A recent article about faith leaders talking about health care quoted a local minister who felt it was important for pastors to help their congregations understand the issues surrounding health care reform "from a Biblical Perspective". And I've been scratching my head ever since to understand just what that means. Now, I'll also add that this particular minister isn't a firebrand, ultra conservative type - he's known as a fairly moderate voice in both faith and politics.
There is no need for me to decry the embarrassing - and organized - vitriol coming from those who are opposed to any reform proposal - and in my opinion NOT because they might be good or poor ideas, but that they would be President Obama's ideas. Sadly, many of these voices who are trying to dominate and dictate - not discuss or debate - are from faith. So what does "from a Biblical Perspective" mean regarding our broken health care system?
Scripture clearly calls for healing of all types. Some of the more well known miracles of Jesus were in healing medical ills. Further, by his example, healing was meant for and given to all without cost or qualification. So does "from a Biblical Perspective" mean creating a system by which ALL can have access to reasonable health care? I would hope so. And that is precisely where the American health care system falls apart. That and the unbridled cost. Premiums that rise 15, 20 even 33 percent (I'm on the board of an area non-profit...these are not made up figures!) are obscene. If one uses the story of Jesus overturning the tables of the money-changers that "facilitated" access to the Temple, then the argument is easily made that these outrageous costs are also unBiblical.
My concern, though, is that "from a Biblical Perspective" is also - and in fact already is - being used by the ultra-conservative voices of Christianity. They are already raising the "specter" of surgeries for transgender people (even personally attacking one noted transwoman), the "horror" of access to abortion and forced euthanasia. Where in Scripture is this found? It isn't, but that doesn't matter when you are trying to instill fear in people in order to drain money from their pocketbooks.
Care. Compassion. Inclusion. If those are part of "Biblical Perspective" then I may be in the wrong school studying the wrong things as I work toward a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. Those are the very reasons why I am pursuing those studies. The voices of exclusion, condemnation, hateful judgment are what kept me away from the Church for more than four decades. No longer.
I am not an expert on our health care system, nor have any ideas to best resolve the issues of cost and access. I need to leave those ideas to others. But something, several somethings, need to be done. Hyperbolic scare tactics are not the way to achievement.