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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. ricksteves

    I wasn't aware that Church Pastors are supposed to comment on current political bills/laws affecting health care coverage. I didn't know they were supposed to make that a talking point among other things....such as eternal salvation and having a closer relationship with the true Creator and Provider. Get a life, CNN reporter. You wrote an article about a class of occupation not doing something they're never supposed to do. This is akin to commenting on the horror of janitors not selling paper products.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  2. freeman

    I voted for Obama, what a mistake.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Lance

      Didn't matter. Not like your 1 vote would have prevented this.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  3. someguysarerude

    This blog is in a stinky constricting format, allowing a single, linear comment flow.
    Sucks.
    Same thing in several other article blogs.
    Lame and shame.

    That said, my opinion is that there are far too many shyster ministers across the land. Their God is cash. The rest of it is simply theater.
    Screw them all. I pity the suckers who send them money. They'd be better off supporting an animal shelter.
    Homeless dogs aren't greedy nor phony.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  4. My Bible Says

    I am a prostate cancer survivor. My help came from the Lord, first. He directed my path to the best doctor and treatment plan, and made a way when my insurance company would not pay the out of network doctor. JESUS was by my side during the difficult and horrible hours and days. And has healed me completely, over 11 years. Remember, prostate cancer is a killing disease. I am alive today because of my faith in God. He created us, including my doctor and gave him the talents and gifts to help me. I give all credit to my Heavenly Father.

    No government, no president, no insurance company, no one from congress, and no loud mouth pastor called on me or visited me.

    My wife and I and our God! This is what got me through.

    Period.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • QS

      And had you died from that disease you would be the first to also declare that it was "god's" plan all along.

      How convenient that "god" is right in either outcome.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • someguysarerude

      God did all that? And you'd be dead by now if it wasn't for Him?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • BS

      this is the best BS yet

      November 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • John Mann

      Why the desire to stay alive? Isn't it your goal to be with god up in the clouds?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  5. Bernie

    I'm not sure that it is wise for pastors to be speaking for or against a specific piece of legislation unless the legislation specifically violates a basic human principle (a law legalizing abortion, for example). That the poor (uninsured or under insured) need to be cared for is a basic human and Christian principle and teaching and the pastors need to teach that and explain why that is important from a religious and human point of view. But HOW to take care of the poor is a prudential decision and outside the expertise of pastors. The problem (and, I think, it is somewhat evident in this article) is that the powers of the world have their own worldly power structure and principles and resent Christian leaders getting involved by offering a different approach or set of principles of the way things ought to be. Then those same powers do an about face and criticize the Church for not speaking out on issues of the day. The Church is told to shut up and sit down and be quiet when it comes to abortion ("don't force your religion on me") but then sneers when the Church doesn't go to bat for the Affordable Care Act.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Sue

      Great post.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Religion gets involved in every other political issue. Show some B@LLS stop supporting people the screw poor people.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Tonto

      As if putting people in third-world coverage (Medicaid) where most doctors opt-out and hospitals don't accept the coverage is doing them a favor. Medicaid patients are sick and die younger than other Americans. Obamacare is third-world coverage and this author wants more people on it. Tell the truth, don't just repeat what you've been told. This article is full of lies and half-truths.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • QS

      You have it backwards – it's because churches take a political position on those social issues that people then feel it is acceptable to chastise the same religion for not taking a political position on a different social issue that apparently doesn't matter as much to them, but should.

      It really just highlights the cherry-picking nature of religious people.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • BS

      Great post. The question is whether you have a right to kill a fellow human being by denying him health care. Ask Your God.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Michael Kewl

    "SORRY"...That no longer gets it Mr. President!!!

    Our Family is about to lose thousands of $dollars$ a year to your ObamaCare as our premium is now more than our mortage and the deductible increased 3X thanks to you!!!

    Sorry we ever voted for you and we will never vote Democratic again!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • someguysarerude

      Kewl, man. Did you get paid for that bit?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  7. TransitDave

    I don't claim to know much about the bible, but I know I'm not my brother's keeper

    November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Tom

    In the worst of the worst regions of Africa doctors categorize hernias into two groups: Above the knee and below the knee. This is one small part of what happens – quietly – without health care. Thank you Republican Party, Tea Party and religious leaders of the South and be grateful that "Quietly" is where it still stands today.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Sue

      You post doesn't make any sense at all.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
      • Sue

        your*

        November 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • Tom

          Please read the article in full.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • RobertB

      I guess a 'below the knee hernia' is called your ankle.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
      • someguysarerude

        Only if you have no calves.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  9. mason

    Obamacare should help Americans to see why Universal Single Payer Medicare is the real answer, and how health insurance companies only add 20% to health care cost.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • someguysarerude

      Ask the Republicans if they'll support single payer.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  10. Morpunkt

    While President Obama continues his cross country pitch on the merits of his landmark health care law, dismal new data shows only five people in the D.C. area have signed up for the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare.
    There have been more Bigfoot sightings than people who signed-up for ObamaCare.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Don't worry limbuagh. It was the same way for Mutt Romney's healthcare plan in Mass.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • Morpunkt

        I can't stand Limbaugh. I am independent, not GOP nor your pathetically brainwashed ilk.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Then stop sounding like him.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
      • RobertB

        Ken, You seem to take pride in calling people names, which is not how adults discuss things. In point of fact, Romneycare started out with a good participation rate. It did not lower health care cost – Massachiusetts has some of the highest health care costs in the country and is exhibit A of why Obamacare won't save money. But at least it was rolled out professionally and intellligently.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  11. Jay Scott

    If the coverage gap contains people who make too much money to receive medicaid, why is the picture that of an apparently homeless person on a bench? If the author is sincere, why doesn't he discuss the reason states are rejecting it – federal funding to it is limited, therefore it is another unfunded mandate.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Federal funding isn't limited. The fed pays 100% for the first couple of years 90% after.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Maddy

      Want to know what was unfunded? Two wars and Medicare Part D by the previous administration. Notice which stated rejected this ~ all red states. This isn't coincidence. The ACA was also GOP/Heritage idea. Why would the ACA become a problem now? Because a democrat implemented it.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  12. Reality # 2

    In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt and support universal health care, we need to redirect money used to support religions especially the christian and islamic cons and put it towards paying off our obligations..

    To wit:

    Redirecting our funds (and saving a lot of "souls" in the process)-

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:

    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:

    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon ti-the empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

    Giving to religious groups in 2010, totaled $95.8 billion,

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:

    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    BOTTOM LINE: SAID SAVINGS WOULD HELP PAY FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE AKA OBAMACARE !!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  13. WorkingStiff

    Why do they keep calling them "poor" people. These "poor" people are nothing more then the lazy "I want the government to give me everything". They already get welfare, food stamps, free cell phones.. The government should take all this away and give them a job.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Please stop talking out your bigoted AZZ.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Following up on the job comment:

      (Prayers are useless, ideas are priceless!!!)

      Some ideas for creating new jobs: (What are your ideas?)

      1. Inst-itute an “old-house/condo/apartment” replacement program akin to the successful “automobile gas-guzzler” removal program. Today, there are simply too many houses, condos and apartments in the USA. It is significantly stupid to continue building new ones on new lots. Tear down existing dwellings and rebuild on the same lot thereby keeping the number of housing units stable and providing many jobs in the demolition, building material suppliers and construction industries.

      2. Are big cities needed anymore? Most exist for the service industry and these days most services can be provided from the home via PCs. Time to consider big city downsizing with conversion of these outdated areas to parks and entertainment centers. Again, more jobs are created to accomplish this. (planners, architects, landscapers, construction workers and building material suppliers).

      3. Fresh water diversions/capture: It is insane to allow all of our fresh water to flow back into the oceans. Areas like Southwest and Western states have droughts almost every year. Time to build huge canals from rivers like the Mississippi and Missouri to irrigate these parched lands. And it is time to dramatically increase the number of reservoirs in states like Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. Again more jobs created for planners, civil engineers, construction workers, building suppliers, farmers and ranchers.

      4. R&E jobs- a. computer-driven cars, busses, trucks, planes and ships b. Robotic police, fire and protective aids c. More efficient birth control methods d. A pill to temporarily eliminate the s-ex drive.

      5. A female “Viagra”

      6. Continued search for cheap fusion energy.

      7. Space jobs-a Moon/Mars stations/mining run by robots. b. Highly functional, well-equipped, super-fast interstellar probes

      November 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  14. bryn40

    On the article southern churches not standing up for those without insurance. Why is this a surprise when Southern Baptist
    churches supported slavery, and after the civil war continued support for racism. Praise Jesus.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • RobertB

      For the record, Martin Luther King was a Southern Baptist minister. You might want to re-think your statement.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  15. freeman

    obamacare for the vanishing middle class who have good insurance thru thier employer=
    Higher premiums
    Higher deductables
    More tax to pay for this
    Obama is trying to eliminate the middle class, and is doing a good job of it.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Shut up limbaugh.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • freeman

        Telling someone to " shut up" demonstrates your childishness and ignorance.
        Do you have something to contribute in an adult way?

        November 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Nodack

      Says the Republican.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  16. SilverHair

    The Bible belt is beholding to the super righteous Tea Party.... so what's new???

    November 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Keeth

      I'm not in the Tea Party Siverhair, but as you know....they've been right about everything so far.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  17. Keeth

    “there will (not) always be poor”
    “thou shall covet”
    “give unto Ceasar that which is God’s”
    “thy Obama shall lie”
    “thou shall steal”

    November 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • fekt

      Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. I bet come Saturday you don't.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • Keeth

        ...here it is...big government believers on hands and knees crawling...in fact begging the church for a kind word about their precious debacle of obamacare…their arrogance has doomed them…when tea partiers reminded them how government does everything poorly…they wouldn’t listen…and must now…with hat in hand… grovel on the chapel stoop …pleading for any kind word for their pathetic dream...I wish I'd sold tickets

        November 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Keane

      These Profit Pa$tors would help the GOP crucify Jesus Christ a second time if he were here on earth as a compassionate President.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Maddy

      You have covered the GOTP agenda very well.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  18. chuck

    They have deep and profound mental illness. They are likely on a website run within a state hospital for the mentally ill. I pity them. Lord Jesus, please heal these poor sick degenerates. Have mercy on them. It is obvious they are very, very disturbed in their thought patterns, in recognizing reality with mixed paranoid ideations, etc. If CNN can afforf it, they should try to locate these people and try to get them into better hospital programs for the insane.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Why doesn't the church do it. They got plenty of money.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • chuck

        I suspect they, you, are patients locked up inside hospitals for the criminally insane.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • Madtown

          There's a tremendous irony in you suggesting someone is disturbed or mentally ill. Of course, you probably don't know what irony means.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Madtown

      They have deep and profound mental illness.
      -----
      A very mature and advanced argument. Good work.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Colin

    I may be an atheist, but there's something about Pope Francis that makes me want to be Catholic. He's so inspiring.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      So I'm a militant atheist, but I think Pope Francis is awesome! Truly someone who embodies Christ's teachings.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • tt

      We need to bring Pope Francis to Texas – save this state from this Perry and other cruel governors who have left the poor without healthcare.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  20. David

    Religion making things worse for the underdog. I'm shocked.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
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About this blog

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