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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. efigee

    Ask a better question: why aren't pastors preaching the Gospel....and why are Americans so hungry for anything BUT the Gospel?

    November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Maybe because its all BS?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  2. jj

    Wow, a very biased right wing article. Totally inappropriate for this forum.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • lilyq

      Oh boofrickinhoo

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  3. Keeth

    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 and dying dream

    November 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • QS

      I'd settle for a kind word about anything from religion....I won't hold my breath though.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  4. freeman

    Is Obama care what our founding fathers wanted? This country was created to get away from
    government contol. When a state accepts federal government handouts,it is beholden to that federal government.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • QS

      Please read what your wrote and try to figure out all the ways that that comment is so inaccurate that it can only be laughed at.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Hey Dumbman............The states get federal money all the time. Remember disasters (katrina, sandy)? How do you think towns get rebuilt? Pleeeeze pull your head out your AZZ.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • CK

      Actually, yes. John Adams, in 1798, enacted "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen." This act created a government-operated marine hospital service, and required that all privately-employed sailors purchase health insurance. Twenty years previously, Thomas Paine outlined and advocated for the establishment of a national welfare system, and fully nationalized healthcare.

      It's darkly hilarious how little the self-proclaimed lovers of the Founding Fathers actually know about the Founding Fathers.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  5. montyross

    Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson are preachers and they are Pimp'n Obama care, what gives. What about Rev Wright? Whats his position or the honorable Louis Farrakhan?

    November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Logic N LA

      Wright,Jackson and Sharpton live in BLUE states that will have insurance. It's the conservative RED states that are being stubborn because they refuse to support this President. They will then say , see what happens with ACA care? Well what happened was compromise with Republicans that allowed for this. Americansbe damned as long as politics wins.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Quasi

      Why don't you tell us how more of a racist you can be?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • haddock

      Way to let your racism blind you to every point made in the article.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  6. bhartman36

    It seems to me that this could be solved pretty easily. Just raise the amount of income you can make to receive federal subsidies for the regular healthcare plans. No need to involve Medicaid.

    You're welcome.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  7. Nena

    To bad there isn't a "Hide this article due to low ratings" button to click...the person who wrote this is an idiot...as are the people who voted for this disasterous piece of legislation.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • QS

      But Nena, who uses "to" when it should be "too" is a genius!

      November 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • haddock

      Says Nena: I don't want to hear this! Doesn't confirm my fox-provided opinion! You can't make me read! Whaaa! Whaaa!

      November 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Hmmmm

    Doesn't the president know that pastors aren't coders.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  9. Keeth

    Hey Democrats!!!
    Your dream is dying. Your President relentlessly lied to boost the popularity of obamacare.
    Only you were duped.
    Most Americans hate the law...your law.
    Now, that you're witnessing the ineptness inherent within big government... we must ask;
    Were you bothered by the lies...by the secrecy. Should they have read the bill or at least passed a bill every House Dem would support?
    How can you tolerate dozens of blatant lies? Are you just a doormat your leader wipes his shoes on?

    November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ^^ hahaha. funniest post i've seen all day. ^^

      November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Hey Republican.
      All politicians lie. Richard Nixon ,,, I am not a crook.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Keeth

        Charm Quark, is that all you've got? "Two wrongs make a right"

        You've noted what separates us. The GOP drove Nixon from office because he lied to the American people. You're fine with Obama telling the same lie over and over and over again.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Keeth
          Since you do not understand the concept of "all" being more than two politicians, I can only guess you may be mentally challenged, but keep on posting and prove it beyond a doubt.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • QS

      LMAO!

      November 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • :(

      keeth your not a christan you will be going to hell..... The republicans don't care about you but you serve them well:( sad...

      November 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Maddy

      Why did the GOP try to add 300 amendments to the ACA, 161 which made it into the law? You have no damned clue what you're talking about.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Logic N LA

      Obviously we are because we allowed the bill to be watered down to allow for this gap. We also have not questioned the House that complains daily about the bill instead of offering corrections to it. Healthcare for all should not be a political football. Look to the Republicans for making it so.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • patriot125

      Read the article! It is about blithering idiots like yourself

      November 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • haddock

      Bush lie: Iraq war is neccessary because they have WMD and helped 9-11 terrorist. It will be short, pay for itself, and the people will throw flowers at the feet of our soldiers". We all the truth.

      Obama lie: "everyone who wants to keep their insurance will be able to." Truth: a small number of people with rip off policies will be forced to buy better policies, some of which may be more expensive than what they pay now.

      Yeah, those clearly demand the same amount of outrage.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  10. reverentinsurrection

    There is some truth, which is yes the Christian church *is* supposed to have a significant role in caring for the poor. Look at the history of the early church, which engaged in significant "welfare" ministry. And that is the point beyond which Blake's arrogant, judgmental stance begins falling apart, namely the lazy, casual assumption that therefore the Christian church must promote *government* solutions to these problems. Moreover that they must promote *these specific* government solutions to these problems. Increasingly it seems to me that government solutions make the problems worse, and more significantly create a whole political class of "middle men" who use their bureaucratic positions and power to benefit themselves. Look at how we spend $4m so that *four people* in a state can get health insurance under an exchange. Well heck, why not just transfer $4m to 100 people to buy insurance? Ah, but then we wouldn't have political and business interests getting their cut. Is it the responsibility of the Christian church to support this sort of corruption racket? The conflation of statist/leftist ideology with the Christian mission is really the transparent attempt to coopt the latter and replace God with the State for the former's destructive ends. Spare us, sir.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • haddock

      40 million Americans who had no "church" provided healthcare but will have healthcare access under Obamacare might beg to differ with your claim that government makes things worse.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  11. mkuske

    They aren't speaking out about it because the poor in their back yards still do get health care. In fact, most get some kind of free health care. That's why.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    you would think christian church leaders all over the country would be crying for universal health care, but their voices have been largely silent. i disagree with a lot of what jesus said, but he was right on point about the poor. it's one of the parts of the bible, as an atheist, that i completely agree with. yet church leaders, often republicans themselves, say they want to follow jesus in all ways - yet they have not fought for health care for all. you would think such an issue would be a no-brainer for a devout christian, but politics often trumps religion.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tonto

      How many of the 50 million people that get taxpayer dollars for food need that assistance? I say about 5 million. When that's fixed, the problem will be manageable, not before.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Quasi

        Tonto, go feed your dead bird.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • haddock

        I'm sure your 5 million is a scientifically rigorous number and that you would have no problem separating the 5 million who should get help from the 45 million who, according to your research don't. Thanks for the helpful suggestion.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Tonto

          Why did the number of people on phone stamps go from 25 to 49 million in 5 years. Coincidence? I'm sure. All valid recipients? Of course.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  13. shawbrooke

    Has everyone forgotten that the state expects churches to be non political? Is Obama prepared to change those expectations? It's nasty to set up such laws and then propose that churches support a politician.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      oh yes, churches do a fine job of staying non-political. so fine they should have their tax-exempt status revoked.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • haddock

        I've certainly never heard of a Christian Church having any opinion on anything political like who should sit on the supreme court or a woman's right to control her own health care. That would be wrong, right?

        November 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  14. commonsense

    If the churches make political statements they could loose their tax exempt status,reporters know this .

    November 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  15. 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. Tired.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Maddy

      That's a good plan. Die early.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Quasi

        So far, "die early" is the only alternative plan that the Tea Potty, GOP and religious fanatics have yet come up with.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • QS

      And our previous system was so much better, right?

      Had we not had to "compromise" with conservatives, we would have a single-payer system right now instead of the ACA we ended up with.

      And still, all the people complaining about it with what seems like very petty reasons to be, don't have any alternatives which means they think the previous system would be just fine.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Tonto

        Get your GED before you write back. To have a health care law, you need doctors and hospitals to participate. They have trained for 12 years and won't be participate in a bogus, government invented program. You can't force them to participate and they won't and they aren't. You have no health care system without doctors. I'm trying to make it very simple.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • Doghouse

          Seems to be working well in Kentucky.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • Quasi

        And in the old system, the insurance corporations were the "death panels" that Palin invented too. Their policy was always, "Profits before death!"

        November 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Tonto
      Ever wonder how so many other developed countries make universal health care Available at way less money/cost than the USA spends on health care? Could the health industry be the largest rip off, greed factory, in America?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
      • Tonto

        The "government" is this sponge with millions of government workers pushing papers back and forth across a desk, taking 9 week vacations and laughing every day about the fact that they get paid taxpayer dollars for doing next to nothing and that they can never get fired. When you say government, replace the word with this description. -T

        November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • haddock

      Sadly, many third world counties have health care systems as or more effective as our old "for profit" system. Don't be fooled by the fact that no industrialized country in the world would swap their health care system for us. The entire world is wrong, and you are right.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  16. KC

    Are you that scared? Are you that scared of the fact that Obamacare is failing and you are looking for a scapegoat as Katy (bellow comment) put it? When was the last time you looked to see how MANY of these Christian organizations feed the poor, help the needy? I think you need to do your research before throwing stones.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • TYRANNASAUR

      SCREW THEM ALL....FEED THE POOR.......I wouldn't take dirt from one of those phony blanks.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • haddock

      Obamacare isn't failing. It's just beginning. 20 years from now it will be almost universally seen as one of the great accomplishments of American society. You know, the way the rest of the world prizes their health care systems. So no need to worry.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Tonto

        20 years from now, there will be volumes of books exposing Obama for the lip-biting, fool that he is. The two presidents that the world knows were a catastrophic mistake. Obama (38% approval) and Carter (38% approval)! Perfect.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
      • Tonto

        Habitat couldn't save Carter and O-care will bury Obama.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  17. Todd

    Well Rev. Timothy McDonald is a idiot. The bums qualify for medicaid. Whom is going to be hurt is the working Middle Class and people with pre-existing conditions such as Cancer having their policy cancelled due to oramacare.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, Todd. They would have lost those policies anyway. Don't you know? Insurance companies have been cutting high-cost patients off their roles for years. This is why you should actually support Obamacare: It's changed the rules so that people with pre-existing conditions can actually get the insurance they need.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • practicallady

        Thanks, telluah13. I would have to burn up my 401K just to pay private premiums. And I'm only 60. OC is saving the middle class with pre-existing conditions.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  18. Hmmmm

    Because the US Government views Christianity as a hate group, and Pastor don't want to get thrown in prison and tortured, like the US government is allowing Iran to do with Saeed Abedini.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      More brainless comments.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • Hmmmm

        Please quit posting then

        November 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          watching fox news again?

          November 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Gobsmacked

      No, govt. views Christian hate groups as hate groups, not Christianity overall. Just like anything else.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Are you saying John Boehner, Eric Cantor, John McCain think christianity is a hate group? Or is your misinformation just in the direction of Obama?

        November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Sevansons

      Ignorant or just plain evil???likely Both. Out of the abundance of one's heart the mouth does speak-Be Careful "Hmmm", God Is Listening...Hmmmm???

      November 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  19. Ken Margo

    If you don't like "Obamacare" fine. Stop whining and give us "your" plan. You pay for the uninsured. Do you like doing that? This is one of the reasons YOUR taxes go up. Uninsured people cost ALL OF US MONEY.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • QS

      Aha, you touch on the crux of the debate – alternatives....of which conservatives have none as you imply in your comment.

      When you really break it down, the only real reason conservatives want the ACA to fail is not because they are genuinely concerned with the cost, it's because they don't like the idea that their lives were improved by "the enemy".

      November 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        The irony is this is a REPUBLICAN IDEA. The repubs should be doing cart wheels trying to make it work.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • QS

      Alternatives....of which conservatives have none as you imply in your comment.

      When you really break it down, the only real reason conservatives want the ACA to fail is not because they are genuinely concerned with the cost, it's because they don't like the idea that their lives were improved by "the enemy".

      November 8, 2013 at 5:45 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.