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. Candace

    Since these states choose not to allow the ACA in then it should be up to the churches to give a helping hand to those in need. As Christians we are to be the example of how Jesus wants us to live while on earth. If a church does help their won then they will have to answer to the Lord it as simple as that.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Penelope

      What ludicrous nonsense this article is. As if Christians are responsible for the faults of the ACA. They should not have made it optional in the first place or had some other alternatives for states that did not want to expand, the fault falls squarely on the ACA The reason Florida did not expand is because they would not be able to follow through financially after the first few years, so they turned it down. Now they are looking for the churches to fix what they messed up.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  2. A Dose of Reality

    Dear Christians:God here.To the extent any of you died for your faith, I am afraid you threw your life away. Because, you see, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the actions and thoughts of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous. Second, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East. Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair? Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is. Move on – get over me. I did.God

    November 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • steveo

      I dont care whether you wrote that or cut and pasted it. thanksd for the reality masquerading as satire that will completely go over the heads of the little sheep whoare still so weak they need a "Hiim" in their daily lives.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  3. Mycawk in yermouth

    No insurance, no bogeyman. Let's have anarchy and do nothing and shut the govt down. Are all baptists pedophiles??

    November 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • randro

      Pervert alert.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  4. QS

    “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 dest.itute,”

    The message that I take away from this statement, is that the main reason you should give to the church as a way to help the poor, is for recognition.

    Religion instills in people the notion that they should strive to be good people not just to be good people, but as a way to receive their reward of entrance into heaven when they die.

    They think they need to let "god" see them donating to help the poor so they can somehow validate through their own self-reinforcing delusion that they are a good person in the eyes of "god". To them, paying taxes to support government programs for the poor isn't enough personal recognition for them – it's too....group-oriented.

    It's selfishness masquerading as charity.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • randro

      That is dumb.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Red

      True people of faith don't announce their charitable acts. And that's exactly how God put it. We don't need to "let God see us." He sees all. Charity is a rule. And ithas to be followed. In most cases, the person giving the donation gives it in silence.

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

      Agreed – and it's more than just selfishness, it's also spitting on the efforts of others to help you. The way they express it is as if it's wrong for anyone else to do what they consider to be their "domain" – and that it's the Church *going to* the state for help, rather than the reality that the state recognizes the need to establish a level of care independently of the Church.

      It's B.S. at the highest level, and those Churches should be ashamed – something that will likely only happen come judgement day.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  5. Steven

    The correct answer is that it is the church's responsibility to take care of people – not the government's role. And we do. That is my primary role as a Christian. And through a myriad of programs which I support teaches people to become self-reliant and not look to others for support. There is a place for a safety net – but really for those who are disabled or with intellectual disabilities. When we allow government to do the work we should be doing, we abdicate a very important role and it is done outside the cushion of compassion.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    The socialist hierarchies of religions and governments are ever intertwined by their rich lifestyles leaving in their wakes the downtrodden societies whose generational upbringing is mired with augmented distrainment issues... Being poor is mostly a conditioning of generational upbringing that few can rustle up out of...

    November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  7. steveo

    why? same reason they never mention that a majoirity of people who abuse and deceive the social security "disability" program are poor, white, obese, refuse-to-work parishoners who also refuse to admit they're absolutely part of the 47% Romney spoke about during his campaign.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      You're still not fooling anybody, Mitt.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • SDO

      Total bullcrap. You are the loser who keeps coming here and spouting your filthy lies. You are the one deserving of death.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • doobzz

        I just love it when Christians reveal their true colors.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Dave K

      SteveO, what is your source for saying "a majoirity of people who abuse and deceive the social security"?. The facts indicate otherwise. The majority of the "47%" are senior citizens and working poor. Yes there are lazy people out there, but you are perpetuating a myth used to help selfish, judgmental "christians" justify their hatred and bigotry.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  8. Cindy

    I don't blame the state's, I blame the Federal government specifically the Affordable Care Act. I am first an American citizen that should of been afforded the same rights as everyone else, no matter what State I live in. Why was a bill created that discriminated not only against citizens based on their locality, but also based on their income. The Affordable Care Act should be amended to allow all citizens the subsidies no matter if their income is below the poverty levels. If they can pay the minimum why are they not given at least that option. Then many more no matter their locality could get insurance. I blame President Obama for his lack of concern for all and the fact his bill discriminates on two levels. I thought President Obama understood what discrimination means on all fronts, obviously not.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Geoz

      I agree with your concern, but I disagree with the cause. The President had to compromise to get this many people covered. The GOP pushed pretty hard to lower the coverage.... and they got it.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • zr1100c3

      The money was offered to the States. It is your State Government that left you hanging.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Mycawk in yermouth

      Its called 'states rights' and that means the freedom to be irresponsible retawds. Vote #teaparty lol. Tea party fan? Check out lemonparty.org

      November 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chris

      There was no discrimination based on locality. The states had to agree to expand their Medicare payments. There was a system of rewards and punishments built into the law to make sure that the states would agree, but the Supreme Court ruled that the punishments were against the law. That left only the rewards of the Federal government picking up part of the tab, which certain states still did not accept. You can't blame this on the Federal government when it is the states that decided to not go along with the expansion.

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

      Cindy, It is the state Governors that didn't sign his/her state up for the Medical Expansion for the Affordable Health Care for those who cannot afford health insurance through their jobs. It isn't the President's fault that we have govenors who are egocentric and maliciously holding their states hostage and refusing families to a have better affordable health insurance. I agree with you Joe hole heartedly... a bunch of bafoonish nincompoops allowed their hate to elect the moroons who are making these callous decisions. for our country/states.....funny because they reelected the same bafoon to be a Governor again in NJ

      November 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • steveo

      so basically you're asking for a handout? amazing the tea bags all blab about the virtues of work and self-relaince when its poor minorities involved but forget all about it when its po whites.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • John

      The act does not discriminate based on location/state. All states were treated equally and it was up to the state as to whether or not they wanted to provide the coverage. If they provided the coverage the federal government would reimburse the state something like 90% of the cost. I believe the first few years was with 100% reimbursement.

      So if you state does not provide the coverage blame the state not the federal government. Better yet blame the Republicans that run your state as they didn't want the state covering its people.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  9. Emile_Mervin

    I am not going to touch on the religious reference to help carry the narrative, but I am pleased that someone has finally decided to focus on the actual benefits of Obamacare for uninsured and underinsured Americans, rather than focus almost exclusively on the failure of the website or even the folks who are being arbitrarily dumped by certain insurance carriers.

    Can CNN say what percentage of insurance carriers have kept their clients versus carriers that dumped their clients, and what percentage of clients was dumped versus what percentage was retained?

    November 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  10. trey

    They deserve the criticism, fully deserve it, they wish to wear the mantle of prophet but do not have the guts to wear it. For too long the bible belt has toted the party line of republicans and defended and supported their moral positions but when the time comes where they should be rebuked for taking positions that can only be considered morally unjust, well lets just say there doesn't seem to be any Elijah around.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Geoz

      Agreed. The moral imperitives seem to be selectively addressed by the modern pulpit, and only so long as they jibe with talking points from the right.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  11. melvin

    Jesus mentions of those who preach at the pulpit for financial gains while ignoring the poor (Revelation chapter 3 verses 16 & 17. And what will He tell them at Judgement Seat of Christ? Read Matthew 25:31-46.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  12. JR

    There are a lot of catholic hospitals around my area. They refuse to turn anyone away. So, no healthcare, no problem. Same thing with the catholic church. If you are hungry, they serve 3 meals a day (sandwich program, all donation). If you need clothes, they will get you clothes, if you don't have a warm place to stay, they will shelter you, and if you need work, they will put you to work. Before there was insurance and primary hospitals, the church provided health services.

    If you ask me, seems like we aren't looking for answers to our own problems. There are a lot of things that could help the poor without spending money or paying taxes. So, if you have a heart, you would give to the poor directly through the kindness of your heart and not indirectly through paying taxes for mandated healthcare coverage. Communities could play a large role in reducing the need for government to step in and aid the poor. No-one does it. If everyone spent one day a week in a soup kitchen or volunteering at a hospital, this issue would be resolved without government intervention.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • zr1100c3

      That's right. If "everyone" spent one day a week doing something. But they don't. That's why so many people get left behind. If providing healthcare to all citizens is Socialism, what do you call the largest taxpayer-funded miltary in the world? The government spends trillions on the miltary and nobody bats an eye. The government tries to spend a fraction of that on providing basic healthcare to everyone and half the country has a seizure. What's wrong with this picture?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  13. morleybeesley

    God tells us in His word that we are to pray for our leaders and uplift them in prayer. Let God be judge over their actions. We our not called to point fingers but to exhort one another daily. Also it is up to church not state to take care of the poor. So i think you should take the politics out of your sermon and preach Gods word not your own

    November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  14. Doles

    More of the same situational ethics professed, practiced and even preached by the lefties. The coexist bumper sticker blurb in relation to the hypocracy of 99.9% of the liberal whack jobs in USA is spot on.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  15. Mycawk in yermouth

    I hate Christians, for this reason

    November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • randro


      November 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  16. Peter

    Jesus Christ, it is a pleasure to hear from you in such a concrete manor, usually I just hear you as a whisper or a fleeting thought. . . Since you're all-powerful and all-knowing I'm certain that you already know the answer to your question, but this might be a test, so I will indulge you: If you buy into the prosperity gospel then you might be inclined to believe that your Father (my God) more often than not, will show His favor towards His people through financial successes. But as you and I know, this is just plain silly because it is counter to Your own mission on Earth, which was to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and care for the sick. That is, to teach love. However, the prosperity gospel is a fairly new invention relative to the 2000 year-old Rock in Rome, which believes service to the poor (i.e. "works") are just as important as faith and are evidence of faith. So no, most Christians, and I would venture to guess most people, do not believe that the poor are being punished. Might there be instances of the poor suffering form their own decisions? Of course, but so does everyone else (just maybe not to the same financial extreme). But that does not mean the deserve love any less. Perhaps our mercy, understanding, and love is what they need to fill the non-financial pain they experience. Finally, I'm preplexed as to why you would suggest we kill ourselves. I was under the impression that you already died so that I might have true life. Oh wait, you're just someone masqureading as Jesus Christ who thinks they understand Christianity but clearly do not based on the line of questioning. Phew, I was worried for a minute.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • hotchow

      Well said Peter. Such confusion between the Great Commission and the Gospel of Prosperity. It may do some well to investigate both. Thanks for the post.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  17. JJ

    Stupid question - ALL khristians consider ALL their "god's" rules to be negotiable, and this is always the case with all the nimrods who say they can speak for their deities. It's all about hypocrisy and money, and NEVER about morality.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  18. William D

    It funny if preachers talk against gay marriage or abortion they are told to "shut it or be taxed". Or are told to "be quite because of separation of church and state."

    But when it is something that fits "the agenda" it ok to get Jesus involed. It's stupid and hypocrictal. You can not have it both ways.

    And I think we need to care for the poor the best we can. FYI

    November 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      Hypocrisy would be a conservative claiming that this is only a liberal practice.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • doobzz

      In other words, when it comes to discrimination, bigotry and the denial of civil rights to one group, you want free rein but when it comes to helping the very people that Jeebus told you to help, forget it.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • ed dugan

      Any sane person who expects those religious hustlers to tell the truth must be living on another planet. They stand up and lie every Sunday in their temples of hate, so why would this be different? Billy graham wrote the book on the religious lie telling and they just picked up on it. Maybe, since billy claims to talk to god all the time and knows exactly what he means and doesn't mean, can help you figure it out. Organized religion is for people who can't think for themselves and if you need some hick preacher to tell you what's right and wrong you are one pathetic human being.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Joe

    The people in need are the same ones that elected these Republican bafoons because they all collectively hate gays and others. They let their hate drive their votes, when those same votes are only hurting themselves.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  20. Yeah

    It's amazing how so many people are eating up this incredibly biased piece like its truth. Keep believing whatever you read folks. Don't worry about the fact that they are brainwashing you to hate an entire group of Americans. Enjoy.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • hotchow

      Amen. This piece is meant to do nothing more than divide. It states 1/2 truths from both sides.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • No

      Yes, because FoxHannityRush is totally truthful at all times. No.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • KSmith

      Thank you. This is just horrible.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:57 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.