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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. Moses

    The Church today has lost their right. Both pastors and members, they do not know the God they are serving/calling upon. The logo of medicine is a serpent, and this same same deceived Adam & Eve @ the garden of Eden, he's still deceiving the whole world today. 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. Matthew 10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. Are we not a disciples of Jesus(Yeshua) Christ? If then, why do we need the doctors to treat us while we the christian are the one to bring healing to the nations and not we going to the doctors/hospital for healing....Where by our body the temple of God is been destroyed by man. Please read 2 Kinds 1-7. Thanks by beloved in the Lord.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  2. rreactor

    Anyone surprised that CNN and progressives will try to shift the blame for the abysmal failure of Obamacare to Christian pastors in states who have determined it would disastrous to add more people to the already bankrupt Medicaid roles. It is ridiculous to believe that the Affordable Care Act was ever going to provide "affordable" health care to more people than were previously covered. Now that the cat is out of the bag and this atrocity is being revealed to the American public, the desperation of the administration and the die hard believers will do anything they can to shift the blame to any bogey men they can. Since not one Republican voted for this piece of garbage, they are immune, so the next best alternative is the Christian community. Anyone notice that without the Christian Churches in America, millions of people would go hungry, homeless and sick? How presumptuous! Don't they know that they are intruding on the socialist, paternalist territory of the nanny state? Thanks CNN for continuing to reveal your agenda....

    November 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • lol??

      The spirit that was previously in charge of Rome is BACK!!!!

      November 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  3. Tracy

    Speaking as a born again Christian in the Bible belt who opposes Obamacare and supports states rights to nullify this legislation, I can say that this author has a skewed view of Christians opposing Obamacare. It's not that we don't want the poor to have adequate health care, it's we strongly oppose the philosophy and methodology of the legislation. I will state that the GOP needs to provide a good alternative solution however, the concept of people becoming dependent upon the government for their personal needs is anti-Christian. It enslaves people to the provision and decisions of others thus, taking away their freedom of choice and decision. It also creates a co-dependent relationship instead of an interdependent relationship; people dependent upon the government for their basic needs does not promote a healthy work ethic, society, or economy. Has this author ever read the book of Proverbs, or 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that states the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat? ... I have often thought that human rights activists wrote this legislation without any economic consultation. ..... Of course Conservative Christians and/or Republicans believe in helping the elderly and those who are unable to help themselves. However, the Obamacare creates a co-dependent unhealthy nation just waiting for a stronger nation to come in and take over..... Dr. Ben Carson has some great ideas on reforming health care and I hope that the Republicans consult him in their alternative health care solution.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • lol??

      The First Lady was makin' $1,000/day tellin' po people to stay out of her ER. Chitown mobsters care.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  4. C

    Fishes???

    November 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • lol??

      Asian carp rule. Science sayz so.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  5. Bill

    This is why I dont watch CNN. Allways biased.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Observer

      Bill,

      So you watch Faux News, right?

      November 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Through association with the Interfaith Council in my city I've had a chance to learn what determines the issues religious groups will choose for action, and which will inspire silence. I concluded that it is entirely determined by the political makeup of their congregations. The congregations drive the churches, not the pastors, rabbis or imams.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • lol??

      Only one faith, dude. The "inter" dividers are under wrath. Under water, so to speak.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • lol??

      Soviet =Council

      Enjoy yer swim in da lake of fire. Fathers not approved.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Jessica Weldon

    Reblogged this on Turning Texas and commented:
    Texas is home to the highest number of people without health insurance of any state in the nation. We are also home to the largest churches and congregations in the U.S. Why aren't Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Max Lucado, Ed Young Sr., Ed Young Jr., and other prominent Texas pastors speaking out to answer the cries of the poor?

    November 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  8. Ardent

    So the failure of Obamacare is now Christianity's fault?

    Wow. You guys got an excuse for everything except this governments massive failure in the hands of liberal leftists.

    November 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Observer

      Ardent,

      Speaking of failures, tell us all about the $2,000,000,000,000 war started by Bush and the Republicans for FALSE REASONS. It killed more Americans than 911 and wounded over 30,000 Americans.

      November 10, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • Jeff Roem

        So, point being, I'm thinking Hillary voted for that unnecessary war.

        November 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

          Point being – a lot of people voted for that war because they were lied to.

          November 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • Jeff Roem

          Like bush

          November 11, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It has not failed, but several states are not doing what they can to help make it work for the most vulnerable people. The churches of these states are silent because of their desire to remain in political alignment with what they perceive is the majority in their congregations.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • jayredd

        Thanks for your insight but you really don't have a clue. No one will know if Obamacare will work until the bugs are fixed. Don't blame anyone else but the Democrats and Obama for this. It's not the states fault or GW Bush or anyone else. This failure(so far) is totally on Obama and his posse. Plus he has zero credibility because of all the lying he's done.

        November 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Isn't it a christian tenet to look after the poor, sick, and needy? Not happening is it. I'd say that was a failure of christianity.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
      • irene

        IT is the american people place to help each other

        November 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Darryl Clayton

      The premise to help fellow Americans is never a failure and if I know scriptures, Jesus wouldn't look at Obamacare as a failure either. The issue is actually cowardliness from the GOP and the churches that they use as silos for their ideologies. Although Christ came to save mankind His mission wasn't devoid of feeding the hungry, protecting the downtrodden (see Mary Magdeline), and healing the sick (which could be considered healthcare).

      November 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  9. jenallen4

    Haven't you ever heard the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."?

    November 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  10. Jeff Roem

    Atheists cannot defeat the proof found in the gospels. They have nothing to refute that god created the heavens and the earth. They run from the testimonies of hundreds of millions of people.

    November 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman...YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett

      That's hilarious. What proof? First one has to show that the Gospels are anything near credible before even beginning to think about the magic therein. Can you name eyewitnesses, authors? Can you explain the contradictions?

      November 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Atheist

      BS- where's the proof. It's a book.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Observer

      Jeff Roem,

      Yes, you still can't offer ANY PROOF that God exists and atheists can't prove he doesn't. Nothing new.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Leyo

    Pastors who preach prosperity gospel are businessmen not christian.

    November 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  12. three billion

    plus damages

    November 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  13. Ari

    What are the features of a civilized society? it seems that we are missing the point here. A civilized society should be able to provide health care and other important stuff to the society. what good is it if the gov is rich and if there are mega rich individuals and other people are suffering? it is without question that there should be healthcare for every one in America, the question should be how should it be handled. People may not like ObamaCare but hey, what else is there done to address the issue so far? is there anyone with a better idea? ObamaCare is better than nothing at getting to address this issue, even though it may not be the best. This could serve as a starting point and people could develop it to a better level later.

    And I believe, yes the churches should join in here because it means helping the poor!!! what is the point of going to church and saying AMEN if you are not living the word of GOD? The word of God mentions millions of times about helping the poor. of course if you are helping the poor you are going to sacrifice something be it money or time or energy, it is inevitable. why are people complain of paying taxes? Jesus tells us that if we have something extra then we have to share it with the poor, he is totally against the idea of being rich and not helping the poor. These pastors need to do what is right and not what their audience wants them to be. why did they decline to comment? because they are double minded!!! and God doesnt like double minded people! it is not difficult to say that the poor do indeed need help. Of course, the world is going to hate them, Jesus said it too - if you are from this world the world will like you but if you are my followers the world will hate you. so pastors show that you care and are really the servants of God. I am not saying Obama Care is the best but what else is out there to address this issue? Nothing! so that's why you need to talk about making it better and not rejecting it.

    November 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Churches are primarily social groups of for like-minded people. They only teach and reinforce a system of morality that the group is comfortable with and never push it to a degree that makes people uncomfortable. ANything else would threaten the cohesiveness of the group.

      November 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • irene

        I guess everyone that says a church don't give you have proof of this. where I go to church we do help the poor we cloth them we feed them and we help pay for some of there bill,W

        November 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Katherine

      I think you've made a very good response, Ari.

      November 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • irene

      What is happening now is that the middle class is losing there inc. having to go to Obamacare pay twice as much. Obama is taking from one that is working there butts off give to someone esle that wants eveything free. I know that they are alot of people who need it also alot of people that want to live off the govt.IF you live off tax player money you need a drug test. If you have money to buy drugs than you don't need our money.Take that money and pay for the ones who really need it we want have to take from one to give to another. we need to work on fixing before more is creative

      November 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  14. Mark Young

    There's this thing called separation of church and state, some churches could be reluctant to weigh-in because their charity status could be in jeopardy if they speak out politically. Yeah the IRS can be a real bugger about that. But a religious organization not speaking out on the the in-equality that surrounds us is beyond reason. A pastor reluctant to speak-out about healthcare for those who desperately need it for fear of his job? Christ hung a cross for us no matter our religion, race or political ideals. HUNG_ON_A_CROSS! And they call themselves people of God! I am a believer in God and what Christ did for me and you on the cross. Am I a Christian? I'm not a big fan of organize religion but I do believe in what the Bible, The Torah and the Qur'an have to share with us. It us who messed that up!! >

    November 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  15. Emily

    Hypocrites without hearts, minds or souls!

    November 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Ari

      True to that Emily. These pastors who declined to comment are caring a lot about money now that they are rich.But Jesus said we Christians don't need wealth to serve God. So why are they caring so much about loosing their audiences. no compromises are allowed in the word of GOD. Surprisingly God will help those who respect and obey God. Look at Jesus, he had very few followers before but now he has the highest number of followers because he is the truth and carries the truth.

      November 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  16. Blah blah blah

    Government owes us all care for our health, care for our wealth, care for our well being, care for our children, care for our friends and our neighbors, our thoughts and our dreams. they owe us, they owe us now that They own us!

    November 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  17. Chris brown

    Osteen is a crook and a liar,he doesnt provide physical proof to back up what he preaches and the money he DOES raise is to cover up the lawsuits from other priests who took advantage of kids from years ago

    November 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Steve Sands

      Olsteen has nothing to do with the Catholic church??? What are even talking about???

      November 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  18. pauleky

    Charlatans all. I almost wish Hell existed so these folks when go there. Oh, and please don't respond with, "Hell exists" unless you're about to prove it.

    November 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Steve Sands

      Don't worry there are no Atheists in Hell , as soon as they get there , they become believers

      November 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
      • ntxcares

        The preachers aren't commenting because although I'm sure they wish everyone had healthcare they do in fact realize that it's not governments job to mandate it.

        DUH

        November 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • Lindsey

          Correction to ABOVE comment from NTX Cares. That was in fact the personal view of one person, not necessarily the viewpoint of our organization. The organization prefers not to comment on political matters. The organization is not political. Thank you for your understanding.

          November 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
        • Steve Sands

          so, why did u make the stupid comment then??

          November 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • CNN troll

      Hell exists and you're in it by the sound of your post

      November 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
      • Steve Sands

        does truth scare you?? It better

        November 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  19. Mostafa

    Republicans claim to be very religious..no abortion ..no gay rights...no benefits to poor people...therefore ????

    November 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  20. Michelangelo David

    Letter attached !

    November 10, 2013 at 7:53 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.