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. Lance

    Headline is wrong. I actually had already heard this.

    November 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  2. chuck

    These loudmouths, the atheists, have proven they have no intellectual skills, overwhelming rage, lack maturity and nedd jobs

    November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • CheckOutThisGuy

      HAHAHAHAHAHA! That's why we just believe whatever we are told.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
      • chuck

        Yes. I know.

        These paranoid thoughts range from completely out of touch with reality to mildly delusional. No one has threatened anyone with "proxies."

        Hang in there my friend. God loves you and so do many others.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • shawn

      yes, but they can spell.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      what does being an atheist have to do with it? These religious leaders that quote the bible and claim to be "pro life" and care about life, yet when it comes to healthcare their silence is sickening.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  3. vidyashanti


    November 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  4. Rodboy

    I like the way they pick the things to complain about – I'll pick dog owners – that spend 40 BILLION DOLLARS a year to feed and pamper idiot pets – do think that table scraps for dogs and use this money for the poor would work out better NOOOOOOO. Dogs are more important.

    Plus , go to a Convoy of Hope and watch people stand in line for food and talk on 300 dollars cell phones , what is up with that.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Lance

      Dogs are cool.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Ok small boy You're repeating the same old limbaugh bs lines about tv's and phones. My phone doesn't cost 300 dollars and I work and don't get public assistance.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  5. AmericianPagan

    Because (living in one of those bible belt states) many these of churches give only FALSE service to the actual commandments of Christ. They are there to network... to see and been seen... to rub elbows with other movers and shakers...

    yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but living as a pagan in the bible belt, I can tell you the loudest voices are busy blaming the victims and turning a blind eye to their own sins.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  6. CRC

    Before the government screwed up healthcare I didn't need insurance to be able to go see a doctor. How long will it take for stupid people to figure out that there is not enough money in the world to give every poor soul everything that they WANT. The end of every democracy occurs when that democracy finds out this simple truth. Do not try to drag Jesus into enabling all those on welfare to continue to stay on welfare. Most people on welfare would not take a job if you offered them one that their skill sets allowed them to do. This is their problem, not mine and Jesus loves me in spite of what their self inflicted problems are.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Rodboy

      There is enough money to give them what they need, if it is watched and controlled – the evangelicals alone could feed all all all the hungry kids in the world. Plus if you add in the athies they is more than enough, but they like to point fingers and buy more be er and p ot.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jonah

      Actually, for some doctors, you do need insurance. And unless you're filthy rich, you wouldn't be able to afford having a hospital stay.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Joe

    Throughout history nations, regions and countries have risen from nothing to greatness in a short amount of time. They have also fallen out of the world picture just as quickly. If you look at the USA's meteoric rise from 1776 until 1970-ish, and its sudden plummet to the joke of the world, you will see that it has simply followed the usual path of all great countries. After the USA does fully collapse – which will be sad – it will rise again like other nations have and take on a much more subtle and smarter role in the world.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  8. hello

    Fact is Islam and Christianity are man made religions

    November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • CRC

      Jesus is not man made. He is God.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • hello

        There are hundreds of gods in other cultures, what god exactly is he, what is the name of his heaven, is he the creator? If so he created earth in 6 days, what about billions of other earth like planets

        November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • hello

          today thanks to science we can't believe anything that we cannot agree with

          November 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

        And as God he tells his followers "Heal the Sick, Feed the Hungry, and Help the Poor!" And as man we say "Can't I just give some money to my church and call it even."

        November 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • Madtown

        I thought Jesus was God's son?

        November 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  9. sisi

    Trying to justify the debacle CNN?

    November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  10. Steve

    Because if you are going to insure them for "free", you first have to steal the money to do so from another American.

    And the Bible belt doesn't condone stealing.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Right, turn the other cheek if slapped but shoot the mother fvcker in the face if they try to tax you a penny for the poor or of a different skin color cause you didn't sign up for none of that charity shlt...

      November 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Steve

        who said slap him in the face?

        We believe in charity, just not theft by government.

        We don't want our hard earned money being taken by the Obama socialist Kleptocracy.

        We have seen what they did with Chicago.

        No thanks.

        Oh, and in case you weren't paying attention, fewer Americans have insurance now than did before Obamacare.

        Thanks for that too.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • jlacke

        Context is everything. Christianity is not pacifism.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • CRC

      Right on brother.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Keeth

      Alright, you goody goody Christians. I found the scripture for you. It's in the book of 'Sotero'. Now get out there and support the imploding obamacare;

      “there will (not) always be poor”
      “thou shall covet”
      “give unto Ceasar that which is God’s”
      “thy Obama shall lie”
      “thou shall steal”

      November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Jonah

      Except if it's in the name of Jesus.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Really? Do you get a tax right off for your mortgage? How about a deduction for a child? I'm sure you have a few of those. If so, you are "stealing" money from the rest of us, because that money is coming from the government. That's a tax subsidy that you are getting that a person who rents or who does not have children is not getting. So by you're definition, unless you are renting and have no children, you're a thief too!

      November 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  11. Keeth

    'Big RELIGION' haters now want government policies based on biblical principals.
    What about separation of church and state?

    November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Keeth

      Oh, I get it. Big government obamacare is imploding very fast. In times of crisis, even Democrats go crawling to the Almighty.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • Maddy

        Well, that will make you dance with glee.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • CRC

      Liberals can choose when to have separation of church and state and when not to. Conservatives are not allowed to do this. 😉

      November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  12. jlacke

    The commandment to assist the poor is one made to each of us individually. With free will, I can choose to obey or not. One thing I have no authority to do, is to take your money and give it to the poor. That is what we call theft. Theft for a noble purpose, but still theft. If I enlist the government to perform the theft for me, I have still committed theft.

    If you choose not to assist the poor, but I take your money against you will and give it to the poor, you still have not assisted the poor. What matters is the decision you made, not that your money went to them.

    Further, the Bible states the he who will do no work shall receive no bread. It also explains how the poor should be helped – first by family, then by the community and the church. Always voluntary, never through taxes collected against the will of the taxpayers.

    The problem is not that conservatives, by disagreeing with government-mandated charity, do not live up to Biblical commandments; it is that liberals, by intermingling government and God, worship a false idol and allow government to usurp God's authority and the free will of individual men.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Sue


      November 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  13. Jon

    They don't say anything because they are a bunch of HYPOCRITES who are more interested in the contents of the collection plate than the welfare of their parishioners.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • jlacke

      See my comment above and SciGuy below for explanations of the conservative view on charity. But I agree with you on many megachurches and pastors. Christianity is having a crisis – reminiscent of the Pharisees during Jesus' time.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  14. SciGuy

    Jesus's commands are to individuals and to churches, not to govts. When a govt takes money from one to pay for something for another, that does fall under scriptural teaching–it's called theft, and God and Jesus condemn it.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  15. bskb

    Pathetic CNN. Nice manufactured "scandal" you have there.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  16. Jeremy

    Churches in the Bible Belt do more for their congregations and the poor in their communities than the federal government could ever do. I've never heard of a church that didn't give virtually everything it had to care for a church member that needed serious medical care. Churches give more food and money to their communities w/ no questions asked than whoever wrote this article could ever imagine. Come spend a few weeks in a poor community in the South and you'll see just what a community that takes care of it's own looks like. And they don't want any government intervention.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • bskb

      You are exactly right. The liberals envisions a Jesus who requires people to transfer the power to do good to the state instead of simply doing good yourself. What good are good works if they are compelled by law?

      November 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Jim Bob

        And what good are the deeds of Christians if not compelled by eternal reward/punishment? Your deeds are nothing more than cowardly acts to appease a man made idea of a controlling force.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • Sue

          I guess you missed the saved by grace and not by works. Most Christians give out of gratefulness, not compulsion to get a reward.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Pull the other one, Sue.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • LAtheist

      What about the poor and ill who do not WANT to belong to a church ? Not everyone is religious in the USA. Progressive society approves of all charitable works, however it is looking at the big picture which extends far beyond your congregation.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • jlacke

        You have no authority to take my money against my will and give it to someone else. You are a thief. Getting the government to do the deed for you changes nothing.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • Jim Bob

          Taxation is the price you pay for civilization. It is sad you see the government as a theif rather than an organization that build roads, infastructure, hospitals, etc. Just because the money is going to people and projects you are 100% in favor of it going does not mean it is theft.

          However, I bet you do not shed a tear over the christian churches playing the polical role and still not paying taxes. If you wish to live in a society that pays no taxes, I suggest you move somewhere that better suites you. Like Somlia.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • Sue

          Jim Bob does not understand that roads and the military are for everyone. Taking my money and giving it to Joe, does not benefit everyone, it benefits Joe.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • tallulah13

          It really depends on who "Joe" is. If Joe is a millionaire oil executive, then his getting tax dollars only benefits Joe. But if Joe is a construction worker who gets sick but can't afford to go to the doctor for the treatments that would help him return to the work force, then Joe getting tax dollars benefits our economy by getting him back to work. Sadly, Joe the oil executive is getting his cut, while Joe the construction worker is fighting to survive.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Truth

      "Come spend a few weeks in a poor community in the South and you'll see just what a community that takes care of it's own looks like." No thank you! I couldn't get out fast enough and I left my "Christian" teachings at the state line. I watched a young inter-racial family fall apart when their 5 yr. old was shot and died. The pastor in the church they and I attended would not bury this child because he was of mixed race. My own family wouldn't help when my little boy was hospitalized repeatedly for epilepsy, much less the church. You know what I heard; "What unconfused sin are you hiding where God would punish Jacob so you will submit to his will?" That was the final straw. I still believe in God and have a personal relationship with my Creator – I just recognize organized religion for what you claim it to be.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • ditdahdit

      You're crazy. The pittance the collections these churchies spend on charity is nothing compared to what the Fed's do to address poverty and hunger. If you believe anything those phonies say from the pulpit you are the fool.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Sue

        That is simply a lie, the government is the least efficient way to help the poor. They spend about 90 cents on overhead for every 10 cents they get to the needy. Charities like the Salvation Army manage to spend about 20 cents on overhead for every 80 cents that get to the needy. I try to give enough of my money away these organizations and claim deductions, so that I don't have to waste my money with the federal government.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  17. Ken Margo

    These "religious" leaders are as phony as a 3 dollar bill. They don't care and never will. It's about the donations in the box. Somebody has to pay for their Benz, Beemer or Lexus.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  18. Dave Laguna Niguel, CA

    The Government track record running programs like this is extremely poor and very expensive. Lyndon Johnson created the Great Society and the US government has spend TRILLIONS of dollars on the various programs since then and we have more poor (total numbers and percent of population) today than when the programs began. The only people that have been helped are those cheat and steal. The poor are no better off. You also have to ask yourself why is a single mom with FOUR kids only qualified to work at a Chic-fil-A. Oh thats right, the government runs the school systems where she did not get an education that would allow her to get a better job.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Keeth

      Wait...are you telling me there are no government programs running efficiently and with high customer satisfaction?

      November 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • jim turner

      What utter spin.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  19. Jerk Face

    How is that homeless guy's American flag blanket so darn clean?!? That's gotta be some sort of set up shot. I wonder if CNN in their infinite caring and wisdom paid that guy for his time, or at least even let him keep the blanket when the photoshoot was over. My guess is no.

    November 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Richard

      Everything's a conspiracy when you are a paranoid moron, your life must be thrilling.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Cary

    your an idiot

    November 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Dippy's Aide


      November 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Jerk Face

        Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.....It really sucks when you say to someone 'your an idiot'. That really puts you behind the 8 ball right from the start.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm |

          You're an idiot. That better?

          November 8, 2013 at 5:02 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.