Un-healthcare reform

This morning the pastor at daily mass practically ruined the mass by claiming a link between today’s gospel and health care reform legislation.  Today’s gospel is a conversation between Jesus and some Jews who believed in him.

John 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

The pastor said that there was so much vindictiveness on both sides (he’s right about that), with the pro-healthcare bill folks shoving it in our faces, and the anti- folks screaming epithets back. But when the dust all settles, the main reason for being against this healthcare bill is that it does not cover humans from womb to tomb.
The main tenent of our Catholic faith is that you cannot cause harm because it will bring about a greater good. That’s God’s job, not ours. Causing the death of an innocent life is ‘harm’ in every way. And the fact that abortion is not expressly excluded in this bill means that the door is open and that the law can be interpreted to include abortion. Regardless of the Hyde amendment, regardless of what anyone’s opinion is, abortion can be funded in this bill. So it’s dirty.

The pastor went on to say that those against the bill just thought it cost too much or that health care wasn’t broken to begin with. That’s a mischaracterization. Yes, it costs too much. Yes, health care needs a tune up. It’s not broken, it’s just not running on all cylinders right now. They could take a look at the hand that the legal system plays in increasing costs and so on. But many anti-healthcare bill people would have instantly changed their minds had they just excluded federally funded abortion.

Glenn Beck explained what he was talking about in his now-famous “run from social justice” comment. Liberals are good at reforming the language. Social justice, in most churches, means helping the poor freely, giving dignity to those who live in dire straits. It’s not about a hand-out, it’s about lending a hand. The social justice that Glenn Beck talks about is out-and-out socialism. With this health care bill, we’re really headed in that direction.

I prayed in my heart during our intentions for this pastor, and prayed for myself to see things from his shoes. I disagree with his characterization of the anti-healthcare people. They want better health care, they don’t want to exclude anyone, but they want it to be reasonable, and to be about health. Viagra is included in this health care bill. Viagra is not, generally, about health care. Condoms and all other birth control is in this health care bill. Birth control is not health care, generally speaking. And the same is true with abortion.
A doctor’s operating standard is “First do no harm”. That’s not how health care will operate under the government. The first principle of any government program is cost. Not cost-effectiveness, just cost. I hope we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again (in other words, to give it back to the private sector where it belongs…).


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