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Thoughts on health care and the church.

In recent months, I’ve spent more time writing on family issues. That doesn’t mean I’ve kept my head completely in a bucket regarding national events, but they’ve taken a back seat to important things like diapers and destiny. This morning, driving to the prayer room and listening to NPR, diapers, destiny and health care all converged on me.

Let me preface by pointing out the obvious. I’m pretty conservative….particularly for a guy with three earrings. I have very strong political beliefs shaped by my moral beliefs. I think it should be that way. At the same time, I don’t buy into a lot of the conservative rumor mill or radio shows. On the rare opportunities I have to see it, I yell at FOX News as loudly as I do at CNN. I don’t forward emails. I’m pretty sure the President really is a US citizen. My bumper stickers are for things like In-n-Out. I don’t have the energy to listen to conservative talk radio (How can you be that mad every day?). What I do listen to and read usually contradicts what I believe. I’m okay with that. In fact, I do it on purpose. I find it far more interesting.

I’m only offering that snippet to explain that as I start this mini-rant, it’s not because I can’t tolerate to be in a room with a differing opinion . It’s because I fear for the state of the leadership of the church, which seems hell bent on appearing kind, even at the expense of being Godly.

This morning, the radio was doing a spot on a new initiative between President Obama and religious leaders entitled 40 Days for Health Reform. The brief radio piece featured quotes from Soujourner’s Jim Wallis and other religious leaders.

One pastor was quoted as saying – paraphrased here, although I think the quote is about 90% dead on, I was driving and couldn’t write it down – “We need to realize that healthcare is an issue of human rights and pass a healthcare reform bill even if we don’t agree on the details.” It was shortly after this that I attempted to rip the stereo from my truck dash and throw it into the river as I crossed the Red Bridge.

It is false nobility to agree on the broad brush strokes and ignore the details when the things in the details are life and death issues – particularly life and death for the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn and the elderly.

I am not proposing that we do nothing. I don’t know of anyone who thinks the system is working for everyone. Even if it works for most, we do have an obligation to those who are falling through the cracks. I am for caring for people…but I am not willing to become so romantically entagled with the fable of helping people that we ignore the details.

Pastors and leaders, those details that you suggest we gloss over….those details are where the devil dwells.

For thousands of years, he has haunted the details of our narratives and solutions. Satan has never argued with us about who is on the throne, only in how we relate to He who is on the throne. From Genesis, he has convoluted the details. “Did God really say…?” “You shall surely not die….”. His most boldface lies always appear to be slight tweaks of the truth – things that the more reasonable among us would tell us we should look over in the name of making progress or doing good.

Do not become so consumed with the myth that we are making progress on health care if the details of the plan push forward an agenda that has you paying for abortions that you claim to oppose.

Those details are important – perhaps not to you, perhaps not to your fame or the size of your congregation or your desire to appear compassionate – but certainly to the child whose destiny is snuffed out. Certainly to that elderly person whose value might be questioned by a society consumed with the idea of population control and social efficiency.

To roll over and concede on issues like abortion and care of the elderly is to display one of two things: a lack of faith that God can affect real change or the shameful reality that many of us as leaders don’t care enough about these issues to go to the mat on them.

I’m for some form of health care reform…but not reform at any cost. Now is the time for the politicians that the church has been in bed with for so many years to step up with a plan of their own that honors people and God with a healthy regard for life.


16 Responses

  1. Yes and amen! Thank you for being a voivwe of truth! I too would want to tare my radio out

  2. Preach it! I feel just like you do – just because we need to do SOMETHING doesn’t mean we should just do ANYTHING. Misguided (or uninformed) compassion can be a very dangerous thing.

    Love the point about the devil and the details.

  3. If we were in church I would be the obnoxious woman in the back yelling AMEN! AMEN! louder than anyone.

  4. I hope your son Grayson will be inspired to right with the same voice of truth in newspaper class this year. Grayson is great! Randy I appreciate you humor and voice of truth. I agree that if we listen too much we can lose perspective which should first and formost be that God is in control and his plan is already written out. Whatever things are noble, true…..think on these things!

  5. It always seems like you are putting into words what I’m thinking but just don’t have the eloquence to get out. Thanks Brother!

    We have a doctor in our congregation who devotes his practice serving the uninsured. I am insured and I see him as well. He’s a great doctor. I’d love to see more doctors encouraged to do this. Incentives for them or something?! I don’t know what the answer is but I know there’s a better one than what we are being offered now.

  6. I hope many people read your statement here. Thanks.

  7. If you haven’t called and emailed your Reps and Senators, you can find their contact info here:

    Let them know that you don’t want a healthcare bill that forces you to pay for abortion.

  8. Health Care reform is not what we need in this country – the USA has a super health care system…however, it is insurance that is the problem….and for the church – I think insurance is an even bigger problem. In my opinion – insurance undermines the very calling of the church to carry one another’s burdens….

    I believe Jesus Christ is the Ultimate Provider for all of life’s needs. Individuals and families have the primary responsibility for their own health and decisions related to seeking health care. When they have burdens that are greater than they can bear, I think that the body of Christ, at the local church level first, and then in a broad corporate sense, should bear one another’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

    When health care costs are paid by someone other than the person receiving care, typically an insurance company or the government, the Biblical model outlined in Galatians 6:2 can be undermined.

    I believe many of the current problems with the health care system are the direct result of restricting personal freedom and responsibility through dependence on third-party payers…and therefore causing people to be less dependent on God through His church.

    My health “insurance” should be based on how I can help others with the needs they have right now (Acts 20:35).

  9. one biblical alternative to health insurance that was really beginning to grow … non-insurance health care sharing such as in Samaritan Ministries International(www.samaritanministries.org) would also be crippled by the Kennedy-Dodd bill by forcing people to participate in buying health insurance or be signed up for in the Medicaid system … we need language inserted in whatever bill goes through ultimately which would allow for this innovative means of providing care for one another if our efforts to cut out abortion provision and care for elderly fail to be removed from the current bill …

  10. […] are taken off the streets! And the church is quiet?? I couldn’t agree more with my friend Randy Bohlender on this topic today – Randy, thanks for blogging boldly and taking Jim Wallis & Co. to […]

  11. […] know we need health care reform, but folks the details are important (such as not funding elective abortions (retroactive birth control) all the while letting the old […]

  12. Hey, Randy, what do you think of Jim Wallis, btw? Have you read God’s Politics? What do you think of people calling health care a ‘moral issue’?

  13. Josh

    I’ve never met Wallis and haven’t read his entire book, so my perspective of him is incomplete…and thus, probably not worth discussing.

    I try not to talk about people – it’s probably better to talk about ideas. (and admittedly, I fail at this some times…).

    I can understand people calling it a moral issue. I also know that those are loaded words, inferring that a perspective differing from their own is the immoral one. I find it immoral to consider abortion health care, so there is certainly an element of morality to it.

  14. “I try not to talk about people — it’s probably better to talk about ideas.”

    Man, that’s good. Thanks.

  15. Chief I’m reposting you 🙂

  16. […] Randy Bohlender posted recently, if you’d like to read it straight from his page, click here. Other wise enjoy, and let me know what you […]

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