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. VelveteenLady

    It is not surprising that Osteen and Jakes, who enjoy fame and fortune, while peddling their brand of Christianity, have remained mum on the issue of the acceptance of continuing to marginalize the poor. They claim to follow the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ, yet on the subject of social justice, they choose to play it safe and not comment. After all, their flocks' feathers might get ruffled, if they were to stand toe-to-toe with those, who condemn the deprecation of the poor, among us. Every person of faith, from church leaders to the individual congregant, should be outraged that any state is permitted to cause additional suffering to those, who are already suffering economically and societally. Jakes, Osteen, et al., should be forced to step down from their kingdoms of self, and live among the poor for at least a year. They are shameful, plastic men, who are the great pretenders in the pulpit.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Bobby B.

      I'm not surprised by the no comments of Jakes and Osteen, it might surprise you to know that T. D. Jakes is a Republican I assume Osteen's one as well...now do you have a better understanding of why they didn't comment.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  2. Michael

    The church should realize the truth then. If the church believes that healthcare is a God-given right, then the church should offer that as a service. I'm not surprised at any of this. The church has been denying God's people food, clothing, and shelter for decades now. But they have a nice gym, some have for-profit private schools connected with them, and all sorts of programs that don't feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the least of these. Really? Health care now is a God-given right? Then let the churches rise to their own words and help the least of these, not just those who sit in their congregations!

    November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • annebeth66

      Because Church is now a business to make money, not help someone. If you can't put big dollars in the collection plate, these churches do not want to see nor hear of you.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • Dorian3333

        Wow....where have you been going to church...or have you? I have been a member at the church I attend here for going on 10 years and I have not been involved in a church like the one you describe. They are not perfect because they are made up of imperfect people but you are absolutely missing the point of a congregation. If someone there or a group are not acting in the manner you expect you should talk with them about this or move to another congregation. Your relationship is with God...not the others. Stop focusing on what others are doing and be the plug...not the drain.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
      • haddock

        Dorian is on point. Some congregations are like that (Jakes's is), but not all. Mine isn't.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Dorian3333

      What a bunch of absolute nonsense.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  3. Robert Jones

    Because the states receive Medicaid dollars from the Federal Government, any expansion without guaranteed future reinbursement from the Federal Government would destroy the budget of any state. You cannot force the states into a corner and compel them to provide an unfunded program.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  4. Gene

    "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."

    And there you have it; it's on their own states, NOT Obama. Besides, NO preacher has ANY business discussing involving any government; they don't pay taxes, SO, they need to shaddup.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Dorian3333

      Really...you mean the congregation that is made up of taxpayers shouldn't be allowed to discuss topics that involve their everyday lives? HMMMMM....interesting thought there Stalin.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  5. Harbinger

    LJ2 makes the best point. Taxing someone into purchasing health insurance does not ensure they have healthcare, period. More Orwellian doublespeak thanks to the press who like to blur the lines. Personally the "pastors" shown in this article really aren't Pastors, because a Pastor tends a flock. Those men, those men turn the Word of God into blasphemy for their own profit, they will do all they can to keep from rocking the boat

    November 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • haddock

      It insures they have "access" to healthcare. Like check ups and mammograms that can save your life before you get sick, but only if you can afford to see the doc. Not too shabby, if you ask me, whatever you want to call it.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  6. keevan d. morgan

    this is an intellectually improper report.

    if cnn has evidence of actual legal wrongdoing by "bible belt pastors" it may take them to task for it.

    however, it is not up to cnn to determine what is or is not proper a proper topic for preaching by anyone of any religion. let's say for the sake of argument that "bible belt pastors" as a group could speak up more for national health care in the view of a reasonable mind, and that in fact, ever one of the 2700 pages of obamacare was actually revealed on mt. sinai, together with the ten commandments, but that has only just recently been recognized.

    nonetheless, those pastors should not be questioned on the topics of their sermons. how do we know that the pastors are not comforting the sick, so they don't have time for that preaching, just as they are behind on their ten commandment sermon and daniel in the lions' den sermon. maybe they aren't comforting at all, because they are organizing food drives or counseling a farmer whose crops gave out. maybe the pastors have problems with their own kids or paying their mortgages and are preoccupied with those things; or maybe they are writing the actual best daniel in the lions' den sermon of all time rather than concentrating on national health care.

    one may attack "bible belt pastors" for neglecting this or that if one wants, but why single them out? are reform jewish rabbis or catholic bishops or montana methodist ministers able to talk about all things all the time or should we have a government minder or cnn special committee "suggest" all their sermon topics for them?

    if i went by my personal druthers, i might very well lean to the proposition that "bible belt pastors" as a whole are too narrow for me, perhaps way so. yet, i am in no actual position to judge them and no media outlet should tread on their speaking about what is important to THEM. just maybe in all my great and assorted wisdom that may differ from them, nonetheless i could actually learn something from "bible belt pastors." if cnn writer john blake wants to ascend the pulpit and talk about the issues that concern him, let him. in the meantime, please stop with the typical elite know-it-all arrogance.

    keevan d. morgan, esq., chicago

    November 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • ft

      so the press doesn't have a right to point out that Christians are hypocrites?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Dorian3333

        We are all hypocrites.....you aren't? Wow, I love it when we we get the people on here looking down at folks that try to do their best, spend time at church helping the community and donating their time, pay their taxes and what do they get...they get called "a bunch of hypocrits". Let me tell you something....the people that attend church are not perfect. Many have issues that a lot of our country deals with daily. They do the best they can and they strive to make the world a better place. You should be ashamed...but I bet you are not....that is the trend today. Be outspoken on the computer...you come across as jealous.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  7. Harbinger

    Those are a lot of very well dressed servants of God. Just sayin....

    November 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  8. LJ2

    Why does everyone keep equating Insurance with Healthcare? I have personally thrown tens of thousands of dollars away on "Insurance", (individual and thru employer) and it had very little if any correlation to the actual "health care" I received. I have "benefited" from my insurance policies at a rate of roughly 1:100. If the Bible Belt has the highest percentage of poor people who can not access healthcare, then shame on their pastors, doctors, nurses and neighbors. and Rev. McDonald might want to take another look at his Bible. The Good Samaritan didn't make sure the wounded traveler was adequately insured, he reached out and helped him up. He took from his own resources and shared them and then he took him to a safe place to recover.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Iowafalcon

      He also paid out his own pocket, not someone else's who he got access to through the ballot pox.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • haddock

      Get sick and you will find out real quick.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • haddock

      Good point about the good Samaritan. It would be crazy to think that that story was meant to suggest that we all have an obligation to help each other, especially those in need. God would be proud of your efforts to keep 40 million men, women and children uninsured.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  9. Harbinger

    So how is taxing someone for not getting health insurance a way to ensure they get health insurance again? Obamacare does not guarantee health insurance as the leading paragraph of this story wishes to imply. Nice try but we are not all ignorant.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • ft

      "I am not ignorant"
      what you just wrote is not a good way to prove your point.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • haddock

      Oh, I don't know. That's just the way the Heritage Foundation and the GOP figured it out, I guess. You would have to ask them because Obama adopted their plan.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  10. Pete Clarke

    don't rock the boat and pass the offering plate. Poor folks need religion its like crack cocaine, and the rich pastors keep getting richer spewing their nonsense...

    November 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Gene


      November 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  11. Grumpy2012

    First of all, Jesus would not advocate government assistance. Jesus wanted his followers to live by faith and trust God for their every need.

    The government was to be tolerated and laws obeyed, but in passive disobedience.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Pete Clarke

      how do you know what Jesus would do, most of you so called christiains are a bunch of bigots and add very little to society anyway.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Dorken Wackenburg

        Put down the crack pipe and quit hitting the bong and you will come to understand 2 things ... 1) Obama is a SUPER racist, SUPER totalitarian, SUPER liberal agent of Islam who is purposefully trying to bring about the downfall of the United States of America and 2) Repeat 1) over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • haddock

          I'm guessing you want him to drop the crack pipe so that you can pick it back up?

          November 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • haddock

          He was really smart to mask his Islam by killing all those Al Queda terrorists. And to hide his racism by refusing to position himself as a "black" president of give special attention to "balck" issues. And to hide his liberalism by rejecting the liberal single payer health care reform for the Heritage Foundation-created individual mandate. Pretty sneaky, that Obama.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
      • Jermaine

        Speak for yourself, most Christians are bigots? That statment in itself is bigotry.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • Iowafalcon

        Pete –
        Do yourself a favor. Get a map of the world that is coded by the concentration of Christians. Now get one that is coded by the lack of such things as widespread poverty, slavery, women seen as property, authoritarian government, and the like, as well as the concentration of widely available healthcare, education, economic opportunity and the like. Notice how the correlate? Yeah, that is likely just chance.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • omeany

      Jesus said render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars...in this case taxes. Jesus also said if you love me feed my sheep.

      Most GOP "Christians" simply do not want to support social programs. They are greedy and selfish and are NOT following the spirit of the law. Jesus prefered people who did not believe as he did to be honest about it and not hide behind the bible to justify their beliefs.

      I would have much more respect for the GOP if they would simply say we are rich and we support the rich and we don't want to spend our money on the poor. Mind you, I wouldn't agree with them but I would respect them more than I do now.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • haddock


        November 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Iowafalcon

        Great use of a non-sequitur, there. Jesus was asked about taxes because the Roman rule was not well received, and the pharisees were trying to get Jesus to publicly make a statement that was subversive to the Romans. The verse has absolutely nothing to do with charity, good works, or healthcare.

        The Bible clearly paints a picture that each of us is to help out our fellow man by giving of our own wealth, and does not EVER mention the government doing a charitable thing.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • Dorian3333


          November 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  12. Wrm

    Then move.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  13. Liza

    Something tells me these so called "Christian" pastors have plenty of cash to spend on decent health insurance for themselves. Oh, the hypocrisy of these bible belt states refusing to accept the medicaid expansion under Obamacare because of their "theological views" differ how their states can provide the poor health insurance.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Wamsley

    Republicans tend to be more educated and informed with a higher political IQ than Democrats.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What the fvck is "political IQ?" Because if you're going by straight intelligence, repubs and dems lay claim to approximately the same intelligence quotient when spread out across the entire population.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Wamsley

        The frequent use of profanity a sign of low intelligence. Political IQ: http://www.redstate.com/vladimir/2011/06/04/whats-your-political-iq/

        November 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          You've read one of my posts, and you claim that I use certain words frequently? How ridiculous.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Wamsley

          Typical liberal.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Thankfully, most conservatives are more intelligent and have more heart than you. And by the way, I'm not a liberal; I'm just good at spotting nonsense whether it's coming from a democrat or a republican.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Wamsley

          I probably do more charity work and donate more money to worthy causes than you.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          1. I'm sure I have absolutely no idea.
          2. What does that have to do with anything we are "discussing" (If we can call your stupid and irrelevant comments "discussion," that is.
          3. Even if you are correct, how does that affect anything you or I have said?
          4. Are you always this boring and mind-numbingly annoying?

          November 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • Wamsley

          And I'm happier than you, too! Poor you, it'll get better.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          It seems like the same list above applies to your latest comment, too. Any chance your posts are going to get more interesting in the near future. At first I was laughing at your stupidity, but now it's just boredom I can get anywhere. Staring at a window sill would be more entertaining than this.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • ft

        fvck is "political IQ?"
        for him, fox news.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Dorian3333

          For you MSNBC?

          November 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • mike johnson

      ... yeah.. exactly ... like Sarah Palin

      November 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • tricky_dick

      Kind of an uneducated and uninformed comment, don't you think?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Harbinger

      Anyone who labels themselves a republican or democrat has no IQ worth measuring. It is those imaginary lines in the sand that are destroying our nation, not the platform of a political party.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • haddock

      Obviously a substantial body of research behind this trenchant insight. Brought to you by someone who no doubt believes that Obama was born in Africa.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • omeany

      Must be why their winning so many elections! Until they can win elections without gerrymandering and voter suppression I think your deluding yourself about your "political IQ".

      November 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • rstarr

      The bible belt (republican stronghold) lags in education & per capita income standards. This region also receives more back from the government than they pay in irs taxes.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Wamsley

        You sound like a snob.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
      • Dorian3333

        I wish all of the people moving here felt the same way you did.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • tricky_dick

      You forgot the equation: 1 democrat + 1 republican = 2 x stupid.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  15. Joe F.

    Hence why I do not have a problem with God but have a problem with religion. Religions are man made, therefore imperfect.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  16. Keeth

    Factual Stats;

    a) The average income of an Obama voter was higher than a Romney voter
    b) On average, Republicans donate lots more time and money to charity
    c) Every survey indicates Republicans are much happier than Democrats

    Perhaps you cry-babies should stop obsessing over churches you don’t attend.
    If you want to be less miserable…go help some people that are down and out.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • your name is spelled stupid

      Link it or liar

      November 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • Wamsley

        Read a Pew study sometime (they are a liberal group, yet there data tends to prove that Republicans are smarter than Democrats)

        November 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Any Pew study? Every study they do incorporates the same data that shows repubs in a positive light? Seems you'd want to point us to the specific study if you were really serious.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • Wamsley

          Not any pew study. A pew study on higher intelligence correlation and conservatism.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Keeth

      Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge. Many data sets show this. For example, the Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives. This pattern has persisted for decades. The question isn’t whether this is true, but why.
      (NY Times)

      November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        The amount of happiness a person possesses is no indication that their opinions are correct. Most mentally disabled people seem extremely happy to me, but I don't see people lining up to have their brains chopped away until they're blissful.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          I think you hit the nail on the head, as the song says, I think Keeth is playing with a deck of 51, or much less.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Johnny Fist

        Ignorance is bliss

        November 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  17. Dan

    Ummm, here's the secret. We can't make 5 loaves and two fish create healthcare for 20 or 30 million people. That costs money, the CBO says 2.3 trillion in the second decade, and we are 17 trillion in the hole. I know the left wants European style socialism here so people can just suck off the Govt teat, but you will notice that Europe is BROKE
    I have no problem with reform in the health insurance market, but Obamacare is NOT it

    November 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Maddy

      Your alternative?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Ryan

      They don't want to "suck off the government" as you put it. Please actually pay attention to people when they're trying to tell you their struggles rather than jump to conclusions you want to hear.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  18. tbrookside

    'If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance.'

    So move.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Maddy

      So, your idea of quality healthcare is for people to move?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
      • Daryl

        It's to get up off there butts and do something other than vote for a living

        November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • Maddy

          Do you imagine that everyone who doesn't have a job wants it that way, Tucker? The people on welfare that commits fraud is about 3%. The majority aren't. Do you imagine that everyone, except you, of course, are lazy, Hannity Beck? Of course you do. Go back to your Fox echo chamber.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  19. Jed

    I thought we were all about separation of church and state. If a pastor speaks out against the government or its policy, it should keep its place as you see it. If they say nothing, they all of a sudden should not be separated. Leftists do not want separation of church and state, they want it to conform and see the world exactly as they do. How about the elderly that are losing their poicies every day due to our wonderful government. Hard to take responsibility, there are so many other people you can blame.

    November 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Maddy

      Leftist are the biggest proponents of that separation. You have that exactly backwards.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • jenncoolva

        If lefties have it all wrong why are the southern states run by republicans SO POOR!?!!!!!!!!!

        November 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Maddy

          Because they are run by the GOP.....do you know the difference between the left and the right? GOP=right.

          November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  20. jenncoolva

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/26/sunday/commentaries/main20083760.shtml MUST see!

    November 8, 2013 at 6:03 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.