Health Care: Squelching Religious Freedom for Human Rights
Last week, some 140,000 people gathered on a conference call with religious leaders to discuss President Obama’s Health Care proposal. The President himself decided to jump on the call too and explained why extending health care to millions in the form of a socialized system was a “moral imperative.”
The “leaders” of the call appear to be many of the religious left who have been asked to advise President Obama on matters of faith and social justice. Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, has been promoted to chief spokesman for the group, appearing on several news networks touting the “moral imperative” of extending health care or attempting to make the case that health care is a human right. Establishing something as a “human right,” of course, is a liberal’s way of guilting the rest of society into accepting their agenda without question. After all, do you know anyone who is against anything that is a fundamental right of a human?
At the outset, it is offensive to the idea of religious liberty that many of the voices speaking against Obamacare have been silenced and discounted as promoting “malicious myths,” while the pluralistic, religious left continues to receive accolade for stroking the President’s agenda. If President Obama were serious about coordinating the religious community on healthcare, why did he not include Tony Perkins or Jim Dobson or Jim Daly in the discussion? His answer, undoubtedly, would be because they represent a more “activist” mindset in what should be a serious and civil discussion on health care. Ok, but that begs the question: aren’t Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren and the rest of the crew labeled as “religious leaders” equally labeled as activists? Or does it mean something different when they are just called “organizers?”
If President Obama were serious about seeking the “moral imperative” on health care, why would he not consult theologians like R.C. Sproul, D.A. Carson, and Al Mohler? Or even Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Father Frank Pavone? By keeping such serious minds from the table, President Obama has demonstrated that religious freedom means only those who agree with and commit to promoting his agenda. In so doing, he has erected another wall separating only those churches that confront his moralisms with Scriptural authority from influencing the discussion of state.
But there is a legitimate question that we seemed to have skipped over in the race to the August recess: is health care a “human right?”
According to our founding documents, Americans were blessed with the “right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” that these rights were “endowed to us” by the One who created us, ergo a human right. Does the right to life include the right to seeing a doctor? Preventative medicine? “Optional” end-of-life counseling? Abortion?
Skipping over this question is evidence of unwittingly accepting the political spin of the messaging machine. How many times have you heard even the most strident opponents of Obamacare agree that, “something must be done” about health care. The left won that battle a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean that must win the ultimate war.
Author and speaker, Voddie Baucham asks similar questions in a recent blog posting. He says,
Lost in all of this was any meaningful discussion of what the Bible has to say about this issue. Does the Bible teach that “all of God’s children” deserve health insurance? Does the Bible teach that healthcare professionals have a moral obligation not to work for profit? What about the principle of “counting the costs”? This makes no economic sense. The Obama/Pelosi plan is unaffordable. Nevertheless, Melody Barnes assured listeners that the president’s plan would provide 1) lowers costs, 2) guaranteed healthcare for all (you know, that 47 million number that none can prove, and few bother to challenge), 3) covers all pre-existing conditions, and 4) will not interfere with those who like the insurance they have. Not one person on the call pushed back at this point with the obvious questions: How do we pay for this? How do we avoid rationing? What about the free market? Where do you derive the constitutional authority to do any of this? How does one government insurance program make the market competitive when hundreds of insurers are already out there competing? What about the end of life issues that even supporters recognize as immoral in this plan?
What’s next? Do we have a ‘right’ to see a mechanic and have our car fixed at an ‘affordable’ rate? Do I have a right to replace my transmission for a $10 copay? and if we don’t, is it shameful that “the richest nation in the world cannot provide” automotive services to it’s citizens? How about my air conditioner? I live in Houston, TX where the summers are sweltering. If my AC goes out, do I have a ‘right’ to have it fixed so my kids and I won’t be hot? More importantly, does my neighbor have a right to have his AC fixed at my expense? Should there be an AC “public option” to ensure competition? Is my AC man immoral if he makes a profit on the job? Why is healthcare different?
Indeed. In fact, what those same religious leaders toeing the President’s line fail to include is the fact that Christ came to a sick world and healed the sick. He never established an earthly kingdom, let alone a hospital or government-run health care program to heal the sick. Later, through Paul and other authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Christ explained that those who followed him would be sick, get hurt, and generally suffer.
Those who were paying attention to the first half of Scripture remember that the only human right vis-a-vis one’s health was that, as fallen creatures, our physical bodies were broken and deemed “terminal” upon our birth. Thus, those invoking Christ as the basis and example for this “moral imperative” seems to miss the boat entirely.
Whatever Christ has taught – and it is clear that he has encouraged us to heal the sick and care for the orphans and widows – the standard, moral imperative labeled as Holy Scripture does not teach that health care (i.e., treatment by a physician with medical instruments, prescription medication, and care as per the Hippocratic oath) is a right firmly embedded within the human genome.
Not only that, since beginning, end-of, and middle-of-life concerns will be touched upon by physicians and any system of health care, including the current proposal, as FRC has pointed out, there is a legitimate cause for the President to discuss the issue of life.
That, of course, is something above his pay-grade, yet it requires his attention – especially when he has been on record as advocating for the inclusion of abortion in any health care coverage AND when the committees in the House of Representatives rebuff any pro-life amendments to the House version of Obamacare.
What is more, what of the President’s campaign commitment to reduce “unwanted” pregnancies, thereby reducing abortion? To be a legitimate answer to his politicking, the President must answer how his universal system of health, including the all-important “public option,” reduces the need for abortion. Instead of answering such concerns raised by many in the faith community who have warily supported the President, he has simply maligned those in the religious community as ignorant zealots and “extraordinary” liars intent on feeding fear above promoting hope.
Mr. President, this name calling must cease. Those who support your plan follow your example and call any opposition as malicious, while decrying those who voice opposition at town halls as detracting from a civil debate. The fact is, Mr. President, you lead by example. If you wish a civil debate, start having one.
A good place to start, I submit, is seriously asking whether health care is a human right? Or, if we want to skip beyond that, explain how this current proposal encourages a culture of life – beginning, middle, and end.
In fact, since I’m sure this blog has been “flagged” already, I am more than willing to allow you, Mr. President, as much space on this blog as you wish to fully and completely answer these questions.
The rest of the religious community awaits your answer.