Does Being Raised Evangelical Destroy Your Brain? Why The Tea Party-Evangelical Right Learned Nothing Post-Shutdown

Neuroscience has proved that the brain is malleable. Evangelicals raised on magical fact-free myths are trained from birth to believe lies. Put it this way, if you believe Noah was real you’ll be more likely to believe Ted Cruise is a truth teller too.

Brains change because of the environments they’re grown in. Playing a musical instrument grows a brain differently than the brain growth of non-musicians. Vets’ brains are different after the stress of combat. These changes show up on scans. They are physical and real. The also change the way a brain makes decisions.

Fundamentalist belief grows brains incapable of dealing with the world as it actually is. From tribesmen in Borneo, eating the heart of an enemy and believing that they will thereby gain his strength, to Tea Party evangelical Republicans believing that what they need to do now, post-shutdown, is be even crazier in order to win — say by nominating a far right Christian radio host to primary a moderate candidate — the bad result of believing myths is amply demonstrated. It keeps tribesmen in Borneo in the Stone Age, and evangelicals feeling like they’re martyrs whenever they encounter sane people who question their religious or political “facts.”

Being raised in a home where you’re taught from birth – as I was as the son of evangelical missionaries — that the evidence of your eyes and ears is wrong, that, for instance, unseen forces are fighting over the destiny of your soul, that whatever science the local newspaper or your teacher says to the contrary, the earth is young, changes your brain. Delusion leads to more delusion, unless something helps you snap out of it. I describe my “snapping out” process in my new book And God Said, “Billy!There I explore the roots of American religious delusion, and offer another way to approach true spirituality and God.

Religious delusion takes smart young brains and makes them unable to relate to the actual world. It makes them ready to believe anyone standing “against the establishment,” since the fact-based community has always been portrayed by evangelicals as the enemy of their myth-based godly community of the self-isolated embattled I-believe-everything-in-the-Bible faithful.

Thus the “world’s way” is always suspect. So 2 plus 2 can’t equal 4 because the New York Times says it does so that’s “worldly wisdom” i.e., a math-based rather than godly fact. And worldly facts are bad. They contradict scripture. So down the rabbit hole we all go!

So the fact that most Americans think the evangelical-Tea Party is too extreme to govern simply proves to the paranoid delusional evangelical-Tea Party that they must be even more extreme. Time to take a stand not just against Democrats but against even moderate Republicans the cry goes up.

This evangelical-Tea Party broken-brain conditioning is the only way to explain what the New York Times describes here:

After the budget standoff ended in crushing defeat last week and the political damage reports began to pile up for Republicans, one longtime party leader after another stepped forward to chastise their less seasoned, Tea Party-inspired colleagues who drove the losing strategy… [Yet] in Mississippi, a 42-year-old Republican state senator, Chris McDaniel, was announcing his bid to take the seat held by one of those “adults” — Senator Thad Cochran, 75, a six-term incumbent and the very picture of the Republican old guard, whose vote to end the standoff Mr. McDaniel called “more of a surrender than a compromise.” Insurgent conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project and the Club for Growth immediately announced their support for Mr. McDaniel, the chairman of the Mississippi State Senate’s Conservative Coalition and a former Christian-radio host, providing an early glimpse of what the next three years are likely to hold for the Republican Party.

The evangelical raised brain-broken wing of the GOP only makes sense when you realize that they see politics as an extension of their embattled religion. It’s faith based politics, for instance that president Obama isn’t one of us, when he is, or that he’s not a Christian when he is, or that his medical care reforms are socialism when they are not. Far from learning from their failure to force the end of health care reform, the Tea Party-evangelicals that drove the confrontation in Congress and put the 144 House Republicans that voted against ending the shutdown, are redoubling their forlorn bid to take the GOP farther and faster into their fantasy land of paranoid right wing biblical delusion.

“This was an inflection point because the gap between what people believe in their hearts and what they see in Washington is getting wider and wider,” said Jim DeMint, the Heritage Foundation president, who, as a founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, is helping lead the evangelical-Tea Party insurgency. DeMint, a guru of flake dysfunction to the Republican bat-crazy rabid right, said of his dysfunctional evangelical-Tea Party followers: “They represent the voices of a lot of Americans who really think it’s time to draw a line in the sand to stop this reckless spending and the growth of the federal government.”

Following the disastrous $24 billion tab meaningless gesture, that gained only bad approval poll numbers, evangelical-Tea Party House Republicans learned nothing. “Republicans have an opportunity to reset the debate over the next few months. As the nation’s attention turns from Washington politics to the Obamacare disaster, Democrats will have no choice but to reconsider our fair and reasonable proposals to delay the law,” Georgia evangelical-Tea Party Republican Rep. Tom Graves said. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a leader in the House conservative said that the defeat came about because conservative weren’t able to “drive home” the argument.

The legion of home schooled, Christian school graduates, Christian college graduates and others raised in the gated Never, Never Land of evangelical myth have launched themselves into the political process. They are the Tea Party faithful. The very fact that the political facts point in the opposite direction than they want to go is proof to them they are right. They are standing up for Jesus (and white southern men too) against the world. The world is never right about anything from science to gays to global warming, from what “happened” in the Garden of Eden, to what actual health care reform is, even to claims that president Obama is a real American.

Appeals to rational thought, facts or evidence gain no traction in brains conditioned to think that reality itself is a threat. What began in a million Sunday schools just produced a 24 billion fiasco to no purpose, diminished America’s standing in the world, and hurt countless Americans. Send the bill to the evangelicals. Without their fictions the Tea Party would not have fond so many willing dupes. It takes a lifetime of Bible studies to destroy a human brain as completely as is necessary to make an otherwise intelligent person trust a flake as obviously perverse as Ted Cruz.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book — And God Said, “Billy!exploring the roots of American religious delusion, and offering another way to approach true spirituality, is #1 on Amazon Kindle in the Political Humor category. On Kindle, iBook and NOOK for $3.99 and in paperback.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • jtheory

    There is actually a brain theory called Dunbar’s Number which says that our brains have a cognitive limit to the number of stable social relationships they can hold. This results in us vs. them mentality. Dogmatism just exacerbates that.

    I don’t think all Tea Partiers are nearly as bad as you’ve painted them here, but I see your points.

    • Matthew_Bailey

      Enough of them are bad enough that such a generalization is valid and sound.

      When dealing with populations, there are times when a generalization is appropriate, and times when it is not.

      And there are different types of generalizations.

      Since we have not had any Tea Party types, with any sort of popular microphone or appeal, who advocate for rational, evidence-based policy, and who did NOT turn out to be Evangelicals or Dominionists, generalizing turns out to paint an accurate picture of the typical member of the Tea Party.

      This doesn’t mean that ALL of them are such; only that if you pick one at random out of a crowd, you will most likely be picking a White, Evangelical.

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        Mark Levin is as Tea Party as they come Matt. Jewish, you know?

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        Matt makes this statement: “Since we have not had any Tea Party types, with any sort of popular microphone or appeal, who advocate for rational, evidence-based policy, and who did NOT turn out to be Evangelicals or Dominionists”

        Then he ignores the evidence: “Mark Levin is as Tea Party as they come Matt. Jewish, you know”.

        Matt in himself fulfills all the criteria for his proscription: “I have nothing to say to someone who does not understand evidence; is unable to recognize evidence; is unable to evaluate evidence; and would not change their beliefs in the face of new evidence.”

        We must conclude that it would be a better world when Matt does stop talking to himself. In fact, he should just stop talking.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Dear Mister Schaeffer. I respect you for your tremendous insights on fundamentalism and the related New Atheism.

    But I think you should really refrain from generalizing about all Evangelicals. There are progressive Evangelicals such as Peter Enns and Randal Rauser who are for gay marriage, against an oppressive economy and have no problem with evolution.

    These Evangelicals are not our enemies.

    CONSERVATIVE evangelicals are the problem.

    Friendly greetings from Europe.

    • Sarah Anthony

      I have to second that. I was raised Evangelical. I still consider myself to be Evangelical. Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian and live in Europe. Outside of America, at least, there are plenty of Evangelical’s who lean left. I think there is a big distinction between Evangelicals in general and Conservative Evangelicals.

      I was ‘raised’ Evangelical, but I was also taught to think critically and really care about people. We were also pretty socialist in my house.

      • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

        Hello Sarah, that’s interesting, where do you live in Europe?

        I’m a Frenchman with a Germanic background.

        Otherwise I define “socialism” in the following way: https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=271&action=edit

        Would you agree?

        2013/10/22 Disqus

        • Sarah Anthony

          Well at the moment I live in Russia (yeah not exactly a socialist utopia) but I’ve lived in Germany and Denmark. You can also check out my blog on Christian socialism: http://womanwithoutacountry.wordpress.com/

          • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

            Thanks :=)

            2013/10/22 Disqus

          • Sarah Anthony

            Also I should mention that I’m Mennonite. My people were Christians who tried to live in the old school book of Acts kind of way…communally. Tolstoy really admired my people here in Russia. Unfortunately, it was taken over by people like Stalin, who bastardised the whole ideal.

    • http://cewilton.blogspot.com Carl Wilton

      Nicely said. I have pointed out this glaring error in earlier comments on Mr. Schaeffer’s articles, which are witty, perceptive and well-written – were it not for the fact that he appears to be clueless as to the ways in which the word “evangelical” is ordinarily used. He seems to believe he can redefine the term to mean only conservative evangelicals, but in doing so, he’s swimming upstream. In addition to the names you’ve mentioned, Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo would describe themselves as evangelicals. In some contexts, Rob Bell and Brian McLaren would, too – although they’re trying very hard to get beyond any sort of label. None of these people have the remotest resemblance to the likes of Ted Cruz.

      I find Jim DeMint’s comment (cited in Mr. Schaeffer’s article) about “the gap between what people believe in their hearts and what they see in Washington” to be extremely revealing. The true gap is between what reality-denying evangelicals “believe in their hearts” and what other people use their rational minds to “see in Washington” is the real problem. Evangelicals like Wallis and Campolo don’t have that problem – indeed, they utilize a more honest and accurate reading of scripture than do the fools who believe the thought of Ayn Rand and Jesus can somehow be reconciled. Cruz and Co. “believe in their hearts” rather than their brains, and that is the fundamental problem – literally.

  • mayalibre

    Exactly, Frank. Jim DeMint says, “This was an inflection point because the gap between what people believe in their hearts and what they see in Washington is getting wider and wider” But he can’t see that it is HE, and his cohort, who are falling backwards down the rabbit hole, creating the widening he speaks of. The government itself has hardly changed at all — we wished it would when we voted for the “Change” president! Nay, it’s they who are falling backwards.

    Psychotic features are often present during the manic phase of bipolar disorder, and delusions are a psychotic feature. Delusions are false beliefs that are firmly held. The “affect” (way of appearing) of an Ev/TP (evangelical tea partier) may vary — they may appear thoughtful, in-control, well-spoken, or even dissonantly cheery (Michele Bachmann), but they will never admit that the distancing they are experiencing has anything to do with them.

    The question I have is, how did they all become bipolar? And do you think “church” has become mostly a means for them to keep their cohort socially cohesive so that, bound together, far fewer of them fall into the “depressive” side of bipolar? That would also fit the narrative because the depressive side — working thorough failure & shame — is what actually triggers true compassion and the potential for healing. But those awakened thusly would also invariably want to leave the pack (like you did, Frank) and experience the world anew, which threatens the core group, enmeshed in denial about its falling backward down the rabbit hole together.

    • Worthless Beast

      *Raises hand as a bipolar person*

      DON’T lump me in with the Tea Party. It’s insulting. Yes… lumping us crazy folks in with the Tea Party is gravely insulting to crazy people. Do you have any idea about the illness you’re so willing to label people with? People like me face enough shiz from the world – we don’t need more ignorance from people wanting to label politicians.

      During the worst of my “manic” phases, I yell, break things, and try to talk myself down. I don’t preach politics. Although… sometimes one wonders how responsive some political figures might be to medication…

      Again, sometimes, comparing some people to rocks is an “insult to rocks.” Hi, I’m a rock.

      • Lee

        I agree with you that people need to be more careful with their comparissions. Unfortunately we really don’t have good words to describe those who act crazy, but really aren’t, or vis-versa. The best term would be brainwashed, and many times that seems to not be enough. A collective delusion is not truly a mental illness, and many people with bipolar disorder (including me) act far more sane than the TP’ers

        I remember from Psych 101 that studies show that groups of people make riskier decisions than individuals. And while the internet is a great thing, it also brings together people into a pseudo-community where the ones with the most outrageous points of view often get the most upvotes. They really are in a world of denial as they claim that most people support them! I have encountered that alot on Newsmax.

        The followers of the TP movement are in many ways victims of a cult mentality, where they think anyone who disagrees with them is out of step with reality. I have no clue on how to get them to see reality since even losing big time has not changed them.

        But I think the mainstream republican party cannot afford to cater to these people anymore without sustaining more damage.

        • Matthew_Bailey

          Newsmax?!

          You should avoid that like the plague.

          Just reading it is pointless, as it just gets them ad revenues for clicking on it, and their opinions are not hard to derive without the need to read them (Poe’s Law).

  • Elizabeth Norling

    I already did. What did you do with it?

  • Matthew_Bailey

    The technical term for the current Tea-Party’s and GOP’s basis for governance and policy is a form of what is called (aside from Paranoid Delusion) “True Believer Syndrome:”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome

    Although this applies only to the paranormal, it could be applied to the Supernatural as well, since both are just manifestations of the same thing (belief in invisible and undetectable forces in the world for which no evidence exists).

    Many people in today’s population grew up with in homes with parents (or A PARENT) who were Biblical “True Believers.”

    The Sociology behind the Evangelical movement in the USA is terrifying when it is put into the context of History.

    It is people like the Evangelicals who have been responsible for EVERY moral and ethical failing in history (Yes, even Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Pol Pot).

    All of these events have people who claim to have ALL of the answers, and those answers come in the form of moral absolutes, which MUSt be adhered to by the “Faithful” in opposition to those who would deny their claimed “Truths” (i.e. people they label as “Evil”).

    The failure of the population as a whole to see this carries dire consequences.

    Fortunately, most of the US was rational enough to oppose such attempts to impose their totalitarian beliefs and ideology on the population.

    But the Rural USA is still in their grip, as it always tends to lag behind the progress of the rest of the country, or even of the world. They fear what is the end of their way-of-life, which has been coming since the beginning of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution (two things they tend to reject).

    The issues involved are very complex, and have a great many ambiguities, both things that the Evangelical Mind has extraordinary trouble in dealing with (see above, re: Absolutes. Those who think in absolutes cannot understand something for which there is no single, set Absolute/Totalitarian answer).

    Thus we are likely to be trapped by this delusional mindset for quite a while (unless they follow through with their threats of an actual armed uprising – then we will be able to deal with them via their self-fulfilling prophecy of marginalizing the Evangelical population as a whole for such criminal behavior).

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      Um. OK Matt, wouldn’t you agree that the rape of a six year old girl is always wrong? I cannot imagine any circumstances in which this act is not a great evil. I am quite prepared to insist that everyone else agree with me on this. Am I thinking in absolute terms? You bet. But maybe this is not what you meant.

      So what did you mean? The people who oppose the spending spree we are on are not engaging in absolutes. They don’t oppose spending. They oppose spending money we don’t have. They oppose spending money for things we should not be buying. These are not positions they came to as a result of being force-fed Bible verses as children. These are positions one comes to as a result of contact with the real world. A world in which bills must be paid.

      And, for what it is worth, if there was a person named Noah, he most likely lived in the Black Sea Basin at the end of the last Ice Age, when the rising sea levels topped the land bridge of the Turkish Straits and the Ocean came into the valley where he had lived. It’s a myth, dude. Now how did I manage to come to that conclusion after being force fed Bible verses as a child? And at the same time insist upon economic sanity?

      And the thing which is behind all the political evils you mention is love of Power. That is the thing which connects Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and the current crop of Progressives: Love of Power. If only they can wield the Ring they will bring us a Paradise. I disagree vehemently with Evangelicals about many things, but I do not see them lusting for power as I do with the groups you favor. Yep, you dream about being able to ‘…deal with them…’ as you think right. Gulag much Matt?

      • Matthew_Bailey

        My post was meant for those who did not understand the pathology of fixed beliefs, and not for those who themselves hold such pathological beliefs.

        I have nothing to say to someone who does not understand evidence; is unable to recognize evidence; is unable to evaluate evidence; and would not change their beliefs in the face of new evidence.

        By all means, carry on raving, frothing-at-the-mouth, and blathering about your delusional fantasies.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Oh, I understand the pathology of True Believers alright. You are a shining example of the species. You want to find someone who rejects ‘evidence’? Look in the mirror buddy.

      • Jim Norman

        BCS17: For a few seconds there, I thought you were making sense, but then you started putting “progressives” in the same camp as Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot; and at the same time you can’t recognize a lust for power among Evangelicals. I suppose all this depends on how you are defining your terms. And by the way, dude, progressives care as much about economic sanity as you say you do, and that’s why we’d like to see sensible cuts to the military and a restoration of a “progressive” tax system. We also oppose, as you do, spending money we do not have for things we should not be buying — like wars in foreign places on phony pretexts, while at the same time cutting taxes for the very people who most directly profit from those wars. Oh, and one more thing, dude: did you know we have a history of extreme deficit growth under Republican administrations including and starting with Reagan, and deficit reduction under Democrats, including Obama? You could look it up.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Jim, I’ve never heard of ANY group of fundies or evangelicals sitting around a room talking about how they may have to ‘liquidate’ a substantial percentage of the American population when they prove to be resistant to ‘re-education’. Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers the Bomber did that.

          Look at the spreadsheet from the OMB, here: http://claytonecramer.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-this-country-is-doomed.html The spreadsheet is down about the last paragraph.

          You will note that the four years of surplus (1998-2001) following steadily shrinking deficits following the Republican capture of the House in the elections of 1994. Then came the ‘War on Terror’, and deficits went up again, peaking in 2004 and then again declining until the Real Estate Bubble burst in 2008 and we started all the bailouts of the rich and politically connected. And after 2008? The deficits explode, going from 458.6 in ’08 to 1,412 in ’09.

          Low deficits correlate with a Republican House, if they correlate with anything.

  • Carol

    The problem is not that their thinking is mythological, but that it confounds myth and historicism. A myth is not something that never happened, it is an archetypal event–something that happens all the time. The wisdom content is true, the narrative is a meta-historical composite of human experience expressed within the context of a particular historical era.
    The Bible names Eve as the mother of our human species. Science has named her Lucy. The message is the same.

  • TEDjosa

    this he does explains the weird ness of rafael crus he has been brainwashed to think the way does from cradle to grave they are the chosen true believers and the rest of us are sinners god help america so if we become a nation of dominionists and they dont believe in fighting for there country whose going to keep america free to many chief-godss and no indians

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      English not your first language son? That is one bad run-on sentence there.

  • Simon

    Frankie! Love your work.. I’m reminded of that saying (I can’t remember who said it)… “Reality has a liberal bias”!!

    • Everybodhi

      Steven Colbert

  • Joel Saint

    So: I am convinced. Being raised Evangelical does destroy one’s brain, and Franky Schaeffer is Exhibit A.

    He was raised ‘Evangelical’; his brain is definitely destroyed.

    Case closed.

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      Heh! Obvious, isn’t it?

  • Mark

    I thought Rick Perry embarrassed us Texans more than enough when he ran for president last year. And now we have to deal with the extremist Ted Cruz, who can’t seem to remember that our congress already took the vote on the Affordable Care Act. On behalf of all the people in my state who are not caught up in this conservative extremism, I apologize for this lunacy.

    • BillClintonsShorts17

      I’m not embarrassed by Cruz. I am embarrassed by you.

      Where do you get the notion that any law passed by Congress is sacred, eternal, and may never be challenged? We got rid of the Fugitive Slave Act. We got rid of Prohibition. We can get rid of the ACA.

      • Mark

        Good luck with that. The ACA is gaining momentum daily, even with all the startup problems of the online insurance purchasing system.

        The U.S. healthcare system is a mess, and something needs to be done to improve it. Although we spend more per capita on healthcare than any nation but Switzerland, we are near the bottom (46th out of 48 according to a Bloomberg study) in efficiency. Are you happy paying the most and getting the least out of your healthcare?

        And I hope that you will at least tell me you are not a Christian. That way I can excuse your apparent lack of concern for the increasing numbers of people in this “richest country in the world” who cannot afford even basic healthcare. I find it very interesting that so many people claim to be Christians, and claim that this is a Christian nation, while also championing individualism over just about everything else (well, maybe gun rights first, then individualism). That’s not the message Jesus brought to us. You can’t have it both ways.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Mark, Mark, Mark. I am very concerned about the increasing number of people in this land who cannot afford even basic healthcare. Most particularly those in my own family. I am in favor of affordable and efficient medical care. And your state imposed ‘solutions’ are the cause of the current ‘mess’. Why would adding more government interference and control solve a problem created by government interference and control?

          Why does a band-aid cost twenty bucks (or whatever insane high price you like) in a hospital? Because of the government originated third party insurance system we got in WWII. Patients don’t foot the bill. There is this HUGE PILE of insurance money available (this includes Medicare) so the financial officers of the hospital would be insane not to charge as high a price as possible so as to rake in as much money as possible. Even non-profits behave this way because they have salaries and other bills to pay even if they have no stockholders looking for ROI.

          We see the same dynamic in higher education. The government came along and subsidized student loans. That made a HUGE PILE of money available to the institutions. And they raised their tuitions again and again and again. Government ‘assistance’ made education more expensive, not less.

          What would work in the medical care field is the same thing that enables me to sit here using a computer more powerful than any government had back in the sixties. A free market.

          It isn’t that I am not interested in making medical care affordable, Mark. It is that your ‘solution’ will make the problem worse. And it is because I am a Christian, and a Catholic, that I stand opposed to making things worse.

          • Mark

            I think you might be referring to the wage controls placed on companies by the government during WWII, which led to companies offering medical insurance and other fringe benefits instead. However, accident insurance has been around since the mid-1800′s, and a teachers’ group created the first employer-sponsored hospitalization coverage in Dallas, in 1929. We have insurance because we can’t afford to pay for the big ticket stuff without it. My mom had open heart surgery twice within the last 10 years. No way she could have paid for that without insurance. Would you really have us go back to a total fee for service model, where the rich get great healthcare and the rest of us go without? Maybe do with our sick and injured what we do with our pets – evaluate the cost, realize we can’t afford it, and just have them put down?

            If you do some fact checking, you’ll find that ALL the countries with more efficient (ie, better health with less cost) healthcare systems have a large government involvement. None of them are doing it by making everyone pay the full cost out of his pocket. Fee for service only works in the third world, where people go without if they can’t spare the local doctor a chicken.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Yeah, ACCIDENT insurance. That is for things you normally expect NOT to happen. Like by-pass surgery. Any reason ordinary care should be treated as some kind of continuing ACCIDENT? If I can require you to pay for my ordinary expenses, well, our van needs some attention. You OK with paying our bill for that?

            And of course nobody can afford these procedures. As they are currently priced. Because there is NO market competition and Third Party payment completely distorts the fee structure. No one is going to spend ten years becoming a doctor and then price himself out of the market. Without the distortion introduced by ‘health care insurance’ we would see dramatic reductions in costs due to competition and innovation. You really think the medical device tax is going to encourage innovation? My mother died last year. The charges the hospital made to her insurance for one afternoon of palliative care in the ER was somewhere in the neighborhood of $10K. Why? Does it really cost that much to lay on a gurney and die?

            Is Life Insurance unaffordable? Not really. There is a huge and varied market in place. And it deals with an event which is going to happen: Death. You have the insurance in case the event happens sooner than one hopes. You have to buy the policy when you are young, of course. Hard to get Life Insurance at age 88. Old age is sort of a ‘pre-existing’ condition. Now why can’t a person buy a plan which insures against catastrophic medical events?

            And as for better and more efficient outcomes overseas, well, you ought to read some of the pieces which have appeared lately in the British press concerning the National Health Service there. They make our point, not yours.

          • Mark

            I’m OK with paying for car insurance, the cost of which is kept down by people paying and not using it, just like with health insurance. Most places providing medical services will give you a discount for paying cash. And I’m looking at the last big thing I had, which was a trip to the ER for a concussion. The bills were nearly $8k, but because the hospital and ER doc were in network, the negotiated rate was closer to $4200. The insurance companies are playing major league hardball with the hospitals and doctors these days. This IS market competition – if the providers don’t agree to the insurance company’s rates they don’t get into the network and I don’t do to that doctor. I lost a good doctor several years ago because he wouldn’t take LESS THAN the medicare rate from Blue Cross for his surgeries and they parted ways. I fail to see how this is driving up the cost.

            And yes, you can get catastrophic coverage. My daughter and son-in-law have that. They have about a $2500 yearly family deductible, so the insurance normally pays squat.

            I remember my mom telling me how she was born prematurely 84 years ago, and weighed 2-1/2#. The doctors told my grandma the baby was going to die, and she should take her home and keep her warm in a shoe box on the oven door for however long she lived. That was fee for service. Would you want that for your children, or grandchildren?

            I’m in agreement with you that the system isn’t working, and I certainly don’t have all the answers to fix it, but I believe time will tell us this is a step in the right direction. We’ll have to agree to disagree, and I’ll have to start looking into how I can get involved in keeping Ted from getting re-elected next time. Perry, I’m not worried about. He’s got no feet left to shoot himself in.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Mark, whatever the answer is it certainly does not include a starring role for the government, with it’s brontosaurus-like agility and quickness. Take the current and ongoing FUBAR with the Obamacare enrollment programs. I’ve had too many experiences with mindless government inflexibility in my 64 years to ever trust them with my personal affairs.

          • Mark

            I certainly agree the federal government is not fleet of foot – I worked for them for 40 years, and I understand how inefficient it usually is.

            Would you also dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? There are probably ways the goals of each of those systems could be reached more efficiently, but I just don’t see how to get there voluntarily.

          • BillClintonsShorts17

            Dismantle them? Only if they were to be replaced with something better.

        • jondrake

          Yes, the US Healthcare system is a mess, and the AMA has helped make it that way.

          But the ACA is not going to solve the problem…I have been to the website and it is going to drain my family even more than the present plan.

          Obama failed.

          People will realize that soon enough.

  • BillClintonsShorts17

    Hello Frank. You have Cruz misspelled. Was that intentional snark or just a mistake?

    • Oswald Carnes

      How do anti-American scumbags like you live with yourself?

      • BillClintonsShorts17

        Ahh!! I love the smell of the new Civility! It smells like Victory!

    • Mark Lysle

      Something tells me he did it as a snark. Lumping Ted in with the couch-dancing Scientological Fundamentalist Tom.

  • TRI-STATE-ME

    In other words; religion rots your brain, and science can prove it.

  • jondrake

    Frank, when are you going to join the other atheist bloggers.

    You hate Christ as much as they do.

  • James M

    Perhaps, as a non-American non-Protestant, one should not comment. But otherwise… This article is too close in places to Victorian Protestant attacks on Catholicism, or Catholic attacks on Judaism or Freemasonry, or the frequent modern tirades against Islam, or Christian attacks upon the integrity of atheists, or [insert example], to be fair.

    Perhaps it would be more constructive for its critics to meet with members of the group/s being criticised. It seems to be easier to dismiss masses of anonymous people, than to dismiss individuals with whom one has spoken at length: because “they” often turn out to be not so very different from “us”, despite the differences. IOW, perhaps a sort of ecumenism is called for.


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