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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. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    ACA is absolute BS. Vote None of the Above!

    November 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • John

      So lets just keep the fantastic system we have in place now! Doesn't everyone just love it!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        The current system is also ridiculous.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  2. navaJohn

    The Republicans in the south are hell bent on dismantling ACA to the point of harming their own citizens and blaming Obama for what THEY failed to do to help their own. Disgraceful!!!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • davessworks

      Worse yet they expect the Democrats to apologize for it.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  3. sftommy

    The Christian Left is doing God's work for His people, doing what is Morally Right

    Who does the "Christian" Right serve as they go silently amidst a moral wrong?
    Get behind me Satan!!

    November 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  4. Harvey Cohen

    This sounds reasonable on the surface; those who worship in religions derived from Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) should insist on taking care of those without. However, if I had to rank needs, food and shelter come before health care. I person without food for a month has a good chance of being dead; certainly near death's door. In similar fashion, a month without shelter during adverse weather has a high chance of proving fatal. A month without health care, however, has little chance of an adverse impact on a person.

    I therefore find it puzzling that this ONE pastor decided to preach about health care inequities; political motivation perhaps?

    November 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Farmer Joe

      No, It's because recently states turned down funding to expand Medicaid. Not money to build houses. You idiot.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • sftommy

      Food not tied to to healthcare, someone rally made that argument?
      GOP Farm Bill removed food from the plate of millions; families, kids, mothers. Then spent a year embracing death as an alternative to the costs of healthcare.

      It's not a political skant it's a series of moral wrongs every preacher should be haeping brimstone on the GOP for. Not that true believers don't already see the after-lives of the GOP watching how they sow and sell their souls.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • TennesseeGuy

      "... A month without health care, however, has little chance of an adverse impact on a person."

      Correct that to say "A month without health INSURANCE, however, has little chance of an adverse impact on a person." This ACA mess was misdirected from the very beginning. It was focused on insurance instead of health care. Our country should have a way for poor people to get basic health care when they are sick. That is not nearly the same thing as forcing everyone to buy insurance whether they can afford it or not or paying for everything for everybody.

      If you want health care and don't have insurance, pay for it yourself. Nothing is stopping you. If you are too poor to pay for it, then something should be available to help you out. Not everyone would qualify for getting this help, however, only the poor. That is a very far cry from forcing everyone to get insurance.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  5. Stewart

    If Jesus was the son of a Roman politician or in the ruling class his story of how he helped the poor would have looked very different.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Stewart

      Sorry, Step-Son

      November 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  6. peterwimsey

    When future historians look back on the decline of the American Empire,they are likely to note (apart from the waste of blood and treasure in endless, serial wars) the perplexing willingness of citizens to see other citizens wither, starve, or die.

    Since Independence, this country has never had an established church, but we did have religious traditions that proclaimed the political and social damge caused by unchecked greed. Now, the evangelical churches are energized only by inflamed support for various bigotries and the desire to become rich.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Russell Manning

      I couldn't agree more! By the by, does Dorothy Sayres know you've stepped out of the pages of her marvelous mysteries?
      All best wishes to you, milord!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  7. MazeAndBlue

    Like most red neck tea party republicans and governors, they fail to realize that most of these poor people are white. I quess color does not matter. Poor is Black...and the rich get richer....Sad but TRUE.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • John

      And its the poor white people who are voting for them! Insane!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  8. brockdiego1

    Well, for one, the poor are covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Duh. Two, don't equate political religious 'leaders' with Christians who actually follow Jesus' teachings, which are to take care and love thy neighbor as you love yourself. Oh yeah, that 'do good deeds without seeking recognition' thing is also important. But you'll just cling to your prejudices because it's easier for you. In that case, I suppose all liberals enjoy being racist slave owners, holding people down while 'claiming' to care about the poor, while doing nothing about it. But talking, I mean. Good for you. Now, I'm off to a soup kitchen. What about you?

    November 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • MazeAndBlue

      NOT TRUE!!!!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Southman

      I'm not covered by medicaid or medicare, and might not qualify for Obamacare.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Go get another hole in your punchcard so you can get into heaven. Its sad that people think God only cares about "going to the soup kitchen" for an hour and not their voting record against the poor. It's your conscious that is judged along with your actions. And yours sounds sad, selfish, and completely heartless. Have fun burning in hell with the rest of the GOP.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  9. originalwill

    How about answering the question of "why" states rejected the medicaid expansion? The deal with the expansion in the law is that the federal government would pay for it for the first 3 years. After that, the states had to pay for it themselves. You're talking billions upon billions of dollars to expand medicaid to this level, meaning states would be taking on billions in more debt, and have to figure out a way to pay for it. Not such a good deal from the federal government.

    If you're going to be a journalist and/or report on things. First ask the question "why". If you don't do that, you're reporting isn't worth jack.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • UrbanGirl

      Amen!!!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • BlindSquirrelMoment

      If he did that, it wouldn't fit his agenda, which is resorting to bashing Christians and supporting Obamacare. It's corporate media (before anyone starts, this includes Fox News) – they always have an agenda.

      The part they leave out is the part of the Bible that talks about how if you don't work, you don't eat. Sure, there are truly needy people in this world, and the right thing to do is help them where we can. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is supporting able-bodied people who are the unintended consequence of these programs. The other problem I see here is the fact that once again, a federal approach to a long standing problem once again yields uneven results because when the laws are drafted by Congress, there is no conceivable way to think of every single possible impact the law will have, good or bad. This is why the Feds need to stay out of it, and leave it to the states to handle; because they've proven time and again to be inept at just about everything they touch.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • terry calk

      You appear to be misinformed about the Medicaid expansion. It does not leave states on the hook after 3 years as you say. After 3 years it only covers 90% of the costs, leaving state with 10%. Currently, under your favored system, states are picking up 50% of the costs forever. There is no rational basis for declining the Medicaid expansion other than ignorance or spite.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • DS

      That's incorrect. The Fed pays 100% for the first 3 years, in 2017 Fed assumes 95% of costs, and in 2020 and beyond Fed assumes 90%. I'd love to provide a link, but can't on this forum...However, a quick google search of 'Medicaid expansion details' will reveal the details.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Iowajoe56

      Actually, the government will then pay 90% and the states 10% on the expanded medicaid. Lets stick to the facts.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Jeff

    No Pastor should have more that the people in their church! They stand before their flock and God telling their flock to give more and more, taking from the poorest members yet wear silk suits and drive European cars. The pastors wouldn't comment because they can't respond to the truth! What ever happened to the Pastors that actually care?

    November 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • UrbanGirl

      Jeff, please provide scripture to support your fallacy.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • Iowajoe56

        I believe Jesus told his disciples to leave everything behind, including family and follow him. I would love to see Osteen do that.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  11. Carbon

    America keeps devaluing itself and its citizens. Almost every other nation has a national healthcare plan that works better than the crisis based, for profit, overpriced mess that everyone is arguing about in the States. A healthy population is a happy, productive population.
    The naysayers that are flinging accusations and uninformed opinions around these comment pages need to do some serious research into what the Brits, Canadians, French and many other countries have made work. Their citizenry reads about the "American Healthcare Mess" and are very glad they have real healthcare. I worked in healthcare in Canada for over a decade and was pleased to see how people were treated and how the government managed the budget. Nobody there advocated dismantling their public system and going private, especially after looking at the disastrous model seen in the US.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • QS

      Well said, thanks!

      November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Maddy

      Healthcare in the US has been broken for years. Single payer would be great, but the hysterics keep screaming "socialism" and would positively break down in tears, ignoring that our military program is socialist at its core.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  12. Steve

    People fail to mention that Jesus came from a very politically oppressed people and in the context of the bible would have had very little opportunity to do what the large churches in the area currently can do, which is make significant improvements to the structures that encourage poverty and marginalize large numbers of people. The super churches that the article is referring have the political power to help millions of people but they stay quiet. Why? Because there is no incentive to help the poor. The churches and pastors preach to a people who are in the power positions in their states and communities both politically, financially, and socially.They can find a loophole and say "well Jesus didn't help the poor with political power neither do we" and they are happy to use it. If Jesus was the son of a Roman politician or in the ruling class I think his story of how he helped the poor would have looked very different.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  13. Christian

    I do not feel like this author is presenting a good argument. His entire evidence, which was definitely an attempted attack on pastors, is based off of pastors not commenting on a question... You cannot deduce their stance based on something they didn't do or say.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      But you can ask questions:

      "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?"

      and wonder why they won't answer them or speak up for the poor.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • me

      The religious right constantly rants about gay marriage, abortion, and other laws they disagree with. The fact that they completely ignore the issue of millions of people being denied healthcare shows that they agree with it or are completely indifferent.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Dave

      Ignorance is bliss.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • John

      Though you cannot deduce the details of their stance, you can deduce that they either don't have anything to suggest, or that they are at risk (of position, power, influence, wealth, etc) if they speak. They don't want to "rock the apple cart" which is exactly what Jesus DID want to do. They say the words, but do not do the actions that Jesus would. They could at least cite what they are doing to help the poor without health insurance in their area - which I expect would show the world how little they are doing.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  14. mindstorms1

    Of course most of the pastors aren't going to chastise their state leaders for not worrying about the poor who are uninsured. They are in the religion business and you can't expect them to criticize their customers.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  15. 110 million per blast

    good question, but i had one today, why wouldnt the men in dresses, all the muslim clerics, the buddhist monks, the pope and priests all get in planes and fly to the phillipines to stop the earths biggest storm ever recorded, since they all claim a relationship with god and all that praying would have helped if they are for real...right?...and better yet, the muslim clerics could have taken everyone of their suicide bombers and asked them just before that to get gods attention they needed en masse to explode...now that would be the truth right...so this super storm clearly clarifies somethings, mostly men in dresses are liars.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Most Buddhist monks are non-theistic.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Nardical

        Bullshit. They worship Buddha you idiot. They raise a man to god-status. It's a theistic religion.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  16. JadeB

    It's not a secret that the religious right only cares about people UNTIL they are born.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Maddy

      Once it's through the birth canal, they couldn't care less.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  17. Kelly Gomez

    Sorry it hurts that the ACA sucks just like everyone 'else' said it would! "It doesn't fix the problem", etc...... Hurry!!!! Point the finger at a preacher and maybe that won't smell this horrible no good very bad BILL..........

    November 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • celie

      It hasn't even been fully implemented yet, don't cheer to loud yet.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • QS

      So we had something that was worse, but because some people don't like the new system they're willing to go back to the one that was even more inefficient?

      You people need some serious help with your logic and deductive reasoning skills.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • davessworks

      It only sucks because it's the worst compromise imaginable thanks to the Republicans. It could have been so much better. It could ahve been a single payer system – but oooh no. Heaven forbid we cut the fat cat insurance companies and their CEOs out of the equation. They have the Republican party in their back pocket.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  18. AC

    What the left doesn't realize is that there is a difference between charity and government coercion. Christians believe that their churches should create charitable organizations to help the poor. Just because Christians don't support a government program doesn't mean that they don't want to help the poor.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  19. John Mann

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

    Because they are a bunch of phony shills who don't believe their own religion. They are in it for their egos and the $$. if there is a judgement day, they would surely be the first to be flushed to H E double toothpicks.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  20. amisc1970

    “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 may be right, but the fact that there are so many poor, hungry, and homeless means that the churches are doing a pretty lousy job taking care of them.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:33 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.