If you thought the debates over abortion and constitutional interpretation were a hot button within the Christian community, watch out: universal healthcare might be the new fundamentalism.
According to a recent CBS News report, “President Obama this month is turning to the religious community to rally support for the fundamental idea of expanding health care accessibility.” One of the leading voices for the Christian community in this debate is the controversial Jim Wallis, who avers: “Every so often there is an issue that is so clear and compelling, or so alarming and disconcerting, that it really does galvanize the faith community… Inclusive, accessible, affordable health care for all of God’s children is for us a moral issue.”
“The concept of universal, accessible health care resonates deeply with our common values,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “We see the people who’ve lost their jobs and health insurance… the people who are left out of what is one of the most remarkable health care systems in the world…We cannot sit idly by while we have a system that just doesn’t work for everyone.”
At face value, I think Christians all agree that we want people to be healthy. We want people to have access to health care. In the Garden of Eden, there was no sickness, nor will there be any in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21:4) – so working for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven” certainly includes healing, wholeness, and health.
But something troubles me about Wallis’ claim that “inclusive, accessible, affordable health care… is a moral issue” for Christians. I think it’s the modifiers “inclusive, accessible, and affordable” – which are all deeply malleable words that seem to say more than I’m comfortable saying. If we’re going for “affordable,” why not free? If “inclusive,” should it include abortion or voluntary sterilization or assisted suicide? True to his bombastic persona, I think Wallis has gone beyond the pale here in saying more than he can biblically substantiate.
Do you agree? Or disagree?