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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. TELew

    Now who was it that said "It is harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle/"

    Oh well. I guess it doesn't have anything to do with this conversation.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Well it's a good thing Heaven doesn't exist 'cause I loves me some money.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  2. David

    Because Bible Belt pastors are the biggest shysters, hucksters, phonies, bigots, hatemongers (shall I go on?) that walk the face of this earth. May there be a special place in hell for them!

    November 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      Matthew 7:21-23 explains what will happen to them;

      21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

      November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  3. Ambroshia Hunter-Perry

    I agree this is a very sensitive topic and understand why many Pastors in these states are silent. I am with a company that is offering some hope to persons who will remain uncovered because of reasons outlined in this article. The name of my Agency is wesharehealthcare.com/ambroshia Here we share some terrific solutions for Americans who will need some type of health care service while providing solutions to people and employers. We offer an affordable Tele-Medicine product that is national and meets the non-urgent needs of all Americans.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  4. Petra

    The end of the "feeding the 5000" story needs to be taught. After feeding the crowd that day, Jesus left the crowd by crossing the sea of Galilee. The crowd walked around the sea the next day seeking more free food and wanted to crown their new bread maker. Jesus refused to continue his welfare program. There is a huge difference between promoting welfare and helping the poor who cannot work. The type of help the democratic party is pushing is welfare for votes, not charity for those in real need.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Without refractive darkness can one not see the lit reflectiveness..?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Ed

      Absolutely... You can't twist scripture to suit needs, somebody always knows it better than you.

      On the otherhand, to reinforce your point, the picture included in this article is of a poor person sleeping on a bench in broad daylight. Not someone working hard and scraping a living... Someone just sleeping, and expecting out charity.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • kardiac

        Ed, Could for a moment think that the man who is sleeping on the bench has more issues than wanting a hand out. The picture does not show a person very successful at getting things for free. I imagine there are some mental health issues too.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Bob

    As usual, the Rev can't deliver on a damn thing, other than getting money into his collection plate.

    His "loving, caring god" apparently just lets millions of innocent people, kids even, die suffering deaths from horrid diseases that he would actually be responsible for. No healthcare from god whatsoever, so Obamacare is actually doing better than god, although that's easy since Christian god does not exist.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Petra

      Fibonacci sequence...pretty cool order to our universe.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  6. Jim

    Is ours a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." The religious right comments here assert that the government is something else, and that it is not the "government's" responsibility to care for the poor. But the government IS the citizenry!

    November 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      If you want to help poor people, go ahead. Just keep your hands out of my pocket when you're doing it.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • rob

        and leave yours out of mine when giving to the rich.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Agreed.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Pecos Pete

        No, how about we put you up against a wall and shoot you for treason? Or put you in prison for tax fraud and evasion?
        How about you shut up and pay your share of taxes and we'll try to forget your little disgusting rant there....

        November 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          How about you suck my balls?

          November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  7. gager

    Not everybody wants health insurance. Health insurance is a relatively new concept in our culture. Don't force people to take what they don't want.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Felon Rome

      Lol. I tired of paying for your medical bills, slacker.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Doc

      As a physician and patient, I must say...

      That is either a profoundly ignorant statement, or just plain crazy talk.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Look at all the religitards come to play

      Hey, numbnuts, if you want to refuse all medical treatment that is your right.
      You don't have the right to refuse to follow the law, though, so I guess you'll have to strain that tiny brain of yours and realize that when you pay taxes, it goes towards helping you in other ways, not just medical care.
      Without a government, no one will protect you from a crazed gunman, so I guess you want to get shot, eh?
      Oh, is your church going to start patrolling your neighborhood just to protect you? No? I guess you're just full of crap, then.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • RobertB

        Actually, it's quite clear that the government will not protect you from the crazed gunman. Actually, it's quite clear from CO, CT and DC that the government will withhold the very medical information necessary to keep guns out of the hands of crazed gunmen. The police will very kindly show up after the rampage is over. The only person who can stop a crazed gunman is a sane gunman.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  8. Nic_Driver

    Taking care of the poor is every Christian's concern.

    This article really puts truth to Gandhi's quote, "I like your Christ I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".

    Christians should strive to be more Christ-like and worry less about the politics involved.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • western man

      Not Christian, you can feed them.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • tallulah13

        I'm not a christian, either. I'm just a human being. I would rather my tax dollars go to helping my fellow American citizens when they are in need than going to other things, like corporate welfare.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  9. withanh2

    Again, main stream liberal media diverting blame from our supreme leader and his adminstration to anyone that they can. This is squarely on the shoulders of this administration...mot bush, not the states, not the congress, but on THis administration.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      Please explain how Obama is denying the poor in these states access to healthcare, as is the point of this article.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • KindaSorta

      The supreme court left it up to the states to decide if the they wanted increase their medicaid enrolls. The supreme court has more republicans.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  10. western man

    Where is a state supposed to get the money to increase medicaid?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Felon Rome

      Duh. The Feds provide that. After 2 years, the Feds provide 90%.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Phil D

        The fed doesn't provide that. Tax payers pay that.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Michael

        Conservatives are so misinformed. Some guy just asked "Where will the states get the money to expand Medicaid?" - wow, he definitely watches fox!

        November 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  11. cher68

    This article just kills me. Either you want churches involved in government or you don't. Make up your mind! Its not the churches responsibility to provide health care to the masses. You people have just sucked to a new low.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Bob

      My thoughts exactly. CNN pushes a very unbiblical agenda, yet suddenly wants churches involved in a very political issue. Since the author already has his position decided, why would these pastors want to subject themselves to his abuse. And if the took time to look at the numbers he would know that most churches are not "mega", but less than 200 people. Also, people are continuing to flock to the south, so maybe it's good down here anyway.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • kardiac

        Bob, Bob, Bob...the point of the article isn't to get churches involved in giving charity, God forbid, it is questioning why the churches are not promoting this way to help more people. If that doesn't work why are some churches actively trying to block the ACA?

        November 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • bob

          "it is questioning why the churches are not promoting this way to help more people"
          seriously?? why dont churches promote Obamacare????? sigh

          November 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  12. Ludwig

    The Author of this article doesn't understand Obama Care and how it works. His understandings of the workings of the law are false and therefore this whole article is ridiculous. Please stop blaming the people that tried to save you from this monstrosity for the situation you are in now getting exactly what you were warned about but supported anyway......

    November 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I suspect the author understands Obamacare better than you do. He probably didn't get his information from conservative radio pundits.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • Bob

        You forgot to use the words "fox/faux" or "tea something" to show you cannot debate a point without jumping into stereotypes.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  13. Rob

    I have to break the news to you lefties. I am pretty sure that Jesus would condemn Obamacare and insurance in general.

    Insurance is gambling. It is nothing less than a game of chance. With the premium that you pay, you are betting that you will get sick. The insurance company which takes your payment, on the other hand, is betting that you will not get sick.

    If you do not get sick and thus do not use the insurance, then the insurance company wins its bet and gets to keep the premiums that you paid as profit. If you do get sick, then you win your bet and the insurance company pays a portion of the bill.

    Insurance is just old-fashioned gambling. It is a casino game cleaned and made palatable to people who would otherwise not gamble.

    I am pretty sure that Jesus would not approve of gambling in this way. Remember, as with any form of gambling, the house always wins.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • QS

      Good thing we don't base policy in this country on what "Jesus" would approve or condemn then, huh?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bobbo

      He said "Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven…" not seek first your government.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Hope this helps

      Is it gambling or is it putting away money for a rainy day?

      One is wisdom, now I think that Insurance companies should not be for profit for that causes a conflict of interest.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • pure risk vs speculative risk

      Insurance is not gambling. Gambling is speculative risk. Meaning, there is a chance for loss, no loss, or gain. Insurance, from the standpoint of the insured, is pure risk. You have either loss or no loss. There is no chance for a gain. The purpose of insurance is to indemnify the policyholder to their condition as it was before the loss. It's not for the policyholder to make a gain.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Keeth

    Angry Atheists obsessed with Christian Pastors. Focused on their income and residence. This is awesome. I love watching folks obsess over stuff that's none of their business and of no concern to them.
    I wonder what else we could train the sheeple to do. I wonder if we could lie to them 36 times and they'll just roll over...and play dead?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • QS

      You are not the sharpest tool in the shed....but a tool nonetheless.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • FuriousGeorge

        Umm, what?

        That doesn't even make any sense

        November 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
        • QS

          It does if you go back and read the rest of Keeth's comments that make even less sense than this one.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  15. RA

    Another preacher preaching modern day politics instead of biblical truth...so sad.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  16. RIck C.

    Jesus provided universal health care. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing marginalized people.

    He did it for free.

    Why can't we?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No health care system should be based on hippy carpenters who claim to have magic powers.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Pub

        You just won the Internet.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Thanks, I try my best.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Joe

        Then why are the rest of our laws based on what he said?

        November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          No they aren't.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bobbo

      We can and do. All who are thirsty come and drink.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Buck

    "Florida, which has the second highest number of people without health insurance behind Texas, has not accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion."
    This statement is not true. California has 6.7 million uninsured. Texas 5.8 million, and Florida 3.9 million (as of August 2013). The next states, by number of uninsured are Georgia (1.9), Illinois (1.7), North Carolina (1.5), Ohio (1.4) and Pennsylvania (1.3).
    Please check your facts.

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

      uninsured does not equal poor uninsured. recheck the facts and get back to us.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Michael

      So you must have NO insurance...So, you're a person who would rather go to the emergency room and cost the hospital bill to be 10X more than it would cost to have Obamacare...oh, I see.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  18. Jeff

    The bottom-line: those ministers (Osteen, Jakes, etc) who refuse to speak out do so for a basic reason – they are not poor and they won't jeopardize that. With Biblical verse being so clear about Christian concern for the poor and oppressed, those ministers are not just hypocrites, they are cowards. Period.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  19. Keeth

    Atheists crawling to the church for help with their imploding obamacare. This is too much fun to watch.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      What atheists?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Felon Rome

      No, that would be the good Christian's plan to let the poor rot. Get it right, O Child Left Behind.

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

      I'm sorry...did I miss something? What atheists?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  20. ptpw

    Its fantastic that you're willing to throw Christians/pastors under the bus, but are also just not willing to speak out in criticism about obamacare and the problems its creating. Are you aware that those who fit in slightly above what's classified as "poor" can now no longer afford premiums which for a great deal of people has now nearly doubled. As for churches and the poor, who are the ones running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, ect.. scan your volunteers there, a majority are of faith. Don't preach against those you have no idea about.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • QS

      False.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Felon Rome

      So tell your stupid red state gobs to expand Medicare, designed to take care of that exact problem.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • bob

        der'
        tell your stupid blue state nazi's to come up with a program that is 1- sustainable 2- doesn't rely on a healthy demographic that obviously doesn't want to participate (look at the numbers enrolled) 3- not sold by blatant lies that ended up hurting more than it will ever help (not opinion. look at the friggin numbers)

        November 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ben

      Ah, yes, soup kitchens and charities. Nice captive audiences that have to sit through judgmental preaching before they get their Christian charity. Maybe these churches are just a little afraid that Obamacare will lead too many people out of the kind of poverty and desperation that they depend upon? Hell, Obamacare might just improve people's lot enough to free up whole pews. Without poverty and desperation who needs the Church?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • ptpw

        Clearly you're one of those who speaks without knowing, have you ever stepped inside a soup kitchen or food bank? No one is forced to sit through any preaching at all, there are no sermons before a meal, just kindness and food. Ignorance is no excuse, please educate yourself before sounding off.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:38 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.