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. Aunty Social

    More phony liberal outrage from the same people who complain about ministers who object to liberal-agenda matters, with loud screeches of "Separation of church and state!" "Keep your religion off my body" and so forth.

    It's not the government's job to wipe our noses or our butts. "Keep your laws off my body" indeed. Starting in with my doctor's office.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  2. John

    Ah, but this article doesn't point out one legal issue. Churches/ ministers, are NOT able to discuss politics, etc b/c if they do they can be taxed! How so, there is a tax law that basically says the church is a "non-profit" if it is doing "church work". If they delve into the political sector or start having a preacher talk about which way a congregation should lean, then they are no longer a church, but a political organization, which means they can start being taxed. Basically, they are no longer spreading the message of Christ, God, etc. but for political reasons.
    While the article makes a great point, this is why these pastors, ministers, etc. are not speaking out. They put the financial condition of the church in jeopardy.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Dave Matthews

    Take a practical look at what's behind this story. Take a look at the BILLIONS that TAXPAYERS have been spent on alternative educational opportunites, BILLIONS that TAXPAYERS have spent on food programs for the poor, BILLIONS that TAXPAYERS have spent on stopping the horrific drop-out rate in schools, and BILLIONS TAXPAYERS have spent on homeless shelters and other additional opportunities for those less fortunate. Those in despair have to WANT to make their life better, they have to WANT to raise themselves from that despair, they havve to take it upon THEMSELVES to go and get help. Where do the words "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY" reside in this stupid story? NOWHERE! This is nothing but trash talking and another reason to belly-ache about those who won't take care of themseslves.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • hotchow

      "Personal Responsibility"? What does that mean? Does that mean to wait around for someone else to take responsibility for my station in life and make sure I have a better future? (dripping with sarcasm).

      November 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Terry

    Oh, bull. It is fully funded by the fed for 2 years, and after that? 10% by the states.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Terry

      Meant for Roger Olson.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  5. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    From many of these other comments it seems the religious think this is somehow related to a separation of church & state. If a Church speaks out against poverty and hopes all the poor get some sort of coverage so they don't get left out in the cold when they get sick that is now political speech? Just because conservatives tend not to give a shlt about the poor and feel guilty when they hear their pastor say they should is not political speech.

    This is an example of one group who is against eating the bowl of chocolate pudding because they like vanilla, and because they didn't get their way they have decided to shlt in the chocolate pudding everyone else had agreed upon. Now they are pointing out how the pudding taste like shlt. It was the conservative compromises made to get bi-partisan support that turned the ACA into the mixxed bag it is with tons of give-a-ways to private insurers. So any conservative who is complaing about the fecal flavor of the ACA should know that they just pooped in their own mouth.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Aunty Social

      Except that we never "agreed" to buy any pudding in the first place.

      Fock off, thief.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Exactly, which is why you morons thought it would be okay to shlt in it. Now you idiots are scrambling to keep it off your plate because you know what you did to it. You never expected to have to actually eat it and now you have turned up your noses and are refusing to take a bite. It will be interesting to see those States that have fought the ACA and at the same time have the highest rates of obesity as they struggle with diabetes and heart disease unassisted, good luck conservative States, don't let the waiting room door hit you on the ass...

        November 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Doopsy Jones

      Just the Facts Ma'am: Cant have it both ways. Government is the all powerful administrator of compassion...until it fails then those pesky conservatives don't care about the poor. Check and see who gives more to the poor in both money and time. I promise you these people are not liberal, atheist, progressive, free-thinkers. They tend to be conservative Christians. As Christians we do need to do a better job helping the poor around us but as Jesus said "You will always have the poor with you". Matt 26:11 We cant cure it but we can help each other. Why not join in with us and help! We sure can use it!!!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        giving money to the Church is not the same as giving it to the poor. For example, the RCC has paid out nearly $7 billion in payments to the families of children abused by priests. I'm sure some of those families were in fact poor, but that is not the kind of "giving" I would want to be associated with...

        November 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Destinatus

    Christianity is a religion for slaves. Slaves don't need healthcare.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  7. JL

    Poor people don't contributre to the church......
    No money, no power...

    November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  8. annieL

    I think it is appropriate for pastors to preach about healing the sick, as Jesus modelled. But healthcare in Jesus' time was cheap and low-tech. What we're really talking about today is how to pay for healthcare for everyone. We're really talking about money and greed. And Jesus had PLENTY to say about that. That's what pastors should be preaching about.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  9. sly

    What sort of American WANTS 50 million fellow citizens to be prohibited from obtaining health care?

    These TeaBillies are really bad bad people – very similar to Nazi's.

    No health care? What's next – eliminate Public Education? I'll bet 80% of TeaBillies would vote to defund Education.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • randro

      That sounds dumb.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • hotchow

      Not a very well put together statement.
      Doesn't make much sense.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Tea Sipper

      Labels surely don't tell who anyone is. And they surely do not solve problems or address poorly managed problems. Name calling is convenient and ignorant. Money is never a solution. Well managed resources can solve all of it. Most of us want justice and fair access to health and self worth under the law. But we all realize that unconditional access to funds only extends a problem and makes the handlers wealthy. Talking and discussing and sharing ideas solve problems, not name calling or cute, humorous labels. Expand your reading list.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  10. KSmith

    Access to insurance and access to healthcare are NOT the same thing. So you start off by asking the WRONG QUESTION. As I read the article pastors absolutely are serving the poor and teaching others to do the same. And if you really think ANYONE doesn't want people to have access to healthcare, by the way, you are nuts. I think we all agree there is dire need. The only disagreement is over how to fix the problem. Painting those who disagree with you on the "how to" as being against poor people having heath care is intellectually dishonest and most unhelpful in the national effort to solve this conundrum. It's time to find COMMON GROUND.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Steve8271

      The irony is that the Affordable Care Act is common ground. It is based on a plan orignally proposed by Richard Nixon's regime in the 70's. In the late 80s the Heritage Foundation proposed a similar plan and all through the early 90s Republicans jumped on the idea. Most recently Mitt Romney introduced a very similar plan in Massachusetts right before his bid for president. The problem is that certain individuals fear that should the Affordable Care Act prove successful it will give the Democratics a huge boost in popularity and so they work tirelessly to demonize and sabotage what is essentially a Republican plan or, to use your words, a compromise.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Steve8271

        Sorry you used the term "common ground". I think you get the idea though.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Rodger Olsen

    The states refused to expand medicare because it was too damned expensive. Unlike the feds, most states have to balance their budgets and they cant afford to pay for overpriced insurance for bums. Remember that the mis-named "affordable care act" did nothing to reduce medical costs, but doubled the cost of insuring them.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • MiNiMaTiC

      Actually Roger, there were federal funds offered to states to expand medicare. These states left federal money on the table and more likely objected on political/ideological grounds.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Buckey Nut Schell

      I guess you calling poor people "Bums" doesn't hide your bias at least. When someone without health care goes to the hospital and cannot pay their bill, who pays for it? When you go to the emergency room for a real emergency but it is filled with people with the flu who should be seeing a family practice physician instead of the ER, who is forced to wait needlessly? Who is going to pay for the drug addict's kids medical problems? It's not the kids fault and the religious right doesn't want the mother to have an abortion so it is okay to make them have a child they didn't want and cannot take care of but to feed that child and give them basic medical care is not our problem? Wise up. ACA is a free market solution to a problem that doesn't have to be a problem.

      France has the number one healthcare in the world. Citizens pay nothing for the health care and it costs the government HALF of what our government already spends per person in this country. HALF! We should have twice as good of healthcare here as they do without raising taxes one nickel! Why don't we? Because mega corporations like big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are screwing us. We, as a nation, donate more to drug and cancer research than all of the other countries combined and yet these same companies turn around and charge us up to 1000 times as much for the drugs we donated money to help them develop, as they do other countries. Why do they do this? Because they can. The law stipulates that our government cannot use our huge buying power to negotiate drug prices. Insurance companies make money when they deny coverage so it is in their best interest to deny every medical procedure and every drug and charge the patient as much as possible to avoid paying as much as possible. Your worried about government intrusion picking what doctor you go to or what procedure you can have? Insurance companies are already masters of that very practice. You're worried about "Bums" getting health care? They already do at the most expensive place on earth, American ERs, and you are already paying for it. ACA is a free market solution that doesn't go near far enough but it is a hell of a lot better than we were and you are too stupid to even realize what it does so try using the old Gogle once in a while and try learning about what you are talking about.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  12. ShawnDH

    Unfortunately, we have to accept the fact that the very religious and conservative people in this country enjoy the suffering of their fellow human beings. They get off on it. It turns them on.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • KSmith

      You can't be serious. Did you not read the article? Did you not learn about Christians who are in their communities , serving and giving money everyday? Do you even know any Christians?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  13. Tom Legare

    They are all "Charlatans". Look it up there just swindlers, liars and cheats out to make money and ignore the poor. Sad state of affairs for American religious leaders, and the right wing repubs who could care less about their own poor people. Karma has a way of evening things out. They will all pay some day qwhen it is too late!!

    November 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Well Duh

    Well Duh

    "Are there any of God's laws in the OT that you would consider to be immoral now?"

    "Sorry, I went to lunch with my wife. And the answer is no. If they are God's laws they can't be immoral."

    "If you have any more questions, please start a new thread ... I don't want to be back clicking on page 1 all night. :)"

    So you wouldn't consider a man stoning his new bride to death because he found out she was not a virgin to be immoral?

    November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Rodger Olsen

      Then it's ok to keep slaves,so long as you treat them in accordance with "GOD's law"

      November 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Doopsy Jones

        Rodger I want to encourage you to read the bible especially the O.T. An honest investigation will shed some light on the actual teachings from God and the stuff that someone has been trying to sell you. Its a pretty awesome book and has helped me. I hope you find the same result. However if you wont study I encourage you to think before you comment on something that you are not at least moderately familiar with. God Bless

        November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Well Duh

          So what's your view about all the stoning people to death in the bible? How about killing a man for collecting sticks on the Sabbath?

          November 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Topher

          Well Duh

          You do realize those things were under a different covenant, right? We're not to hold to them today.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Well Duh


          "You do realize those things were under a different covenant, right? We're not to hold to them today."

          Why should that matter? If it was moral then, why would it not be moral now?

          November 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Topher

      Well Duh

      "So you wouldn't consider a man stoning his new bride to death because he found out she was not a virgin to be immoral?"

      I would have never been under this law, but that aside ... so just from what I can tell from the one sentence you provide on the scenario the woman is an adulterous and covetous liar.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Well Duh

        "I would have never been under this law, but that aside ... so just from what I can tell from the one sentence you provide on the scenario the woman is an adulterous and covetous liar."

        So then according to you, IF you had been under this law, the moral thing to do would be to stone her to death. Got it.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  15. nc_mike

    Charitable giving doesn't amount to a minute fraction of what it takes.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  16. taswyn

    It's funny that these pastors hide behind "staying out of politics" when it suits them, then spend the rest of their time encouraging various politics of hate, and endorsing various politicians when it helps line their pockets or gets them popularity points, no matter how greedy, self-centered, hate-filled, and unempathetic the person they're endorsing is . Christ would really be proud.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Fletcher

    These Pharoah's should beware the wrath of god and let Mose's people go.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  18. Keeth

    Points on which we all agree;

    1) Most Americans oppose Obamacare
    2) Our President had to lie to get it passed
    3) So the Left is here frantically, paradoxically and hypocritically trying to couple Religion and State
    4) Which confirms just how desperate our government and their media lapdogs have become
    5) When I refuse to define poverty you'll know I'm a marxist disguised as a 'social justice' Christian (yes...we can tell)
    6) Now we can get back to the name-calling and church bashing from folks with a 'tolerance' bumper sticker on their car

    November 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Fletcher

      actually most amiricans want a single payer system.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You must really enjoy your delusion. Don't stop.... believin'....hold on to that fee....ee....eelin'

      November 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Tom Legare

      So Keeth what's your answer to poor people with no health insurance?? You are as sad a person as the pastors who won't speak up for their flock!!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Mike

      Can we just start with the opening fallacy? Once you use "All agree" in a statement, you are pretty much doomed. "We" don't "all agree" with much of anything in this country. Except, maybe, that Gravity works.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • suelynn

      How do you know most Americans are against the Affordable Healthcare Act. Maybe the group you are in contact with is anti healthcare but if you look back in history healthcare for all Americans has been on the table for years.

      I think the point the author of the article was trying to make is How do people who call themselves Christian and some even leaders of Christians see the irony of their positions. Actually most do not even want to make a comment. We have seniors who are on medicare and say they are Christians but do not want to share their healthcare with others who do not have access to it. Hopefully many of the logistical problems will be solved. Starting something as massive as changes to healthcare is naturally going to have problems.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  19. randro

    obammacare was championed as a way for people to avoid going bankrupt from medical bills. In reality it will bankrupt the entire nation.......once the website works....lol

    November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      How do you think every other developed nation on teh planet is able to provide universal health coverage to its citizens?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • randro

        They don't......at least nothing that compares to US healthcare.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Yes they do.
          All over the world.
          32 of 33 of the developed nations in the world provide universal health coverage of one kind or another.
          Norway has been doing it for more than a century.
          I'm Canadian and our medical system is no less effective or thorough than yours – and the level of care provided isn't contingent on how big your paycheque is.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Aunty Social

          Bullshlt, Doc.

          Canada's healthcare system is why Arizona hospitals are choked with Canadian snowbirds every winter, getting treatment for the maladies that Canada's system said could wait for a year or two.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Mike

          True. In most other countries, they pay less for their health care and get more for their money. But please, let's not interfere with the idea that it's more important for health care providers to have a good return on investment than it is to provide affordable and effective health care.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Hi there! Did I mention that I'm Canadian?
          I live here and so does my family.
          My father has prostate cancer and has been receiving excellent, on going care for years now.
          I broke my collar bone a few years back. If our health system were like yours, my family would be out on the street right now, unable to afford anything other than medical bills.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  20. Vic

    I am speaking the following out of conviction and honesty, and not out of politics:

    From the article:

    "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.

    “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."

    People give freely and willingly, i.e. charities, and not by a government mandate, i.e. taxes, to take care of the poor, sick and poor.

    That is the true American Way; Faith Based Initiatives as opposed to Socialism.

    Note:I have no problem with the government pension for the disabled part.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why haven't faith based initiatives eliminated the need for a program such as Obamacare?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • Vic

        It is complicated. I can't pitch in right now but trust me, Socialism in NOT the way!

        November 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Collectively, the faith based initiatives and private health care have failed to do what Obamacare is intended to do. Just as you don't have time to defend your position, they never seem to find the time to actually find a better, more comprehensive solution. Now that Obamacare has passed, everyone is all of a sudden interested in doing what should have been a long time ago. Not that The Pubs have offered much more than scrap Obamacare, all while keeping the most popular provisions such as no pre-existing conditions, of course.

          Why do you equate expanded health care with socialism? I don't see any reason to trust you – you're going to have to spend some time defending your position or admit you are full of sh!t.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Loard

      Faith-based initiatives are ILLEGAL. I'm going to call the FBI and let them know you are into hate crimes. Toodles!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Vic

        That's cute!

        The Christian Based Initiatives are based on the "Love" of the Lord Jesus Christ and NO HATE!

        November 8, 2013 at 1:59 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.