A Christian Perspective on Obamacare
By: Mark King
The title is a bit misleading for I do not believe there is a singular Christian perspective on Obamacare. I offer you A Christian"s Perspective on Obamacare — that is one individual Christian who does not claim to speak for all Christians, much less to give you "God"s opinion" on Obamacare. However, I do believe that my thoughts reflect biblical priorities and sound reasoning and I offer them to you for your consideration. I am primarily directing my comments to my brothers and sisters in the "Christian Right" but others are free to listen in as well.
Some are convinced that because President Obama is wrong on almost every issue important to Christians, they should, on principle, reject anything that he (or "the left") proposes.
But if you take the political partisanship out of the equation, I am struck by how much the stated goal of Obamacare seems to be in accordance with Christian principles of charity and compassion. The stated goal of Obamacare is to provide affordable health care to as many Americans as possible. (The law is officially called The Affordable Care Act.) Is anything unbiblical or anti-Christian about this goal? I would think that this is something that Christians could support. I am struck by how many Christians are driven by biblical values when it comes to abortion or gay marriage; and they often look to the government to help support and enforce those values. However, when it comes to economic issues, they are quick to resort to the Unseen Hand of Capitalism as the final authority and say that the government should keep its hands off. (To be fair, there are many on the other side who do the same thing in reverse. They champion individual liberty on traditional moral issues and say that the government has no place in these personal choices; but then they look to the government to override personal choice when it comes to "fair" economic policy, redistribution of wealth, etc.)
As a Christian, I agree with the noble goal of Obamacare. I think it is a good idea for as many people as possible to have access to affordable health care. It is a great idea not only for Americans, but for everyone on the planet. There are many Christian missionaries and ministries that provide health care as a ministry of compassion and as an opening for the gospel. Christians and Christian organizations have long been advocates of good medical care — look at how many hospitals have (or at lease used to have) denominational names. Providing affordable health care is, at its heart, an expression of Christian compassion, or at least common grace. I wish all Christians would be willing to admit that at least the goal of Obamacare is biblically sound.
So what about the specifics of Obamacare? The law is so huge that even the legislators who passed it admit that they did not read it first. There are ambiguities that may be abused or exploited. There are provisions that may infringe upon First Amendment guarantees. Whether or not it is based on sound economic policy is open to debate. Its constitutionality is still debated by some, although the Supreme Court has apparently settled the issue. Many would argue that it is a brazen overreach or governmental authority, and perhaps it is. In the end, it may not even do what it set out to do. All of these issues, as important as they may be, are simply not addressed in Scripture. As Christian citizens, we may have opinions, even strong opinions on these issues, but we must not elevate them to the level of biblical absolutes.
Some of the provisions in Obamacare, such as computerizing medical records or electronically transferring prescriptions simply make sense in the 21st Century. They may indeed save lives by reducing medical errors. Some provisions are clearly pro-abortion and on these I would hope evangelical Christians would be united in opposition. However, Scripture is not as clear about what our response should be when a secular (some might even say essentially pagan) government passes a comprehensive health care law that contains thousands of provisions, only some of which are clearly unbiblical. What would Jesus do? We simply don"t know. What would Paul have written in his Epistle to the Americans? We have no idea. Obamacare is an area where biblical Christians should be able to disagree and still fellowship with each other. Certainly we add to the Gospel if we say "you must be born again and oppose Obamacare!"
One of the provisions of Obamacare created a change in tax policy meant to encourage adoption. Prior to Obamacare, adoptive parents received a tax credit of about $13,000 per child which could be used over a five years. I have two adopted children so my tax credit was a whopping $26,000. I don"t make enough money to pay $26,000 in taxes (even in a five-year period), so this was of very little benefit to me. Under the provisions of Obamacare, this tax credit became refundable. In one year, I received a "refund" of almost $23,000. That refund made it financially possible for us to adopt a third child. I have no doubt that some have used the provisions of Obamacare to help fund their abortions. Others have used provisions in the same law to help fund their adoptions. I mourn the abortions and celebrate the adoptions. Obamacare is a mixed bag.
The most important question facing any American is "what will you do with Jesus Christ?" not "what do you think about Obamacare?" So, let me humbly suggest the following:
1. If you oppose Obamacare, please do so for good reasons. Opposing it simply because you have an unfavorable view of the presidents seems to be unfair.
2. If you do oppose it, you have the right to do everything in your power as a citizen to make your voice known — call your congressman, write letters, make political contributions, explain your opposition to anyone who will listen — but please do so in an intelligent, respectful manner, and be willing to listen to other viewpoints. You may be wrong.
3. If you disagree about Obamacare with a fellow Christian, please don"t make this issue a litmus test for fellowship. There is no clear biblical teaching on our response to Obamacare. Fellowship among Christians is based on a common relationship to Jesus Christ, not agreement about Obamacare or any other political issue. I am convinced that there will be both Democrats and Republicans in heaven — and both will admit their party got it wrong on certain issues.
4. Finally, when discussing this with unbelievers, make sure you choose your battles wisely. When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was a student at Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell of Moral Majority fame) and I had just discovered Rush Limbaugh on the radio. My religious right political action engines were stoked with righteous indignation as I heard daily about the evils of Bill and Hillary. Then at work a co-worker made a very favorable comment about Hillary Clinton. At that moment I realized that if I "set him straight" on Hillary, I would probably lose the opportunity share Christ with him later. His response to Christ is far more important than his response to Hillary. The message of the Gospel is scandalous enough as it is — there is no need to cloud it with extraneous issues. It think the "religious right" is often in danger of communicating that the kingdom of Christ is indeed "of this world" and we will be more than willing to fight for it (see John 18:36.)
Tags: Biblical-Truth Christian-Life Controversial-Issues Current-Issues Political-Issues
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