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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. TheDon

    Obamacare=more Democrat shackles for the poor. Who would ever think that the first black president would be the one to usher in the modern day slavery era of US?...Might as well start calling Uncle Sam MASTER....because now he calls the shots on your food, your housing and your heath etc. etc. The ghetto's look just like they have since the sixties....broken as ever.
    Is there anyone who recognizes this? When will blacks wake up and realize that liberalism and social programs are not the answer?

    November 11, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • tidho

      When Democrats stop offering them the next waive.
      ....i.e. NEVER.

      There's an entire political party based on offering people things the government can't afford on the basis that it sounds like a good thing to do. There is seemingly no time spent considering the cost, impact, or ramifications, the only litmus test is 'does it sound good in a headline?'.

      November 11, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Georges

      So most black people need a hand out? The majority on welfare are poor whites.....again you like so many ill informed folks resort to polarization..

      November 11, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • Really guy

        Blacks have a massive percentage of their population on welfare and other gimmegimme programs, where-as whites do not. The reason we make up the majority is because there's far more of us, on the order of hundreds of millions more of us. We could raise the percentage of us on gimmegimme programs to 40% and have twice the number of black people in existence in America, but that doesn't invalidate the fact that gimmegimme programs appeal to most blacks, since most blacks participate.

        November 11, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  2. Rene

    Medicaid and Obamacare are two different things. No state can refuse Obamacare. Blame the federal government not the states for the Medicaid threshold. States (and cities) have to stop taking on more debt than they can handle – Detroit MI. States were afterall given a choice.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • WASP

      one of the side-bars the republicans had put in was that states can obt out of the affordible care act; some did, most did not.

      November 11, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • will

        Don't blame this on Repubs....they were completely shut out of anything to do with Obamacare.......All of this totally rests on the shoulders of Demos......Rememer, they owned both the House and Senate and didn't need the help of Repubs to get this passed.....

        November 11, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Jeff

        No, no one can 'opt out' of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, what you call Obamacare. The individual state is allowed to opt out of expanded Medicaid but not the other provisions like kids til 26 years, pre-existing conditions, abortifacient coverage, etc. The reason many states opted out of Medicaid coverage is because the federal government would only pay part of the increased bill for a specified time, then leave the state holding the bag for the entire expanded liability for eternity. Opting out is a smart move.

        And shame to CNN for putting up a picture of someone who clearly isn't in the so-called gap. You know, the gap where you make too much for subsidy and Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance on your own. That homeless person will obviously qualify for Medicaid or subsidy. Misleading and inflammatory, CNN. You can do better.

        November 11, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • Rene

        States can opt out of managing the health exchanges, but no one is prevented from signing up for Obamacare. One just has to navigate through the federally run healthcare website.

        November 11, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  3. John

    The article ignores a very obvious reason no one wants to talk to the author. A church that speaks politically risks losing its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Under an administration that overtly targets its enemies through the IRS, these pastors are wise to keep their political views to themselves rather than risk their church.

    It isn't that I expect good reporting from CNN; it's just that I don't expect the average reader to identify the simple and obvious reason no one wants to talk to the author of this thinly-veiled political editorial.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • cwcw

      funny my conservative pastor had no qualms about trashing Obamacare this Sunday!!!

      November 11, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • doobzz

      Pastors sure don't have a problem condemning same s.ex marriage, abortion, teaching that the universe was created by magic in public school science classes, pushing prayer into civic meetings and keeping slogans about your deity in our Pledge of Allegiance and government buildings.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  4. marysheartisathome

    Add on–it's possible that many well known ministers declined to speak because they have been so often misquoted.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      More likely they don't want people observing their opulent lifestyles and wondering why they don't pay taxes.

      November 11, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • joeazona

        spot on!

        November 11, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  5. marysheartisathome

    Simply stated, this is skewed and wrong. As a believer both through my church we give to people in need of shelter, clothing, food. I committed yesterday to buy Christmas presents for the children of a prisoner in his name. We give to food banks, and support programs for those in need of medical care, clean water, and myriad other needs here in our country and around the world. Government should do what we cannot do for ourselves–provide protection and infrastructure. The public and private sector can take care of other needs much more effectively, both cost wise and person to person, than any bloated bureaucracy. It's always lovely to hear people who dispute the Bible cite the Bible. I try to live by it.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      People need food and shelter every day, not just when churches see fit to give it to them. As someone who has worked and paid taxes for over 30 years, I am happy that my taxes go to help my fellow Americans, even if some abuse the system. Those who contribute to the good of the country should be able to look for help from the country in their time of need. They shouldn't have to beg for charity.

      November 11, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • doobzz

      It's good that you do these things, but buying Christmas presents is a once a year thing. Come January, when the credit card bills arrive, the contributions dry up. Ask anyone who works for a charitable organization.

      Health care for the poor is needed every day, not just major holidays when folks have warm fuzzy feelings.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  6. Agnostickids

    Did you know that the Mormon church is purchasing 2% of Florida? They need to be taxed as a corporation! Once and for all. THEY are a perfect example of conservative corruption.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Darwin

      Aren't they supposed to be one of the biggest christian charities??? They just paid over half a billion for that land in Florida. It's all over the internet…why not CNN? THAT should be in the Belief section on here.

      November 11, 2013 at 9:20 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        To make sure congregants are paying up, each year Mormons must go before a Bishop for a Ti.thing Settlement.
        A member is questioned in a one-on-one interview with the Bishop to ensure they’re paying a full 10%.
        Those who are not lose their temple recommendations and therefore are in serious jeopardy of losing their Celestial blessings.
        If you cannot get into the temple, you cannot learn the secret handshake, secret password, secret "new name" and special “sealings”.
        Without these, you will be unable to pass Joseph Smith and the angels who guard the entrance to the Celestial Kingdom.
        This is tantamount to spiritual blackmail.

        And where does the money go?

        According to the Deseret News Agency, the propaganda arm of the LDS, the Church spent some $750 million internationally on charitable works between1984 and 2006.
        They have also spent 4 times that amount (approx $3 BILLION) in ¼ of the time to build a mall in Salt Lake City.

        The Latter Saints have a lot of very profitable businesses in their expanding corporate empire, such as Deseret Management Corporation, Beneficial Financial Group , Bonneville Communications , Bonneville Interactive Services
        , Bonneville Satellite, 35 Radio Stations, Deseret Book, La'ie Shopping Center, La'ie Park, La'ie Cemetary, Hukilau Beach Park, La'ie Water Company, La'ie Treatment Works, Zions Securities Corporation, Farm Management Corporation (commericial farms and agricultural properties), Deseret Land and Livestock, 200,000 acres of land in Rich, Morgan and Weber counties, Sun Ranch (Martin's Cove), Deseret Ranches of Florida (Orlando) (largest ranch in Florida), Deseret Farms of California, Rolling Hills (Idaho), West Hills Orchards (Elberta, Utah), Cactus Lane Ranch (Arizona), Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CPB), Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Trust Company, LDS Family Services, Property Reserves Inc. (PRI), Ensign Peak Advisors, Brigham Young University, LDS Business College,... the list goes on and on.

        Their quorum of Prophets are primarily concerned with profit.

        November 11, 2013 at 9:25 am |
        • Deano the Dino

          But the new dinosaur The King of Gore was found recently in Utah, no prophets needed.

          November 11, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • liberal disease

      corruption is every where especially in the Oval office, so why not in churches

      November 11, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • doobzz

        "He did it too!" is an argument used by children. Grow up.

        November 11, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  7. michael

    In the next 15 to 20 years we will see how you care for the old and the sick.
    Your fate is not in your control others are in control of your end.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In the next 15 – 20 years, the aging Boomer population will deplete what retirement/pension/old age reserves there are, leaving their children nothing.
      Gerontology will be an extremely profitable field for a little while...

      November 11, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  8. f gonzalez

    States have not opted out of ACA wholesale as the article disingenuously implies. Those states who have chosen to 'opt out' are merely choosing to not take advantage of the federally-funded 3 year 'bump up' in Medicaid benefits. The reason is not because they hate the uninsured or the poor, but because after 3 years, that increase in benefits becomes PERMANENT and is a new financial responsibility of the individual states. It's like saying, I will pay for a new house you can't afford for 3 years, but then you have the mortgage for the next 27.
    People in those states can still qualify for the national exchange plans. Not qualifying for the subsidies is a fault of the ACA, not the states who opted out of this Medicaid fleecing.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  9. WASP

    "give to cesar that which is his" i believe someone said that once before.

    if the church wants to pay for the lady's hyneria surgery along with the rest of us under-paid, over worked lower class then that would be great; otherwise i say let the government do what they can instead of blocking everyone from getting what they need.

    if the government can provide medical coverage to the whole of the american military and civil services theni think they can handle it for the rest of america as well.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Twitch

      Are you nuts? Look at Canada and Great Britain for what happens with a single-payer system; ironic how even as they are trying to move away from it, we are now moving towards it.
      My brother was born with hydrocephalus and he would have died as a baby if the government had been making the decisions.

      November 11, 2013 at 9:21 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Canada is far from moving away from single payer. In fact it works and no-one goes without medical care regardless of income.
        If there was single payer, your brother would have been taken care of.

        November 11, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • WASP

        so who pays for his doctor bills? medi-caid? did your family have affordible insurance to cover his pre-exsisting condition? if so then you were lucky, most aren't that lucky. my mother who makes well below the poverty line can't get medical attention because she "makes too much" and by that they mean she makes $10,000 a year.

        so please explain how she can afford to see a doctor at 50 years old in today's market, without some governmental intervention against the multi-billion dollar medical industry?

        not attacking just curious what you think about all those like my own family that lives paycheck to paycheck? i did 8 years in the army before i was put out due to injury, while in i had great access to medical help and medications when needed. i don't see the issue..................other than MONEY. greedy medical companies and doctors

        November 11, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • tallulah13

        Please cite your references that show that Canada and Great Britain are moving away from their current programs. I hear American conservatives make that claim quite often, but I've never heard a complaint from a Canadian or Brit about their health care.

        November 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  10. michael

    I tell you what is written is for all men-- free -slaves- rich- saved -nations-leaders-preachers- non preachers ((((((
    You all are given the task to care for the poor this is for all people not just the church.
    what the church does not do will be given to another.
    Your fear to speak the truth will cost you.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Odd that you would proclaim what is written for all men....written where?
      Then you have a warning? What's that about?

      November 11, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  11. Tania Shurko

    The Affordable Care Ac (which was nicknamed Obamacare by republicans) was passed by congress and signed into LAW. It is LAW in all 50 states so why are States allowed to to refuse the Affordable Care Act? Medicaid is free to states for the next 3 years and then states can opt out but that is separate from the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is to let people who do not have employer healthcare, pre-existing conditions or cannot afford their own health care to be able to get healthcare. For some people this is the first time in their entire working lives they will be able to see a doctor.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • bob

      Not likely, most docs will not take obamacare! They will go out of business if they do...

      November 11, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • MD

        Bob that is completely FALSE!

        November 11, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  12. AmericianPagan

    ahhh the far right rallies and cries about how everyone can't have what they want and how they shouldn't have to spend for "Free" healthcare for everyone.

    Healthcare isn't free... and if you weren't so caught up in blaming those who have had the rug pulled out from under them, you might realize that YOU (me, and everyone else who works hard for a living) is paying too much for it.

    That was the point of the law – ACA – AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
    Unfortunately because of the loop holes, bad planning, worse compromise and everything else that's come along since the idea was created, it's pretty much political Swiss cheese.

    Funny how a personal mandate for insurance (the conservative idea that people should be required to insure themselves rather than rack ER bills and ignore them) immediately became a bad idea because a Black democrat pushed them through.

    No, I don't like the idea of being forced to have insurance, then again, I've worked my butt off to get coverage through my employer and when I didn't have coverage, I didn't go... hell when I DO have coverage I only go when I'm on death's door because copays etc still eat you alive.

    yes there is a small percentage that abuses the system, on both ends... from the elite who seem to manipulate anything into a way to get profit for themselves or their buddies to the "professional victim" who milks the system for everything they can get. and yes, we should do everything we can to cut off both of these sponges... but they are no excuse for bankrupting half of America... Because that's one of the biggest causes of Bankruptcy – Medical bills.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:05 am |
  13. Chewbacka Grizelda

    Well, wow, if their "God" is so hot, then let HIM "save" them, lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 11, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  14. Help is needed.

    CURRENT FOCUS: SUPER TYPHOON HAIYAN

    RECIPIENT: CITIZENS' DISASTER RESPONSE CENTER (CDRC)

    http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/crisis

    November 11, 2013 at 7:31 am |
  15. Dale Denham

    Great reporting and covering of angles

    November 11, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  16. Robert Kessler

    These so called saviours are really no different than the majority of our politicians. They are not in their profession for other than themselves and th emoney they can make. They are certainly not in their profession to save souls. It is really a joke and they feed on the disenfranchised and disabled.

    November 11, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Lars

      You too obviously don't want to talk about the least of those living amongst us. Instead you fault and disparage those provide spiritual and numerous other services to their communities.

      More specifically, you fail to mention that the GOP has habitually opposed healthcare of any for the middle-class and poor residents of this country.

      The GOP previously opposed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and are now in total opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care for those who don't know that the ACA and OBC are one and the same).

      November 11, 2013 at 7:42 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

        The GOP uses everyone else to service the elite rich. This is nothing new.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • Lars

      You too obviously don't want to talk about the least of those living amongst us. Instead you fault and disparage those who provide spiritual and numerous other services to their communities.

      More specifically, you fail to mention that the GOP has habitually opposed healthcare of any for the middle-class and poor residents of this country.

      The GOP previously opposed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and in keeping with their core value of healthcare opposition, are now in total opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care for those who don't know that the ACA and OBC are one and the same).

      November 11, 2013 at 7:49 am |
      • Mary

        ACA=OBC. funny how you have to clarify that TWICE. Must be aimed at all the low infos. You also said more than once that GOP is opposed to healthcare. Let ME clarify now; GOP is opposed to Govt. MANDATED healthcare. BIG difference. No wonder there's so much resentment toward the right if this is the skewed info you're getting. Check your kool aid, it's probably spiked.

        November 11, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • doobzz

          It was probably just a double post. Funny how you couldn't figure that out before being rude.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  17. lol??

    Obama and da Beasties care about ins companies, doctors, and da waivered PUblic Servants. They out vote da Masters. Mob rule rules, straight out of Sodom.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:38 am |
  18. Sara

    Tip to author: Don't wait until the eighth paragraph to tell your readers what the heck you're talking Bout. This is the internet where you lose people at the first sentence, not a newspaper in 1978. The first time I clicked on this story I didn't evenn get to the point. I only tried again several days later out of curiosit as to whether there was one.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      The 8th paragraph was to set the story up. The story is here:

      "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."

      November 11, 2013 at 7:55 am |
      • Sara

        So I find out the point in the 14the paragraph?!? Who want to waste their time with that.

        November 12, 2013 at 6:48 am |
  19. Ty Wilson

    You have to ask who is really playing politics here?
    The administration said that states that do not create their own exchange under the Affordable Care Act would have one created for them.This happens to be over half of them by the way. For these exchanges they easily could have included subsidies for those that do not make a up to a certain income. Who in the world ever heard of making too much money to qualify for an income based subsidy?
    Instead funds have been withheld to punish those that do not accept expanding their Medicaid programs. Programs, that while currently funded by the Feds, will eventually be that states responsibility to pay for. Yes free money is good to run a program, but not when you will eventually have to increase your taxes & expands your budget to cover the cost.
    Unlike the Feds many states have to actually balance their budgets.
    One more thing to note. States they claim are having success with their exchanges, like Kentucky, are actually signing more people up for Medicaid than enrolling young healthy people. The young are needed to actually fund this program, so it does not become another over budgeted, bloated Federal monstrosity.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  20. yensirhc

    We have such a visceral opposition to the poor in this country. Its disgusting.

    November 11, 2013 at 4:11 am |
    • lol??

      Americult likes its poor. It keeps creatin' more of em!! NO INHERITANCE ALLOWED!!

      November 11, 2013 at 6:30 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Not all of us oppose the poor; just those of us who are called Republican.

      November 11, 2013 at 7:59 am |
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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.