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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. originalwill

    http://originalwill.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/cnns-other-obamacare-scandal-or-how-not-to-be-a-journalist/

    November 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Spam!

      Spam!

      November 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  2. GreedyHealthCareProviders

    People who couldn't afford to pay our price should die in their illness, government must not interfer.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Keeth

      r u a grown-up?

      November 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Darwin

      Survival of the fittest.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
      • Herbert Spencer

        Darwin,
        I coined the phrase "survival of the fittest", not you. My idol Auguste Comte coined the term "sociology." I applied your biological principles to social organizations to create "social Darwinism"

        November 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      If that is your opinion, fine. The problem is your hero republicans are "pro life" If you want them to be born then you have to help them. You can't have it both ways.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Well, the country made it through Reconstruction. The collapse of the Republican Party will probably have a similar feel to it, but I'm sure it'll all work out. Of course it may come like a revolution in France – my personal hopes for the Republican Southern governors and their supporters lie more in that direction.

    November 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Keeth

    so it's come to this...anything to save their precious obamacare debacle …their arrogance has doomed them…when tea partiers reminded them how government does nothing well…they wouldn’t listen…and must now…hat in hand… grovel on the chapel stoop …pleading for any kind word for their pathetic dream
    their leader, at the least committed fraud...if he were an insurance agent we'd all sue...yes you too...but you'll forgive the lies...because love is blind to the truth

    November 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Speaking of truth.

      YOU pay the bills of the uninsured.
      Kids can now stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old.
      Medicaid expansion has provided insurance to hundred of thousands
      You now get preventive care at no additional cost
      Birth control at no additional cost
      Mutt Romney's mandate in mass. Has an over 85% approval rate. Obamacare is a copy of Mutt's plan.
      Obamacare is actually a republican idea.

      I noticed neither you or your republican zombies have come up with something better. hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

      November 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Keeth

        Therein lies the core of your problem Ken. You believe...since I can see how pathetic obamacare is...my clarity of vision means I'm a Republican. Couple this fallacy with your insistance of a government 'plan'. Every American already gets healthcare...healthcare better than most people in this world... but it costs too much...we were told this would reduce costs...Obama lied...but your kind is OK with the fraud...

        November 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          No, you transparent liar, not every American has healthcare. You want the rich to have all the options, but you don't care about those whose fates do not allow them the choices available to the more powerful.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • Keeth

          The facts are Obvious. Every American has access to good healthcare they can afford.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Of course, Keeth, and pigs fly all the time, just when you're not looking.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Keeth

          Captain Obvious, name one American that died because they couldn't afford healthcare?
          You can't!
          I'll bet you feel pretty small just about now huh?

          November 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Yo Teeth.............Lots of people die because they don't have healthcare. Unfortunately you aren't one of them.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Keeth, there's no excuse for your lies, so please carry on. You're only damaging the side you claim to be on.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Keeth, I can't name anyone who has died but I do know people with very bad gum disease. Anyway would some facts help?
          http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/20/us-usa-healthcare-deaths-idUSBRE85J15720120620

          November 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Keeth is delusional

      You have swallowed the Teahadist potion well, my little bot. And the way your name is spelled tells me your mom was home schooled.

      November 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • mirror

        hypocrite

        November 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Nope

          Nope.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • yep

          she cowardly changed her name, too.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • Keeth is delusional

          Mirror, do you even know what hypocrite means? Because you used it inappropriately. Home schooled with Keeth?

          November 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • Marianne

        Don't knock home-schoolers! I have four grandsons who were homeschooled. Each has two undergraduate degrees and all have done or are doing graduate studies. One has completed his RN and plans to get his Nurse Anesthetist degree; one is working on a PhD and MD simultaneously; one is now studying Physical Therapy and one is a Youth Pastor. Most of the home-schooled young people I know ARE honor students. So don't knock the home-schooled!!

        November 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
        • Karen

          That poster is a known troll that has been banned multiple times from this site.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  5. Ted

    hharri
    observer
    What point is it you're trying to make?

    Yes Horus and Buddha came before Jesus. So did many, many other gods and myths. And yes, many parts of the story of Jesus bear striking resemblance to those stories that came before him. And some of the things attributed to Jesus sound an awful lot like the things Buddha is supposed to have said.

    ....so...what was your point?

    your point is that you lie all the time

    agreed, so, point being, beat it

    sam stone
    sam stone
    we are just attacking the pompous fvcks who purport to speak for god, doogie
    sam stone
    Well, we know for certain that no one speaks for god more than iron age sheep molesters, eh? amen
    sam stone
    nicetry: oooh, proxy threats of hell. pretty scary, for those who believe such tripe. interesting that you wish to spend eternity with a being from whom you have to be "saved". sort of like a spiritual stockholm syndrome. anyway, get back on your knees, beotch

    August 31, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
    hharri
    Dear Danny and Eric, thanks for encouraging this fascinating international discussion on how believers perceive today's big events.
    thammbo thtoned has much to offer on oral s eks and pleasing jeeebus. she makes for great reading
    sam stone
    observer, you seen kelly? the one who teaches fundies how to hack cnn? she was turned off by hharri, but i hope she returns. she's the kind of dishonest, cheating, criminally minded christian that turns me on (and she's over 7 so i can't get arrested)
    hharri
    sam stone
    jeebus is waiting for you to take your rightful place on your knees, pleasing him. it is as close as a click away

    November 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Kelly

      You rang, you insane troll?

      November 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  6. M. Labera

    I wonder if any of these poor people are voters ? If not, I wonder if they see that their "non-vote" does count. Perhaps if all these poor people had voted, Republican governers and legislatures would NOT have been elected in their states and, therefore, their states would not have refused to expand Medicaid, the result being that they could have been eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If all these poor people were to get involved politically, (or if someone were to organize them) perhaps they could bring about changes in their states so that Medicaid would be expanded in their states and then, they would be eligible for health insurance through the ACA.
    In my opinion, the ministers who are silent on this issue of the millions of poor people in their states who cannot get health insurance because their states refused to expand Medicaid cannot legitimately claim to be followers of Jesus (Christians) because Jesus said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me. . . Inasmuch as ye did it NOT to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." This is what Jesus will say to them when they approach "the pearly gates" of heaven for entry.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Why doesn't jesus say something to them now?

      November 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  7. flasher3838

    these are the type of articles and the type of tv that makes it laughable when cnn says they are unbiased straight journalism

    November 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Jeff Grant

      I enjoy Fox for my misinformation.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Mary

        You are so correct.....having just watched Megyn Kelly...it is just a joke. I cannot comprehend why it even allowed to spread so many lies in so short a period of time.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Do you mean like Fox News, "Fairly Imbalanced," or "We decide, (then) we report." The propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Jeff Grant

        Which is why I labeled it misinformation. If Fox says it, it's suspect.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Liven-in-Iraq

    The ACA: "You will provide for contraception and abortion services." But now that it's failing, it's "where the hell is the Church?"
    Like a stool sample: You passed it and now you know what's in it. Stinks doesn't it?

    November 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Dorian3333

      Exactly...their whole montra on the left is to stand in a cirlce and point the blame to the right.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Jeff Grant

      Did we read the same article? Nobody asked the preacher to say a word. Spin away, hater.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • QS

      Who says it's failing....oh, right, the people who always wanted it to fail see a few flaws and chalk it up to failure. LOL!

      I'm actually enjoying watching conservatives freak out about the ACA because it just illustrates their paranoia and lack of civic responsibility.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  9. D.Tree

    It's a real shame that State leaders refuse to accept medicaid coverage for their poor residents! This is not a problem with Obamacare, it's a problem with the callous leaders of these States making a conscious decision to *punish* their own residents, in order to make a political point. Disgusting.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Dorian3333

      If you want to wreck your state financially for an unfunded piece of legislation...be my guest. You are trying to make this all about the sad poor people. Well, bills have to be paid so are you going to pay them or just pass the hat to someone else as I see a lot of liberals doing. I like the report I saw earlier on here where the New York Times posted two publications....Google and one other more promient publication that stated households that are conservative in beliefs gave almost twice as much as households that were liberal in beliefs. Almost two to one....goes to show you where the real meat of this discussion lies. What I would like to see is all of these high profile liberals donating all of their wealth to fund this great undertaking....we can then fill in the blanks from the conservative side. Bet that won't happen anytime soon. Libs = big talkers and no walkers.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • QS

        You could have just saved a lot of space and reading time by simply stating: "I'm a greedy conservative and don't want to contribute to a healthier society."

        November 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • mirror

          You could have just saved a lot of space and reading time by simply stating: "I'm a lazy liberal and don't want to contribute to a healthier society."

          November 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • Jeff Grant

        The ACA is funded. Given you lied on this, I have to assume that you fabricated the rest of your post, also.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • originalwill

          Sorry Jeff, you're wrong – Medicaid expansion is funded for the next three years by the federal government, then the states are on their own to fund it. Guess you didn't read the law.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Conservatives=Poor-you don't matter; Rich-take it all
        You should see how pathetic your precious conservatives look from outside your country. They all need to put their bibles down and attempt to join the 21st century.
        Universal healthcare works for numerous other countries, there is little reason it should not work for the US. It obviously needs work but that will happen.
        Stop listening to those who think a god rules and start listening to those who know one doesn't.

        November 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        The uninsured already wreck your state financially. If the govt got rid of medicare and/or medicaid and give those bills back to the states they came from. States would go belly up like beached whales.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Or, maybe it's a political strategy to make the poor, the unwanted, leave a red state for a blue state, thus securing their political power even further. Yesiree, compassionate Christians at their best.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  10. semby

    When Jesus spoke about the poor; he was talking about Him being the provider not the government.
    Read the Word of God as you are so wrong.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Quite right. If either Jesus or his "bride," the church, were taking care of the poor and sick, there'd be no need for healthcare from any private insurer or the government.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      That's twisted, but then, that's what happens when Christians say, "We take this to mean..."

      November 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  11. Tracy Marshall

    This is nothing more than redirect, i.e. looking to distract from where the real problems lie - pun intended. What do you mean by going public, anyway. Action speaks more loudly as the churches (mine for one). On a weekly basis, my church hosts a dinner for the poor, distributes food to the folks in Skidrow, and provides a gathering for people with addictions of all kinds.

    Check your facts Mr. Journalist and look at what churches actually do and then have the guts to report it.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  12. Keeth

    “The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.
    Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.
    Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals”

    Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times

    November 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Deb

      I am a liberal. True, I probably don't contribute as much as many other americans with bigger pockets. You see, I work in neighborhoods that many never go in to. I work with children, seniors and many unemployed or under employed. I bring books to them. I feel like knowledge is the key and the gift I give is worth so much more than could be put on paper. It's what I can afford...but it's making a difference.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  13. Keeth

    Did anyone actually believe the Feds could successfully start a web site? Obamacare has become an embarrassment for the nation that invented online technology. It's an embarrassment...the nation that created nuclear power, flight, light and cured the world's blight cannot launch a successful website.
    It was approved in the middle of the night by a lame duck congress that never read it. It was sold by our President with a litany of blatant lies.
    They couldn't get one Republican onboard...nor all of the Democrats.
    For those fans of big government, it's become a swirling, sucking eddie of despair.
    Even as they curse the pastors...they beg for their help.
    Having accomplished nothing but great oratory, they elected a man with no track record and terrible college grades.
    We're getting what we deserve.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Keeth
      Good bring it down to the Tea Party level. How many of the states that reject Obamacare are solidly GOP? How much sabotage do you think the GOP may have resorted too? Your Republicans tried over 40 times to quash the program legislatively and failed and have now resorted to dirty tricks to make it fail, pathetic.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • Keeth

        You're right Quark, the bill was passed by a GOP House and Senate...then signed by Bush. I knew it all along. Gosh you're smart.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Keeth
        Last post for the day. Of the 25 states that are rejecting Obamacare only one voted for Obama as president, they are all supposedly red Christian states, Christ like I am sure, except for the discrimination. The whole issue has more to do with politics and the "bible" belt than anything else. It is ironic that the man that Obama defeated and the GOP darling of the time, Romney, set up a plan that a workable inclusive health care system that was possible.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Big Joe

      Are you just woefully misinformed? This has 161 Republican amendments in it and they were fully apprised what it contained in the year it was debated; they held countless briefings. And after adding the GOP amendments, they voted against it because of their McConnell pledge.
      What your party deserves is to go the way of the Whigs for their anti-American terrorist tactics. Your footnote in history will that your team was always on the wrong side of civility. Shame on this party. Die off soon.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  14. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

    When I read this, I laugh at the oxymoron, "compassionate Christian."

    November 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Topher

      Ouch, dude!

      November 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Karen

      I just Googled "compassionate atheist"... no results.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
      • torkofthetown

        Your google seems to not be functioning properly. Let me help you http://lmgtfy.com/?q=compassionate+atheist

        November 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  15. simon

    Wow, CNN is really showing it's snout!

    November 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      If you had explained the reasoning that led you to that conclusion, I might consider it a viable possibility, but to me, it seems like CNN simply published an OPINION piece submitted by one of their millions of contributing writers. I could be wrong, I guess.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • Wamsley

        You are wrong. Again. Good guess.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          What's next, the ole' "I'm rubber and you're glue" rejoinder.

          Is there any way you could be more boring? I ask because it just doesn't seem possible, but you might surprise me yet.

          November 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Wamsley

          Wrong again. Maybe you should find a different site to troll.

          November 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Wow, you managed to surprise me yet again. You did find a way to be more stupid and boring. Huh.

          November 8, 2013 at 7:25 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.