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. J-Man

    The problem with the Belief blog is that it is written by non-believers. The question asked is a non-question. The bible doesn't talk about health coverage. It talks about the need to accept Jesus as your personal savior. If you go to hell for eternity after you die, is health care coverage really that big of a consideration? I'm talking about eternity here. The time spent on earth is not even a spec in comparison. The author has zero perspective and should be banned from writing in this section. The author has an extreme left wing political agenda and is trying to give his opinion religious implications. His argument is bogus and he should go away.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jon

      The real problem is that you believe in such fairy tales. Anything after that is just silly to even discuss.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  2. Truth

    Today's CNN Obama puff piece.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • ShawnDH

      What about this is factually incorrect?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Really?

    Reading these comments is disturbing. There are no demands that insurance should be provided under "the guise of Christianity" nor is anything that can be regarded as an attack on the separation of Church and State. It simply points out the hypocrisy of big religion where there is no advocacy for the poor. WWJD? It seems impossible to answer fully but seems likely that he would be horrified by our denial of basic services to those who share our citizenship.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • J-Man

      You are as bad as the author. No understanding of what Christianity is. Be concerned about the eternal soul. WWJD is a catch phrase. You shouldn't use it since I am guessing you don't know him.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  4. ShawnDH

    Ummm, because Bible Belt pastors are evil and want people to suffer.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Mosihasteen

      Stupid comment.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • YeahISaidIt

        You're stupid

        November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Fish

    There is still the question of affordability, some of the numbers I have witnessed are quite out of the realm for most indicative of the monopolies by state which could never be removed from the law before passage. I predict that the greed of the insurance industry exploiting this provision will eventually lead to the failure of the law!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      161 amendments by the GOP helped with that quagmire. Too bad the Dems liked the art of compromise.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  6. Bob

    The author is just another hack with an axe to grind and an agenda.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • ShawnDH

      An agenda. Yeah, healthcare for Americans. It's a good agenda.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Mosihasteen

      Exactly, wonder if this same hack will EVER discuss why so-called black leaders never address the outrageous 75% illegitimacy rate of black kids (in some places its way worse) racist rap music against whites, slavish dependance of blacks on federal handouts which these 'leaders' never seem to recognize, etc. Jesus said there would always be poor. We have to take care of them, but it has to come from the heart, not grudgingly given in excess due to a government boondoggle of lies.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • per se

        Why go after black people? Just because one group has issues means that yours are okay?

        November 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  7. jane

    I knew when Bush cited the 1,000 points of light he really meant for people to take over care of the poor to let government i.e. wealthy tax payers off the hook. Word is nigh. And, yes, I think government policy has an impact and should.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mosihasteen

      Government intervention of a socialist nature does have an impact, ALL BAD.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • per se


        Not "all bad" at all. Look at every single country on the best quality of life lists, and you will find they all have social healthcare, most have a single payer system, and all live longer and better than Americans. I wouldn't say living longer and better is all bad, would you?

        November 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Leftcoastrocky

    "Why aren't Bible Belt pastors speaking out about the millions of uninsured poor left behind in their states?"

    Okay, so if government is not going to take care of them, who is, Bible Belt pastors? Or do you not care?

    (Jesus certainly would have cared about the poor who could not afford medical care.)

    November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • TruthandConsequence

      Jesus said nothing of Obamacare nor even a Roman Imperial Health Service which would have subjected all the wealthy and poor to Rome. While, Obama's minions may think he is God, I would say there is reasonable cause to doubt it.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Mosihasteen

        Right on! The ilk that supports Obama and his plethora of laughable presidential screw ups likes to think they have Jesus on their side because of Obamacare and more Food Stamp recipients. In reality scripture says to work hard and be rewarded for your contribution to the community. Wanna be greedy? Pay for that sin later on your own. Government redistribution of income won't get you off the hook with the Lord. The same leftist buffoons who shout 'you can't legislate morality' to keep abortions available probably think they are good Christians (the ones who aren't Atheists). Tell me. Would Jesus be marching in a pro-abortion or gay rights parade?

        November 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  9. Sue

    Hmm where does Jesus say that we should expect the government and "some other rich person" to help those in need? Nowhere. He states that we should help the needy ourselves. Obamacare actually penalizes charitable hospitals that treat people who cant afford care. Sorry you aren't going to guilt us into failed policies of socialism.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      If Christian churches actually provided for the poor and undesirable among us, would there have ever been a need for Obamacare? Would the number of church goers be dropping by the hundreds of thousands every year?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Keeth

        6 Points on which we all agree;

        1) Most Americans oppose Obamacare
        2) Our President had to lie to get it passed
        3) So the Left is here frantically and paradoxically and hypocritically trying couple Religion and State
        4) Which confirms just how desperate our government and their media lapdogs have become
        5) When I refuse to define poverty you'll know I'm a marxist disguised as a 'social justice' Christian (yes...we can tell)
        6) Now we can get back to the name-calling and church bashing from folks with a 'tolerance' bumper sticker on their car

        November 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • per se


        Then why not just look at the facts, that social healthcare benefits the country long term, it's why every single modern country has it. They understand that a healthy and well educated population is a better and more productive population. If the people that oppose social healthcare ignore that, then so be it, they will have to comply anyway.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • per se

      There is almost nothing wrong with social healthcare. Just look at every single country with social healthcare, and you will see that the vast majority are healthier and living longer and better than Americans are.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Fried Green Tomatos

    There is no comparison between fish/loaves of bread and Obamacare. The fish and loaf of bread was free to ALL people except for the little boy who provided it, someone will have to pay for Obamacare and it won't be those who are providing it.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • ShawnDH

      Sure. It's inconvenient for your ideology so it's not a good analogy. Got it.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Steve8271

      I tell you what, when you can walk on water, rise from the grave, and magically conjure up health care from nothing then we will stop charging people money for health care.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  11. Rocky

    If it were called Romney care or any random white guy care, then the pastors would be all for it.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Sean W


      November 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • Steve8271

        It may seem ignorant to you but poll after poll have shown a distinct difference in the approval rating of "Obamacare" and the approval rating of the "Affordable Care Act" when people were asked about both. Here is just one of the many examples of this http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/27/poll-obamacare-vs-affordable-care-act/

        November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  12. Bill the Cat

    Jesus never forced anyone to be charitable. Obama is.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • tahtye

      No but he will give you your "reward" for being so mean spirited!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • Bobbo

        When Jesus walked across the lake in the storm, he was about to pass by his disciples in the boat. They were in trouble since the sea was very rough. He was about to pass by his best friends until they called out to Him. That sounds mean spirited to many who don't understand the principals of God.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Correct. Jesus and his daddy are more into hellacious threats. Chant this magic spell with the right words in the right order or you burn forever in a lake of fiery torment that daddy made just for you from before the foundations of the world.

      In what way is Obama forcing anyone to be "charitable?" You might be right, I just can't connect the dots.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • per se

      Of course he did. Do you honestly think Jesus would be fine if he saw you ignoring the plight of someone in need?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • metre

      Actually The Christ COMMANDED everyone to "DO unto others as you would have DONE unto yourself.". He was NOT saying to sit back and do nothing or to ONLY NOT do things that you would NOT want done to you. The Christ COMMANDED us to PRO-ACTIVELY go out and DO TO AND FOR OTHERS what we would want done to ourselves WITH NO CONDITIONS, REQUIREMENTS, STIPULATIONS, DISCRIMINATION, OR EXPECTATIONS OF PAYBACK ON THE PART OF THE RECEIVER OR THE GIVER! But of course THAT KIND of Christianity does not fit in with YOUR beliefs now does it...so you simply ignore it and continue on with your OWN hate filled hypocritical discriminatory and predijudice driven life while calling yourself a "Christian" to justify it all!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  13. andy

    Religion...the opium of the masses

    November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  14. gypsyalso

    joel osteen won't talk about this – he preaches prosperity. the more you give to the church, the more his god will bless you with things. poor people don't have money to give to church. get real.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Kiska K

      And don't forget that the more money that goes to the church means more money in his pocket.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  15. CaliforniaAC

    God will hold pastors to a higher standard and that is good enough for me.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • avacon

      That is an appealing fantasy. Shame that it's self-delusional crap.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  16. palintwit

    Countless studies over the years have proven that there is a greater amount of incest in the southern bible belt states than in other parts of the country. Experts agree that this type of behavior is typically caused by living in cramped quarters, such as trailer parks and flop houses. That and the availability of such 'stimulants' as Everclear make this type of deviant behavior much more common than in the north.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      I don't think it would be possible for you to make a more bigoted statement...

      November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Even the part where he stated provable facts? Can facts be "bigoted?"

        November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Sean W

          Please link the study then. Let's see the facts. We're all interested in the direct links assumed here. Until then, reasonable people will view these comments as absolute garbage.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • per se

          Technically no. If the original commentor has reliable sources to back up his claim, then it is not bigoted. It's like saying there is a higher population of black people in prisons across America, it's a fact, therefore not bigotry.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I asked questions that you did not answer. No big deal, but perhaps you should ask your questions to the right person, next time.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • Bobbo

        Bigotry is not always a bad thing. Look up the word.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • kro

      alcohol is a stimulant now?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Expatraite

      You do realize that there is an easy to find study online that indicates that the two states with the largest number of mobile homes is California and Michigan, right? Rather than using the internet to spew your ill-informed anti-Southern rhetoric, perhaps you should spend a little time doing actual research – it's not just for us adults anymore, son.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Expatriate

        I meant "are" not "is". My apologies.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  17. klaus

    you have not heard about it because its not a scandal, the scandal still is that Americans are forced to buy something even if you don't need it. the scandal is that this roll out was completely screwed up, the scandal is that the president knowingly lied to the american people, the scandal is the we get apologizes from this government on a daily basis now and we see no consequences.
    News cycles are so short theses day's that virtually everything gets forgotten and lived with by the next day....

    November 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • per se

      Religion is the greatest scandal of all time. It teaches ignorance and that is proven by stories like this. Jesus would NEVER let the poor go without care, yet so many "Christians" fight to keep healthcare out of the reach of the poor. THAT is the scandal.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      The only way you wouldn't need healthcare is if you'll never get sick or in an accident or shot up in a mall; how do you guarantee that?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Steve8271

      If you are claiming the ACA is a scandal because it forces everyone to have insurance even though some may not take full advantage of it then paying for the fire department is a scandal because my house has never caught fire. Paying for public schools is a scandal because I attended private schools. Paying for roads that I've never driven on is a scandal because I've never driven on them.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • per se

        It's amazing how many people miss that.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  18. suzie669

    By the way, is it Obama false or Jesus false that THOSE STATES do not participate in Obamacare? You need to get check up. Pastor, especially with a Psycho doctor!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  19. klaus

    you have not heard about because it not a scandal, the scandal still is that Americans are forced to buy something even if you don't need it. the scandal is that this roll out was completely screwed up, the scandal is that the president knowingly lied to the american people, the scandal is the we get apologizes from this government on a daily basis now and we see no consequences.
    News cycles are so short theses day's that virtually everything gets forgotten and lived with by the next day....

    November 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You have no clue if the president "knowingly" lied to the American people. You're the liar.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      Apparently you don't remember the rollout of Medicare Part D, probably because you are too young. Guess what? Website plagued with the same problems, AND it was UNFUNDED, adding to Bush's massive debt. But since it was Bush, no harm nor foul, right??

      November 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • bthumble

      The scandal is that such people as yourself let your political prejudice overshadow your ethical judgement.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  20. Mike Moran

    As an Evangelical pastor, here's how I see it: Jesus commands His own to love and serve other –. His own - not the government. He particularly calls us to help the poor....out of a heart of love. If I choose of my own will to go down to the part of town where the street people live, and prepare and serve to them a meal with groceries I paid for, that's what Jesus is calling for. Indeed, that's what people in our church do. When my doctor, who's a Christian, gives free services to the poor, he is doing what Jesus calls him to do. He does that. I am excited to see Christians bringing glory to God and to Jesus by their love and charity. As a pastor, I am going to speak about these matters to God's people in the terms He uses. They will have Jesus helping and motivating them to selfless love. The government is on its own.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      If it's a christian duty – why does the problem exist?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Sean W

      Finally! An intelligent response. Thank you!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Keeth

      You're wrong Mike. Go get a copy of the new Bible. It clearly states "honor the father and father" and it says "give unto Ceasar that with is God's".

      November 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Jon

      What a bunch of fictional nonsense. the FACT is that American Christians are not helping the poor in the ways that are needed. You seem to be pushing an agenda where Christians should make their own choices of who and when they want to help, but that process has clearly not worked for decades, otherwise we wouldn't have this problem to begin with.

      Pastor or not, there is no bigger scam in life, as we know it, than religion, let alone Christian religion. Sadly, you propagandist have centuries of learning how to master the art of manipulation and only the stupid people of this earth suffer.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:30 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.