go public on such a complex issue, and what could he or she actually say?

Two prominent evangelical pastors openly wrestled with those questions.

Andy Stanley is one of the most popular evangelical pastors in the nation. He is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, a megachurch with at least 33,000 members. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “How to be Rich,” which urges Christians to be "rich in good deeds" instead of wealth. His church recently announced that it donated $5.2 million to Atlanta charities and provided another 34,000 volunteer hours.

Joel Osteen has the largest church in America. He also declined to speak about the coverage gap.

Stanley says the coverage gap disturbs him. The church cannot handle the needs of millions of uninsured people alone and should quit taking shots at government involvement, he says. But he adds that it’s not anti-Christian for political leaders in states like Georgia to turn down the Medicaid expansion for the poor.

“If you really want to know how concerned someone is for the poor ask them what percentage of their personal money they give to organizations that help the poor,” he says. “Ask them how much time they give to organizations that help the poor.”

Stanley says it would be difficult for any pastor to talk about the Medicaid expansion without addressing the entire law.

“I tried to imagine a scenario where I urged people to write our governor encouraging him to reconsider his decision regarding the expansion of Medicaid for the poor,” he says. “As I imagined that, I got the feeling that by the time I finished explaining the issue, people’s eyes would be glazed over.”

Pastors who don't preach one way or the other on Medicaid expansion aren't callous or apathetic, says Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. They may be suspicious of a bigger government and skeptical of whether this move will solve the problem.

“The Bible calls on Christians to answer the cries of the poor,” he says. “All Christians must do that. The question of the Medicaid expansion is a question of how we do that. I don’t hear many people arguing that we shouldn’t care about the plight of the poor when it comes to medical care. The question is a genuine debate about the role of the state.”

Moore says some people have a “utopian view” of what state power can accomplish.

“Government programs sometimes encourage dependency, unintentionally break down family structures, and become unsustainable financially,” Moore says.

Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel megachurch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wondered aloud about what he could, and should, say.

Florida, which has the second highest number of people without health insurance behind Texas, has not accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Coy says he hasn’t spoken publicly about poor people missing health coverage in Florida. But he has called the governor to get more information.

“I’m not an activist guy. I don’t tell the government what to do. I am a church guy. I teach the Bible.”

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for the poor, though, Coy says. He grew up in a poor family that couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. His church also spends a large percentage of its budget on serving the poor.

Coy says he is suspicious of large-scale programs that are publicly funded because they are often abused.

“One side of our society is saying, 'We need this,' while on the other side is saying, 'This isn’t fair and isn’t going to work.’ So how should a pastor, who has a heart to help people, respond?”

Why pastors should speak out

The Rev. Shane Stanford’s answer to Coy is simple: Talk about justice for the poor like Jesus did.

Stanford is the senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis and author of “Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants.”

He is also HIV-positive. He was born a hemophiliac and contracted the virus when he was 16 during treatment for his illness.

Stanford says he publicly speaks out about the millions of Americans stranded without health coverage because he knows how it feels. Once, after heart surgery, he was getting a transfusion when a nurse came into the room and pulled the needle out of his arm because she said he had maxed out his health insurance coverage.

He says standing up for people in the coverage gap is a matter of justice.

“Sometimes pastors have to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Stanford ignores fellow pastors who counsel him to be silent about his state and others that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion.

“They say you have to be careful talking about political issues,” he says. “When I look at their lives, part of me thinks they never had that needle yanked out of their arm.”

Conservative pastors who urge their colleagues to avoid politics are hypocrites, says James Cone, a prominent theologian who has spent much of his career writing books condemning white churches for what he says is their indifference to social justice.

“When their own interests are involved, they are very much involved in politics,” Cone says. “Same-sex marriage and abortion – they have no trouble politically opposing them.”

Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says a nation is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable members. But there is an entrenched hostility to poor people in America that goes unchallenged by some white, conservative Christians, he says.

“When poor people get food stamps, they get mad,” Cone says. “When the rich and corporations get tax breaks and pay no taxes, they don’t say anything.”

McDonald, the pastor who spoke out on behalf of poor people from his Atlanta church, says Jesus provided universal health care. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing marginalized people.

“He did it for free,” McDonald says of Jesus’ healing. “The reason the crowds gathered around Jesus primarily was for healing. People want wholeness.”

Perhaps the gap between Bible Belt pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor and those who do is also rooted in history. 

Conservative Christians have traditionally emphasized providing charity to the poor - soup kitchens, donations to impoverished people in undeveloped countries - while progressive Christians have blended charity with calls for public policy changes that help the poor.

The distinction between both approaches was distilled by a memorable quote from the late Brazilian Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara, who said: "When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist."

That may be changing as a new generation of evangelicals rise in the Bible Belt and elsewhere. One minister who speaks to them is the Rev. Timothy Keller, a conservative Christian author who pastors a megachurch in New York.

Keller is the author of “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just,” a popular book that argues that evangelicals should do more than preach personal salvation; they must “speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” He is a role model for many younger evangelicals.

“God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice.’ ’’

CNN.com recently contacted Keller to see if he would talk about "Generous Justice" and how it might apply to health care and the poor. Did he think pastors in Bible Belt states should say anything publicly on behalf of poor people being denied basic medical insurance? His publicist said she would contact Keller with the request.

Several days later, she returned with Keller’s answer.

He had no comment. 

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • Ethics • evangelicals • Fundamentalism • Politics • Poverty

soundoff (3,619 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    Hmm.. Aren't all Americans covered by default anyways? Just walk into any hospital and I believe you're good. It's really quite amazing that CNN happened to write an article on the one Christian pastor that supports the ACA. Why are other Christian leaders being singled out for simply not sharing the same view/angle? Political Bias CNN?

    November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • davessworks

      Go for it – I dare you. See what standard of care you receive and see what debt collection agencies you have to deal with. I'm sure you'll just love it.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Did you read the article?? ?? A woman discussed in the article works for Chik-Fil-A making $9 an hour, and is not covered by her employer. She has $20,000 in medical bills because she has to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM when she's sick because she has no health insurance. That's more than she makes in a year, before taxes.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Dalton

        And why is she going to the emergency room, instead of a clinic? It makes absolutely no sense to go to an emergency room, which charges more, just because you're sick.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • davessworks

          Because only Emergency Rooms are required to provide care and cannot turn a patient away based on lack of insurance coverage.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Jennifer

          Have you tried to go to a doctor's office without either a health insurance card and copay in hand or the full amount of the bill ready to pay before you can even see the doctor? The ignorance of our broken health care system is astounding, but then I'm willing to bet that you have an insurance card and couldn't care less about someone who doesn't.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Steve8271

      This is probably the most ignorant post I've seen on this article that didn't outright disparage one side or the other.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Truth

      Ryan, Get REAL – stop with the talking points and look at real people who have to try and manage often complicated conditions without resources.

      My daughter has epilepsy. She was recently admitted to the hospital for 4 days due to seizure activity – she is 25 and will age off our policy next year. That 4 day stay without insurance would have cost her $32,000! This event was brought on due to a low grade infection she had in a tooth! She can go to the ER for an event after the fact but she can not get the much needed maintenance drugs from the hospital. Those drugs without insurance cost more than what most people pay in rent/mortgage each month and she will go untreated. When she goes untreated she can not work, she can not drive and has a hard time caring for her child. It also puts a burden on her husband who has to work close enough to their home and be able to leave without notice when she does seize.

      BTW – In my daughters case, they are moving to another state in order to get coverage, and I'm paying for that move. It means that I will not see my granddaughter grow up, we'll not have family Sunday dinners and trips to DQ. PLEASE educate yourself and stop talking down to others.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • davessworks

        Thank you Truth, and my best wishes to you and your daughter. It's about time some of these ignorant "holier than thou:" Pharisees got an education.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  2. Peter A

    "As you have done it not to the least of these my brothers, you have done it not to me.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Ivan Bial

    Joel Osteen, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr are frauds who only are interested in money and power.
    The gullible ply them with money and gifts.
    They represent everything that’s wrong with religion.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  4. John

    This article is incorrect . . . the largest church in America is the Catholic Church with over 78 Million Members. There are also over 630 Catholic Hospitals in the United States (about 11% of all hospitals).

    Catholic Hospitals treat 16 Million + Emergency Room Visits each year and have about 90 Million Outpatient Visits each year. In the past decade, about 85% of patents that went to Catholic Hospitals were covered by private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or pay cash with ABOUT 15% BEING TREATED FOR FREE.

    The Catholic Church was an early supporter for “ObamaCare”. However, contrary to what is being said, Insurance Companies and Pharmaceuticals will see their Revenue and Profits as the Affordable Care Act is implemented while compensation to Hospitals and Doctors will go down. What this means is that Hospitals will consolidate and it will be harder for poor people to get FREE service that they received from Catholic Hospitals in the past. Doctors that provide Pro Bono Service will be reduced dramatically and as their incomes decrease (they breakeven on MediCare Patients and lose money on Medicaid Patients) we will see fewer and fewer Doctors.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Lauren R.

    Any of these people can get insurance. They just have to buy it, like most people. And thanks to Obamacare, the price has gone up dramatically and the variety of plans and prices have diminished. The problem with Obamacare isn't the website, it's Obamacare itself.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  6. jenni

    Please do not put the blame on Christians for this mess with Obamacare, Christians did not create this our government did . As for the poor some are poor because that's what they choose to be. My husband and myself have worked 4 jobs between the both of us to make ends meet . What is sad about obamacare for us is that it cost us out the ying yang just to have it , and penalized if we do not. So its a no win situation for the working class and the poor. It just isn't a good plan al together. Do not put any blame on pastors.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • mojo

      "As for the poor some are poor because that's what they choose to be."... You said it all right there. Religion does not do anything for the poor, the helpless and the disabled. I get sick to my stomach when I hear people like you stand up righteously and say "Screw the poor", that is their lot in life. If you were a true follower of Christ, you would do anything in your power to help those less fortunate and demand that society take care of these forgotten souls. But that will never happen because today's religions are all about themselves.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Jacob

        That's not even remotely close to what this person was saying. And furthermore, if you yourself are not a follower of the Christian faith, you have no grounds to tell someone how a Christian is supposed to be.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Truth

      Jenni, I don't blame the pastors for not speak up for this program. They couldn't because they would lose their own jobs in the process. What I don't understand is the back lash against a single payer system from most Christians. That is what the faithful should be working toward. IF the church can not care for the sick as Jesus states, then the church should help find a solution. All that's said from most pulpits is "That's Socialism and we can't have that in America!"

      I have 2 children with disabilities. My son will always be dependent on us. My daughter, who has epilepsy, can not work because of a medical condition that can be treated if you can afford the medications. That was not her choice as you seem to think – because that medical condition is what keeps her poor.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  7. Jacob

    Yet another one-sided article based soley in a deep-seeded hatred of the South and Christianity. Yes there is a coverage gap but let's think about it a second...Coverage through the ACA is not free. Not for you, not for me, not for anybody. The hard truth is that we're talking about less than 2% of the population. Furthermore, of that 2%, the majority struggles to buy themselves food each week. They do not have any disposable income and if they have to choose between food and health insurance, food will win everytime.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Truth

      Jacob,

      My daughter has epilepsy. She was recently admitted to the hospital for 4 days due to seizure activity – she is 25 and will age off our policy next year. That 4 day stay without insurance would have cost her $32,000! This event was brought on due to a low grade infection she had in a tooth! She can go to the ER for an event after the fact but she can not get the much needed maintenance drugs from the hospital. Those drugs without insurance cost more than what most people pay in rent/mortgage each month and she will go untreated. When she goes untreated she can not work, she can not drive and has a hard time caring for her child. It also puts a burden on her husband who has to work close enough to their home and be able to leave without notice when she does seize.

      They are the working poor! You know they would pay for insurance over eating to give her some measure of a quality life. They can get food from a food bank, they could visit soup kitchens. I'll even wire them money when needed. Would they like that they may have to fall to that lowest level and have people like yourself look down on them? Not a chance – but they have NO OTHER OPTION!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  8. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this article Mr. Blake. This sorely needs to be publicly discussed.

    I've lived in the southeast, in the bible belt, my entire life, and I can tell you that assertions that Pastors here don't want to discuss politics from the pulpit for fear of alienating people is just plain incorrect (trying not to use a stronger word than that). Pastors here have been telling people that they must vote for Republicans to vote against evil since Bush II first ran for President in 1999. These pastors you have interviewed are, uhum, pulling your leg.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  9. withinthecity

    Why are those in the Bible Belt being singled out here? Are there uninsured families and people elsewhere?

    I imagine that the main reason Pastors are not speaking out about this is because they are trying to keep the big thing the big thing, that being Jesus.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • davessworks

      Geez – I wonder . . . . Maybe because there's a direct correlation with those states and whether or not they've got on board the ACA? Could it be??

      November 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  10. Phattee

    "Why aren't Bible Belt pastors speaking out about the millions of uninsured poor left behind in their states?"

    Because the Christian conservative movement is a sham where people driven by greed can exploit the ignorance and desperation of those looking for answers.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  11. lunchbreaker

    This may be a little off topic, but I was just thinking of a philosophical question:

    What is the difference between using tax dollars to pay military or law enforcement to protect lives and using tax dollars to pay a doctor to save lives?

    November 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Not much but providing health care for citizens isn't half as S3xy as rolling into other countries (some completely innocent) and blowing thousands away.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • SgtRock101

      Our egos and arrogance.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Bobbo

    The real problem is the church isn't acting like the church that Jesus represented. We are to be laying our hands on the sick and making them well. That also requires a willing participant in order to do so. Jesus didn't rely on the government for anything else but to condemn Him to death. The government has gotten involved in people's health because the church stopped doing so.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  13. billgerat

    I can understand preachers, such as the Rev. Phil Wages, and churches being concerned about speaking for the government to care for the poor (“I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor...Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.”), but my question here is to them: John 8. When the adulterous woman was brought before Him, he said, "He who has not sinned cast the first stone". From that whole passage of John:8 we can essentially infer that we should forgive the sinner because all sin, yet still hate the sin. But what if John hadn't wrote of this act? Could we then say that because Jesus never spoke about stoning a woman for the sin of adultery that it would be ok to do so?
    We know that Christ spoke a lot about taking care of the poor, and commanded the Church and the Apostles to do so, but just because he never specifically called on the government to do it, why, when the government has the resources and means to do so, would it be wrong for the government to help the poor too along with the Church? This is the mote in Rev. Phil Wages's eye. To say that just because Christ didn't specifically call on the government to help the poor that it is wrong to ask them to is a sin of omission. Christ called on ALL to help the poor, and government is made up of people just like you and I. So why shouldn't government be allowed to help, and why don't these preachers look into their hearts and see this?

    November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  14. My Bible Says

    My Bible says, " GOD shall supply ALL my needs, according to His riches in Glory, by CHRIST JESUS !"

    Ph 4:19

    It doesn't say, Obama or the US government or my State government will supply all my needs.

    This preacher needs a Bible lesson on GOD's provisions for his people.

    Amen.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • davessworks

      Oh goodie – so basically what you're saying is that it's just fine to let millions fall between the gap because God will look after them. How's that working out then? Are you gonig to take care of them?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • My Bible Says

        Yes, God will help those who help themselves.

        Hand up. Not hand out.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
        • CheckOutThisGuy

          Definitely not in the Bible

          November 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • RealTime

      Are you suggesting that Jesus sells health insurance?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • My Bible Says

        No, are you suggesting Obama or AHCA can perform miracles?

        You are trusting the wrong one. Trust in the Lord! Only!

        Obama is not, repeat, not the Messiah.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Truth

      What does your bible say about my daughters epilepsy? What does it says about not having insurance and going untreated from 18 to 22 when the ACA allowed her back on my PERSONAL insurance policy? What does your bible say about her being unable to work or care for her daughter because she'll age off my policy again next year and not be able to afford her medications? We're in FL.

      Tell me why GOD has not healed her? Tell me why you feel she doesn't deserve a quality of life that is available if you have insurance? What did she do to deserve this punishment from God? Why do you think God is OK with you and other Christians not only turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, but being openly hostile in their seeking the very medications God gave man wisdom to create. I'm OVER the churches views on this and if you are right and there is a judgment day you will ALL HAVE A LOT TO ANSWER FOR.

      Did it ever occur to you that maybe the ACA or some form of Universal Health Care is Gods answer and you are to selfish to acknowledge it... Is it OK for you to speak for God through your personal interpolations of his "word"?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • My Bible Says

        I am a Prostate Cancer survivor, and never found God lacking in providing for my needs during the most horrible times.

        No one can answer your questions this side of heaven.

        Besides, I do hope you don't give up on God.

        As for government controlling 1/6 of the economy and hasn't run a success government program yet, don't trust them and don't believe them. Lying to you and Galloway Americans.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  15. rick1216

    Amazing that we want to look at the church and pastors to speak out on this , yet want them to be silent in our schools and in public. True for the most part the Bible Belt states rejected the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. But you fail to address primarily why they did. The Bible Belt is among the poorest states in the country. They already struggle to meet the matching funds required to support those currently on Medicaid and meet their other responsibilities. No true Christian can deny the need for Universal Health Care. But funding it is impossible under our current tax system because it places a continued increase on those who can least with stand another increase in their tax burden. Fix the tax system first, make it fair for all then there would be money to pay for expanded healthcare. Having a program this size without the proper funding was at the least very short sided. Fix this the Church can carry out the work that Jesus instructed us to.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • SadlySensible

      So how much increase in taxes does the public pay for someone who has a $20,000 emergency room visit and cannot afford to pay it? That's just for ONE person. What about all the people who use the ER as their default medical coverage and go only when they are critically ill instead of being able to take care of it as preventive medicine when it would cost so much less? Do their ER visits cost the taxpayers anything? You know they do and so much more than if they could have it taken care of before it got so bad.

      Why aren't more people looking into number comparisons for this instead of complaining that Obamacare will cost them money?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • SgtRock101

      They struggle to tax the rich in their states. Shameful.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  16. stephen douglas

    You better believe they won't take a political stand and risk those "dollars for Jesus" coming in from their wealthiest supporters.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  17. milopup09

    It's really ironic that Republicans are up in arms over people being dropped because their substandard health insurance plans don't meet the new ACA standards for basic coverage are discontinued, but NONE of these same people were upset that millions of their fellow Americans had no hope of health insurance coverage prior to the ACA.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Dalton

      Sub-standard plans? But aren't these the same plans that Obama PROMISED people they could keep?

      And I'm not so sure was was "sub-standard" about these plans. I do know that my current plan, which now meets the ACA standards, cost more in premiums, has substantially higher deductibles, and has eliminated co-pays. So explain to me exactly how my old plan was "sub-standard" compared to my new plan....

      November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  18. Mara Williams

    When Max Lucado can conduct a 40-day Prayer Vigil to 'heal our country' during the 2012 election and encourage everyone to pray even though 'neither of the nominees share their faith', he can't claim being above politics! http://www.brookfieldnow.com/blogs/communityblogs/171802311.html

    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  19. NYVeteran

    In the King James version of the Bible the poor are mentioned 191 times. Abortion and Gay Marriage are not mentioned once. Every year at election time, catholic bishops threaten to excommunicate democratic politicians who support abortion. No one speaks up for cutting food stamps. The GOP stops caring after the fetus stage. Your Jesus said, whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. Contemplate that while sitting self righteously in the front pew and remember the parable of the rich man and the eye of the needle. Every hypocrite will have his day.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • SgtRock101

      I support you brother. But the eye of the needle comment you refer too causes confusion. The eye of the needle is not referring to a seamstress' needle – it is a gate into Jerusalem. The gate is extremely narrow and difficult to navigate, especially for a beast of burden laden with products. However, it is possible. The analogy as presented by you completely excludes any person of wealth. Whereas the gate analogy presents a difficult path to salvation for the rich, but not an impossible one.

      I offer one example from WW2 – the NAZI businessman Schindler. He gave up his wealth and used his position to save thousands of Jews from death. He lived in virtual poverty the remainder of his life. I have no doubt in my heart that he is in heaven because he went thru "the eye of the needle".

      November 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  20. stephanurus

    Too many of the preachers are racists, like their congregations. They are more interested in bashing Obama than in helping him help their congregations.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.