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. Ken Margo

    Humor them. They love to argue. They hate Jews. They have the zeitgeist truth. Nothing can stop them.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Ken Margo

      Boycott all CNN sponsors

      November 9, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  2. Karen

    The pastor misconstrues the text of the Bible or is using it politically. Jesus did instruct us to help those in need. However, he did put it upon the government. He directed his words towards, us, you, me, to go and help the needy and the poor. Nowhere does Jesus say that governments should take care of the poor and needy.

    In fact, no religion around the world puts the burden of taking care of the poor and needy on the government. It is a symbol of your belief to take this burden on individually. If God has blessed you with resources, then you should use them to help. Resources can mean a variety of things, not just money.

    So if we are to help those, then get up off your asses and go out and start volunteering, donating and assisting. If we all did this, there would be no need for government assistance.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Bob

      Actually, Karen, it's more the case that it's high time that your useless god got off his fat ass and actually did something to help the poor and the sick folk suffering from awful, horrid diseases and vulnerabilities that he would have been responsible for creating.

      But your god can't do that, because he doesn't exist. You are a stupid, deluded fool.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • Sick of the handouts

        All I can say Bob, is that you better hope you are right.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Bob

          "Sick", google 'Pascal's Wager', stupid.

          November 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jac

      I just wanted to say something nice since "Bob" below decided to attack your religion for no apparent reason. You made a valid point about the text of the Bible and I guess Bob dislikes the fact that the "Christians are all hypocrites because they don't give money to the poor [read: government]" argument doesn't make much sense when taken in that light. Newsflash: there is more than one way to give to the poor. Heck, high taxes don't effect me since I'm barely making any money yet- so I donate my time! I can't for various reasons, but a lot of my friends in similar situations make it a point to donate blood at every opportunity. Just because someone disagrees with how you think they should give (through the government) doesn't mean that they don't give. In fact studies show that both conservatives and Christians donate more time, money, and blood than either liberals or non-Christians. And I'd like to point out that statistic doesn't mean I assume that liberals or non-Christians are selfish.

      So Bob, since I am willing to assume you claim to be from the self-proclaimed "tolerant" side of the political spectrum I would ask for a little bit of decency when referring to other people's beliefs. You can believe whatever you do or don't want to and I won't tear you down for it. I care about what people do (what they actually do, not what other people assume about them). And at the end of the day, I do my absolute best to not judge people for their actions or statements. And that is at least in part because I am Christian (not because being Christian makes me a better person, but because it reminds me that judging other is wrong)

      November 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Bob

        Jac, you are indeed a hypocrite, actually a very blatant one, and a typical Christian. Read what you wrote, stupid. You just presented your own judgement of someone.

        Go burn a goat now to your disgusting god, as penance.

        November 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Ken Margo

    What u haven't figured out is athies r special. Brilliant beyond normal human comprehension. They know that they were created. By their parents. That they get.

    But they r too smart. Just because everything is created, it is impossible to apply that concept to life and god. Who created god is their unsolved dilemma.

    God is, always was, always will be doesn't register with them. Way too clever for average people. No, they say, if u say god always was, we will say, y not everything, contradicting the argument they just relied upon.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Christ, you're simple. Either that or a troll.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • tallulah13

        The guy can't spell, so points for stupid. But I think he's just a troll.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that


          November 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  4. slalom5

    How ridiculous. Nice try using the churches as a vehicle to further your own agenda Mike. You wouldn't give two cents for it otherwise. The church cares for the poor more than any other group already, and goading them into what you would rail against otherwise as interference and bigotry, now becomes a cause that you have deemed necessary. Who cares what you think since you've found fault with them WHILE they were helping the poor already.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The church svcks at taking care of the poor and the sick. Just look how many people don't have access to health care and need a national health insurance system. Once again, the government has to take over a job the church was given to carry out.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Just be honest. You don't want to help people in need. You are more interested in your own good than you are in helping others. You are just using church as an excuse to be selfish.

      November 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • modocer

      First, the government buys off the Churches with tax exemptions which require them to be non-political, and then some want to condemn them for not pushing a politically charged issue.

      November 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • chubby rain

      "Nice try using the churches as a vehicle to further your own agenda Mike"

      Hello, pot...

      November 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  5. Darwin was right

    The fact that the most conservative, most Bible believing, and most Republican voting states have the most un-insured people with the worst health profiles is simply quite logical and appropriate. If they want to live back in the 19th century in which people believed that disease is caused by sin or by demons, then let them. After all, there are many references in the Bible to God or Demons giving you disease. Even Jesus believed that disease was caused by demons and also see Deuteronomy 28:15 for more examples. Finally, don't the Evangelical, Pentacostals, and other Fundies all believe in FAITH HEALING to cure disease? And it's free! No need for a doctor and NO government involvement!

    November 9, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Cindy

      I'd check where you got your statistics from.......... There is no logic to your statement. I would check your facts or their sources..........

      I wrote to "Tom, Tom, The Other One" the following:

      Ya missed a number of states there my friend.................. So why is it that the states under Republican government are doing so much better than states under Democratic care, so much so that the federal government is charging red state citizens more for insurance premiums in order to carry the blue states??????? Or didn't you know that?????

      November 9, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • Wendy

        Cindy, like California?

        November 9, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  6. craigorie

    So, Democratic Governors accept expanded medicaid thus taking care of the poor and most Republican Governors don't, therefore it's a total partisan issue.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      All politics is partisan, unfortunately. It's tough on us indies.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  7. Benjamin Lovelace

    As a Evangelical Christian I feel a deep and abiding sense of shame that so called "Evangelical Leaders" are not speaking up against this cruel injustice. SHAME!

    November 9, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The poor are invisible to preachers of a prosperity doctrine.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    States to deplore – Governors oppose Medicaid expansion

    North Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Dakota

    Republicans could learn from Chris Christie: he signed into law budget legislation that includes authorization of Medicaid expansion (S3000).

    November 9, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Cindy

      Ya missed a number of states there my friend.................. So why is it that the states under Republican government are doing so much better than states under Democratic care, so much so that the federal government is charging red state citizens more for insurance premiums in order to carry the blue states??????? Or didn't you know that?????

      November 9, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      What, deplore them because they don't want to further burden their citizenry with increased taxation? Why is that deplorable?

      November 9, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Edwin

      I live in one of these states, and it makes me sick – but I am not surprised. Our leaders have a reputation for actively opposing anything that can make the lives of citizens better. They believe that it is better to give tax breaks to corporations – but actually, only to those corporations that helped get the governor elected.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  9. sfcmac

    Dear John Blake: Your proctologist called. He found your head. What about the MILLIONS of working Americans who lost their affordable health plans because of the OBAMACARE regulations? That's a 'taboo' subject on the liberal's planet.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Come on people now, smile on your brother.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • dan

        Pay my medical bills, just this once and I'll become a devout atheist. Promise

        November 9, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Cindy

      If the Democrats/liberals believe so much in this new healthcare reform, I personally don't know why they didn't roll out scaled down versions in Democratic states as a test run.

      This is only the beginning.................................

      November 9, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • chubby rain

        Because Mitt Romney did it first in Massachusetts...

        Take off the partisan blinders.

        November 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      'What about the MILLIONS of working Americans who lost their affordable health plans because of the OBAMACARE regulations?'

      Good point. And it's creating completely unfair compet.ition in the marketplace. People are just going to opt for the cheap, government provided plan at the expense of private insurance companies.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  10. Apple Bush

    The argument stating that "the universe exists, therefore there is a God" or "I am proof of God" are illogical. You are seeing only outcomes, not the process of creation. None of us know what is behind the curtain of our known universe and most likely never will. I can live with not knowing. The religious cannot, so they lie.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I think we could have a semantic argument about what const!tutes lying. Obviously, they're not telling the truth, but I'd put that down to the fact that they are unaware of the truth and believe that what they are saying is true. I've met some genuinely pious people in my life who genuinely and in all sincerity believed in all the fairy-tales they were spouting. Could one actually call them liars?

      November 9, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Dave,sometimes a fairy tale makes more sense than so called reality.Remember Ozz neverdid give nothin to the Tin man, that he didnt already have.Remember how Tinkerbell"s light faded when people didn't believe,but beightened when they did?Don't give up until you drink of the silver cup and ride that highway in the sky.

        November 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I believe the majority lie to fit it with society, yes.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  11. Cindy

    Unlike our federal government (which should but doesn't), states must keep within budgets. Healthcare should be a matter for each individual state to manage/provide and should have been required to do so long ago.

    Then the federal government could choose to apply the best of those state developed ideas as need be. As a doctor recently stated, you can not eat an elephant in one bite like our federal government is forcing on all Americans.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Edwin

      When the federal government asked states to expand Medicare, it also offered to pay 100% of the increase cost. Actually, the first year they actually offered MORE than 100% as an incentive. No state can possibly make the argument that they refused the expansion because of costs... so try again. While you are at it, look up the law.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  12. sheep

    Where is Obama and what is his next great adventure?

    November 9, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • davecu

      Eh, impeachment?
      Explaining why 'he did NOT skrew that country'?
      In this life or the next, if there is one, he will have to account for himself and his actions that caused to much miserly to those over which he would rule.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  13. L

    Hey atheists, saying "God doesn't exist" isn't proof that he doesn't. I guess you people will never realize that you have the same mentality of a believer. You can't escape faith, no matter how much you want to deny it. You don't know if God doesn't exist just like a believer doesn't know if he does. Both statements require faith.

    November 9, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Nope. You just haven't thought about it properly.

      Your argument is only valid if the following two statements are equally valid:
      a) Unicorns exist
      b) Unicorns do not exist.

      If you were making a large purchase, you would want proof that the seller actually owns the 4.6 million dollar mansion before you handed over the check. You would want proof from the person making the claim. Until that person proves he owns the mansion, you are justified in your disbelief that he owns it. In the same way, the atheist is justified in disbelieving the believer's claim that god exists until the believer provides proof. Exactly the same process you would use in determining someone owned the mansion you intend to purchase.

      Educate yourself.

      November 9, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • L

        Both claims(God doesn't exist and God exists) requires faith. Just let it sink in and move on with your life.

        November 9, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • nope.


          November 9, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Both claims(Skeletor doesn't exist and Skeletor exists) also require faith. However, rational deduction can rule one far more likely.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          If you don't believe in unicorns you will have quite ordinary luck all of your life. If you believe in unicorns you may have some good luck. Surely it is better to believe in unicorns. I suggest you hunker down and believe.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • L

          Still doesn't mean you're right and all of us are wrong.

          Educate yourself.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Yes it does.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Apple Bush

          It does, it really does. You are wrong.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • L

          I don't think atheists like when their belief is challenged. You guys act like a believer does. "Nope. I'm always right no matter what!"

          November 9, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          L, you are the one refusing to engage with the logic presented to you, and in effect, saying "it doesn't matter what you say, I'm always right!!!"

          Get back to us when you understand the purpose of skepticism and the constraints of a logical claim for a positive statement.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Roger that

      "God does not not exist"

      I never say that. There is no proof that a god exists. See the difference? Prove me wrong.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • CBGB

        You are proof that God exists.

        November 9, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Roger that

          No, I'm proof that my parents exist.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Roger that

          Wrong. I'm proof that my parents exist.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Roger that

          The fact that I came from my parents can be proven in a laboratory and a court of law.

          Can you prove, in a laboratory and a court of law, that you are a Christian created by God rather than a reincarnated Hindu that has gotten confused and is practicing the wrong religion this time around?

          November 9, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • Science Works

        Roger that

        Maybe it is to simple for them .

        I am proof I have children with their own medical ins. provided by employers.

        November 9, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        My back itches. Prove me wrong. I know its so because i can feel it. But I can't prove it itches to you even if I scratch it ,you can still say i'm faking .

        November 9, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  14. Scott

    hell will be happy when Joel Osteen gets there. His father has to be ashamed of this loser.

    November 9, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  15. Kevinnd

    Our actual health care (emphasizing 'care') system was built on a foundation of Christian social outreach. The original government takeover of the care odes occurred in the early 20th century when the emerging progressive movement began to tax to help drive government funded social programs. The net effect was to edge out Christian charity. Read "The Tragedy of American Compassion" which studies in detail the 'original' takeover of healthcare by the progressive movement. Great, great read!

    November 9, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  16. lol??

    I liked it better when the heathscare industry wasn't so far above its clients in status, wealth and power. They'll mess with your Public Servants!!

    November 9, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  17. Ruben

    Wow, so you'r all about the separation of church and state until you find something you can blame pastors for?

    The states turned it down, not the pastors. And if they were speaking up about it, wouldn't you be blaming them for meddling in political affairs that were none of their business as religious leaders?

    Yah, I thought so.

    November 9, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Agreed. I never expect churches to follow the law of the const.itution or express mercy for the poor and sick among us. Stupid article to suggest that they would.

      November 9, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Cpt. Then please tell me what logical reason anyone would want to go to a church.?

        November 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Let the bible belt states secede from the union. Problem solved. I won't miss them. They will need to move the Miami Dolphins to L.A. first though.

    November 9, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • lol??

      Makin' refugees is a character trait of socies.

      November 9, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • Apple Bush

        lol??, your statement makes no sense. They have their state governments to care for their social needs (or not). They don't need nor want the federal government involved.

        November 9, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • lol??

          You're the one tryin' to force secession. Top down demobocracy in action.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  19. timverba

    Sounds like a good class action discrimination lawsuit against the delinquent states may overturn the Supreme Court decision that giva the states the option not to expand Medicare

    November 9, 2013 at 10:39 am |
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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.