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. Francia

    I agree that the early church was instructed to care of it's poor, but some pastors are more conserned about their personal wealth, and leave their congrengation to depend on the goverments for benifits. I don't understand why they are having an issue about it now. Their congregation are always giving them their offerings sometimes sacrifising their own financial needs. Please don't compare these spiritual leaders to the ones from the early church. Peter, Paul and others were tent makers, some pastors now use their congregation as their own piggy bank with the promiss of receiving a" blessing"

    November 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Name*penguin

    The big mega churches can't afford to provide medical care for the poor – it would cut into the mega church pastors multimillion dollar salaries. Only the Amish take care of their own

    November 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  3. Dennis

    religion is politics, always has been.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  4. FredFurple

    If you follow the link to the Kaiser Coverage Gap article and look at the map, my first thought, the confederacy is alive and well.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Bugs

    Bible Belt pastors are not in the health insurance business. Obama administration is in the health insurance business. If certain poor people don't get insured, it doesn't mean Bible Belt pastors have done something wrong. It means the ACA has failed to do what it (we assume) was intended to do. That means it's a bad law. And that's all on the Obama administration.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      It means the mean-spirited GOP governors who profess Christian valued abandoned them to strike a blow to the working poor and the current resident of the WH.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Keeth

      nailed it

      November 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      If the churches provided for the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the helpless, would there be any need for Obamacare? Would the number of self-professed Christians be dwindling by the hundreds of thousands every year? Do you understand the purpose of mirrors?

      November 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Adrian

      You were the first comment I read that made that now very famous mistake. The GOP led states who opted out of ACA are the reason people remain uncovered. That's fact #1. Fact #2 – the Feds will pay for the first couple of years the cost of expanding Medicare, and the States, when they do eventually have to pay, only have to pay 10% of the cost! Fact #3, less than 15% of the nation should have been impacted by the law at all (assuming full participation in Medicare expansion), because subsides would have offset costs. My beloved GOP is riddled with obstructionists without a plan and that is why "Obamacare" has a bad name. Not a freaking website, not the fact that people get taxed for not having coverage.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    In the 60's, most Religious leaders in the South, Catholics included, were silent during the Civil Rights Struggle. In fact, Catholic Schools blossomed because of White Flight form integrated Public Schools. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the record ain't real Christ Like.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • randro


      November 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • sonny chapman

        No, you're wrong. I was there.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  7. Angela

    Finally a wonderfully written article with facts and pointing out the hypocrites in our religion. I don't pretend to be an expert in religion, but I know that Jesus/God would not like what we are doing to the poor. Even atheist would agree to treat people with kindness, so what's your problem evil republicans???

    November 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Keeth

      Angela, you spent way too many years in government schools. 'Evil Republicans'...wanna try just an ounce of tolerance?

      November 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bugs

      I'm not doing anything to the poor. Are you?

      It's very easy to complain about what "we" or "they" are or are not doing. Makes you feel like you ARE doing something, but you're not. If you're worried about the poor, go out and do something for them yourself. They're easy enough to find.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  8. dean morse

    These Bible Belt churches like the way it is, with the poor being kept that way, in the name of GOD. Such crap. These southern states thrive with the ignorance of the people. on their knees, praying to God. Pathetic.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  9. Bill

    Well this is funny as if a Pastor says anything about the political spectrum CNN gets all over their case crying "Separation of Church and State!" but if a liberal pastor gets on the government about the immigration issue its ok.

    So if its a liberal issue its ok to cry foul?

    The LIBERALS caused this mess. There are health co-ops out there for folks to join that will cost them 160-180/mo. for FULL coverage (yes, there is a yearly deductible). None of this press crap about it costing folks 400/mo.

    Companies turned to the HMOs years ago to buffer them against health costs. It didn't work.

    Don't look to the pulipit to solve the crisis. Look to your liberal politics lead by Nancy P. in the House stuffing this down our throats for the reason why we are where we are today. Obamacare was NOT the answer ...

    November 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      Your angst is irrational. Do get a clue.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Everything about Obamacare that I dislike was a compramise made to conservatives to make it more palatible with lots of give-a-ways to private insurance companies. We need a single payer system but half of America is too stupid to understand this, like Bill here. He, like most conservatives, don't understand the simple FACT that the law already says emergency rooms must treat people regardless of their insurance status and ALL those costs are passed on to those paying for insurance. Here is the law that your favorite president Reagan signed into law:

      "The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)[1] is a U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions."

      When liberals try to fix this broken system you morons start frothing at the mouth. The only hope I have left is that many of these conservative morons happen to reside in the top 10 most obese States so without a comprehensive single payer system they will likely die early from diabetes and heart disease. Once they are off the rolls (pun intended) we can go to a single payer system like we should have.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...


        November 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  10. 1 man 1 wife

    How convenient for the libs to use Christianity went it fits their agenda. No way will we support DOMA, and abortions no ? asked. But if you don't support Obamacare..

    November 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • yeah budy

      No different than conservatives. Religion is awesome when it supports their social agenda, but not when it supports national health care. Not sure conservative foreign policy is too Christian either (not that the Democrats are, you have to look independent if you want that).

      November 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Read or reread the Gospels of Matthew. It's only 40 pages. See if you still feel the same. I hope not.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Endit

      You should accept Obamacare into your heart.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • randro

        Accept it into your wallet....ouch!!

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

      just because some Christans don't follow old testament commando jesus doens't mean they aren't Christians. Christianity is supposed to be compassionate and help the poor, not trash them for being in that condition.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  11. Jacob

    Break out the colored greens and mashed potatoes, Cuz we have a preacher who is preaching on the evils of States refusing The Affordable Care Act.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  12. Bob

    OK, so Congress passed a poorly designed law – thousands and thousands of pages – and it doesn't even accomplish what it was supposed to do. And somehow, it's ministers in the South that are the problem? This premise behind this article is so ridiculous, is almost isn't worth commenting on.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • A traveler

      Several parts of the ACA have started and they are very positive. The majority of ACA hasn't started - not all of it even starts in 2014 - so why are bozos like you ranting about how it has failed? Your ideology is blinding you!

      November 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • Kimberly

        REally? Blinded? Again, it's a Pelosi pass it and read it. Due to ACA I will lose the coverage I have on Dec. 31st. Because HE LIED. So now I have to sift through this junk NOW and most of it doesn't take place until 2014 and even the inept "navigators" really don't have a clue what will happen then. Bravo!

        November 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • A traveler

          Due to your current insurance provider you will lose your policy. Your whining make no difference because of this fact.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • RobertM

        It's a total flop. Democrat or Republican, you should be able to see it clear as day. The only people who will benefit are the old and the hand-out generation. Most people who are not senior citizens now wont benefit even in the long run because by the time they can claim benefits they will of already payed 10x its value into it.

        The only thing good out of it for anyone is that people who couldn't get insurance because of previous conditions will now be able too. Its something that should of been decades ago without the other thousands of stipulations the ACA brings.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  13. don

    No wonder you liberal hacks are so low in the ratings! Journalistic suicide to promote the socialist agenda. If you keep it up you won't even be around to laugh at!

    November 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • tony

      If you don't like the smarter, more caring people you call "liberals", don't use the Internet they created.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Bugs

        You forgot "humble..."

        November 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Kelly Gomez

        Yeah 🙂 -- And I thought that noone believed Al Gore when he said that.......

        November 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • A traveler

      Can you provide an accurate definition of "socialism" without using cut and paste?
      Thought not.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Darryl

    The sad truth about these modern day Multi-Millionaires ministers, who are profiled is that they are more concern about the personal wealth then those of the surrounding communities. The preach wealth and slick talk women into giving transferring there personal wealth on to them. Money, wealth, fame is all they are concern with...

    November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  15. nellibly

    What would Jesus say?

    Matthew 34: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Keeth

      Perhaps you're correct. Let's use the Bible for government policy from here forward. Let's start quoting your scriptures to kids in government schools. Thanks Nellibly.
      Would you be willing to answer a couple of topical questions?

      November 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • sonny chapman

        Not a verbatim, dogmatic adherence to the Teachings of Jesus, but as Obama said, those Teachings are how we should look at things;those Teachings SHOULD be a part of who we are. Conservative Christians just seem to talk the talk rather than walk the walk when it comes to following those Teachings.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Mamablue

      Amen! If we continue with the path the Tea Party agenda has of "Let them die", then the evil thereof is in Washington under the guise of patriots already. If they wish to follow Satan, then so be it, but they should recuse themselves from the legal aspect of our country and go back to their states and let transparency and righteousness of the upright persons run our country they way our forefathers meant it to be done. For if our government is not the carer of the people of this United States of America, then they are useless to us all.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • Kelly Gomez

        Pick and choose again, huh? Don't like the bible when it comes to DOMA but love it when it comes to taking care of the poor.... interesting! Also interesting how these MULTI-MILLIONAIRES (Pelosi, Reid, Obama, etc) are telling you how much they care!! "It would be easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven"..........


        November 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • rael1964

          What does the Bible have to do with DOMA? Please don't tell me you are stupid enough to quote the "one man/one woman" crap. How about the 'ole "man shall not lie with man as with woman"? If that's the case, why aren't Christians rioting in the streets about divorce? "What God has joined let no man put asunder." That's in your good book. So, use the Bible for DOMA when it fits YOUR agenda, chubs, and take that beam out of your own eye.

          November 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Kelly Gomez

          I (that would be ME) am very concerned about the divorce rate. I believe the bible is 100% true so I do not pick and choose! Please check the context of your other reference and maybe study the bible just a bit deeper before quoting it.......... love ya! 😉

          November 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • rael1964

      Jesus would give Joel Osteen a big fat round-house kick to the groin. Well, *my* Jesus would.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  16. David Sloman

    I think the Pastor is in error on this. The really POOR are covered by MEDICAID, not MEDICARE or the AHA. The AHA is really intended to help the folks that are not the very poor or the very rich, but those who are at the lower incomes above poverty who cannot afford to purchase insurance but don't qualify for other programs.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • mandee

      I want to dispell some misinformation i keep finding here: poverty alone does not make one eligble for mrdicaid.

      In the state im in, you must be poor AND have a disability to get it.

      I think the expansion was supposed to change that, but these states didnt yakr it. So the not ill poor do not have medicaid or anything at all.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Granny

      You are correct. The article goes on to point out how many of the Bible Belt states chose not to expand Medicaid to cover the working poor. If you read far enough, there is an example of a woman working with 4 kids who makes $18K a year – too much to qualify for Medicaid in Georgia and not enough to qualify for an Obamacare subsidy. She is still stuck in the same place apparently. She would be better off from a healthcare standpoint to stop working. Then she would be derided as a taker.

      She goes to the ER for healthcare because they basically can't turn you away. She racks up bills she can never pay and eat too.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  17. Keeth

    Now This Is Hilarious!
    The Left runs around demanding separation of church and state. They want religion removed from government property and policy. Then...
    they demand our government obey the teachings of Jesus.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I know. It's horrible. They want people to follow the law set forth in the const.itution AND they want people to be compassionate as their religion implies they should be. How horrible!!

      November 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • michelle

      Jesus was and is a leftist, for all that you want to make him over into some kind of Aztec warrior god. Jesus told his followers to give up all their possessions and follow him. He said who is without sin cast the first stone. You commando jesus followers would crucify him a second time if he ever showed his face in this county. Or perhaps you'd just call him a left wing liberal

      November 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • rael1964

      Ummmm...no we don't. You have us confused with right-wing lunatics like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Ricky Santorum.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  18. gman

    The leftest dodge. Obamacare is a mess, so lets point fingers at the clergy.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Keeth

      Everyone can see how desperate these pathetic people have become.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • A traveler

      The right is a mess and, unless it stops breathing its own exhaust fumes, will be entirely ignored by those of us in the central.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  19. 1 man 1 wife

    How can the writer of this article imply that insurance should be provided for all under the guise of Christianity? Separation of church and state!

    November 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  20. paul reynolds

    Pastors in the south are true Republicons – Profits over People, Always!!

    November 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Fan2C

      Maybe we should get on a bandwagon to encourage all Christians to become Jehovah's Witnesses. They do not even vote or get involved with politics or government at all! Imagine the relief from all the meddling!

      November 8, 2013 at 12:56 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.