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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. Kregg

    no one was ever denied health care. If you didnt qualify for medicare there was medicade, if you couldnt get that each state had an access program, then there is cobra... list goes on. so stop with the lies that people cant get health care.

    December 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  2. DANIELLE

    WHY WOULD ANYBODY WANT TO HAVE A LIFE THAT THEY RELY ON STRANGERS TO SURVIVE SUCH AS DOCTORS AND DRUG COMPANIES. IT EXPENSIVE BEING OUT OF SHAPE? DRUG COMPANIES,DOCTORS,AND HOSPITAL CHARGE WHATEVER THEY FEEL LIKE IT.. JUST EAT HEALTHY,STAY AWAY FROM SMOKERS,LIFE WEIGHTS,AND DO OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

    December 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  3. Chuckster

    Just another chapter in the long history of Christian hypocrisy.

    December 18, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  4. Retta

    The GOP will pay for this in the 2014 AND 2016 elections, the EXTREME'S in their party are responsible for this INSANITY, trying to discredit Obama by blocking the ACA in those states ONLY hurts needy people, SHAME ON THEM!
    And they created the ACA, now they block it, JUST because they can't take credit for it, it's on Obama's watch, what lame, sorry loser's they are.
    I'm ashamed to say I once was a republican (for 23 yrs.), and it's not my proud parents GOP anymore folk's, that's for damn sure.
    Regan would RUN from them if he were alive today, just as I did in 2008!
    Proud Independent voter

    December 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tracy Marshall

      Retta: To your statement below:

      1. Obama doesn't need any help discrediting himself, as he's doing a great job at it.

      2. Are you saying that "needy" people does not include members of the middle class, people with pre-existing conditions and college students from whom ACA is taking away affordable benefits?

      3. While I am a registered Republican, neither side has a monopoly on stupidity and greed. That being said, rather than making this discussion about the good guy Democrats vs. the evil Republicans, why don't you and Ken Margo think more clearly and make a simple discussion of right and wrong.

      IN RESPONSE TO YOUR COMMENTS BELOW:

      The GOP will pay for this in the 2014 AND 2016 elections, the EXTREME’S in their party are responsible for this INSANITY, trying to discredit Obama by blocking the ACA in those states ONLY hurts needy people, SHAME ON THEM!
      And they created the ACA, now they block it, JUST because they can’t take credit for it, it’s on Obama’s watch, what lame, sorry loser’s they are.
      I’m ashamed to say I once was a republican (for 23 yrs.), and it’s not my proud parents GOP anymore folk’s, that’s for damn sure.
      Regan would RUN from them if he were alive today, just as I did in 2008!
      Proud Independent voter

      December 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • Krhodes

        LIKE

        December 18, 2013 at 3:36 am |
      • Deus Ibi Est

        Given the train wrecks that Obama has left in his 5 year wake -– and given the fact that Obama has deliberately led the country to the edge of the Mega Depression that's around the corner - and given the facts that left to Obama NOBODY will get Healthcare because you'll ALL be on skid row sooner than you can imagine..........
        You've got either a NERVE or lack the basic INTELLIGENCE to blame the Republicans!!!!!

        On his first meeting with Congress as POTUS Obama told the Republicans to "Go sit in the back seats" and he's BY-PASSED Congress and made fool decisions ever since! And you – with your limited ability – blame the REPUBLICANS?

        The lib erals deserve a Muppet like you! And the Republicans are sure better off losing a half-wit.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Tracy Marshall

          Well said.

          December 18, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  5. Joe Deagle

    What Mr.Blake fails to mention is that most of the "affordable" Obamacare plans have a $5,000 to $10,000 deductible.

    That means you have health insurance but if you get injured or sick you will have to pay the first $5,000 yourself, out of your own pocket, before Obamacare pays a dime.

    How many people have that kind of money sitting in their bank account?

    December 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Stuck on fox news lately huh?

      December 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Retta

      Granted WE all still will pay for the very poor with our tax dollars, BUT many more will now have affordable health care that keeps them from showing up at ER's for care that would have cost taxpayers allot less if they had preventive care in the 1st place instead of us throwing our money away on greedy hospital's and insurance companies, but I guess your OK with a broken UNJUST system, huh...?
      82% of Canadian's are happy with their nations health care system, why is that..?
      BECAUSE IT WORKS, and they don't have a minority of EXTREME'S in their politics blocking what is good AND works well for the MAJORITY of their nation on health care.
      Seams to me Opie, it's a no brainer, the ACA or ObamaCare, whatever you want to call it is imperfect in some ways, BUT is much better than what we once had, and will save taxpayer's MILLIONS in the next 20 yrs.
      The GOP needs to quit whinning about it's problems with the ACA, get over being sore loser's, and work with the dems. to correct the problems for ALL the people.

      Independent voter (who is fed up with the EXTREME right wing nuts!)

      December 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • RandyC

        No one was not seen before the horrible Obama health care debacle, and now everyone will be made poorer because of it.

        December 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Deus Ibi Est

      Good one Joe – and very true.
      Of course the dribbling liberals will still scrabble to defend the indefensible [a] because they don't understand what Obamacare is doing and [b] because, to them, Obama is right!
      Bunch of Muppets.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • carol1

        You must not be a Christian, or a member of any Faith. Your view of poor people is the polar opposite of Jesus's. It's so sad when people with your viewpoint think is very good to deny health care to the poor. You are denying health care to God's creations, and letting many die when they could be medically saved. What will happen to your loved ones who cannot get health care? Or do you care.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Mr. Derp

    So the separation of church applies to public schools yet these hypocrites demand that churches preach about government services? You gotta be kidding me. Progressives are a joke and a cancer on our once-great country.

    December 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Kat D

      Mr. Derp,

      I don't see this as a "demand" for these charlatans to "preach about government services" but more of an observation as to why they remain silent regarding the very people God repeatedly instructs them to take care of, all while becoming (and remaining) extremely vocal on other political issues that seem to almost completely conflict with what is in their Holy books. You speak of hypocrites as if it is a single party's problem. These "holy men" are some of the biggest hypocrites you can find, regardless of party affiliation, denomination, race, etc. and if you believe any different you are sorely mistaken. This was raising the question as to why these big mega churches & their ultra-rich, evangelists, demigod wanna-bes only speak out from their bully pit when it benefits them, as opposed to when it benefits the good of all, as instructed by God.

      December 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  7. Brian

    Complaining that the government has not done enough when he himself is supposed to be doing what the government is trying to do but failing... maybe that tax free status should be revoked if you aren't going to help the poor – it'd go a long way to helping defray the cost of the government 'charity' at the point of a gun....

    December 4, 2013 at 3:03 am |
  8. RD

    This isn't an argument for Obamacare, it's an arguement for going back to the drawing board and fixing this mess to help the uninsured.

    December 4, 2013 at 2:12 am |
  9. Justin G

    A black preacher trying to rescue Obama big suprise there let me tell ya. Obamacare is the Democrats and Obama's fault. Obama's fault for not taking his time and having it planned out and designed properly. Democrats fault for signing something into law they never read, understood, or even bothered to look at. No matter who you blame, it all leads back to Obama's war against anyone who doesn't agree with his agenda.

    December 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Yep that's some agenda. The nerve of the guy trying to help people get health insurance! Did you know justin that the taxpayer pays the bill for the uninsured when they end up in a hospital? Maybe you like paying that!

      Repubs like to say "we can't saddle our kids with debt" The uninsured ADD to that debt everyday. Why don't you ask the repubs why are they against helping people get healthcare insurance when members of congress have health insurance that YOU help pay for!

      December 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • Jeremiah

        Even people with half a brain can understand that logic. But that's too much for the bagger to handle.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:42 am |
        • Brian

          why is it so hard for you to understand it's just as wrong to use the force of the government to take from someone to give to another as it is for the churches who enjoy tax free status and do not use their funds to help the poor?

          December 4, 2013 at 3:00 am |
        • Ken Margo

          why is it so hard for you to understand That when the uninsured can't pay the hospital bill that the gov't (state) uses taxpayer money to pay the bill. The bill has to be paid. Your tax dollars are taken to pay someone else's hospital bill. In other words YOU PAY FOR IT ANY WAY.

          December 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Tracy Marshall

          Ken:

          I have not problem accepting that taxpayers current wind up paying emergency room visits from the uninsured. But what I do have a problem believing is that net expenditure for Obamacare, hidden taxes, and added costs due to bungled launch will allow for any net savings to be passed on to the taxpayer. I'd rather continue to pay for their emergency room visits than to witness the added costs and misery that Obamacare is currently and will in the future cause to those of the middle class who are already struggling.

          P.S. Amazing that this thread is still alive and kicking. What fun!

          December 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  10. Rev. Jeff Grant

    With prison ministries in most disparate socio-economic same-county communities in the country, there are a lot of issues in this debate of which we have taken notice. On the plus side, we are in Connecticut, a state that has been very progressive in both its health care and pardons policies. On the negative, we require sweeping justice reinvestment forum, to make sure that money is properly spent in the community to prevent the root causes of poverty and crime, including access to health care for everyone. Not an easy situation but we are glad the debate has begun.

    Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
    Director I Progressive Prison Project I Innocent Spouse & Children Project
    Christ Church Greenwich, Greenwich, CT
    Assoc. Minister I Director of Prison Ministries I First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
    Bridgeport, CT
    progressiveprisonproject.org

    December 1, 2013 at 4:43 am |
  11. Ken Margo

    Dear John..............Why are you so worried about death or where you go when you die? I can guranteee this no matter if you are good or bad you will die. Since you aren't dead you have no idea if you go any where other than the ground or cremetory.

    November 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  12. JAY

    If you want to see HATE come to the South.

    November 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  13. JAY

    It's all about the almighty dollar, not about helping people.

    November 28, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Ted Ward

      That's because it's the almighty dollar that helps people.

      November 29, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  14. Jshe

    I thought preachers were not allowed to "preach" politics from the pulpit. Aren't they supposed to lose their tax exempt status for doing so? If a preacher was preaching against Obama/Obamacare would the same shoe fit.

    And don't give me that bull that he wasn't injecting politics into his sermon. Intellectual honesty people know there is NOTHING in the bible about Government run healthcare. He was promoting a political viewpoint and there's no denying it,,,,,,,,, well, some moron will, I'm sure.

    November 27, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      What is the christian position on the sick, poor, and needy?

      November 28, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • AnotherAnnie

        It is that if someone is cold, and you have 2 coats, you should give him one of your coats. If someone is hungry, and you are eating a sandwich, you should give him half of your sandwich. This whole article is bunk in my opinion because there is no call for Christians to give more of their money to the government so it may be redistributed to the poor. Government inefficiency and corruption make such a task virtually impossible on any large scale. There is nothing of Christian hypocrisy in the fact that states that refused to expand Medicaid coverage limits are also republican strongholds. Why isn't this article instead over the overreach of the federal government – the sheer arrogance of a president who attempted to mandate that states incur the burden of making federally required healthcare coverage a reality? It is not the fault of republican governors that the US Supreme Court ruled that the forced Medicaid expansion was not enforceable under the law. It is not on the shoulders of church pastors to berate their own state leaders into piling on debt and economic strain in order to make Obamacare look better. The only scandal afoot is the one in which one party far overstepped their boundaries in making their social policies the law of the land, and now is using every finger they can find to somehow attempt to shame and ridicule the other party into compliance, including using the media to distort the truth.

        November 29, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Tracy

          Well said and I totally agree Annie.

          November 29, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Ken Margo

          You should call yourself another annie talking out of her azz.........................I'll tell you since fox news won't. when the uninsured go to the emergency room (ER) and can't pay the bill the taxpayer (you) pay for it. So when you whine about your taxes going up keep this in mind. If the states had taken care of the uninsured, then Obamacare wouldn't exist. I didn't vote for Mutt Romney but I have to give him credit for creating Romneycare in Mass. while he was governor. The Medicaid expansion works this way. Feds pay 100% first 3 years, 90% after. If the states don't expand medicaid. Guess who pays 100%. THE STATES.

          As far as the religious phonies are concerned, they seem to be able to find a microphone and camera when it comes to ending abortions. They need to be a more vocal for people AFTER they are born. It can be ways to improve Obamacare or using some of that vatican money to pay for people without insurance.

          November 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  15. John

    Life's most important question: Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here's a quick test. Have you ever lied (we all have...), stolen anything (the value is irrelevant), or used God's name in vain? Jesus said, "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell.

    That's not God's will. He sent his Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. You broke God's Law, but Jesus paid your fine. That means he can legally dismiss your case. He can commute your death sentence: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Then Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death.

    Pray something like this: "Dear God, I repent of all of my sins (name them). Please forgive me God. This day I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

    For evidence of the Bible’s divine origin see http://www.livingwaters.com and http://www.answersingenesis.org

    November 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Observer

      John,

      "You broke God's Law, but Jesus paid your fine. That means he can legally dismiss your case."

      Yep. Don't accept punishment for what you did. On the other hand, if you are a great person, but never heard of God you are headed for hell. Sounds fair, but only to Christians.

      November 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • Earth Walker

        It is fair because there is no great or even good persons. You're using your standard of "good" which is really just "better than most". God's standard is an absolute not a relative one. And it's not that God sends us to hell; it's our own inclinations and drives that take us there. We go there because we chose to go there.

        November 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Dear John..............Why are you so worried about death or where you go when you die? I can guranteee this no matter if you are good or bad you will die. Since you aren't dead you have no idea if you'll go any where other than the ground or cremetory.

      Your test stinks. Bush lied about about WMD's in Iraq, Sent 5,000 brave soldiers to their death, killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqi's. Bush has more blood on his hands than osama bin laden yet their are christians like YOU that say he'll go to heaven.
      Bush should be the new benchmark! If he can go to heaven, anyone can.

      November 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  16. Ken Margo

    To all,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Be safe during this holiday season.

    November 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.