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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. KC Yankee

    Another classic example of how the very people who are most damaged by Republican policies are tricked, by speeches about moral values and flag-waving, into voting for the people who do not care about them.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  2. dan

    This article doesn't a lot of these mega church pastors are hypocrites to the 10th degree. As long as their millions in profits keep rollin' in while preaching "the word" of the lawd. They're just fine! They're beyond nauseating!

    November 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  3. Unroolio the Comptonian

    What a surprise, the Bible Belt states voted against ACA and are now suffering. If it wasn't for oil in some of these states and the importing of skilled labor, these regions would be finished. The most obese, low education levels of anyplace in the country are found right there in the Bible Belt. Perhaps a lack of healthcare would thin out this fat ignorant herd.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  4. Chris

    This is a stupid and pointless article. Liberals are constantly screaming to separate church and state...except for some reason in this article. The affordable care act is a political issue with mostly left leaning ideals and no pastor should push his political views on anyone. I thought that was something I agreed with liberals on...but I guess not when there is an agenda being played out. I can almost guarantee that all of the pastors in this article do more for "the least of these" than the writer of this article or any of the people using this made up "scandal" to bash Christianity. (By the way Al Gore only gave about $350 to charity his last year as VP while Dick Cheney gave almost 70% of his income to charity his last year...just thought people should know). I do, however, agree that the Joel Osteen types probably should not keep as much of their income as they do but it is not a sin to be wealthy despite what those on the left would have u believe. I also think it is funny how people readily call Christians hypocrites when most Christians really are just trying to do the right thing (which is more than I can say for most of the US) yet will either defend or turn a blind eye to a president and a government that lies, manipulates and demonizes anyone with a differing opinion every chance they get. And as for Robert saying Christians are living in the past and only use their feelings and beliefs instead of thinking strictly scientifically (because we all know science is never wrong...right?), I would put my bachelors degree in Aerospace engineering and masters degree in mechanical engineering up against your apparently "high intelligence" any day sir. People like to say that Christians are intolerant but I say those people need to stop criticizing those who might actually be trying to help, even if it isn't the way you want to do it, and maybe try to work together instead to fix this problem that obviously neither side has a good solution to.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • hrdwrknjoe

      Liar!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Chris

        I am not

        November 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • QS

      Left-leaning ideals? You do realize the ACA was originally a conservative idea, don't you?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
      • Chris

        People keep saying that but socialism is not a conservative idea no matter who thought of it first. ACA was passed without even one republican on board.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • JCL

          The ACA is also not even close to socialism.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • David

          Explain ACA's similarity to Romneycare. Or were you so worried about the Kenyan Socialist that you neglected to remember the guy who hopes to have his own planet someday?

          November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It is not a crime to be wealthy, however christians claim that one of their tenets is to help the poor. I'm sure Joel doesn't need multiple residences and luxury cars. Don't you think it hypocritical that preachers in such a religion not only maintain a luxury lifestyle for themselves but actively impede those who want to help the poor?

      November 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  5. ikenelson

    Obama's Ministry of Truth (CNN) puts out another propaganda piece to try and deflect the disaster of Obamacare somewhere else.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • QS

      Conservatives' Ministry of Lies posts another hyperbolic comment to try to convince people that the ACA is a disaster to deflect attention away from the very real collapse of their entire party's philosophy.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • Chris

        I don't think most people have to be "convinced" of the disaster that is the ACA. It is now a joke to most of the country.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • David

          Nor do people have to be convinced of the heartless nature of the Tea Party and their quasi racist hateful minions all paid for by corporations extracting subsidies from the government while they convince you the poor are the problem here

          November 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Samuel Jackson

      Good motherf&!in choice, motha f$!cka!!!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      CNN has always been a government propaganda machine.
      During the 1st Gulf War, I was at HQEUCOM in Stuttgart and we had one english TV station – AFN (The Armed Forces Network). Can you guess which station's news they broadcast each day?
      What is particularly funny is that they were trying to sell half-truths, misdirections and (sometimes) outright lies to the people who actually were in theatre, doing to fighting....

      November 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  6. Cindy

    If I live in a State that will not extend Medicaid and I have income just below the poverty line for example 11,000.00 I would still owe taxes based on 2012 tables. 11,000 – 3,800 – 5,950 = 1,250 taxable income, which I would owe 125.00 in taxes, then I would be fined in 2014 for not having health insurance. So I can't get Medicaid and I can't get the subsidies too even make it more affordable because I am below the poverty line, but I will be the one who is being fined. The poor will be without health care and still be fined without any options. I call that not a well thought out a bill, President Obama. Thanks for nothing and I play on sending you the fine and if you care so much about the poor, maybe you should pay it.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • K-switch

      How do you afford the internet?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • TheGrimJester

        Ever heard of the library? I am guessing not.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • J

      People at that income level will be exempt from fines. And the whole reason the coverage gap exists in the first place is state governments deciding to put politics over the welfare of their people. These problems wouldn't exist in the first place if they had accepted Medicaid expansion.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
      • Cindy

        Single is 10,000.00 or less income will not be fined, If you make between 10,000 and the up to the level of qualification you get fined, but still don't qualify for the subsidy.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • QS

      Based on the grammar errors in your post, I would guess that you may not have the reading comprehension necessary to understand that the bill was in fact well thought-out....it's just that conservatives wanted it to fail so they found a way to "opt out" where they shouldn't have been able to.

      If there was one mistake made by Obama and his administration in this regard, is what that they should have made it mandatory that all states participate as that was the only way this new system was going to work.

      But have no fear, inevitably people will start to get past the conservative misinformation machine and realize their own state is the one f-ing them over, not Obama.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • JCL

      Your state decided to screw you over, Cindy. They didn't even have that option until the supreme court gave it to them.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  7. Linda H.

    "Freedom of Speech" We are all equal under God."
    YES, the pastors especially... needs to speak up for the people....specially the poor.
    Pastors, you know you are chosen ...do the work God placed before you...the path will be challenging and the good Lord testing..... please do not let satin win scaring you back from speaking up for the people. You can save...YOU WILL SAVE.
    All Pastors unite together with God!

    November 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  8. Steve 22

    Bible belt pastors are too busy worrying about their church sponsored houses, boats , airplanes and vacations to care, Lets face it poor people don't contribute to any of that stuff. The pastors want high rollers bringing in the money and will do whatever it takes to bring them through the doors and that includes bringing in the a little bit of the world to make it more attractive. In a lot of churches you can expect a secular music mix and a motivational speech, in some churches not all.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Bryan

    The South is such a drag on the rest of the country .... can't we just declare the results of civil war invalid, spin those ignorant losers off, and go our own way....the rest of us would be so much better off.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  10. bppack

    Why would anybody be surprised at this? These guys are all about making money. If they anger their conservative base, they might end up in the coverage gap themselves.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Samuel Jackson

    I've had 3 comments that I tried to post that were never posted...too bad because they were awesome comments.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  12. afnmvet

    This is exactly why churches should pay taxes like all others.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  13. Mark

    What a surprise! Religious organization are very passionate about things such as enlarging their congregations, but end up faltering when it comes to social consciousness. Do you remember all those churches who came together and fought during the holocaust? Yea. Me, either.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Samuel Jackson

      Hold on to your butts!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  14. Angela

    I'm glad to finally see someone writing on the 'coverage gap' caused by the refusal of the Medicaid expansion. (quote:" 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.") However, there is another gap, that of the people in states with extremely restricted Medicaid (such as North Carolina) where simply being poor isn't enough, you have to be poor and a senior, or poor and a family with children (the childless poor do not qualify).

    November 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • no.thank.you

      This is true in my state as well...but I think that the program is written with the expectation that if they are single, childless, not disabled, and old enough not to be covered by their parent's insurance you should be doing more to where you can afford insurance and its not the government's fault they can't afford it.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  15. GOPnightmare

    What's really interesting about this is that the Moral Elite Tea Party/Conservative Republicans are so hypercritical with there we are a christian nation line they have forgotten the teachings of Christ. There quick to pass moral judgement on anyone that is not them....all they seem to care about is using God to push there agenda. If they were true Christians they would figure out a way to fix Obama care so it covers even the lowest of the low. Until then I think they should drop there moral agenda.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Tim jones

    Jesus asked if he would find love. If we love our neighbor we would pick him out of the ditch, take him to the inn, and pay for his care. Have most of these pastors lost the love of Jesus? My sixteen year old daughter thinks that most Christians have lost the Love of God in their life. I pray that it is not so.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • anon

      I'm afraid she is right. The vast majority of Christians are spiritually weak, sick, and spindly. They don't have even a small fraction of the strength it takes to turn this country around, and usher in a massive revival, which is the ONLY thing that will save us. People are looking for recovery, and change in all the wrong places, yet when someone tells them the only place where it can be gotten, they are blasted, and ridiculed beyond belief.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Topher

      Yes, but paying for his care shouldn't be a requirement of the government. We Christians should be doing it ourselves. But these days the government has to have their hands in everything and thus some of us can't afford to help as much as we'd like.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • JCL

        Then why aren't you doing it?

        November 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  17. Rachel

    CNN will do anything to get the debacle of Obamacare off the front page and instead, focus on something else in order to take the heat off the liar president, Obama.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Mark

      Actually, Rachel, the article points out several mistakes of the administration. The problem you have is that someone is attacking your golden calf.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Jeff

      Kind of seems like this is about Obamacare and is on the front page. I guess I don't understand.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • krankenstein111

      Easy Jezebel, did you read the article? did you understand it? do you love God? then do his work and stop hating. Youre going to hell!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Samuel Jackson

      I am tired of these motherf!$ckin snakes on this mother f$!ckin plane!!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  18. anon

    Since the govt. is now taking over healthcare, then it is now an issue of politics. Pastors shouldn't bring politics in the pulpit, remember? Also, now that it is political, aren't they required to maintain a separation of church and state? I don't think they should say anything about it either. If they do, they will just get blasted, and called all manner of trashy things. If they aren't being allowed to practice their religion in public and TO the public by the left, then WHY pray tell, should they be expected to practice their religion towards the public on THIS issue? Hey, there just doing what so many have harped on them to do, and that is to keep the religion in the church, where it belongs.

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

      I don't think you understand what "Separation of Church and State" means. It applies to the government, not preachers or spiritual leaders.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Since the govt. is now taking over healthcare, then it is now an issue of politics. "

      Were you born tupidjust dropped on your head later in life? The ACA is a huge boon for private health insurance companies who now have millions of new subscribers. No one is being enrolled in "government" insurance but are picking from a variety of private health insurance plans. Try reading the actual law instead of listening to the sycophants on Fox.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Tiffany

      Funny how some of the comments mention the, supposed, separation of church and state. If there is or was truly a separation then the discussion and legislation concerning abortion, gay marriage, etc. would be taken completely off the table. Both sited examples are being wrangled with by the government based on religious principles. Weren't we told not to judge? Seems to me that if you follow the reasoning of the pastors mentioned above that care for the poor should be left to the church then they are doing a horrible job. As for abortion, shouldn't the woman seeking and having an abortion be left to the judgement of the very God the religious "say" they follow? It seems we must accept that the money behind the bigger religions in America have, at the very least, blurred the line between church and state. I suggest that any tax exempt church or religious organization that blatantly supports any politician or political party should have that exemption taken away. Just saying.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mark

      Problem is, by picking and choosing which social issues to battle, they have proven the influence over them. Propaganda takes many forms, and currently, it seems the heralds have been bribed. It is a particularly underhanded and effective technique.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  19. Not Surprised

    This is just another way for CNN to attack us Christians and encourage others to think negatively about the Christian Religion.

    Why should the pastors even bother talking about something so horrible and unworthy as the ACA? All of you have taken God out of everything and now, now you are going to the Church looking for support! After you have attacked the Church on so many different areas in which we believe. This is a new low CNN! Go fly a kite!

    I'm glad they are not talking to you, separation of Church and State. Leave us out of this mess.

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

      I couldn't agree more!! So many bad mouth religion and those who practice it, yet when the poop hits the fan they go running to the religious for prayers or support.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        no, they don't. that's what religious zealots like yourself like to think. and if someone ran to religion when scared, doesn't that just show how illogical people can be when frightened? lol.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • UncleM

        So you don't care abut the poor? American Christians aren't worthy of the name.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      horrible and unworthy?
      people who were turned down because of pre-existing conditions are no longer turned down?
      but that's horrible.
      kids can stay on parent's insurance till 25.
      but that's unworthy?

      or maybe your god can just uninvent sickness?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • joe

      Yes, especially when the ACA forces Christians to go against their belief or be out of business.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • UncleM

        Your beliefs have no place in business. You have no right to withhold benefits from your employees because of your religious delusions.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • cris

      I couldn't agree more. Apparently the bible words "the richer will be richer, and the poor will be poorer" have been forgotten....were have the principles of our country gone? It is NOT the job of the government to take care of our health care!! Are we crazy? especially when the president LIED to pass this through! Hey!! He lied!! take it all back!! what makes anyone think he is going to do different in the future? HE is destroying our country!

      November 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • James

      I have been a christian most of my adult life and have served as a missionary overseas for 10 years. I am ashamed of the gospel of convenient that we are practising. Christianity is not a party religion. Its about serving God, doing and saying what is right not what is political. Lets face it folks whether you like to hear it or not, God is not a republican nor is he a democrat. We are called to help the poor, refusing them health care is not Godly. We should be fighting for the poor regardless of who they are. You may have your disagreements with the president but to condemn somebody to dearth because they can not afford to pay for life! That is not the God I serve. Lets not hide behind the bible, there is no place in the bible that says let the poor suffer if you do not approve of the way they can get help. Since when did we become the judge who decide who should get help and who should not. Lets not blame the media for raising the question perhaps we are not listening and God is using the media as a wake up call.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Mark

      Christians, in this country, have NEVER been the victims. A long list could be compiled showing their roll as the aggressor, though. Just a thought while you are presenting this slanted memory of history.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  20. Common Cent

    Ah redneck conservatism! If you aren't rich, it's the percect political philosophy of the poor and the stupid.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
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About this blog

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.