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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. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

    Yeah, when you read this article, you see the real meaning of the oxymoron, "compassionate Christian."

    November 9, 2013 at 6:07 am |
  2. Scott

    How can Americans whom claim to be religious, follow the tennant of Jesus or Mohammed allow this? How can the so called Religious Right be silent on this or allow the GOP to continue to cut benefits, food stamps, aide to dependent children, women's health, deny the ACA to the poor, stop meals on wheels. Where does it say in any religious text or doctrine that the poor, sick, children and elderly are just on their own to suffer and die?

    How does a person of religious consciounse support the Tea Party of the GOP on denial of health benefits to the poor? Or allow the unemploeyed or working poor and their children to go humgry?

    Why are these issues not being challenged to Rick Perry, Cruz and Boehner?

    November 9, 2013 at 4:21 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Oh, that's easy. I'l use the answer that I've heard Christians here use when talking about former Christians: Rick Perry, Cruz and Boehner – those people were never really Christians.

      November 9, 2013 at 6:05 am |
      • james martin

        "Rick Perry, Cruz and Boehner – those people were never really Christians". When did you become qualified to judge the hearts of men? Whether they are or are not, ever were or never were Christians you are not qualified to judge

        November 9, 2013 at 7:40 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          What planks they have in their eyes. Yesiree, fine examples of narcissism.

          November 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Cuts in programs are the result of being $16 trillion in debt. One quick fix in lowering said debt, is to stop supporting/controlling the Christian and Islamic cons.

      November 9, 2013 at 7:01 am |
      • james martin

        So called "cuts" are the result of Obama's temporary increase in benefits expiring. When the benefits were temporarily increased by the president there was an expiration date, a date when the amount of benefits would revert to pre-temporary increase rates. Don't blame the GOP because Obama gave only a TEMPORARY increase in benefits. Don't blame the GOP because the date the temporary increases end has been reached.

        November 9, 2013 at 7:51 am |
        • james martin

          Sorry "reality #2" I posted my reply to the wrong comment

          November 9, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  3. rosethornne

    When greedy politicians get their base all ranted up and foaming at the mouth, poor people inevitably suffer.

    By denying health insurance to those who would qualify for expanded Medicaid, Republican governors guarantee that the bill for medical services for those who cannot pay, will be presented to the taxpayers.

    I do not understand why this simple concept is so difficult to grasp.

    Also, I find it utterly disgusting to watch the behavior of those churched-up types who consider themselves morally superior, as they ignore suffering and deliberately increase the misery of fellow humans.

    It's enough to make a person root for the typhoons.

    November 9, 2013 at 3:48 am |
    • Reality # 2

      As long as rosethornne is not in the path of said typhoon.

      November 9, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  4. New West Virginian

    Conservative states are among the most generous in the country if you look at the percentage of income that people donate to charity. Based on this measure, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina rank among the top 10 most generous states. In fact I think about 7 or 8 of the most generous states are Republican leaning ones. Conservatives and Republicans do not lack generosity. The difference is what people believe about the role of government and the power of government. In liberal states people donate less to charity as a percentage of income, but a greater percentage of their income is taken away by the government through taxes. Perhaps after all these taxes they have less money left to donate???

    November 9, 2013 at 3:10 am |
    • New West Virginian

      OH yes when I donate to church, or when I donate to a reputable organization like the Red Cross, I know that the $$ I donate will be put to good use. When I pay taxes, or pay extra Obamacare premiums, I do not know what my money is going to be spent on. yes it MIGHT be to help homeless people. Or it might be used to subsidize mass transit, or give in-state tuition to illegal aliens, or sent to Pakistan and Egypt or Gaza as "foreign aid".

      November 9, 2013 at 3:12 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Let us look at it another way:

        In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt, 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!!!!

        November 9, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • Brandon

          Reality #2
          How do you know none of these events never happened? No one has definitive proof either way. You are quick to gamble an eternity in Hell because of your simple minded observations. What is so wrong with living a Christian life? Telling people about the love of Jesus and trying to live the way he did.

          I fail much more than I succeed, but the Jesus' message has been hijacked for personal gain. Christians are not telling people how to live or judging anyone's character. We simply want people to know that Jesus died on the cross for everyone's sins. And he loves you.

          November 9, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  5. SimJimmer

    We're I'm from charity is one of the core missions of the church. A mission they should be well suited to manage since a good church would be a caring church.

    Jesus didn't preach that we should force other people to care...he calls upon us each individually to care. I think Jesus would be very unhappy with any preacher urging his flock to force other people to help. When you deny other people the opportunity to help people of their own accord, you deny them the opportunity to be closer to God. Any preacher creating obstacles to Jesus should be ashamed.

    November 9, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  6. John

    Crazy liberals. Jesus told his followers to give to ceasar what was his, knowing that ceasar would waste it. He also said to care for the person in need right in front of your face. There is no moral good done in sending extra money for washington to waste

    November 9, 2013 at 1:27 am |
    • lol??

      Americult has Masters (Caesars) and PUblic Servants. The servants have gone feral. The socies just HAD to mess with the consti*tution.

      November 9, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  7. Lena Lucas

    Why can't the Christian response be to call our congressmen to ask for an expansion of the subsidies rather than to call our governor to ask for Medicaid expansion? Why is only your solution the "Christian" one? I live in a poor state, Alabama, that can't afford its current Medicaid program, much less the expansion. The federal government won't cover the costs forever. Then what?

    November 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I will pray on this.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Reflection

      Your governor denied the expansion. The subsidies IS the Fedgov. The Fedgov would cover 100% the first 2 years, and 90% thereafter. The thing you need to ask yourself is why the governors of the poorest states denying the help needed to their poorest citizens?

      November 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
      • Mg

        The Feds will not and cannot cover the cost of the expansion indefinitely. When they pull out these poor states will be left holding the bag for a program that’s already too expensive and massively wasteful even before the expansion. This is not a decision driven by cold-hearted disregard for the plight of the uninsured. Rather it is a refusal to be taken in by the promise of big federal government money that will only last a short period of time.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  8. Dana

    I love it. We have to debate about whether we can afford to spend government money to help the poor. We're not debating on whether to spend government money to blow people up in other countries for no apparent, immediate reason.

    Tell you what, American Christendom. You can pay for your own national defense from now on. Out of pocket. Let's just take all that money you are ENTHUSIASTICALLY paying through taxes for our military, and put it into a single-payer system instead.

    I mean, if the Bible isn't clear enough about helping the poor for you, it says NOTHING about the military. And you've all got guns anyway, right?

    November 8, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Lucid argument. I agree.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • Mg

        The Feds will not and cannot cover the cost of the expansion indefinitely. When they pull out these poor states will be left holding the bag for a program that's already too expensive and massively wasteful even before the expansion. This is not a decision driven by cold-hearted disregard for the plight of the uninsured. Rather it is a refusal to be taken in by the promise of big federal government money that will only last a short period of time.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:50 am |
      • Mg

        And I think you meant to say "stupid" argument, not "lucid". It all went south when the poster said people enthusiastically pay taxes for defense spending. NO ONE likes paying taxes.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • omeany

      AWESOME!

      November 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  9. Ungodly Discipline

    If that dude is so "homeless" then where did he get the killer flag blanket? Huh?

    November 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    Tell me that you want me
    But don’t
    Tell me that you need me
    But please don’t
    Tell me that you can’t live without me
    You already are

    November 8, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  11. Apple Bush

    Thud thud
    Da doo da doo daaa
    Thud thud
    Da doo da doo daaa
    Thud thud
    Da doo da doo daaa
    Da doo da doo daaaaaaaaaaaa

    November 8, 2013 at 11:21 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!!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • John

      The problem with your argument is that the wars were a waste of money we never had. They put us in debt. That would not have paid for healthcare either.

      November 9, 2013 at 1:24 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Our War on Terror continues as a necessary element of maintaining our freedom. We just need to be more frugal about it. Convincing Muslims that their religion is significantly flawed is one way of doing this. Scroll down the page to see some elements of the War.

        November 9, 2013 at 6:53 am |
  13. Apple Bush

    Time
    Time is impossible to turn off
    If you could turn off time all reality would stop in place
    If all reality stopped in place there would be nothing
    Nothing is a singularity
    The other side of the singularity is reality
    Time is god
    God

    November 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Mike

      You're an idiot, John. Church's are not to blame for Obamacares failures, but I guess you never balk at the chance to bash Christianity, right? What kind of crap is this? "Preah in staes where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline," they do nothing about "the poor who can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere." Some of the best hospitals in the nation are run by church's. Church's also contribute vast donations for healthcare to the poor and other social services. I guess none of that matters. The Obama government can do no wrong!!

      November 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
      • Kelly

        Um? The author of this post is Apple Bush.

        November 8, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Mike
        Mike is impossible to turn off
        If you could turn off time all reality would stop in place
        If all reality stopped in place there would be nothing
        Nothing is a singularity
        The other side of the singularity is reality
        Time is god
        God

        November 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
      • John

        What did I say?

        November 8, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Keeth

    Today's gift to Democrats. Ask yourself why the insurance industry didn't destroy Obamacare the way they destroyed Hillarycare. Then ask yourself why millionaires will be getting free health insurance under Obamacare. (hint; the IRS doesn't know or ask what you have...only what you earn) Then ask yourself why the Dow and Black unemployment are both going up. You must not always choose Coke or Pepsi, that's how they get you. Don't become a Democrat because you don't like the GOP or otherwise. Don't let yourself be trained.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Jack

      Are you nuts? The insurance industry LOVES the ACA. You have no clue what you're babbling about.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Pastor Rob Harbin of Collierville Tennessee's Faith Lutheran Church, LCMS, related that he had actually met and talked with a homeless man. From that man he learned that the homeless are homeless by choice. The Southern evil continues.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  16. dan

    Too many of you value money over humanity.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Money pays the bills.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • Pitiful

        Don't you ever wish that society would be just a little bit better than the one you're currently envisioning, Ken? I know it's easy to give up.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  17. Keeth

    I just got my new obamabible.

    “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 9:21 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Enjoying the confirmation of delusions, are we?

      November 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Observer

      The Bushbible:

      Thou shalt invade a foreign country for false reasons and cost $2,000,000,000,000.
      Thou shalt send more Americans to die there than did in 9/11.
      Thou shalt send 30,000 Americans to be wounded.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Keeth

        Zuzu says; "teacher says...whenever we hear the word 'Bush' another lib has lost an argument"

        November 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Kelly

          Ignoring the criminality of the previous administration is tacit consent for their taking away out basic freedoms. Well done, you fascist.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Keeth

        Observer, I actually agree with you. Hillary and Bill and John Kerry and Joe Biden should not have asked for that war. OK, now go back to your 'two wrongs make a right' philosophy.

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

          Keith,

          Bush and the Republicans are responsible for the war for false reasons.

          If left to the Democrats in Congress, it NEVER would have happened.
          If left to Barack Obama it NEVER would have happened.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Maddy

          I often wonder what our country would be like if the SCOTUS hadn't given the 2000 election to Bush instead of listening to the citizens of the US.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Our War on Terror and Aggression:

        An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

        The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

        As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

        The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

        ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

        and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

        and more recently

        1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

        1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

        2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

        3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

        5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

        6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

        7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

        8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

        9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

        10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

        11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

        12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

        13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

        14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

        15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

        16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

        17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

        18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

        19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

        20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

        21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

        22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

        23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

        o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
        o
        BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
        The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

        25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

        (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

        26 ) September 12, 2012
        U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
        Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

        27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

        Continued below:

        Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

        -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

        – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

        – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

        – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

        – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

        – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

        – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

        – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

        – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

        – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

        – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
        – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

        The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

        – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

        – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

        – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

        – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

        – The capture of Abu Anas al-Libi on October 7, 2013

        November 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Kelly

      You've gotten the Tea Party agenda down PAT! You forgot one: when you can't come up with a truth, lie your ass off! Oh wait, you forgot Obama is a socialist Muslim born in Kenya.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • Keeth

        Sorry Kelly, you're mixed up. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. There's no proof he follows Islam and his signature achievement is not 'socialized medicine'...by definition, it's fascist medicine. Read-up on Mussolini before you go running around calling Obama a Socialist. Now, I'll agree that 'National Socialism' is a form of socialism but not socialism by our current definitions.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Kelly

          You obviously misread my post. I was repeating the standard TP BS, evidenced by my first sentence, "you've got the TP agenda down pat." Not real good with sarcasm, are you?

          November 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Keeth

          Kelly, if you haven't read it in awhile, read 'Animal Farm'. It contains all of the answers.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • Kelly

          You realize that is a work of fiction, right? As is "Atlas Shrugged".

          November 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
      • Dwain

        Kelly watches too much Fox News.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Kelly

          I was making FUN of Fox, dolt.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • Dwain

          Duh. Nice stereotype.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Kelly

          I nailed Fox. Is that a problem?

          November 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Dwain

          Typical Liberal scapegoating, blame Fox News. While CNN, your holy news source, is just as horrible.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
        • chubby rain

          False equivalency, Dwain...

          November 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • Kelly

          Lol. You're funny. You have no clue about my political views, but I make fun of Fox and you start stereotyping me.
          No, I don't get my news from CNN, never watch MSNBC; I just enjoy commenting here.

          Maybe you'll figure out what to think for yourself without parroting the talking points the approves party script tells you to.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
        • Dwain

          You are funny if you think I am "parroting the talking points the approves party script tells you to."

          Because you are actually doing that.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Kelly

          Nah, actually I am quoting actual comments I have seen and heard on Fox and other sources. I take it you don't agree with this garbage, either? Excellent.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • Reflection

          All Dwain did was change up one weird name spelling (Keeth) for another. Same guy.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Doris

      I wonder if Fox News has a Bible. I would imagine it's pure white, with platinum gold lettering. And I'll bet if it starts sagging, you can take it in to get the binding tightened up. It's also probably one of those talking Bibles. But I'll bet you can open it up from your doorstep and preach to all your neighbors from it.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • Kelly

        Sure they do. Keeth quoted the first five commandments from it.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • KHS

      Some people use every opportunity for Obama bashing. Is it his fault that some states refuse to implement Obamacare?

      November 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • Maddy

        If the GOTP can make things harder, they will. The level of hatred they have for the POTUS is palpable.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • Kelly

        Nope, but naturally, he gets the blame for all of the ACA problems in those states.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:24 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.