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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. Candlewick

    When Jesus commanded his followers to care for the sick and the poor, where did he infer a bloated, inefficient, unsustainable government solution? I always assumed he was asking me to give of my own substance, not to volunteer someone else's.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Stone

      Brilliant!!

      November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • IX

      Excuses. Please tell me though, how do you sleep at night knowing that you support denial of health care to children with diabetes, asthma, autism or cancer?

      November 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • Candlewick

        Excuses indeed. Redistributing someone else's wealth to care for the poor isn't an act of charity. But I'm guessing you'll pat yourself of the back anyway.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Pecos Pete

      Give Cesar what is Cesar, he supposedly said while holding up a coin with the emperor's face on it.
      Guess what that means, idiot?
      That means you PAY YOUR TAXES because the MONEY is PART of the GOVERNMENT and they have the right and authority to take it away from you using due process of law.
      LAW, you dimwit.
      Jesus was saying to do earthly things according to earthly authority and heavenly things according to heavenly authority.
      He was advocating the separation of church and state RIGHT FCKING THERE and advocating PAYING TAXES RIGHT FCKING THERE.
      He was saying give the government what it has the right and authority to demand from you.
      Your religion isn't supposed to be geared towards secular issues at all.
      In fact, NOTHING in the bible says how to run a country, how to govern wisely, how to treat all people equally, or how to follow the secular law of Rome – It just says DO IT and shut the fck up about it already you little whine-tit.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  2. jet66250

    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.
    -------–
    Thats a flat out lie.. what part of the Bible are you making up as you go along to prove your point? Please provide chapters and verses of Jesus terminating his welfare program..

    November 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Jesus was a hippy. Like all hippies, he has lofty ideals but he's far too lazy to go through with them. It's obvious that after the feeding of the 5000, Jesus got stoned and ate Cheetos and completely forgot about feeding people the next day.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • kc

      @Petra, I can never understand, how is it that the people that call themselves by the name of the lord, are the first ones to forget the poor, the needy, the hungry. "In that day, may will say, My lord, when did I see you hungry and fed you not? or Naked and clothe you not?" a"And I will say unto them, for whenever you did not do it to these my children, to me you denied it."

      November 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  3. grannaj

    If anyone is truly in need of medical care, they should have it – period (ha). But, those on Medicaid run to the doc/hospital if they have an ingrown toenail. And, they run their kids in for a slight sniffle. Then they get drugs that they pay nothing for, turn around and sell them on the streets or just throw them away. It is a huge and expensive scam. I'm 65 years old and take no meds, rarely see a doctor, and by the way lived with a hernia for years. I take care of myself the old fashioned way, which is something many should learn to do today. Eat right, work and/or exercise, cut off the squawk box and you'll be much better off than expecting a doc or a pill to take care of you.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • rael1964

      Ingrown toenails are no laughing matter.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Steve

      You are an idiot who has no idea what they are talking about.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Steve

        and you should probably see a doctor. Might allow you to live an little bit longer and possibly be a bit happier. Maybe it will allow you to get out and enjoy the world as opposed to spreading your ignorance online.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Sunshine100

    Without the churches' activism back in 1950s and 1960s, it's entirely possible the Civil Rights movement would not have succeeded. We sent money, supported food banks, help to pay for legal involvement, and were a part of the March on Washington. Churches were adamant that social justice would be achieved through religious pressure.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Some churches were.
      Some churches were on exactly the opposite side.
      Wallie Criswell, an extremely popular and influential Baptist Minister famously said "Let them integrate! Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up."

      November 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Ben

        It was the same basic split of churches during the abolition debate, except that the pro-slavery side had the force of scripture far more on their side. Real change comes from society, with liberal churches jumping on the bandwagon before conservative ones.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  5. Ryan

    So the premise is that pastors are being ungodly because they're not judging enough? Do you see the fundamental flaw here John?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      The premise is that Christians should help the poor and societies weak. To sit idly by while healthcare has become available for others but not for their parishioners is not helping the poor or societies weak.

      If their argument is that this should be performed by private charity, they need to start their own insurance company and step up to the plate and provide the benefits they don't want from the state.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • John BlakeCNN

      HI Ryan: The opinion of some of the people I talked to is that pastors have an obligation to be a voice for the poor and defend the poor - publicly. There are some pastors who feel that charity – soup kitchens, donations – is not enough for a massive problem like 48 million americans without health insurance. Christian pastors have to talk about justice for the poor as well. The gospel accounts of Jesus are filled with stories about him reaching out to heal the poor and sick. So if there is help available to the poor and sick in these Bible Belt states, and that help is denied, what should pastors say about it, if anything? That was the question my article was built on.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • No No No

        " The opinion of some of the people I talked to is that pastors have an obligation to be a voice for the poor and defend the poor – publicly. "

        You realize yours is a child's argument, do you not? "My firend said ..."

        Where do you get off calling yourself a journalist?

        November 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Ummmm. . . Just how do you expect a journalist to gather data and opinions for an article? Just use what's on a christian website or in The Babble!

          November 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • Nic_Driver

          Do you disagree with what some have told the author? Do you think religious leaders don't have an obligation to fight for social justice and to be a voice for the weak and poor?

          November 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Venn

      The pastors are pandering to the politics that keep them on top.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  6. George G

    "In the richest nation in world history, it’s contradictory to have millions without health insurance.”

    I have to agree with this...and as a Christian who has been in the South lately (attending some of these good Bible believing churches in rich areas) I feel ashamed about the lack of involvement of most of these pastors! 😦

    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  7. JIM

    OMG, So what if working people cant afford the health care so long as the no loads get it for free. Remember when the church took care of the down and out now that money go's to pay the lawsuits and hush money

    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      Who is getting it for free? What part of "purchase insurance" escaped you?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  8. chuck

    Why has the god of atheists figured out how to feed and heal everyone? Science, why haven't you cured poverty and all diseases?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • chuck is a dumbfsck

      Atheists don't have a god, chuckles. However science has resulted in cures to many diseases, and that is vastly better than Christian god's record in the same department (absolute zero).

      November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • No No No

        You disagree with someone and then call them names?

        Quite an American you are – be proud of yourself.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • chuck

        I see you are quite disturbed. Have you seen a good doctor?

        November 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  9. for The People

    We the people who eat Chorg Ake come here onto you now.

    Ake! for the good health. Ake so to you for the newest health.You can so!

    Try Ake! Ake is best for you for the newest health!

    From us to you for health. Ake! Ake! Ake! Chorg you can do.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z'nourrwringmm.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    FOX News has a lot to answer for!

    November 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      You don't have to watch Fox to spot the BS that is Obamacare.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • rael1964

        You don't have to watch Fox to spot the BS that is Fox. It's all over this website.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Im Sorry Dave - you are an idiot

        The bs that is Obamacare.

        Look kid. You will never have to worry about it. Go ask Mommy for a lollipop.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Watch out Oscar Wilde.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • Im sorry Dave - you are an idiot

          Dont put your Freudian fantasies on me punk.

          Go have a rub with your best mate in the gym shower if you need a hug.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You got it.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  11. freeman

    If you are diagnosed with a catastroophic disease like cancer you will probably die before you get treatment under obamacare. This what happens in the U.K. , many are on a waiting list for months or years before they get treatment
    and die waiting. Remember ,Obamacare only last untill you are 70 ,so don't plan on living past 70.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      You should read a bit more about the ACA, it's not like the system they have on the UK. Private insurance companies are still in charge of our health care uder the ACA.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      Then you get Medicare. Stop the lies. And your treatment doesn't change. Stop the lies. This isn't single payer. Do you know anything about the ACA?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • BS Liar

      #1. When have you ever been to the UK?

      #2. I have yet to hear of ANY ONE PERSON who has died or was near death due to Obamacare – or not even having insurance.

      Stupid People like you should really not attempt to speak for the educated people of America.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      The clue bus left without you. Once you reach 70, you are covered by Medicare, unless the Republicans have their way. Also, do you have personal proof of abandonment by the NHS in England? Or are you going by what Glenn Beck told you?

      November 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • carol

      Where do you get this stuff. It is all nuts and at 70 you are covered by medicare.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Rob Zimmerman

      No Freeman, that's not what happens in GB. I lived there for years, and I know. You should try expanding your horizons beyond Limbaugh.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • A traveler

      That phase of the ACA hasn't started yet. Doesn't seem to stop nitwits (like you) from spouting off on how bad it is even before it starts.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Txsportsman2012

      Freeman – you ever hear of google? You do know its a simple few clicks to search and see your comment is horse pucks right? You can easily see from first diagnosis till seen by a specialist is less than 14 days in the UK.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Sunshine100

      Because ACA is modeled after Massachusetts' health system, judge it not by Great Britain's medical health care system but to MA's health care system.

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

      The "Longer Waiting Line" argument is at it's core unethical. It's saying that people are willing to literally let people die without healthcare so they don't have to wait longer to see the doctor. Its disgusting. And it completely ignores the entire basis of the ACA being geared toward prevention, screening, and early detection of many diseases that, in the current system, are caught late and lead to the exact consequences you are talking about.

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

      Go to rt.com/news/uk-nhs-health-crisis-049 to read anbout the trouble in the UK health care system
      Obamacare is supposed to be modeled after Romneycare , but this will be our fate.
      If you like socialized medicin , move to U.K. or Canada.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  12. Jim

    Wow, I wish reporters would report real news. I cannot see Walter Cronkite reporting crap like this. So, what if pastors do not want to comment on a political subject. I love how the left will gladly blur the line between politics and religion, but not one inch on church and state. Idiots!

    November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • WordUpToo

      How is this politics? Caring for the poor? Not sure you got the gyst of the article.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • chuck

      Poor Dan Rather got caught with his pants down and he got canned and 60 Minutes just got nailed.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  13. FiDazzle

    Andy Stanley, Georgian pastor: "“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.” Sounds like a pastor with a lack of courage to me who's afraid of how people might react. Or he's just not confident in his persuasive skills. But that's OK. As Pope Francis alluded to this week, many clergy lack courage. They're human, after all. Still you gotta try...if you truly believe what you preach.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  14. John Doe

    Quite convenient that this article in no way attempts to explain why these states rejected the medicare expansion... the costs would have been astronomical to these states' taxpayers.

    Plus, I'd love for someone to explain to me the morality behind forced benevolence?

    November 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      The Feds would have funded it 100% the first two years, and 90% thereafter. But since red states are federal money suckers, it would most likely stayed at 100% anyhow.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • John Doe

        Your facts are horridly incorrect... While currently the law say the "feds" would cover most of the cost, who are the "feds" you speak of? Me... that's right, the taxpaying american. The states' share would have risen far more than 10% as you incorrectly state. This is why the vast majority of these state rejected the expansion. It would have cost their states billions.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Im Hear Hear

      " I'd love for someone to explain to me the morality behind forced benevolence?"

      It is much like being charged taxes to pay for black thugs to terrorize our city streets nightly.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Hans

        The problem is that if people are forced to buy it, then they will only buy it if they have cancer or need open heart surgery. People are greedy and immoral, and the system won't work unless everyone buys insurance. It's like car insurance, if people aren't forced to buy it, they won't. In the end we pay the bill anyways as hospitals charge more to cover revenue lost from people using the ER.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  15. Hans

    As a PROUD Christian with my full faith in the person of Jesus Christ, I'm ashamed of these pastors who won't stand up for what Christ taught. Christ made clear that the way to the Promised Land is a narrow road and that few would find it, yet these pastors take the wide road of avoidance. Christ didn't speak to Pilate about the Law because Pilate was just a Roman Prefect, but he DID speak to the Jewish leaders about the Law. The Law that governs believers. "Whosoever does these things to the least, do so unto me," so Christ made clear. If we are to be a Christian nation as Christian's want then we ought to act like Christians when we are voting. Meaning that a pastor should not sway voters either way, but teach people what it means to make a Christian vote, and not just because they stand to the Right on a couple of issues. Hypocrits, Christ would call them, and a lake of fire is prepared for them as well. Faith without deeds is dead. They walk a fine line with the Lord and are luke-warm ready to be spat out for their greed. "Easier it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man into heaven." These pastors are walking a fine line indeed!! Pray America for deliverance and the coming of Lord, for false prophets and teachers are among us.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • John Doe

      Your comments are ludicrous...

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

        A criticism of an answer as "ludicrous" without substantiating your comment nor attempting to engage in discourse is a callous and lazy way to say "I don't agree, but I don't know why." Consider your position and get back to me.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • YES!

          Great answer Hans.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  16. JC

    Nowhere does Scripture teach that caring for the sick or the poor is exclusively the province of the church. That is a gross misapplication of Scripture, and is no different than the 19th century efforts of slaveholders to Biblically justify slavery. The examples in the New Testament are of church members helping out other church members financially, usually because they faced ostracism or economic persecution due to their faith.

    There are innumerable parallels between the anti-ACA arguments and the arguments of slaveholders before the Civil War. Chief among them are the ones that frame the issue in strictly economic terms and refuse to address the moral rightness of determining a human's right to medical care based on their economic or job status, which is what our current system does.

    You want a Biblical example of health care? Charge as much to heal someone as Jesus did.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      That comparison with slavery is absolute BS.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • JC

        You think so? Go read some of the economic arguments by southern plantation owners. Read up on Edmund Ruffin or George Fitzhugh. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's BS.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          No it doesn't, but it's still BS.

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

          You've studied Ruffin or Fitzhugh yet? That was quick...

          It does apply, and the parallels should be obvious, even without reading up on the subject. Whether or not you think the issues have similarites, the fact remains 95% of the people who oppose ACA oppose it on some version of "it costs too much", which is essentially ignoring the central moral question. Is it right to create and defend a system that dispenses medical care based on economic status, thus determining that some people are "deserving" of treatment and others less so or not at all. Did Jesus ask for deductibles up front? How many houses did he foreclose on for those who couldn't pay for his health care services?

          It is a moral question first, just as slavery was a moral question first. The question then was not "how many plantations will this hurt" but "is it right to own another person?" Once the second question was answered it became a matter of working through the economics. We need to answer the moral question first with health care, and build our economic structure around it.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I have no idea what a hippy carpenter has to do with our 21st century health system.

          It's not a moral issue, it's an economic issue.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • JC

          Exactly what the Third Reich used to say.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          No it isn't.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • JC

          Really? Hitler had the Germans convinced those pesky Jews were taking all their jobs and stealing all their money. It wasn't a moral issue, because the Aryan people were "deserving" and the Jews weren't. So, the solution to the economic problem at hand– gas 'em.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          He also said he was doing God's work.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Hans

      Amen brother!! Walking in the Light!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      Thank you JC. Manifest Destiny was also a Christian attempt to make the colonizations of the day fall in line with the scriptures. The reasoned that we know God's will when he shows it to us, therefore it is God's will that we dominate the local population.

      If it weren't God would have stopped us.

      We see much of the same logic coming from the "religious" right these days.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  17. dwright

    The first and last time I checked this was the affordable health care act (started by the Clinton administration) but ok Pastor "I don't do my research" you sound really stupid!!

    November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      It was a Heritage Foundation idea. You sound even dumber.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  18. JL

    This article is beyond ridiculous. Pointing fingers at preachers for problems this administration has caused? Perhaps these states didn't want to expand Medicare because Medicare is not sustainable as it is. When Medicare and Social Security fail, which they ultimately will on the path we are going, who are you going to point fingers at then? Fiscal responsibility is another theme in the bible that this author has chosen to ignore. Furthermore, health insurance does not = health, and a subsidy, that doesn't come until the end of the year, will not help the poor pay their premiums and high deductibles anyway.

    November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • WordUpToo

      JL – It's MedicAID not MediCARE. Two different things. MedicAID is not in trouble.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    WWJD ? Look at Matthew 23,1-36. That's THIRTY SIX Verse devoted to the hierarchy of his own Faith, Judaism

    November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • western man

      jesus is a farce. the christinas do not do as he teaches. christianity is a money making profit driven way for lazies to work a couple days a week. Jsedsus won't help. Jesus was a bass turd. Marylou was pregnant when joseph married her. A old man will go thru great lengths to bed down a young girl.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • sonny chapman

        You forgot the part of Jesus being crucified for the fun of it.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ben

      Did Jesus ever charge people for being healed?

      Must have been a socialist, I suppose?

      November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  20. Doc Vestibule

    "You Are (The Government)"

    And as the people bend, the moral fabric dies,
    The country can't pretend to ignore its people's cries.
    You are the government.
    You are jurisprudence.
    You are the volition.
    You are jurisdiction.
    And I make a difference too.

    – Dr Greg Graffin

    November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      "How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn't see"-Bob Dylan

      November 8, 2013 at 3:44 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.