For Those Who Say “It’s The Job Of The Church To Care For The Sick, Not The Government’s!”

For Those Who Say “It’s The Job Of The Church To Care For The Sick, Not The Government’s!” May 8, 2017

church, healthcare, sick, poor

Okay, my fellow Christians.

We should chat.

Last week the House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare, and a lot of you were actually celebrating this development even though estimates are that at least 24 million people will lose access to healthcare if this bill becomes law.

When pressed as to why the people of Jesus– people who are supposedly called to be lovers of mercy and filled with compassion– would support such a thing, the excuse comes down to a frequently recited line: “It’s the church’s job to care for the sick, not the government!”

I’ve heard this line a thousand times. You use it frequently and in a variety of circumstances.

I mean, when you’re called out for supporting the slashing of food stamps and programs to help the poorest among us, you say the same thing:

“That’s the job of the church!”

And, I get it. You are partly right– caring for the poor and sick is the job of the church!

In Matthew 25 Jesus taught that at the final judgement he will sentence some Christians to divine punishment because they did not care for the poor or welcome immigrants. We also see the early Christian church in the book of Acts embrace a system of redistributing wealth so that there would be “no poor among them.” When the disciples commissioned the Apostle Paul he recounted, “all they asked me to do was to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Gal 2:10). And then of course, there’s James who claimed that if we do not help the poor the love of God is not in us.

So, yup, you’re right: Caring for the poor and sick is the job of the Church. It’s not optional.

This brings me to a question I have for all the Christians who say, “The Church, not the government, should care for the sick”:

How many people in your local community does your church provide comprehensive medical care for?

I ask you this because I want to know something: I want to know if you actually believe it when you say it’s the “job of the Church.”

So, tell me– how many people does your church provide health coverage for? Do you provide a comprehensive insurance plan to the people in your community who can’t afford it, or do you have a team of doctors on staff at your church who see patients throughout the week? If not, what is your plan to provide medical coverage for all the people in your local area who might lose it if Obamacare is actually repealed?

I could ask you the same thing about food stamps, and all the other programs for the poor which you claim is actually the “job of the Church.”

If you believe that’s the job of the Church, is your church doing it?

I ask for a few reasons.

First, I ask for a practical reason: I already know there’s a 99.9% chance your church doesn’t do this. Research from the Barna group has shown that only about 5% of Christians tithe, and that the majority of Christians give less than $500 a year to their church or a charity organization. I honestly have no idea how the church is supposed to provide medical care for the poor when, statistically speaking, most Christians give little to no money to their church or outside charities.

Second, I ask for a pastoral reason: If you say that “it’s the job of the Church to care for the sick” but your church doesn’t do it, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite? Because reality is, if you claim this but your church isn’t attempting to do it, you don’t really believe it. This is precisely what hypocrisy is: Saying you believe something when your actions show you don’t really believe it.

Thus, if your church isn’t attempting to care for the sick in your community, the reason is because you don’t actually believe that’s the role of the Church. If you believed it, you’d do it.

And, I hate to tell you this, but according to Matthew 24:51, hypocrites will be assigned to the place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The sin of hypocrisy is every bit as serious as blasphemy, idolatry, sexual sin, etc.

Furthermore, there is nothing in Scripture that prohibits a secular government from caring for the health and welfare of citizens. The fact that yes, it’s the job of the Church, doesn’t mean that everyone else– including government– is somehow forbidden from doing it, too.

The idea that a government “of the people” cannot provide for the poor and sick simply isn’t in the Bible.

Is caring for the sick the job of the Church?

It certainly is– but the average church doesn’t do it. Even if we did, the likelihood we could do it on the scale needed to address the current crisis is rather implausible.

Which brings me to my ultimate question: If caring for the sick and poor is the job of the Church, but the Church doesn’t do it, why do we get so upset when entities outside of the Church (like government) step in and do what we have refused to do?

In my opinion, we should be embarrassed, not angry.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com. 

Be sure to check out his new blog, right here, and follow on Facebook:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nessie Siler

    “But…isn’t tithing just supposed to pay for our church building fund?” I can hear it now… :)

  • ZackBop

    Can Christians not disagree about which level of government involvement would be ideal? Because it seems to me that you just rule out the possibility that applying market principles to the health insurance industry would actually benefit people. In other industries where choice and competition are allowed, prices go down and quality goes up.

    And before you shout that we’ve tried that before, we actually haven’t. The health care/insurance industry has been over-regulated for a long time. That’s one of the reasons why things are so expensive. The administrative costs get passed on to the consumer.

    In general, I think a free market system is going to be best for everyone. But I also support state-run safety nets for the most vulnerable. But that’s not what Obamacare was. It limited your choices and made things more expensive.

  • David

    Here’s the problem with your premise – all government is propped up and supported by violence or the threat thereof. I’d be perfectly okay if it was voluntary but it isn’t. There is no “consent of the governed”, that is a myth. If I, as an example, decide to not pay taxes to fund the military I’ll end up in prison or have my property seized by force. If I choose to not support the unhealthy habits of my neighbor who smokes then I am the one punished through imprisonment or property confiscation. You day – “Furthermore, there is nothing in Scripture that prohibits a secular government from caring for the health and welfare of citizens.” You may be right technically speaking. However, Jesus did say specifically for YOU and ME to take care of the poor. He didn’t say to arm Caesar to do it.

  • Pat68

    Yep, or trying to determine whether or not someone is worthy. I know of a person over benevolence who made people dread asking for help.

  • Luke Andrew Morris

    I’m still confused by what you are saying David. If we are supposed to be caring for the poor and weak in our communities as believers and we cannot do that (as a pastor there are a lot of practical reasons providing comprehensive healthcare for the poor in our communities is not feasible at my church) why would I not be in favor of the government helping with that? And you are right, Jesus did not give specifics on what “Caesar” should do with our money. He just told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Your challenge about the consent of the governed doesn’t even appear to be on Jesus’ radar when he speaks about taxes to a people who are oppressed by their government.

  • Here’s why the free market doesn’t work for health care. Yesterday I needed an inhaler so I could breathe. My insurance has high deductibles and would not pay. It was too expensive and I could not afford it. So what could I do?

    1. Decide not to get the medicine now, but save up for it. Nope. I need the medicine NOW in order to breathe. I have asthma.

    2. Go to another store where my prescription will be less expensive. Nope. The pharmaceutical company holds a monopoly on the medication, and no matter what pharmacy I go to, I’ll get charged the same thing.

    3. Pay for the medicine by going into debt (using my credit card). Yep. That was the choice I made, because I really couldn’t make choice 4.

    4. Don’t buy the medication and be unable to breathe well enough to do my job, take care of my family, or otherwise live my life.

    This problem is NOT because of over-regulation of the medical industry. If anything, it’s the opposite. The pharmacy is allowed to maintain a monopoly on life-saving medications and charge whatever price they like for them. Free-market principles don’t apply because the choice to get medical care is NOT a free choice. “Choose to live and be able to function, or to be unable to function or to die” is not a free choice. Thus, no free market.

  • Right. “Consent of the governed” does not mean we get to give or withhold permission for every law that binds us. We have a representative government. Our representatives go to Congress and pass laws that bind us, including tax law. Taxation WITH representation. That’s not only completely legal, it’s completely morally ok too.

  • otrotierra

    Self-worship and hypocrisy are indeed quite popular among U.S. evangelicals. Caesar Bad for basic health care, but Caesar Good for military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. White evangelicals love their government dependency, as long as it harms black and brown bodies, both at home and abroad.

  • lowtechcyclist

    I’d propose a simpler argument:

    1) Christians should rejoice when the needs of those who are poor or struggling are met by any reasonable means. (Seriously, does any other response on our part make the least bit of sense?)

    2) Don’t worry, fellow Christians: there will always be an abundance of opportunities for us to express our generosity and compassion. The government isn’t in any danger of filling every last need.

  • lowtechcyclist

    “However, Jesus did say specifically for YOU and ME to take care of the poor.”

    And if we fall short, that’s just tough luck for the poor, eh? Better no help at all, than government help.

    What that says is that helping the poor isn’t about the welfare of the poor; it’s all about US. Which is antithetical to the Gospel: “whoever would be first of all must be last of all and servant of all.” When you’re the servant, it’s not about you. It’s about who you’re serving.

    And anyone who is truly bothered by the very existence of government should move to some part of the Third World where the nominal government has no control, no ability to enforce its edicts “by violence or the threat thereof.” Enjoy your libertarian paradise.

  • kellymitch

    I grew up Catholic. And, as far as charitable works/feeding the poor, while Catholic charities does do some good, I think the church should be doing more on a local level as a whole. We had a very mixed Church group. Wealthy, middle class, and poor. Yet, I don’t ever remember any actual charitable events in the parish. Sure, we gave every year to the Grand Annual Collection, and every week to the passing of the basket, and it helped pay to run the church and we heard that money would go to charity, but I don’t ever remember it going locally. And, since the Catholic church is one of the wealthiest organizations on earth, even after all the payouts for the abuse scandal…..I’d say the church as a whole should be doing a whole lot more for the poor.
    As far as health care, that’s a bit more difficult. As you point out, how would that be accomplished? We should be equally glad to pay taxes towards helping the poor, as we are when the basket gets passed at church. But, I think many people are discouraged that the middle class seems to be the only ones forking over tax money to help, help, help. Health care should be available to all. I’m dumbfounded as to why it is so difficult and how we could spend trillions and still not insure everyone.

  • lowtechcyclist

    I’ll bet.

    And of course, if there’s somewhere in the Gospels where Jesus draws a distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor, I can’t say I recall it.

  • ZackBop

    What you just described isn’t a problem with free market healtchare. It’s a problem with our government-regulated system.

  • swbarnes2

    Well, yeah…you can’t stay and take advantage of everything that other people’s taxes pay for and not kick in. Somalia is right there, if you want a country that won’t take as much tax money. Not much in the way of roads, or electricity, or, you know, police wielding the threat of violence or imprisonment to prevent someone from murdering you. But you don’t mind that, right?

  • swbarnes2

    In a totally free market, Kristen would have no idea if she was buying medicine or garbage until she suffocated.

  • ZackBop

    That’s a truly preposterous statement. Certifications and reviews for products would still exist.

  • sgillesp

    Nope. Those are “regulations.” Look at China- well to do Chinese now buy their meds and even baby formula o areas bcs they don’t trust the China-made ones to be unadulterated. If you don’t have the means for that, you take your risk bcs you have no way of knowing. Reviews? One star asthma inhaler was a dud. Patient died.
    That’s why it can’t be a free market – patients are trapped and we’re talking about life and death

  • sgillesp

    Exactly! Since most ppl of his time thought Illness was proof you were unworthy, it appeared to them like he was always healing the undeserving!

  • Paul Schlitz Jr.

    Caesar Good ( providing health care, making sure everyone has enough to eat, a place to stay and an education if they want it) is actually pretty easy to do. Most governments in the civilized world accomplish this. Caesar Bad ( pre-emptive war) is something governments are pretty bad at. All the resolve and the best intentions won’t make a pre-emptive war end well. Not all government functions are created equally.

    Ben’s remarks about tithing are spot on but I’d like to add the even more embarrassing truth that giving money to the poor is almost always a significant tax deduction. Even with that significant inducement to give Christians in this country are pretty piss poor at tithing

  • ashpenaz

    Progressives see the solution as working together so the weak help the strong, the healthy help the sick, and the rich help the poor–using government as a means to that end. Conservatives see the solution as getting rid of all the brown people who are mooching off the rest of us, stopping the infiltration of illegals and Muslims, prohibiting LGBTQ from sharing our bathrooms, stopping feminists from using abortion as birth control–using government as a means to that end.

    Progressives see government as a tool we can all use to redistribute resources in a fair, democratically agreed upon way. Conservatives see government a means of building walls. Enforcing bans. Invading countries. Keeping out the “snakes.”

    Given that the foundational understanding of government is so widely divergent, I don’t see a way for progressives and conservatives to work together.

  • psileste

    “If I choose to not support the unhealthy habits of my neighbor who smokes then I am the one punished through imprisonment or property confiscation.”

    The neighbor with unhealthy habits is also punished through sickeness or death. Do you feel that a person deserves to die if they don’t live a perfectly healthy lifestyle? It seems a no-brainer to me which “punishment” Christians should be more concerned with.

  • Camino1

    The government gets my money before I do, or my church. The government gets way more of my money than my church.

    The government is of, by, and for me. I vote for it to care for the sick.

    I am part of the church. When I pay taxes, the church is caring or not caring for sick people.

  • Michael Wilson

    Benjamin, it’s seems hopeless to expect that people too greedy to give to there Church of the Lord they supposedly trust will be ok giving to the government they don’t trust. You ask why they are upset if the government does what the church doesn’t but of course they will be upset, the same people with the same money are the church and the government.

  • Philip

    render unto Ceasar? Its the “dictate what Ceasar should do with my rendering” and specifically “Ceasar will not do the work of the church” that appears to me to be little off.

  • Gary Roth

    Most churches have trouble even keeping their doors open, let alone taking care of the sick in the community. They’d go broke in a heartbeat. The average church people give is about 2 percent. If they’d tithe, maybe the church could actually do something, although, when you consider that fifteen percent of the economy goes to health, they’d have to do better than that! The whole thing is hypocritical nonsense and simply an excuse for greedy Christians to not care about others.

  • Gary Roth

    I don”t recall Jesus ever saying that our help for others should be conditioned by whether we approve of them or not. In fact, it seems to run the other way. We care for our neighbor because of their need, not because of our desire to, our approval of them, etc. Who are you to judge them? You are simply to care for them. That, at least, is what Jesus said.

  • Gary Roth

    We’ve seen a few examples of “free market,” and they didnt work too well. In a completely free market, drug companies and health providers can charge whatever the market will bear. We had a couple of instances, with diabetes medicine, epipens, etc. where someone bought the rights to produce them, then upped the prices by 800 percent. Unless you are going to do away with copyright protection, etc. too? Then, of course, companies aren’t going to put the money into research, when it costs millions to bring a product to the market, and someone else will get to make it cheaply. The other problem, of course, with a market system, is that the market always favors the rich. Should others be priced out of health care? If they aren’t, (ie, the government provides for the poor), it’s not a free market, and the fact that the government is subsidizing the poor has an effect on the market as a whole – which is now the case. Health care should be regarded like police or fire service – a right for everyone.

  • Philip

    I agree. I’m honestly a little confused where you got that I’d disagree from my coment.

  • swbarnes2

    Explain how you have certification without regulation. Who gives the certificates? A for-profit industry group? If 1 out of 10 asthma inhalers doesn’t work, you think that Yelp is going to fix that…how? What stops manufacturers from flooding Yelp with fake reviews?

    Are you a biostatistican? Are you a good enough one to put your child’s life on the line when deciding what medicine to give her to treat her cancer? You are just going to trust Yelp Medicine? If you don’t do your research right, your child dies because you wasted time giving her nonsense that was never going to work, or god knows what at god knows what dosage, because the manufactures aren’t regulated, and don’t care about dosage and purity.

  • swbarnes2

    Who says it’s legitimate? How do you that its boosters aren’t paid to say that? That site is a joke. There are no clinical measurements of outcomes, how could there be? It’s a popularity site that rates doctors. That’s all.

  • ZackBop

    Take an economics class. Manufacturers have no incentive to make bad drugs that kill their customers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvxT7fryE3Q

  • Matt

    1) Try reading “The Care of Strangers” – it lays out the history of the establishment of US hospitals – hint, it wasn’t the government. 2) From my experience, churches help where people have a need – even if that need includes help with medical bills. The idea that church’s are to be the source of all healthcare is ridiculous. Never mind the fact that a decline in church membership, resulting in decreased giving and charity, increases the burden on the federal government.

    And since most of your readers tend to be of the progressive persuasion, I ask that you all pick a lane- either the church is filled with greedy Christians or the 1% holds all the wealth – you can’t have it both ways.

  • I repeat– the problem isn’t with over-regulation of the medical industry. The problem is that the regulations that do exist favor the big corporations, etc– not the people who actually need the health care. The inhaler I use received a patent in 2004. It’s still not available in generics. That’s 13 years of monopoly.

  • Maura Hart

    i grew up catholic too. when the nuns were not beating us they were telling us to collect money for the poor people in guatemala and pray for the babies in limbo. and the priests seem to busy keeping altar boys quiet about rape. so, the catholic church is busy making sure no condoms get used in africa because it’s important not to stop HIV, not so much on health care.

  • Maura Hart

    yeah, it would be easier to buy a gun

  • Maura Hart

    well also because the rwnj’s implemented a law that precludes hospitals and clinics from negotiating prices. that is one of the reasons we pay more than any other country. well, that and greed. ohno, that’s the same thing.

  • Maura Hart

    yes, my relative is an elder serving on the “benevolence” ministry and the first question they ask someone coming to them for help is “how is your walk with the lord?” which that’s what jeebus always said before he healed anyone. and i believe he asked for a co-pay before raising lazarus from the dead.

  • We are talking past each other. You seem to think the problem is any regulation, period. I think the problem is the wrong kind of regulation, helping those who can line the lawmakers’ pockets rather than those who need the help.

    You think the free market is the answer. I have given you one example– my own– of why health care is not and cannot be a free market. Even if you were to get rid of the monopoly of drug patent rights, I’d still be unable to make a free choice to buy or not buy my medication. I have to have it, at whatever price. And there’s the problem.

  • David

    So can you tell me precisely how much we are to render to Caesar? Not a guess but exactly how much am I to render to Caesar? I can never get a straight answer to that question. To quote Dorothy Day – “If we rendered unto God all the things that belong to God, there would be nothing left for Caesar.” As it relates to the healthcare debate few people understand the real problems besetting America. To have an intelligent debate about the issue we need to be informed. As such I would recommend the following articles by Karl Denninger – https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=231949 and https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=231959. America isn’t taking care of the root causes of skyrocketing healthcare costs, only treating the symptoms. It is by in large a criminal enterprise. But most folks don’t care to educate themselves about the subject. With a few strokes of the pen and enforcing existing law (namely 15 USC Chapter 1) healthcare costs would plummet and be affordable by most people.

  • Mike Smathers

    Matt below is correct – the churches could not do it if they really wanted to. The reason is that the churches do not control the wealth. Churches are made up of largely Middle Class and Working People with some poor people thrown in with certain denominations – especially the Pentecostals. Moreover, the church has no authority to tax anyone. If everyone in all churches tithed or gave 50% of their income, there would still not be enough money to operate the U.S. Health Care system. I understand that most Christians do not do enough to share the wealth they do have with the poor, but even if they did, it would not provide a “social safety net” for those in need.

  • Carl Fritsche

    According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 325 Million Americans. According to The Hartford Institute of Religion Research, approximately 20% of Americans are churchgoers. That would give us approximately 65 million churchgoers. Again according to the US Census Bureau, US per capita income is roughly $27,000. If all US churchgoers were to tithe (Need I say they don’t?) The total church tithe would be a bit over $175 billion. Again, according to the Census Bureau, there are 45.3 million people in the US living below the poverty line. If the total tithe were used entirely for the poor (Sorry, no money to support church buildings or to pay pastors or musicians) we would help the poor to the tune of not quite $3,700 per year. Unfortunately, according to Sharefaith Magazine, average giving is closer to 1.8%, which would mean total church giving would be closer to $31.5 billion, and if that entire amount were to go to the poor we would be helping the poor with about $696 per year (That’s $13 per week each folks!) But let’s not forget mortgages, electric, salaries, etc. The outreach budget of a healthy church will be around 40% of income, with the national average somewhat lower, but we will work with 40%. Of that 40% approximately 25% goes to overseas missions. So now if we take what is left, and give all of it to the poor, the total assistance of the entire Churchgoing population of the US will subsidize the poor with a whopping $4.00 per week.
    No, this task is too big for the church to handle. As Christians, we must become advocates for the poor and see to it that help comes from an effective source, and there is no source more effectively able to help than that oldest of all crowdfunding methods… Taxes.

  • Peter Byl

    Well said Benjamin. Some years age I asked an American pastor who has lived in Australia since 1974 why America’s health system is so bad. Now he’s not in favour of the US health system either and felt that many Americans think that for the government to step in and help is communism. He said many Americans like to think they can look after their own without government help.
    Having lived in Australia he sees that it IS possible for the government to privide health cover. Our levy is 1.5%.
    Even the poorest are covered. They won’t be turned away.
    It seems to me that those who oppose Obamacare can easily afford their own cover. In other words :”I’m alright Jack”.

  • Brandon Roberts

    imo all who are able should do our best to take care of the poor

  • Markee B

    Terrific post Dr. Corey,
    I would very much like to know where this “the church isn’t doing it’s job” narrative has originated from. Is it from notable fraud David Barton’s “Wallbuilders”? or maybe “Christian Dominionists”? It seems to have come to the forefront in the last 10 yrs. or so which to me indicates that some organization is dog whistling it to willing listeners. Comes packaged with a lot of self righteous anger.

    I have a dear relative that spouts this “the church isn’t doing it’s job” garbage constantly. As if he’s been put in charge to kick the Church’s butt into a higher level of obedience. God’s Drill Sergeant, so to speak. He’s on a governing board of his well known denominational church. I feel for that church, as he seems to have no clue to the blatant hypocrisy he espouses, although I do believe that on some deeper level he knows he’s deviated from the truth of the Cross (I knew it when I travelled similar circles), but just can’t break the bondage of the lie he’s been beguiled by.

    All of these brothers and sisters need our heartfelt prayers. Admittedly, it’s really hard to do when they piss us off so much. Part of Christ’s Cross we are to take up.
    I have no idea of whose prayers set me free from my bondage to fundamentalistic, prosperity gospel, politicised religion – but I am deeply grateful.

    May I suggest Paul’s prayers for new believers:
    Ephesians 1:15-21, Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-14

    Grace and Peace to all.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e5c80c653f5eceedb5aef671742a40110f5515d094bc15de5eb6419a0e8dfc39.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb15d646643b30562d31294bdde15b5277f81da32b54f75fa7d73a6f3a944ac1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/176a8f6e60ad57f52250cdd61b527ce7d6d99f57b003d1a255a97e3ca9813cda.jpg

  • Bones

    This argument is from those who don’t want to pay taxes unless it involves blowing people up or building walls.

    Beause the government isn’t about the welfare of it’s citizens but the security of insular Christians and their wallets.

  • Bones

    You must be an anarchist.

    People are coerced into paying for a police force, judicial system, defence systems and invasions.

    Oh yeah that’s right, that’s good coersion.

    Aussies don’t mind paying 2% of their taxes in health.

    I know you hate that.

    You could just imagine the Israelites when Mo said they had to tithe.

    “Stop being coersive!”

    As for the rich, you must hate Jesus.

    It’s no wonder the love of money is the root of all evil.

  • Bones

    Better to trust corporations and companies….

  • Bones

    Yes, we’ve had the free market running roughshod over the whole world for the past 35 years.

    People haven’t liked it.

    And if people relied on charity from the church and not government welfare, you’d have dead people everywhere.

    That’s probably what you want.

  • Major Major

    Let’s suppose that a doctor prescribed two separate drugs manufactured by two separate companies for a patient. Each drug passed the certification process set up by the drug companies independently. However, each company didn’t want to give the formula for their respective drug due to concern over leakage of the formula to competitors. What happens if the patient dies or is seriously injured due to the interaction of both drugs in an unintentional way. Who is at fault? What happens to the patient? I don’t see this as something that can be resolved in a market based system.

  • otrotierra

    Indeed, U.S. white evangelicals supporting Trump (81%) love Big Government dependency as long as it funds preemptive war against brown bodies abroad, wall-building along national borders, and systematic police brutality against brown and black bodies. This is all we need to know about their theology.

  • Nimblewill

    First of all, I stopped tithing because I realized that tithes were initially a tax and when I realized that my taxes were doing more to help people than my tithes.. Having said that I go to a church where we have several doctors who do provide services when the need arises and we do feed the poor in our community. No we don’t get them all but we do with some. The problem arises when people are forced to care for others. We of the church shouldn’t be forced. The church in acts did so willingly. Its called love.

    edit-Oh yeah I have started giving to my local church again.

  • Nimblewill

    Do you think any of those church goers are below the poverty line? Are you suggesting that they pay 10% of their income and yet not pay taxes? Hmmm?

  • rtgmath

    So, if the churches are unable to fulfill this mandate, then why were they so angry that government was trying to help take care of the sick and needy? And why are so many so excited that the sick and the needy are going to lose food help and health care?

    It tells me — and many other people — that their Christianity is just Sham, Fake. Jesus promised that one of the criteria He will judge entrance into the Kingdom by is, “Inasmuch as you have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” At the very least we could be happy that poor are getting food and the sick are being treated.

  • Carl Fritsche

    Of course not. I’m simply doing the math so we can see how daunting a task this really is.
    I would imagine that there is a small percentage of churchgoers who live under the poverty line, but not enough statistically to impact the overall numbers.
    Interestingly, in researching this I read that the majority of people who DO tithe tend to be in lower to mid middle class income brackets. Not making any judgments, just found it interesting because it’s not what I would have expected. And no, I don’t tithe.

  • rtgmath

    The point is that many Christians object to the government being involved at all, and use the excuse that it is the church’s job. The church doesn’t do it, but many Christians would rather see people starve than get food stamps from the government. Many Christians would rather see people die than get Medicaid. Those people exhibit an UnChristian attitude. “However you treat the least of these, you are treating me,” Christ tells us.

  • rtgmath

    Taxes could be considerably higher without hurting the lower classes. At times of great prosperity we had an upper marginal tax rate of 90%, and it didn’t stop American business from thriving. Those taxes built our Interstates, public works, and made life better for everyone, and the rich were still rich enough.

    There is a social obligation the rich have that is not being met in today’s society. To those who are given much, much is required. That is Scripture.

  • David

    Spoken like a true statist. The greatest con in recent human history is the “social contract” put forth by the likes of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This theory posits that individuals either explicitly or implicitly surrender some of their freedoms to rulers in exchange for security. Here’s the problem – there really is no contract and there is no practical way of withdrawing consent. What social contract theory did was replace the “divine right of kings” with the “divine right of gangs”. The majority has absolute control over the minority using a faux legal entity called government. “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence,” George Washington reportedly said. “Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

  • David

    You are mostly right. Read Karl Denninger’s solution to the healthcare debacle – https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=231949 and https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=231959. I spent 25 years in the healthcare industry and left in 2010. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if the current laws were enforced, namely 15 USC Chapter 1, healthcare costs would dramatically decline and folks would be able to afford life saving medications without depending on government.

  • Bones

    So you’re pretty much f*cked in the head.

    Some Aussies – like the lunatic fringe.

    But as i said you – would hate Jesus.

  • Bones

    Complete crap – multinationals have it all over small business.

  • Bones

    Except the lunatic notion that healthcare will be provided by churches.

  • Bones

    And let’s not forget regulations are good when it comes to enforcing morality…not so when it comes to making businesses clean up their shit.

  • Nimblewill

    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2017/04/empathy-and-kingdom-part-1-what-is-so.html

    What’s so wrong with Empathy.
    From one of your fellow progressives. Its a three parter.

  • Shelley

    People will give their weekly donation to the church food bank, then sit at their dinner tables that same night and talk about how the poor are lazy, unmotivated, and undeserving of their help. Thus, they want social service programs taken away. So, why would they give food to the food bank, knowing it was going to those same lazy, unmotivated people? I’ll answer that: For show. So their fellow churchies will see them do it. “Oh! Look at the Jones family! They bring food every week! They’re so generous! *cue Jones family driving away in a car with a bumper sticker that says, “Food stamps should be as hard to get as a building permit!”* That stuff is the main reason I left church, and I’ll never go back.

  • Shelley

    And there are approximately 300,000 christian churches in the country, and currently 397,000 foster children. If each church took in 1.32 children… James 1:27. They hypocrisy isn’t just in food and healthcare. It’s in people-care.

  • Shelley

    Maybe because nobody is “oppressed” by taxes in this country? If you equate taxation with oppression, you’re seriously flawed. If taxes lead to oppression, there would be no middle class and no wealthy people in this country. In reviewing your past comments, I see you’re the typical Oppressed White Man™ who always seems to find a way to illustrate that you, not the people in poverty or minorities are truly “oppressed”. Here’s an idea: Why don’t you quit your job, give away all your assets and then live in poverty? Then you can see how difficult it really is. BTW, my effective tax rate last year was more than Mitt Romney’s on the tax returns he released before the 2012 election, and I make a tiny fraction of what he does. Unlike you, I don’t feel “oppressed” by that. Stop using that word. You have no idea what it means.

  • LOVE THIS.

  • Shelley

    But aren’t you supposed to tithe on your gross, not your net? :)

  • Same here, I was a Youth Pastor for years, and had to watch my senior pastor say not to let in the homeless, do not buy them groceries, they can not sleep in our fellowship hall, I was reprimanded in front of the church for partnering with a WARM program. I was cut to 30 hours a week so the church didn’t have to provide me benefits, vacation, or healthcare. Yep, the evangelical church is a real winner, not. Oh let me mention too, they paid me so little my wife and I had to rotate couches in the church to find a place to sleep because with two incomes we couldn’t find a place where we could pay rent.

  • The decline in churchgoing is because the church is a very inhospitable place to be. -Frmr Pastor
    Also, the so called “Christian” hospitals are great at turning away people for care too.

  • Sounds like you don’t know how to tithe then ;)

  • Let’s not forget the fear of LGBT bodies as well. Even though studies show LGBT parents raise more caring and loving children than evangelicals.

  • apoxbeonyou

    So…what’s the solution? Remove any program that helps the people because ‘big’ government is scary?

  • otrotierra

    Yes. Fear of black, brown, and all non-genderconforming and LGBTQ bodies informs the white evangelical theological foundation they oppose upon others. When white fear drives biblical hermeneutics and political philosophy, this is what we get.

  • Camino1

    You fundamentalists need to think. First, I never mentioned a tithe. Second, and more important, when the church starts taking money from my paycheck we can have this conversation.

  • Camino1

    As soon as there’s an opening, ESCAPE!!

  • David

    If people want to live in a collective fine. I have zero problem with that as long as it’s voluntary. The moment you begin using force or the threat thereof to enact programs that is where I get off the train. As an example, I don’t like the fruits of my labor being used to fund wars that kill innocent people yet I am forced to do so. There’s a lot of government programs that are wasteful and dangerous. Yet I am forced to pay for those. Can you tell me precisely what you think government should pay for? Ask that question of a thousand people and you’ll get a thousand answers. Ultimately government doesn’t pay for a thing by the way. It steals, takes its cut then redistributes the rest.

  • Connie Reed

    I have heard a lot of so-called christians argue, well, if we didn’t have to pay taxes, then we could afford to take care of the poor… 1) Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – meaning, if they really meant to take care of the poor, the would do so. That’s the second part of that “and unto God” thing. … 2) Look at all the new big church buildings, and preachers houses, and new pianos, and new stained glass windows, and money sent to attack LGBT overseas, and spent lobbying against PP and healthcare for women, as well as Starbucks, sports gear, McDonalds, brand name clothes, the latest iphone…

    They *can* afford to give, they choose not to. Hypocrites. Pay your taxes and allow the government to act as your tool to care for the sick and poor.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Welcome to America!

  • chick12

    I would be glad to pay my tithes and have the church take over my medical needs if i didn’t have to pay taxes to keep the Government up too.

  • What you seem to be proposing in the alternative renders life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Hobbes said that, as I’m sure you know– and he was right. Representative govt. is not a con.

  • Guy Norred

    The point of all of this is that if it were possible for you to exist completely independent of your fellow people, then perhaps you might have a point. I might even allow that the dependence you have on others up until you are able to create this state of independence for yourself can be overlooked, and you should be able to live in that state free of any obligation at all. I know of no way for such a way for you to do so. Even if you were to remove yourself to an island hundreds of miles from other people, you would still be connected to them by the air that you breathe. In the mean time, most of us understand that we are dependent upon one another and that it is through government that we try, often unsuccessfully, to cooperate for the good of all.

  • Rebecca Horne

    These arguments, “the government shouldn’t take care of suffering people; that’s the church’s job” translate to something like, “I want to live in a society that causes people to suffer, because giving a little money or a sandwich to a suffering person is an easy way to feel pious.”

    I found that mindset completely nonsensical when I was a Christian. Now that I’m not, it’s easier to call it what it is: obscene.

  • paganmegan

    Warren Buffet recently acknowledged that healthcare is a bigger burden on businesses than taxes, comprising 17 percent of the GDP (according to the New York Times), as compared to 1.9 percent of GDP for corporate taxes. If major corporations are having a difficult time paying for healthcare, it’s unlikely a declining church population will be able to foot the bill.

    The Roman Empire was not a theocracy. However, the Old Testament Israel was. Gleaning amounted to a 10 percent tax for the welfare of the poor. Imagine a church using its entire tithe to feed the poor! Not gonna happen.

    Modern economists brought up the Old Testament notion of the Year of Jubilee after the economic meltdown as a means of forgiving debt and stimulating the economy. The notion that government redistribution of wealth is “unchristian” is simply not supported by scripture.

    What galls me the most, though, is that Christians aren’t just passively failing to PROVIDE food, healthcare or refuge for immigrants through their churches. They’re actively voting to TAKE IT AWAY from people who’d otherwise receive it through the government. That’s not just lack of mercy; it borders on sadism.

    Jesus said you can’t serve both God and wealth. It’s very clear which one the Mammonite Right has chosen.

  • ZackBop

    Is there a reason why my comments (which are not inflammatory or spam) keep getting removed? Is it because the mod here disagrees with what I have to say?

  • Olive

    Taxes imply that we are members of a society: members who have all received support from this society in one way or another.

  • swbarnes2

    If it’s vastly cheaper to hurt or kill a few people, sure they will. If there is no regulation to hold them accountable, sure they will. A company’s first job is NOT making sick people well, it’s NOT providing a safe and effective product, it’s MAKING MONEY. If the accountants say “It’s cheaper to cut costs on safety, and pay lawyers to bury any individual with a limited pocketbook complaining in legal costs”, they’ll do it.

    Just explain to us please how Joe Consumer was supposed to know that Vioxx was a bad drug to take. Some of the studies supporting it were fraudulent, how was Jane Consumer ever supposed to detect that? As you are arguing that the majority of consumers as a whole are competent in biostatistics, be technical. As if your life depending on doing the analysis correctly.

  • swbarnes2

    If consumers are dying for clinical data, why hasn’t the marketplace furnished it?

    You want more things like the recent Comsumer Reports study of hospitals, which told you how many C-sections each hospital had, and recommended that you avoid hospitals with high C-section rates, to reduce your odds of a C-section?

    Are you going to go on record as saying that “Yes, that is just the kind of analysis I want to rely on to make medical decisions”?

    I don’t know amazon reviews are legit, but I don’t rely on the judgment of amazon reviewers for medical decisions! But you ARE!

  • ZackBop

    Hurting and killing people are crimes. You don’t need regulation for that. It’s already the law.

    You’re in over your head here.

  • quippian

    What’s wrong with you people? “Toxic Christians.” ALL of you. YOUR religion is not MY religion and YOUR religion/church CANNOT provide comprehensive medical care for the public. I’m sick of you Christians and your intolerance and unquestioning “faith” in mythology and absolutism about everything. You people scare me more than Isis. You completely disregarded your Christian values and voted for a moral and unethical degenerate to be U.S. President…and you thought it was a “Christian thing” to do. You people make me sick. And my prayer EVERY day is, “Dear Universe….PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE, today, protect me from the Christians.”

  • Steve W,

    Yeah, we can’t let all those people whose lives were saved under the ACA lose their medical insurance… except for the fact that the mortality rate went up after passage of the ACA, not down: https://thefederalist.com/2017/04/25/running-numbers-mortality-rates-suggests-obamacare-killing-people/

    As usual the debate about healthcare devolves into mere rhetoric with no facts or substance to back it up. The reality is that healthcare in the U.S. is an unbelievably complex system that more often than not defies common sense expectations (see the Oregon Medicaid Experiment).

    You’re right that the statement “It’s The Job Of The Church To Care For The Sick, Not The Government’s!” is an irrational argument that is totally unhelpful in policy debates. But so is, “Repealing Obamacare will cause people to die!” (By the way, it doesn’t help for the government to mandate coverage for preexisting conditions when there is no insurance company to offer medical insurance at all: see Iowa)

    The fact is Christians on both sides of the political spectrum believe that people should be able to get medical coverage if they want it. The disagreement is about the best way to provide people quality insurance without causing massive harm to the rest of the healthcare system. Well intentioned people can have different opinions about that, but your blog post adds nothing to that conversation.

  • Susanna Burton Gillingham

    I need again to say that I am a Canadian. We live so close to you, and are sometimes so far! When Mr Trump last week praised the Australian Health care he knew not what he was doing. Everyone should be able to afford health. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are dependent upon Health! This should be the first pillar of your constitution. That the health of any citizen, of any country, should rest upon the whims of commerce is deplorable.

    What would Jesus do? …”Lazarus, come forth!!!”

  • DDRLSGC

    They also fear communists, socialists, progressives and liberals as well.

  • DDRLSGC

    You do have some organizations like the Catholic Church and the Methodists that do own a chain of hospitals across the nation. The Catholic church is buying up as many hospitals in the state of Washington. With all the money the Catholic Church has, it can afford to take care of the sick considering the fact that they have all these hospitals.

  • DDRLSGC

    I would say that it is also declining due to good paying jobs being send overseas or they were layoff because the employers imported foreign laborers to replace them and because of it, people realizes that religion doesn’t pay your bills, put clothes on your back, put food in your stomach, and a roof over your head when you are on hard times.

  • DDRLSGC

    Well, then don’t complain about having no armed forces to defend this country or having inspectors making sure that the food, air, water, and ground are free of toxins.

  • DDRLSGC

    Blame the tobacco companies for getting people addicted to smoking or food companies pushing bad food such as meat, chicken, olive oil, butter, cheese, bacon, etc. on people

  • Carl Fritsche

    Absolutely Shelley! Thanks for pointing that out too. Another critical need.

  • Shelley

    Well, according to conservative Christians, those people are takers themselves and need to get 2, 3, or 4 more jobs so they can tithe and pay more taxes.

  • Beverley Rannow

    There is a definite problem with globalizing that all Christians voted Trump into office and that all Christians disregard their values. It simply isn’t true.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Benjamin, great job here in calling out the inconsistencies in evangelical folds.

    The Mennonites (and some others) have some mutual aid health “insurance” cooperatives that do provide full medical coverage for participants. We evangelicals should look to their example.

  • Bones

    Sounds like a jw to me.

  • Bones

    The whole US policy of businesses providing health care is stupid.

    As trump said.

    Australia’s is better.

    It’s distributed and financed by the government.

    And that doesn’t stop multinationals swallowing small business.

    That’s how the free market works.

    Survival of the fittest.

  • Patricia McGehee

    Before Obamacare, many, if not all States had free health clinics. Doctors and volunteers donated their time. Payment was on a sliding scale,if unable to pay it was free. Drugs were given free. If hospitalization was necessary, hospitals absorbed the cost. In my job at the time I took several clients to the free clinics. I was there when a baby was delivered in the hospital at no cost. In other words, TIME was donated which, I believe is something we should do for the needy.
    Obamacare took all that away from the people trying to do their share. There will always be the poor and government cannot take care of all of them. Government is often the enemy of God’s work.

  • Redd

    Not sure what this guy is trying to prove, but, right off, he sounds like a lefty by
    using a dubious figure as a spring board for his article by stating that 24 M will lose health care with new health-care law. He is just shoveling more demagoguery. He leads by pompously saying “let’s have a chat.” OK, let’s have a chat.

    First of all, the legislation is a work in progress.

    Secondly, for the most part, those “losing” health care are just losing a
    certificate of little use after allowing for huge deductibles and co-pay.

    Thirdly, assuming he is not stupid, he is not mentioning the enormous amount of money spent for each household in “poverty.” In 2011, we spent $61,000
    per household. Of course, due to inefficiency of a bloated and bureaucratic gov’t, the recipients didn’t get that amount. I don’t know how much they got, but I suspect that $40,000 was available. Last year, I saw that the illegal households were collecting more than our citizen households, and that amount was in
    excess of $40,000. Since 2011, I suspect that the available welfare has increased a lot, particularly, in view of the unemployed and partially employed. As you know, our gov’t counts anyone working just one hour/week as employed.

    Fourthly, pre-existing conditions coverage is still in effect under proposed legislation despite all of the hysterics from the opposition.

    Fifthly. Now, I am beginning to think he is ignorant and self righteous. He is acting
    like we aren’t doing enough for those in “poverty.” A quick look at stats will show that our “poverty” citizens lead a good life and would be considered middle to upper class in most other countries. From someone who actually came from severe poverty, I am amazed at what we call poverty today. In the last 50 yrs, we’ve spent 22 trillion, and he acts if we are insensitive.

  • JA Myer

    The churches will step in I’m sure and take over for the “lefty’s” , think Charles Dickens.

  • Joseph O’Neill

    Cuba does a great job on health care, better results than the US.
    In the UK we have excellent socialized health care, paid for by our taxes.
    What a pity the US has such rubbish health care for its citizens, spending trillions on its War against Islam.

  • DDRLSGC

    Not to mention spending trillions on giving tax breaks and subsidies to wealthy people and corporations as well.

  • DDRLSGC

    Fine with me.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “For Those Who Say “It’s The Job Of The Church To Care For The Sick, Not The Government’s!””

    The Bible says the church is where you should go for help when you are sick.

    James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
    15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    Of course the Bible ALSO says if someone doesn’t work they shouldn’t be allowed to eat

    (2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.)

    so maybe the Bible is a poor source for good advice & guidance.

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin:

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin:
    Which brings me to my ultimate question: If caring for the sick and poor is the job of the Church, but the Church doesn’t do it, why do we get so upset when entities outside of the Church (like government) step in and do what we have refused to do?
    In my opinion, we should be embarrassed, not angry.

    Ronny to Benjamin:
    Great point Ben and so true! :-)

  • bill wald

    West of the Rockies, seems like Catholic Church “non-profits” control half the hospitals . . . Sisters Of Providence, Franciscans . . . .

  • bill wald

    Have not noticed that prayer “works.” I think God “works” through modern meds.

  • Ivyfree

    Then let Christians provide a better example and improve their reputation. I won’t be holding my breath.

  • od32t3
  • C_Alan_Nault

    You would think prayer should work, there are many passages in the new testament where Jesus says you will get whatever you ask for in prayer even if you only have as much faith as a mustard seed.

    Matthew 17:20 For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

    Matthew 21:21 I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

    Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    Since there is no evidence to show that any prayer requiring divine intervention ( praying you get a promotion at work & getting a promotion isn’t evidence of god’s work) has been answered, one of these options applies:

    1) the Bible is wrong, Jesus never said these thing
    2) the Bible is right, Jesus said these things but Jesus was wrong
    3) the Bible is right, Jesus said these things but Jesus was lying
    4) no one who prayed for something requiring divine intervention ever had any faith
    5) the Bible is just a collection of fables & myths

  • C_Alan_Nault

    If the churches step in it’s because god hasn’t.

  • RichardGC

    Your figure for 2011 is incorrect. Closer to $6,100 not $61,000. So your $40k is probably way off, too. Also your pre-existing conditions assertion, while technically correct, is misleading. You left out that insurers will be permitted to charge higher premiums to households with someone with a pre-existing condition, effectively making insurance unaffordable to them, and therefore unavailable.
    As for insensitive: please take a long look in the mirror. Those who would rather see a poor child suffer and die than pay another nickel in taxes are the insensitive ones.

  • RichardGC

    Republican Jesus wouldn’t have helped Lazarus since he had a pre-existing condition: he was dead!

  • fifthdentist

    “Hospitals absorbed the cost.”
    No, hospitals didn’t. Many exist to make a profit. Those that are run by a board for government entities have to make enough money to keep the lights on, pay huge staffs and constantly update equipment.
    Oh, I get it. You meant “passed the costs on to those who DO have insurance.” That’s a lot different from “absorbing.”
    Insurance companies also have to make a profit. Pharmaceutical companies make monster profits.

  • fifthdentist

    If the government can’t arrest Bob and Ted for having hot, sweaty homo-mansex in Ted’s apartment, what good is it?
    s/
    It also should prevent poor women from access to women’s clinics, birth control and family planning.
    SS/

    It’s telling that Mitch McConnell’s 14-Republican team, in which he included himself, to tackle dismantling Obamacare is all white men.

  • chrisew

    Matthew 25 on the “least of these” is addressed to nations. The early church took care of its own. While we all hope to be compassionate like the Good Samaritan, I don’t believe God expects the church to take care of entire nations. I believe Israel’s storehouse helped feed the poor, and fields could be gleaned after harvest. It is the government’s job to create an economy and an environment where healthcare and poverty issues can be dealt with in a practical manner for everyone. I believe the old “it’s the church’s job” mantra comes from a libertarian dream where government does nothing and everyone totally takes care of themselves. With the high number of disabled and mentally ill people in this country, not to mention those who lost their jobs thanks to NAFTA et al, even if every member of every church tithed, there wouldn’t be enough money to take care of all who need it.

  • Redd

    Anyone following news should know that $61,000, not $6,100, is correct. That’s from OMB, census, and congressional records and is inclusive of health care, money to buy bread, cigarettes, beer and Cheetos, subsidized rent, actual cash, a free smartphone service, grants to employers to encourage hiring of the poor and unqualified, etc. However, you could be right about the average household not receiving as much as mentioned. After the money is filtered through the government there is little left. An audit of the War on Poverty under Sargent Shriver showed that those in poverty received only 10 cents on the
    dollar. Overly generous paychecks and perks to those running the program,
    nepotism and who knows what other scam drained the coffers and the poor got the dregs. Probably naive to think that much has changed. I once had a gov’t job for a very short time, and observed people bringing knitting and paperbacks to work to pass the time of day as they watched the clock and a drew a check. Some guys in the shop brought half pints and a deck of cards. One manager installed a bed in his office and set a clock to get up and look busy at certain times of the day. Now, we read about employees passing the time of day viewing porn on the internet.

    Before you get worked up over preexisting conditions, let’s wait on the final bill. BTW, in what country do you live? Where are all of those dying children? Any parent can take his/her child to the ER and receive first class care. It is the law and has been for a long, long time. I guess you are remembering when we used to see all of those dying children lying around the doors of the hospitals where they were refused admittance. I’m glad those days are over. Kids are dying today from murder and drugs, but not for lack of resources. That’s a cultural and spiritual problem that money won’t fix.

  • chrisew

    James is speaking to members of the church. We live in a post-Christian society. Where do the unbelievers go?

  • fifthdentist

    A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
    She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
    The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
    The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

    — Adapted from The Star Thrower
    by Loren C. Eiseley

  • chrisew

    I’m sorry you have had such a bad experience with my fellow Christians. But I do agree with you that churches cannot provide comprehensive health care for the entire public. The government has that responsibility. Peace to you.

  • ZackBop

    The libertarian argument is that the free market takes care of problems better than the government does. And for the most part, they’re right.

  • ZackBop

    Logic and facts aren’t welcome here. You have to argue with unhinged emotions.

  • Mark J

    Churches are busy buying up hospitals … because there is lots of money to be made. And religion in America today is Big Business. These hospitals aren’t free clinics. Go to one without insurance and see if they treat your diabetes or give you prenatal care. They are only required to provide emergency treatment to “stabilize” a patient then they send them on their way.

  • Steve W,

    First, when you shout “Fake News!” you sound like Donald Trump.

    Second, “The Federalist” is not the same thing as “The Federalist Papers Project” which is what your link references. “The Federalist” is a well regarded right leaning news publication that has been rated highly accurate by multiple fact-checking sources.

    Finally, as I’ve come to expect from progressives, you did nothing to actually engage the arguments of my post or the linked article. I am more than happy to have a substantive debate on this issue and would welcome facts and data that counter my existing opinion (that’s what it actually means to be open minded). Once again I have been disappointed.

  • gimpi1

    Oh, thanks for this. I’ve been trying to make this point forever. Also, in my experience, churches and people will demonize the poor, the sick, and those they believe that they should be “looking after” in order to absolve themselves of responsibility. I saw my parents, a polio survivor and the survivor of an industrial accident that caused traumatic brain damage, attacked and insulted by members of their church. It frankly drove my mother away. My father was more forgiving (too forgiving in my view) and and returned to it after her death. The pastor was honest enough to explain what, in his view, was happening. He felt people believed that they should be helping parishioners dealing with such tragedy, but frankly didn’t want to, so, they invented reasons why my parents were culpable to ease their feelings of guilt.

  • chrisew

    But it’s hard to have a truly “free” market when market you live in an oligarchy where the market is stacked against you.

  • chrisew

    Ever notice how “non-profit” hospitals pay big money to administrators? I suppose if a nun is the administrator her salary goes to the order or she doesn’t take a salary. Don’t know how that works. But lots of hospitals are non-profit on paper; they still cost an arm and a leg.

  • ZackBop

    The only time the market is stacked against you is when the government interferes in it to pick winners and losers. In industries that are allowed to serve their customers freely, you get better quality at lower prices.

  • I couldn’t get through your piece for its condescension, but briefly, further subsidizing a dysfunctional system of medicine isn’t going to prove any more effective than the welfare state subsidizing of dysfunctional behavior. The FDA and Veterans administration are doing enough damage to medical care already. The government cartel that protects the pharmaceuticals industry is the third leading cause of death in this country. Since the Johnson era, trillions of dollars of tax payers’ money has been sunk into the “War on Poverty” and the “Great Society” with the result that poverty has grown in proportion to the investments. There is more poverty, not less, for all the high sounding rhetoric, such as yours.

  • Or: Jesus said these things, but he was using figurative, exaggerated language as he often did when he was teaching, and which was an established and accepted method of discourse in his era, and his listeners would have understood that (just as he expected them to understand he was not actually commanding people to cut off their hands or pluck out their eyes).

  • It would be easier for us to do so if the quiet, everyday actions of ordinary, mainstream churches and their members, were actually considered news.

  • This is actually a silencing technique called “gaslighting.” Those who disagree with you are painted as irrational, therefore you don’t have to actually consider what they have to say.

  • Get churches to provide comprehensive insurance for the community?? Pff… ’round here, it’s hard enough even getting them to provide any sort of coverage for church staff! Feels like half the time the only reason a pastor has any sort of insurance plan is because there’s a mandate from a denominational authority of some kind.

  • ZackBop

    I’m well-aware of what gaslighting is. The left uses it all the time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aw3df-LpbY

  • od32t3

    Well I guess Trump and I agree on at least one thing. The Federalist is a media source which are moderately to strongly biased toward
    conservative causes through story selection and/or political
    affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts
    to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes),
    publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may
    damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be
    untrustworthy. By using such a site to confirm your bias does nothing to advance your belief that the Affordable Care Act is directly the cause of higher mortality rates in the US.

    If you are open-minded, it is best not to use a close-minded media site to prove that more people die during a given time, so therefore the ACA is to blame. Sounds like inductive reasoning.

  • Steve W,

    Ahh yes, the review from mediabiasfactcheck.com. You forgot to mention that their assessment was of all right leaning media outlets (hence why they use “may” so much), not “The Federalist” in particular, and that they rate “The Federalist” in factual reporting as “High.”

    But once again you fail to actually engage with the argument. The fact is the death rate went up under the ACA when every Healthcare expert predicted it would go down. The argument in the article is that the higher cost of copays and deductibles caused by the ACA led people to delay seeking medical care when they needed it. If you have a different explanation for the spike in the mortality rate I’d be happy to hear it. But disregarding data because you don’t like the source is silly.

  • Herm

    Good luck without roads, rules of the road enforced, military, airports, enforced rules of the air, police departments, fire departments, clean water, clean air, regulated health care to avoid unsanitary conditions due to profit gouging, … .

    You really don’t know how good you have it when you get involved, first to support all that the government really does for all, and then to negate the government of authoritarianism that supports only a few of your fellow man at the disposable cost of the rest. I don’t get through your communications that you are independently wealthy or especially independently capable. Good luck in your quest to be free of all your problems due to having to live your short life with others. Mankind as a specie has no term limit; all of its members do.

  • od32t3
  • Steve W,

    Not sure how mortality rates in Massachusetts in 2010 apply to mortality rates in the U.S. in 2017… but ok.

  • od32t3
  • od32t3

    She gives a few reasons for why uninsured deaths would have gone up over the years. She says that “relative to the insured, [being] uninsured has become more lethal.” What that 40 percent figure shows is the difference between the death rate for the insured and the death rate
    for the uninsured. “We think medical care has gotten more effective, so that going without it puts you at a relative disadvantage,” she says citing advances in care for leading causes of death including cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.
    Also, the population and the number of uninsured have gone up in that time period. The study explains that researchers “controlled for tobacco and alcohol use, along with obesity and exercise habits.” It also notes that this study has limitations. The data from the National
    Center for Health Statistics “assessed health insurance at a single point in time and did not validate self-reported insurance status. We were unable to measure the effect of gaining or losing coverage after the interview.” http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/dying-from-lack-of-insurance/

  • Steve W,

    This is an article from 2009. Again, the expectation (as shown from the ObamaCare Facts site you linked) was that the mortality rate would decrease by 20,000-40,000 people after passage of the ACA. Instead it went up by 10,000-20,000. Those are the facts.

    But what continually bothers me so much about this whole debate is that it’s framed as “Obamacare = Holy” and anything else (short of single-payer) is selfish, evil, and unChristian. That’s simply not intellectually honest or helpful. Healthcare is a complex issue and we should be able to have an open debate about it without implying that those we disagree with are monsters. But apparently Benjamin Corey and most of the commenters on this site are unable to do that.

  • od32t3

    Many states did not expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA, resulting in many people who were too poor to afford insurance, but did not qualify for medicare in their respective states. It’s a shame that some of the most poorest states chose not to expand the program to cover more people.
    I acknowledge that the ACA was not a huge success, but I do respect the goal behind it. Saving American lives. However, it is short sighted to claim that the ACA is responsible for the deaths of thousands, when over Obama’s 2 terms there were many politicians, media pundits and citizens who were determined to see it fail because of a perceived liberal threat.
    Your country is being torn apart by partisanship from both sides of the political spectrum. I will never understand your country’s irrational fear of universal health care. A country that once championed equality now seems to use a sliding scale to evaluate the worthiness of providing care to a human being.

  • od32t3

    I can respect your point regarding the author and many commenters injecting religious morality into the discussion, which pretty much amounts to “me = good and you = bad”. It seems very difficult in this day and age to have a intellectually honest discussion when the need to be right trumps being open to changing one’s mind.
    My bias is being from a country that provides healthcare to it’s citizens and it is very difficult to understand why American’s fear it so much. It’s not perfect, but under this system I received a double lung transplant within a month of being place on the list 8 years ago.
    Lastly, I have never felt comfortable with the Federalist journalism style, but I am open to giving it another shot. I had to take a one month sabbatical from all media because I was angry all the time. I really need to stop reading the comments, but it is form of rubber-necking.

  • bill wald

    It was probably the best available medical advice in that century. “The power of positive thinking” is documented and sounds reasonable because we know about psychosomatic effects but there is no statistical evidence that Christian positive thinking is more effective than other forms of prayer and meditation.

  • RichardGC

    They’re made up facts. Alternative facts. Notice he provides no source. So you really believe there is a poor family that got 61k from the government in any year? I’ve got some swamp land to sell ya if you do. Also, Jim used the same 61k figure for how much we spend on each immigrant family.

  • RichardGC

    Give us one example of an immigrant family getting 61k from our government.

  • Redd

    You need to go back and read the whole thread.. Never said that a family got $61K. $61K is the amount of taxpayer money allocated to a “poverty” household. The household gets whatever is left after the gov’t pays itself to administer the program. Wouldn’t be surprised if the gov’t pays itself 80-90% to pay the family 10-20%. That was definitely the case in the earlier days of the War on Poverty. It has been written in the news that as much as ~ 40K is available to a household if they know how to get it, but it would be surprising if a household received more than 10% of the 61K. Realize that some of the income doesn’t pass through the hands of the household. For example, if someone gets free smartphone service or free medical care, the provider, not the user, is paid directly. Same with rent subsidy.

  • Redd

    This will help you better understand pre-existing conditions if you actually care.
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2017/05/05/the-left-cant-stop-lying-about-republicans-healthcare-bill-n2322786

  • DDRLSGC

    Then maybe we should remove their tax exemption status like John Oliver pointed out in his HBO show, then religion in America would not be such a big business. I know that hospitals aren’t free clinics which is why we need single payer. If they can’t provide services, then they should not be in business in the first place. The taxpayers and the church goers are not here to serve the churches and make them rich.

  • DDRLSGC

    No, it big business that interferes in the free market to pick winners and losers. You look at the consolidations of American businesses in the last several years, you are not getting better quality at lower prices compare to Western and Northern Europe where government in those areas ensure that is fairer competition in their market systems.

  • DDRLSGC

    Agreed. Look at the scandals in the American Red Cross where they were closing down the local chapters, getting rid of people who had knowledge of the areas they serve while feathering their own beds..

  • DDRLSGC

    Ronny TX. You can applied your statement to the American private sector as well. Much of rural America and the inner cities don’t have internet access; however, American companies won’t provide services unless they can make a significant profit off of it. These same American companies have their lobbyists make sure that the city, county, and even state governments are prevent from providing internet services to rural and inner city America.

  • Valerie Bruning Grina

    Theoretically, you disagree with feeding the poor and helping the sick and I understand your underlying philosophy, or maybe not. If you feel that self-sufficiency is the goal, do you support policies and lawmakers that enable that or are you a pull yourself up by the bootstrap kind of person. Your philosophy is up to you but I really do hope that if you’re a bootstrap person you don’t claim to be a Christian because you know that whole “gnashing of the teeth” biblical outcome for hypocrites sounds a little painful. Light and love to you and yours.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    While the CEOs and other hospital corporate elite enjoy their obscenely high salaries, they short staff the hospitals and blame the nurses if the patients are not given the care that they need. They should show some of the hospital administration the door, and hire more nurses.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    The church that I attend has a food pantry three times a week, and a free supper once a week, all are well utilized. However, the churches can do just so much. Churches are the “Band-Aid” but the government must care for the sick.
    I do hope that you, who are posting, do realize that we are the only developed nation that does not guarantee health care to their citizens? You do realize that we are the only developed nation that does not see health care as a right and not a privilege?
    When will we institute a Medicare for All type of health care? That time is here, in fact that time should have come years ago!

  • ZackBop

    You’ve demonstrated a complete lack of understanding on how a true free market works. The system we have (especially in health care) is NOT a free market. Big businesses lobby the government to write rules that will protect them and hinder competition. This is not the free market. It’s crony capitalism. And both parties are guilty of it.

    It baffles me that people are so willing to trust the government. Most of the people who write this anti-competition rules are unelected bureaucrats.

  • Steve W,

    I really appreciate your response and openness to discussion. I do have some significant concerns about what a single-payer system would look like in the U.S. but my opinion could very easily be wrong. I simply want everyone to acknowledge that there can be well meaning people on both sides of this debate. I’m grateful that you’ve proven that to be true! God Bless!

  • apoxbeonyou

    Did…did I just upvote your comment? Holy batcrap, I did.

    Are you high?

  • Bones

    No…Jehovah’s Witness…

    They oppose government….

    So do you think if someone rapes your kid they should be punished? If so by who?

    Lol…you prefer people to be victims of private enterprise.

    This of course is the problem with trying to fit the worldview of the Greco-Roman Jewish world of the first century into the modern western secular world.

    In fact your utopia would be the Industrial revolution when there were no government regulations at all which led to mass pollution and mass abuse of children until government regulated against such practices.

    Not that the Christians of the first century knew a thing about the ‘free market’.

    Do you think God oppressed the Israelites by imposing a tithe for the poor?

  • Bones

    One can tell from your posts that you are a Right Wing Nut Job.

    We love our free healthcare in Australia.

    What a shame that RWNJs are slaves to Private Health.

    Lol….poor people in the US have it made…..

    Typical right wing dickhead.

  • Bones

    Fact is free healthcare is very popular in Australia…..

    It’s weird that you RWNJs hate it.

  • Bones

    Come on Shelley…didn’t you know that God Himself oppressed the Israelites with taxes (tithes).

    Poor white man is oppressed because he pays taxes…..

  • Bones

    I wonder if he’ll take his sick children to a hospital…or just let them die.

  • Bones

    Your life isn’t being stolen. Stop being hysterical.

    What a moron.

    Yes there is a social obligation. It’s part of the society we live in. You have an obligation to feed and nurture your children. You have an obligation not to harm your children….you have an obligation to make sure your children are educated….

    Now in your utopic dream I suppose if people didn’t want to feed their kids then stiff shit for them.

    Actually history shows us that the weak will always be preyed upon by the strong and powerful – ie the rich and organisations and companies….

    How are you going getting the churches to build health infrastructure?

    I suppose if your child gets cancer you’ll just take them down to your church for prayer.

  • Bones

    I wonder if these people go to the government if their kids are molested or if their kids get cancer or are they going to whinge about ‘statism’?

  • Bones

    You have to feed your kids or the government takes them away….

    Do you have a problem with that? ….Or is that a voluntary obligation?

    When if your child gets cancer are going to bitch about government waste?

  • Bones

    And some people believe a prophet went to heaven on a horse.

    Obviously god isn’t on your side.

  • Bones

    Cigarettes anyone?

    Thalidomide?

  • Bones

    Who imposes the law?

  • Bones

    Drug companies don’t do it for the money….In your dreams…..

    Why thalidomide survivors have such a tough time getting compensation

    http://theconversation.com/why-thalidomide-survivors-have-such-a-tough-time-getting-compensation-47164

  • JA Myer

    I was being facetious, the “church” really have no interest in helping the sick and poor. Government stepped in because the “church” failed to do anything. And when I use the word “church” my meaning is: the whole body or organization of religious believers as well as the clergy.

  • DDRLSGC

    There is no such thing as a free market system anyway and never will be as long as human beings tried to rigged the system in their favor so you show a complete lack of understanding.

    The governments in Western and Northern Europe work pretty well because they have politicians on both side of the political spectrum ensuring that the people have the basic necessities of life which is why those people have a better standard of living.

    It baffles me how many people trust corporations considering the fact how corporations keep screwing the people over and over again and make the people pay for their mistakes. Ronald Reagan was a perfect example of trusting business people despite they were ripping the government off on military contracts selling items at inflated prices and when the Savings and Loan scandal blew up in his face. He never learn even after he had left office.

    Unelected bureaucrats? You must mean corporate bureaucrats like the Koch brothers, Fortune 500 companies and right wing think tanks like ALEC and the US Chamber of Commerce who write their own “anti-competition” rules.on behalf of politicians like Scott Walker and Darrell Edward Issa. Remember when Walker announce that Wisconsin was open for business and that state is in a sorry state? Or Issa who ask corporations to send him a list of what they want from government?

    Unelected bureaucrats? You must mean corporations like HMOs and insurance companies that put their own rules and regulations when it comes to denying services or shelling out the money for their customers when they need it.

  • chrisew

    Amen.

  • chrisew

    Sad, isn’t it?

  • Ian Palmer

    Benjamin, I applaud this article. When I mentioned to my brother, an Aussie, about how fortunate we were to be born in the USA or Australia, he said, “Its like winning the lottery.” That’s perspective. If you have an international perspective, you yourself give to the poor and needy overseas, because your heart knows. NGOs like World Vision or Life Outreach International are splendid facilitators. But if you are parochial and introverted you are either unaware or you choose to ignore the poor and needy and refugees overseas. Further, I’ve observed that in home meetings of Christians, prayers are always about family needs, but never about the enormous needs overseas. I think we win the lottery, but instead of being expansive, we think restrictive.

  • And that is the “tu coque” fallacy. Who else is doing it is irrelevant to this particular instance.

  • ZackBop

    Bad things can be popular.

  • gimpi1

    Since you are convinced of that, can you look around the world and see where your free-market medical care system has worked? Because I know of no place that has been successful with that. I’ve seen highly successful single-payer insurance coupled with regulated medical providers. I’ve seen successful true socialized medicine, i.e. the U.K.’ national health. I’ve seen hybrids. No one tries to treat medical care as though it’s the same as flat-screen TV’s.

    Here’s something to chew on; few commodities stand to kill you if you aren’t able to purchase them. Few commodities require a doctorate to make the right purchasing choices. Few commodities require a huge amount of investments and research to be sure that they work, and don’t kill or damage people. That’s just a couple of reasons medicine is different than most commodities on the marketplace.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Post_Christian? I don’t know where you live, but here in Canada there are lots of Christian churches.

    Assuming a god exists & assuming it’s the god of the Bible, you shouldn’t have to go anywhere, god is everywhere.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Based on the available evidence, praying to the Bible’s god is as effective as praying to your toaster. But you can prove your toaster exists.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “but he was using figurative, exaggerated language as he often did when he was teaching, and which was an established and accepted method of discourse in his era,”

    In other words, don’t believe what the Bible says.

    Or at least don’t believe what Jesus says.

    Jesus explains that the reason he speaks in parables is so that no one will understand him, lest . . . they . . . should understand . . . and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:10-15)

    Jesus explains why he speaks in parables to confuse people so they will go to hell. (Mark 4:11-12)

    Your explanation is part of the standard apologist playbook: the Bible means what it says when I agree with what it says or when what it says isn’t easily disproved. If I don’t agree with what it says or if what it says is easily proven wrong, it isn’t meant to be taken at it’s word.

  • Bones

    My wife and baby’s life saving plasma transfusions were bad????

    Only in the world of Rightards.

  • Ivyfree

    Then let christians find a way for their actions to become newsworthy.

  • ZackBop
  • DDRLSGC

    Very sad.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    LBJ’s “War on Poverty” and “Medicare” were great, and I applauded him on those enactments then and I would again, today. This nation was on the right track, Jim Crow Laws were, finally, found to be illegal, schools desegregated, and Roe v. Wade became one of the stellar decisions handed down from the SCOTUS. Then in 1980, the country elected Ronald Reagan, and it has been unraveling ever since. He coined the term “Trickle Down Economics” as did both Bushes.
    President Obama tried to end our deep recession, caused by TDE and did amazingly well, considering the constant obstruction from the GOP and some Blue Dog Democrats. Why did they obstruct him? First and foremost, it was pure racism, and secondly it was greed. Our nation has become more greedy since the Reagan Era, now Trump is instituting that “Trickle Down Economics” once again. Do you know what Trickle Down Economics is for the average worker or retiree? Do you know what it really says? It says, “I am going to pee on your leg and tell you that it is raining!”

  • Sagrav

    So you’re saying that we somehow had free universal healthcare in the form of these clinics, and somehow the entire country didn’t know this? All of those people who died because they couldn’t get insurance due to a pre-existing condition would have lived if they had just wandered over to free clinics for everything? Free health clinics took care of everyone’s chemo treatments and all of their expensive prescription meds until mean ol’ Obama shut them down?

    You are nuts.

  • Stuart Blessman

    Hey rtgmath! Long time no see.

  • gimpi1

    Thank you for the link.

    However, the Heritage Foundation is hardly an unbiased organization, and the article cited only a few, specific procedures that aren’t generally covered by insurance – not frankly medically necessary, rather than addressing a medical system in total. It also did not look at how these procedures are covered in countries with single payer, or address our abysmal stats compared to those countries.

    However, it had a couple of good points, so I appreciate the information.

  • ZackBop

    No problem. Here’s what I’ll say: I think we would both support safety nets for the most vulnerable people in society. I even think it’s wise to streamline our military spending so we can free up some cash for those welfare programs. But in terms of what system we should have for the vast majority of people who CAN afford insurance, I believe that a free market system would increase the quality and reduce the price for everyone. This system has worked for every other industry that legitimately tries it. So that would work for MOST people. And for those who still need help, I would obviously support safety nets to help them.

    My hope is that people can stop the harmful demogoguery of pretending like the other side “doesn’t care.”

  • Adam King

    During the primary season Bush called Reagan’s plans “voodoo economics,” and he was absolutely right. Once he became Reagan’s vice-president he flip-flopped and changed his tune, of course. The Republicans have been looting the country with their phony tinkle-down economics ever since.

  • Adam King

    You need to get LOUD.

  • Adam King

    Then the men in the white coats came and dragged the little girl off to the mental hospital where she could get the treatment she needed, but alas! she couldn’t afford it.

  • Trumpeting “Look at us! We’re helping the poor!” is exactly what Jesus said NOT to do. But I agree that we should be more vocal. What we should be doing more of is saying, “That group of Christians that’s saying horrible things very publicly, does not represent us or our views.”

  • lady_black

    My dad uses, and loves the VA, and I’m having a really difficult time with “the FDA” because they are not even providers of healthcare. Where are you even GETTING this stuff you’re dispensing as “wisdom?”
    There is more poverty for myriad reasons, and some churches aren’t doing anything to help out, and may, in fact be making things worse by telling their flocks that what really matters is abortion and same sex marriage. Those things do NOT matter.

  • lady_black

    Which is why he should never have gone back.

  • lady_black

    No they are not right, even one little bit. The “free market” brought The Great Depression and the great recession.

  • lady_black

    That isn’t a good thing.

  • ZackBop

    It didn’t though. But that’s certainly what people who don’t understand capitalism say.

  • lady_black

    Well, the medical care available back then wasn’t worth much. And the Bible never says if someone doesn’t work they shouldn’t be allowed to eat.
    It says that if they WON’T work, they shouldn’t eat. And he was speaking of those who stopped being productive because they believed the “end” was near. It wasn’t a general prohibition on feeding the poor.

  • lady_black

    How can you be that ignorant? Of
    course it did. Unfettered capitalism is a TERRIBLE system. We aren’t discussing something that happened thousands of years ago. We’re discussing something that happened a few years ago, when large capitalism became a casino, and the end result was the need for taxpayers to bail out Wall Street banks. That’s called the privatization of profits, and the socialization of losses. That’s your “capitalism.” And you can shove it someplace, and keep it out of the taxpayer’s wallet.

  • lady_black

    The clinics and baby delivery might be free to the patient, but NOTHING is “free.” The state pays the hospital bill, because I guarantee you that the employees of the hospital are being paid! They have bills to pay, just like everyone else. They are NOT donating their time, that is how they earn a living.
    I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and I never worked *as a nurse* without being paid for it. “God” has nothing to do with it. Before OR after the ACA. What you are talking about never happened. I have volunteered time at the local women’s shelter, sorting donations for the women and children who use their services, but that was understood as an unpaid gig from the beginning.

  • lady_black

    She’s “full of it.” I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and understand how healthcare gets paid for. The hospital and clinics she’s talking about were paid, just not by the patient. They billed Medicaid.

  • lady_black

    You’re citing a blog? REALLY???

  • lady_black

    IT’S A BLOG!

  • Steve W,

    Nope, not a blog. And stop shouting.

  • Steve W,

    Sorry, not a blog.

  • lady_black

    It’s a BLOG. What a pity. You really don’t know the difference.

  • Steve W,

    If by BLOG you mean “well respected online publication published and edited by experienced journalists and held to the highest journalistic standards,” then ok it’s a blog.

  • gimpi1

    Thank you for a civil, reasoned response. Here’s my answer:

    Firstly, I would argue that medical care is unique, not like any other industry. No other industry requires a doctorate and massive continuing education to dispense your product. No other industry has consumers that simply can’t make reasonable decisions about their needs. No other industry is so specific in that only one, specific product will do – for example, if you have cancer, a measles-vaccine won’t treat your condition – both vaccines and chemo are necessary but not remotely interchangeable. No other industry is so specific as to literally killing people if it is not available – I’ve heard people argue that food is, but you can use your money to buy a small steak or five pounds of dried beans – buying a less expensive antacid won’t help you if you appendix is about to rupture. The wrong medical care will literally kill you. And, finally no other industry has such huge potential for harm if people can’t access it. Many diseases are contagious, if someone can’t afford treatment for Ebola, Yellow Fever, or Spanish Flu, the disease spreads. When people can’t access care, disease breaks out.

    I would also say that there are several industries where the profit motive has failed. For-profit prisons have proved more expensive for the government and less secure. For-profit care of the elderly and disabled is often far inferior to family care. For profit care of needy children can be a disaster. During the Victorian era, for profit orphanages and relief organizations killed millions of children, because starving them was cheaper.

    During that time, I think you can also see evidence that your statement that manufactures won’t make a dangerous product isn’t true. During that unregulated era, dangerous, sometimes addictive patent medicines were common. The makers knew full well what they were doing, they just didn’t care. Asbestos insulation, feminine hygiene powder and several other common products were manufactured and sold long after the makers knew their dangers. Remember Volkswagen and their problems a few years ago? That sort of corporate action is far from rare.

    Also consider the number of dangerous drugs that have been marketed, only to be pulled from the market when problems arose. I’ve seen far, far too many. Now, some of this is unavoidable. Testing in any limited group is simply not going to be able to take the fantastic diversity in human beings into account, and when a drug gets into the general population, we sometimes see reactions that no small group would show. However, there have also been cases of deliberate corporate malfeasance, cases where executives decided to hide side affects or poor outcomes. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of these. How do you jibe those incidents with your idea that, “No manufacture would willingly produce a dangerous product and kill their consumers?”

    I would also say that no other country has made a for-profit medical or medical insurance system work. Many have tried, and it has never proved up. Do you ever wonder why?

    So, because I believe medicine is a unique product that does not follow marketplace rules, because I regard some activities as not well-served by the profit motive, because I’m well aware of the reality of corporate malfeasance and because I’ve seen how well other countries systems work and how happy the citizens are with them, I favor adopting what I regard as a proven, practical system – single payer.

    I’m sure we both care. We differ on the best way to express that care, and good conversations are fine ways to learn about each others’ ideas and develop working solutions. Good talk.

  • lady_black

    By “blog” I mean it publishes nothing but opinion pieces. It is not to be cited as factual. EVER. Here’s what else it isn’t: Journalism.
    Journalism is the what, when, where, how and why of a matter.

  • gimpi1

    Have you looked at any potential “solutions” to the problems you see with government? Anarchy and failed states are not good places to live. Accepting some compromise on our autonomy such as paying taxes, having a police force or a structure of laws is a reasonable price for the benefits of living in a functional society.

  • Steve W,

    Great, so I can’t ever cite Paul Krugman or Nicholas Kristof or Maureen Dowd as factual… good to know.

    OF course the real point here is that you, along with every other progressive I’ve encountered, have failed to actually address the argument I’ve made, or the facts (mortality rate statistics) presented in the cited piece. It’s a weak ploy to simply dismiss an argument without engaging it. If I’ve presented wrong data or misinterpreted it please tell me how. But I won’t be holding my breath.

  • lady_black

    It wouldn’t be a good idea, no. Not as a citation for facts. If there are mortality statistics, please cite the source. We don’t need a blogger on The Federalist to examine the source and interpret it. If there is no cited source, then shame on you.

  • Steve W,

    “The Centers for Disease Control collects U.S. mortality statistics and publishes them in a database called WONDER. The database is indeed a statistical wonder, allowing researchers to slice and dice U.S. mortality data into segments by age, gender, location, year, cause of morbidity, and many additional criteria.”

    So are you arguing that the author is deliberately misrepresenting the data from the CDC’s own database? I certainly hope you have something to back that up as that’s a pretty serious allegation.

  • lady_black

    Where is the footnote, dear?

  • Steve W,

    There doesn’t need to be a footnote if he’s doing the analysis himself, dear. Do you think he’s wrong? Great, then you can look up the WODNER database and run the numbers yourself. That’s called scholarship and journalism.

    You can’t just disregard data when you don’t like the source. You’re not entitled to your own “alternative” facts. Prove he’s wrong or stop impugning his character and competence.

  • lady_black

    Sure there needs to be a footnote. He’s not an epidemiologist writing a scholarly paper, is he? Then he had to get his information from somewhere. “Take his word for it” isn’t a citation. Neither is expecting the reader who wants to check his work “look it up yourself” without naming the source as precisely as possible.
    Seriously. Universities (and AP high school English composition classes) teach this before teaching anything else about essay writing.

  • Steve W,

    This isn’t an academic essay, it’s a newspaper article. For heaven’s sake, if you want to dismiss his data because it doesn’t fit your preconceived notions then that’s up to you, but I am done with this weak attempt to discredit a well sourced article from a highly regarded publication. You can yell at yourself from now on.

  • lady_black

    It doesn’t even rise to the level of “newspaper article.” If anything, it’s an editorial opinion piece.

  • You can construe it any way you want. I simply believe that the best way to understand any ancient writing is to understand the ancient culture, which gives a clue how the words would most likely have been understood by the original hearers– and thus, into the author or speaker’s intent. This is a fairly objective standard that works whether applied to Shakespeare, the Bible or the Epic of Gilgamesh, so I’m not sure why you object to it.

  • Bones

    This article blows those who think the church should replace government welfare out of the water…and calls that argument out for what it really is….selfishness and greed….

    “The point I’m making, though, is that when Christians want to compare charitable giving to somehow claim who is more compassionate, they are lying about the numbers if they don’t also count who is voting for tax-based state charity. Because the fact is, no private charity is even a fraction as successful as state charities have been. The Christian Church, even if all sects united again to serve the Vatican in one great unit, would not be able to produce a significant fraction of what we atheists have achieved through the more reliable method of charging use fees on the system. Could the Vatican take over SSI and TANF? Much less all health care aid, citizen pensions (Social Security), unemployment insurance, federal disaster insurance, housing and food assistance for the poor? Nope. Too many hundreds of billions. If they did that, they couldn’t afford expensive digs for the Pope and his fancy Cardinals anymore.

    And do you know how we know removing those things won’t result in private charities stepping up to replace them? Because that’s why we f***ing created them. No one stepped up to do any of these things. So much for Christian charity. Free medical care? F*** you, sick people. No Christian charity or collection thereof was doing it. So we stepped up and f***ing did it. And now they are complaining about this efficient charity we created, which we created because they refused to create it themselves. And then they have the gall to boast of how much more charitable they are than us. Seriously.

    And what about keeping the disabled from becoming homeless, destitute, starving, and dead? Christians refused to do hardly anything about that, too. So we did. Protecting the elderly from volatile markets, corporate bankruptcies, fraud and greed by guaranteeing them a stable buy-in pension fund? Solved by Christianity? Nope. Solved by the secular state? Yep. Feed the starving? Reduce homelessness? In the U.S., Christians help maybe a few million scattered about. The state helps tens of millions, everywhere there is need. It is precisely because soup kitchens don’t cut it and never did, that SNAP exists at all. If Christians were actually feeding “the poor,” no one would need SNAP.

    So all you Christian conservatives who think private charity should replace public welfare: if you care so much about that, then f***ing do it. Replace all welfare with your own private charities. Then we will talk about whether to cut public welfare programs. Until that happens, shut up, and f*** off. I’m tired of your lies and petty selfish greed. And especially your sham boasts of being more charitable than us. When in fact you are the most stingy and heartless demographic of any considerable size in this country.”

    http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4288

    Ouch!

  • ZackBop

    No… Just no. Look up the depression of 1920. We got out of it quickly because we let capitalism work. The Great Depression was a problem of government intervention, and it was prolonged because of government intervention. Do some research.

  • lady_black

    Yes, just YES.

  • Bones

    I thought Capitalists hated FDR’s New Deal.

  • Robert H. Woodman

    Your explanation is way too simplistic. There were many factors that converged during the 20’s leading to the stock market crash of 1929. Was government intervention part of the problem? Yes, and we should be clear that the Republican Party of the 1920’s caused that problem. Was capitalism part of the problem? Yes, and we should be clear that it was capitalism combined unregulated speculation unhinged from reality that caused that problem. Did FDR’s New Deal cause some of the problem? Yes, and we can blame the Democratic Party of the 1930’s for that.

    To reduce the argument to “capitalism vs. government intervention” is too simplistic and shows that either you have not done your research or that you have done only highly selective research that reinforces your existing prejudices.

  • gclayburn

    I have read in the recent past that even if the church; and all other charities; really did try to care for the sick, hungry and so on; that they could only reach less that ten percent of those who need it. That means in an average congregation of 100 people; the preacher should line everyone up, count the first 10, send them to the fellowship hall for coffee, and kill the rest. A brutal and silly thought , but the actual reality of what they believe.

  • Kuno

    Capitalism is but one tool a society has at its disposal. As with every tool it is perfectly suited for some specific uses but is totally useless for others.

    Healthcare belongs to the latter.

  • Matthew

    Yeah … more cheap mega TV´s from China sold through the local Wal-Mart … just what America needs more of …

  • Matthew

    Where I live the government writes a lot of rules and many of these rules are designed to build a fair and just society. It baffles me that so many people in America fear government services. Churches cannot do it all alone and private business is out for one thing … itself and profit.

  • Matthew

    Why is high quality, low cost always so important to so many Americans? (I am assuming you are from the U.S.)

  • Kevin K

    I would go a step further and ask how many church-owned-and-operated hospitals provide free care to indigent patients, or even discounted care based on means testing? I think I know the answer to that question.

    There are two hospitals in my county, one owned by the Catholics and one by the 7th Day Adventists. The free clinic isn’t associated with either of them, and the county-run hospital the next county over is the only one where indigent patients can get care.

  • Mark in Ohio

    In an interesting related note, most people are not aware that church based retirement and pension plans are not covered under the same laws as similar financial items in the private sector. When churches default on their pension plans (and they do), their employees are left out to dry with none of the normal recourses. I recalled hearing this from a news article several years ago now. As I am not an accountant or retirement specialist, I will refrain from generalizing about the differences in protection between plan types. You should just be aware that churches have had special treatments carved out for themselves and based on their status, which give them the ability to circumvent normal operating rules. You may want to consider this before you put them in charge of general services independent of their voluntary membership.

  • Lisa

    So please name a country where the free market, alone, has provided access to quality healthcare for the majority of citizens.

  • Lisa

    You might consider moving to Somalia. I don’t think there is much government to worry about there.

  • David

    Brilliant retort. Stunningly lucid.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” I simply believe that the best way to understand any ancient writing is to understand the ancient culture, which gives a clue how the words would most likely have been understood by the original hearers”

    And if the words are about supernatural events & other miracles, the writings can be dismissed as fables and myth.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Well, the medical care available back then wasn’t worth much. ”

    Because it wasn’t medical care, it was imaginary thinking.

    “And the Bible never says if someone doesn’t work they shouldn’t be allowed to eat.”

    Actually, it says EXACTLY that:

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    “it says that if they WON’T work, they shouldn’t eat. And he was speaking of those who stopped being productive because they believed the “end” was near. It wasn’t a general prohibition on feeding the poor.”

    Instead of telling us what you say the Bible says ( and getting it wrong), quote the actual passage that talks about people who stopped being productive because they thought the end was near ( and why would they think that? Because Jesus said the end was near).

    Here is what the Bible actually says:

    2 Thessalonians 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
    8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
    9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
    10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
    11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
    12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

    …. strange, despite what you said, I don’t see anything about people ceasing to work because they thought the end was near. Have you actually read the Bible? Or do you just know the sanitized bits they teach in Sunday school?

  • otrotierra

    And as soon as David moves to Somalia, he can then tell us all about it.

  • This is really odd, you know. 2 Thes 3:7 quoted above, “that if anyone would not work,” does in fact say “WOULD NOT” (past tense of “will not”/”won’t”) not “DID not.” So how in the world are you saying that Lady Black is wrong?

    Also, if you don’t agree with reading a text according to known facts about historical events going on at the time, fine– but you’re going to misread just about every text written before 1980. People don’t write in a vacuum, and applying historical context is an established, common-sense tool of literary and biblical interpretation. It is a fact that the church in Paul’s day thought the end was near and that some had stopped working because of it. This is known, not only from other writings of the time, but from Paul’s own words in other portions of his biblical letters. To ask Lady Black if she’s “actually read the bible” appears to mean, in this case, “Have you read the Bible the way I read it, which is the RIGHT way?” Sorry, but I really don’t think it is.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “So how in the world are you saying that Lady Black is wrong?”

    I am asking her to point out the passage where Jesus says the ones choosing not to work decided that because they thought the end was near.

    “It is a fact that the church in Paul’s day thought the end was near and that some had stopped working because of it”

    And why would they believe that? Likely because the Bible has Jesus saying:

    “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

    Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-31 Take no thought for tomorrow. God will take care of you.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” People don’t write in a vacuum, and applying historical context is an established, common-sense tool of literary and biblical interpretation. ”

    1) Do you think it is moral to own another human being as property? Yes or no?

    2) Do you think it is moral to own human beings as property IF you are living in Biblical times? Yes or no?

    ” To ask Lady Black if she’s “actually read the bible” appears to mean, in this case, “Have you read the Bible the way I read it, which is the RIGHT way?” Sorry, but I really don’t think it is.”

    Actually, SHE said “he was speaking of those who stopped being productive because they believed the “end” was near.” and I asked her to post the Bible passage(s) that say that.

    So far, she hasn’t posted such a passage.

  • Of course I don’t think it’s moral to own human beings as property. No, I don’t think it was moral back then, either. I suggest that, rather than asking questions like that, you do a little research on the theological concept of “accommodation.” At this point the discussion here is getting very off-topic from the opening post, and how mainstream Protestants usually view the topic of slavery in the Bible, is not something I need to spend time educating you about here.

    The reason I mentioned historical context is that there is no Bible passage that directly says, “these people had stopped being productive because the end was near.” However, a little historical-cultural background knowledge makes it reasonable to believe that this was what Paul was talking about, particularly in light of other things he wrote in the letters to the Thessalonians.

    It’s always interesting to me how atheists read the Bible as if they were fundamentalists, apparently for the reason of making it easier to discount and disparage. But for a mainstream Protestant, you are arguing against a straw man. I don’t read the Bible that way, and if you want to argue about the Bible with me, we are simply talking past one another.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Of course I don’t think it’s moral to own human beings as property.”

    The old and new testament disagree with you; both condone slavery.

    “No, I don’t think it was moral back then, either. ”

    Then your argument that “applying historical context is an established, common-sense tool of literary and biblical interpretation” can be discarded, because the Bible ( both testaments) has no problem condoning slavery… which leaves you with 2 options:

    1) historical context must be taken into account & in Biblical times slavery WAS moral

    2) historical context is not a factor. Slavery is morally wrong & so the Bible’s view of slavery is morally wrong.

    “The reason I mentioned historical context is that there is no Bible passage that directly says, “these people had stopped being productive because the end was near.” However, a little historical-cultural background knowledge makes it reasonable to believe that this was what Paul was talking about, particularly in light of other things he wrote in the letters to the Thessalonians.”

    Reasonable to believe? In other words, ( like almost all of the Bible), you can’t prove what you are claiming, you simply believe what you are claiming.

    “It’s always interesting to me how atheists read the Bible as if they were fundamentalists, apparently for the reason of making it easier to discount and disparage.”

    Actually, since none of the miraculous events described in the Bible have been proven to have happened, the believers have not met their burden of proof & there is no reason an atheist needs to discount the Bible.

    Personally, I read the Bible because I find it so amusing that self-proclaimed Christians aren’t familiar with much of it. All they seem to know are the handful of Sunday-school approved sanitized stories ( such as the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, judge not lest ye be judged ( funny how many of them ignore that), let he who is without sin cast the first stone, etc etc.

    They aren’t familiar with the new testament passages condoning slavery, aren’t familiar with the passages talking about drinking urine & eating feces, aren’t aware that the Bible doesn’t say we all have free will….

    In fact, the Bible specifically states that some people’s destinies are predetermined & there are Bible passages where god takes away a person’s free will when it suits him.

    Most believers aren’t aware that Jacob had a long wrestling match with god & god couldn’t win so he used his divine power to dislocate Jacob’s hip. Even then he couldn’t break free from Jacob’s hold until he agreed to bless Jacob.

  • Again, I point you to the theological concept of “accommodation.” Since pretty much everything you just said, I would answer by starting with that concept and building from there in a nuanced, context-conscious fashion, and you apparently did not look it up, I see no reason to continue this discussion. Also, you seem to think an interpretation of a written work can be “proven,” like it was a scientific formula, or something. That’s not how it works. That’s not how a whole lot of life works.

    And btw, I have read the Bible. ALL of it. Many times.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” Also, you seem to think an interpretation of a written work can be “proven,” like it was a scientific formula, or something. That’s not how it works. ”

    Nope. I am saying that if someone is interpreting a written work a certain way, they should be able to explain how & why they have interpreted it the way they did.

    “I have read the Bible. ALL of it. Many times.”

    Slavery is either moral or immoral.

    Both testaments condone slavery.

    Do you condone slavery, since the Bible is OK with it? Or do you think the Bible is wrong?

  • rtgmath

    Yep! Good to hear from you. Hope you are doing well.

  • Guthrum

    Yes they can work together. They have done it before. They work out compromises, they give and take, they meet in the middle. They get things done. No one is stopping anyone from using the restroom. Government should not be telling businesses how to run their own restrooms.

  • IconoclastTwo

    If the government didn’t intervene in health care at all people would be dying en masse in the streets because the insurance model would leave them to die (far more than it does so now) and medicines would be grotesquely unsafe-like they frequently were before FDR signed legislation to give the FDA the power it required.

    Before then, there was ‘radium medicines’ (even more than and far worse than now), multiple mass patient deaths, et cetera.

  • IconoclastTwo

    Even if there wasn’t a government you’d still have much the same problem (and a lot of other problems as well though) with this. There’s so much overhead involved in setting up a pharmaceutical plant that whoever might be making the single medicine that you need can keep other competitors out by flooding (at first) or otherwise making it so unprofitable for them to enter the market for it-and then raising prices after they’ve got the monopoly, or having the only facilities that can make that particular medicine and then charging “what the market will bear”.

    “The market will provide” just won’t cut it. It’s not realistic and it’s profoundly cruel.

  • IconoclastTwo

    Not if you made that kind of conduct illegal and made it clear you were serious by convicting and imprisoning the first buyer and the first regulator/legislator who wanted to be bought.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “There’s so much overhead involved in setting up a pharmaceutical plant”

    I’m going to take a gamble and suggest you don’t know the overhead involved.”

    I don’t have exact numbers, but the last time I was in college I did reagent and equipment ordering for a lab I was helping to set up and it was _not even remotely cheap_. I’d be shocked if it was any less expensive now and that was just for a single lab-not an entire plant.

    I’ll also note that exact numbers were not forthcoming in your last response either.

    I also suspect that even if the type of pesky regulations that you think ought to go away actually did (and if this isn’t your actual position, please make it clear) there’s only so much that getting rid of them would do in order to reduce that overhead-and more importantly, a lot more people and the environment would get damaged/injured/killed in the process.

    “”having the only facilities that can make that particular medicine and then charging…”

    This is conjecture and highly unlikely–the rich look for opportunities to get richer–that doesn’t mean maximizing price it means maximizing profits.”

    I’m going to believe the digital equivalent of my eyes over your free market orthodoxy-because this is almost exactly what happened both with Epi-pens and Daraprim/Martin Skweli within the last couple of years. They massively marked up the same essential product because they could make a lot more money doing so, not because they had significantly changed or improved the product, or because the raw materials for it had suddenly become rarer/harder to acquire (which would at least be understandable).

    You’ll probably say if you’re talking about Daraprim/Skweli that the ‘market’ intervened against him. However, it only did so:

    1) in a limited way.

    2) Most importantly (and this gets to your point about nepotism and regulation) _because people perceived this as unfair_. When you depend on the market for everything, you totally abandon the concept of fairness; it’s all about money, who has it, and who doesn’t.

    In fact, you wouldn’t even be able to call nepotism unfair in a completely free market system. What does it matter then if the boss hires their sons or daughters on and pays them more even if they’re totally incompetent as compared to people who worked really hard and were trying. It’s their money, right?

    I suppose you could call fairness a presupposition for finding nepotism objectionable. :) The market isn’t fair.

    “I’m not denying monopolies won’t crop up; if there were only one source of coal, obviously a monopoly would emerge–same with Standard Oil’s practices. And just like Standard Oil, entrepreneurs will erode much of the market share as profit-making opportunity well before the gubment gets around to filing anti-trust lawsuits.”

    Just like they did with Microsoft.

    Oh. Never mind.

    By the way, Standard Oil wasn’t broken up by the free market. The Supreme Court decided against it and forced it to fracture into dozens of smaller corporations.

    “”then raising prices after they’ve got the monopoly”
    Even the standard Keynesian micro textbooks will tell you that a monopoly is not going to raise prices all willy-nilly like you are implying:

    “what the market will bear” does not equate to unaffordable.”

    It does/it can when you’re dealing with captive buyers-which with regards to health care, is precisely the nature of the situation.

    “I will go so far as to a say a natural monopoly is much easier to circumvent than a government-maintained, artificially-created monopoly.

    Now that, is “profoundly cruel”.”

    And yet you’ve provided no proof whatsoever for this assertion. In fact the most monopolistic companies and sectors in the United States (for good reason) like airlines, cable companies, et cetera, are among the worst regarded for good reason with the worst service and products.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “”I’ll also note that exact numbers were not forthcoming in your last response either.”

    I’m not the one saying there’s a near-impossible barrier to entry because of overhead.”

    You’re misrepresenting my argument and attacking that instead. I never said that the barrier was near impossible. I’m saying that the barrier is so high compared to other industries and goods (and the risks of getting it wrong so massive) that it in no way should be categorized like anything else.

    “”a lot more people and the environment would get damaged/injured/killed in the process.”

    This is conjecture; in fact, studies show that statism and pollution are very correlated–and kill a lot more people. I’ll leave Russia, German, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Cambodia to be prime examples.”

    Wow, is anyone else even remotely surprised that (with the exception of Germany and Brazil) this is basically an enemy list? Furthermore:

    1) It’s sort of nonspecific in some cases (particularly Germany, Brazil, and China). Under which governments specifically are you referring?

    2) Much of the pollution in these countries is very much so explicitly tied to capitalism. In the case of Brazil, deforestation for rubber and then mass beef production. China in many ways powers capitalism as it exists right now so in a real sense you’re sort of self-implicating.

    3) If you think that the United States doesn’t have and hasn’t had massive problems with industrial pollution then you’re very and sorely ignorant. No regulation (or light regulation) would only drastically worsen this.

    “”what happened both with Epi-pens and Daraprim/Martin Skweli within the last couple of years.”
    HE USED GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY MAKING POWER!
    That’s what we call Crony-Capitalism–it’s not actual free markets or capitalism!
    I realize the inhumanity of this as well.”

    How exactly did he do this? He was a hedge fund manager who bought the company.

    “”You’ll probably say if you’re talking about Daraprim/Skweli that the ‘market’ intervened against him. However, it only did so:”

    No, I’d say if free markets were allowed to exist, they would have intervened against him.”

    This seems like more of an article of faith than anything else.

    “”When you depend on the market for everything, you totally abandon the concept of fairness; it’s all about money, who has it, and who doesn’t.”

    No it’s not. This is a horrible malign-ment.
    It’s about getting goods to customers at the most efficient price. This translates to a fair price for all involved and greater societal wealth which then translates to greater (and uncoerced) charity.”

    You’re sort of (inadvertently) demonstrating my point by the degree to which you’re only referring to people as having value not as people, not as citizens, but as _customers_. In its own way its profoundly dehumanizating to only think of people as Homo economicus. I’m not a christian myself so I rarely use this kind of language but it doesn’t even make room for the notion of people as children of god however you envision this.

    “”In fact, you wouldn’t even be able to call nepotism unfair in a completely free market system.”

    You’re correct; however, if there’s someone better for the job, then they’ll seek opportunities to gain advantage over the nepotist.”

    But most of the time nepotism succeeds-not at being efficient for other people, but at crushing alternatives. That’s a lot of what’s wrong with this society and others like it now.

    “”It’s their money, right?”

    Yes, it is. And you need to realize that using government to take that money is still a shake-down.”

    Not when letting society just cater to the rich (or have them at all) is an even worse shake-down.

    “”Just like they did with Microsoft.”

    Microsoft provided a great product, btw for pretty affordable prices.”

    As well, Netscape (I think was the name) and Mozilla were doing pretty well competing against Internet Explorer (which, btw, was the lawsuit).”

    I’m sorry but I still can’t read this and not laugh and I’m really trying hard not to say what I think right now.

    No, their products are not good. I have a MacSE from 1989 that I can still boot up which works reliably. In comparison, even babying them, Windows computers constantly have trouble with getting malware, viruses, et cetera, even before it was as bad as it is now. They’ve been designing their OS’s for maximal intrusiveness against their customers for multiple versions at this point. Much of the advantage that they have comes from extremely restrictive licensing agreements and bundling, not any type of consumer choice whatsoever. I’m a layman but I suspect that people who really work with it can say even more of what’s wrong with it.

    “”By the way, Standard Oil wasn’t broken up by the free market. The Supreme Court decided against it and forced it to fracture into dozens of smaller corporations.”

    Standard Oil lost 24% of its market share by the time it was broken up. Holding on 64% by that time.”

    …so you think that one company having 64% of a vital market with the judgment of one exceptionally horrible rich person in charge is good? Or when it was 88% instead?

    “”It does/it can when you’re dealing with captive buyers-which with regards to health care, is precisely the nature of the situation.”

    This is conjecture not even supported by Leftists who write your standard textbooks! Healthcare is monopolized BECAUSE of government, not natural barriers to entry driving up cost.”

    When I see mom and pop pharmaceutical plants making amoxicillin I’ll concede you have a point.

    “”And yet you’ve provided no proof whatsoever for this assertion”
    How about the AMA?
    https://mises.org/blog/how-…”

    How about a real source instead?

    “”In fact the most monopolistic companies and sectors in the United States (for good reason) like airlines, cable companies, et cetera, are among the worst regarded for good reason with the worst service and products.”

    Do you not realize that these two have MASSIVE amounts of state protection/regulation? Of course they’re poorly regarded.
    Wanna know two other good ones? Healthcare and Public Education.”

    Having no regulation though would actually worsen them (especially for cable companies). Without net neutrality internet service will become as bad as cable (albeit not instantly) and they’re already selling off customer data.

  • Bones

    “Crowd-based regulation is all the rage in the consumer business.”

    Yeah like Thalidomide….

    I mean just as well we have crowd based regulations…..

    Is this idiot still going on about how his church is going to provide welfare and health insurance to every person in the USA?

  • Bones

    Yeah thalidomide babies would like to see no government regulation…..
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e02033ee5e3eef2221c5d8cbca8c25772616258a8201a18c553dfe140045aef.jpg

  • Bones

    Yes…Fantasy stuff.

    Has your church started their own ambulance service yet?

  • Bones

    You mean like banning the nazi movement.

    That’s all appalling use of Godwin”s Law btw.

  • Bones

    Let us know when you can do a whole city…..how many have to die before that happens?

  • Bones

    Yeah – like in the 18th and 19th century……

    Actually much of what we call Empire building was unfettered capitalism which was responsible for exterminating whole populations.

  • IconoclastTwo

    …capitalists have always had government assistance, though. They’re inextricable. I’m still working out how to write the longer post to explain this but it’s on its way.

  • Matthew

    Even if all government was eliminated, and even if the problem of crony capitalism was solved so that markets could indeed operate most efficiently, and even if the moral burden then is not forced or coerced on society and individuals, who is to say that people would still, then, “do the right thing”?

    As I have said before, I like that the government in my city legislates that people cannot operate loud equipment on Sundays. I don´t think people alone would make this kind of good decision, well, maybe they would, but I personally don´t think so. As such, government makes the decision for them.

  • Bones

    Actually thinking about it – the Church has killed more……the reason of course why the government does welfare – because nobody else would.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

    Bear in mind, this is only political in the sense that politics shouldn’t even be involved.”

    This is inevitably political based on what is not included in such a definition: namely any notion of human rights, representative democracy, the precautionary principle (since why not just make as much money as possible and then get out before it falls apart?), or ecological concerns (just for starters). It leaves people dependent entirely at the whims of the wealthiest and whatever rules the richest people can agree upon amongst each other.

    It’s also why democracy is inevitably eaten alive by plutocracy; because if you have a class of wealthy people who will override, one way or another, decisions that everyone else would otherwise make in their better interests then you can’t even say that everyone else really has any say.

    “Crony capitalism: an economic system characterized by close, mutually advantageous relationships between business leaders and government officials.

    Er go, crony capitalism as capitalism ends its name. It’s no more capitalism than pseudoscience is science.

    I understand what you’re getting at: business leaders manipulate government. I understand that, but that is not the fault of capitalism–it’s the fault of those business leaders (who are statists by the way) and of government. This is most prevalent in socialist society when the oligarchy has wealth while the rest of the country has little:”

    There’s never been a time when business leaders haven’t used government to get what they wanted, though. The problem with your definitions is that they separate out ‘statism’ from ‘capitalism’ so in that way you can create a pretense that capitalism can somehow have some kind of pure existence separate from the other.

    The reality is there has never been a single period in the entire history of capitalism in which capitalists haven’t depended on government to ‘protect’ the wealthy and their ‘rights’ from the people that they victimized.

    Antebellum period? The government explicitly protected slavery. The government expropriated land massively from Native Americans and there were very clear financial beneficiaries of this (in particular speculators and large slaveowners). The profits made from slavery weren’t incidental; they were foundational.

    (First) Gilded Age? Government again, continued massive expropriations from Native Americans except further west. Governments routinely violently suppressed labor movements through fake trials, executions, and looking the other way at private armies like the PInkertons/supporting them. The US government created a legal framework that gave corporations more rights than freed slaves ultimately. The South in a very real sense was rebuilt through Jim Crow slave labor-and again, there were very real financial beneficiaries of this.

    During most of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries who controlled most of the world? It wasn’t the people living there-it was capitalist countries like England and France and they absolutely were responsible for famines and massacres when people fought back in the latter case. Most of the dictatorships that existed in this hemisphere throughout the 20th century (especially after WWII) were sponsored and armed by the United States, or came about through coups that the US supported-and as always, there were very clear financial beneficiaries of them or they were ‘ideological’ in that they were intended to prevent self-determination.

    An excellent book to read about this is “Killing Hope” by William Blum.

    “The fact is, the only moral system that doesn’t oppress is one in which people are free to determine their own value and that the profit makers are allowed to keep their profits: all of them. The moral burden is then shifted to them to alleviate suffering (and they can do so only if they want to), and any forced tax even for the purpose of redistribution is, at its heart, theft.”

    It’s oppressive because it forces workers and people in general into a state of existence where they are entirely dependent on what the wealthiest people want (ie, those in charge of markets).

    As far as your notion of them choosing to alleviate suffering: that was tried and I’d say it ultimately culminated in the eliminationism of fascism-as an outgrowth of both capitalist imperialism and Malthusian thought (which was also inextricably tied in with capitalism).

  • Bones

    “In what world had the Church killed more people than even Stalin?”

    You obviously missed history pre-1900s https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1535ec213b748f66d892765ec9c45035f3ee32afbce466d9f293e42906a0bdfb.jpg

    And the government provides services eg military, education, health, social security, police and law enforcement, judicial and prisons etc…..

    All the things that the Church never did….

  • Bones

    Lol. .. The Church completely destroyed and exterminate many indigenous cultures when they weren’t killing each other or their own.

    It was worse than Islam.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “”namely any notion of human rights”

    Like the right to choose your worth, and the right to (dis)agree to work at the offered price?”

    But most people don’t really get the chance to do that now. You’re describing an idealized capitalism basically without capitalists-namely people who underpay workers, engage in wage theft, will make the most planned obsolescent products they can get away with, frequently bigoted and looking for endless ways of pushing their crazy ideas onto everyone else in society no matter what we want, et cetera.

    “”representative democracy”

    You don’t need representation if people are just doing business (buying, selling, trading) together. It’s only when you introduce government that you need representation.”

    Of course you do, because what happens when one of the trading partners is dishonest (and especially if they have enough power in the market to otherwise get away with it)?

    Your idea that the market would eliminate discrimination I found hilarious when I read it because of the degree to which that totally didn’t actually happen in American history (as with most of what you’ve said). Most businesses were happy to live with segregation when it was either legal or informally enforced. Businesses never turned down the financial benefits of slave labor enforced by government, or passed up a chance to rob people blind if they were already victimized by society (like Wells Fargo did with subprime loans targeted against black people).

    “”the precautionary principle…”

    You might as well ask, why not charge a high price for ivory before rhinos and elephants go extinct? (Or you could ask the same for beef, chicken, pork, or fish for that matter).”

    I would ask instead why your morality is so opposed to laws that will prevent their extinction in the first place?

    “In fact, we should realize that many animals are on the endangered list BECAUSE governments prevent a legal market for them or their byproducts (like ivory). If you allow a market to raise up, so will farmers.”

    Except that like much else of what you say, that’s totally not what happened. Many animals are on the endangered species list because:

    1) The countries with the highest levels of biodiversity (like Indonesia, or the DRC) were colonized by European capitalist powers.

    2) These capitalist powers use/used them as resource colonies, which entailed destroying the agricultural practices of the people who already lived there that were less destructive and converting them initially into single-crop farmlands and later industrialization.

    3) This resulted in massive habitat destruction.

    4) When these countries are dependent on crops and the ‘market’ devalues their production either directly or through price dumping, desperate people look towards poaching to make money because destroying a species like the rhino or an elephant can make them, immediately, more money than farming can.

    The points I’m trying to make are that:

    This is completely and utterly capitalism’s fault.

    The entire concept of a market mechanism will in no way address this. In fact, it’ll make it worse-and most species are in no way ‘charismatic’. Again, you’re also ignoring the issue of who buys this?

    I also again think that it says a lot that you’re totally incapable of considering anything or anyone else on the basis of inherent worth. I might not agree with the premises of Christians but I can at least agree with their conclusions when they decide that people shouldn’t arbitrarily destroy everything else on the planet because they could make a profit off of it.

    You, on the other hand, would basically try and charge the biosphere *rent* if it was possible.

    “”It leaves people dependent entirely at the whims of the wealthiest and whatever rules the richest people can agree upon amongst each other.”

    How so, people are free not to do business with the people/organizations they don’t like…”

    Not if the business has a local monopoly and it’s insanely impractical for people to move away/refuse to do business with them.

    “they can also work at a price someone they do like is willing to pay (unless that person wants to offer less than minimum wage–also an effect of government).”

    …so you think there should be no minimum wage either? Because people would be so much ‘freer’ being paid starvation wages more often than this still happens now?

    “”It’s also why democracy is inevitably eaten alive by plutocracy; because if you have a class of wealthy people who will override, one way or another, decisions that everyone else would otherwise make in their better interests then you can’t even say that everyone else really has any say.”

    Exactly, but what you’re describing is, by definition, not capitalism–it’s opportunism by people who are truly statists utilizing the state that poor people think are protecting them. This is actually an argument against government.”

    That’s by your definition which I don’t accept, though-as compared to what has always actually happened in capitalism.

    Furthermore, if there actually wasn’t government but there were still rich people: they’d end up inventing a government anyways because they *like* and need things like ‘intellectual property’ protections, a legal system rigged so they win most of the time, et cetera.

    [You were going to ignore everything I said here anyways]

    “During most of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries who controlled most of the world? It wasn’t the people living there-it was capitalist countries like England and France and they absolutely were responsible for famines and massacres when people fought back in the latter case. Most of the dictatorships that existed in this hemisphere throughout the 20th century (especially after WWII) were sponsored and armed by the United States, or came about through coups that the US supported-and as always, there were very clear financial beneficiaries of them or they were ‘ideological’ in that they were intended to prevent self-determination.”

    Again, these are arguments against government because the rich will exploit them. Just because someone is rich or owns a business doesn’t make them a capitalist (especially if they are utilizing government). 80% of your billionaires, or at least your biggest ones today, are at least socialist (look at your three richest for goodness sake)–and they are all statists who are heavily tied to government. The problem is that it wasn’t capitalism that made them this way–it was the existence of government which they used to their advantage.”

    No, these are arguments against:

    1) Rich people (ie, capitalists).

    2) Having a government structured in such a way that it helps and protects them against everyone else. It’s not an argument against government in its entirety.

    “For the record, those famines and massacres were at the hands of government–sure, you may argue that they were the rich (and, by your assumption, capitalist) who controlled government. However, it wasn’t an agreement to buy, sell or trade that cause famines and massacres–it was the fault of government wielding power.”

    Actually in these case of several of these famines this is *precisely* what it was-because people needed grain or food that couldn’t be sold at profit to the people needing it so in accordance with Malthusian thought (and Malthus, unsurprisingly, was a preacher) the ‘surplus population’ got killed for it.

    “”It’s oppressive because it forces workers and people in general into a state of existence where they are entirely dependent on what the wealthiest people want (ie, those in charge of markets).”

    This is untrue! The rich don’t create markets; they response to markets available–nobody decides to make people want fidget spinners; people want them so companies make them.”

    Eighty years of advertising would disagree with you.

    “”eliminationism of fascism”

    If you’re saying what I think you’re saying, this is a good thing…I believe capitalism would alleviate poverty, racism, prejudice, you name it, simply because people will be free to do business with each other in the manner they please–and this means the right to be racist, BUT ultimately he who has the gold will make the rules…and that rule will be: a person who accepts money from both black and whites will be more successful and, by this manner, people will lose their racist sentiments.”

    See above with regards to ‘this never happening’.

    Eliminationism also refers to the political position that a group should be exterminated (ie, genocide) as a result of their arbitrary differences from a perceived majority.

  • IconoclastTwo
  • doctorchrysallis

    You yourself, ZackBop, demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of late stage capitalism.

  • Martha Deacon

    My Dad was a veteran who had a catastrophic stroke at age 42 in the 60’s; he lived another 30 years. We would have been homeless and bankrupt but for the VA hospitals and medical care.

  • If churches were meeting these needs, we’d have never needed medicare or medicaid in the first place. They aren’t, and I’m not sure they can or at least that they are willing to. Churches have a long history of helping a few people and patting themselves on the back for that while ignoring the thousands more in more dire need of help.

  • Ronald L. Andrews II

    All I seen were many churches feeding the poor.Big lines at every church.Tithing is at the core of the problem.People prioritise selfish needs over God in and out of the church.The catholics own many hospitals.Especially in New England.They have plenty of money.Spend money on the poor and not getting pedophillers off.

  • afmajret

    Let me guess, an ‘Atlas Shrugged’ true believer.

  • I do not want any more xtian churches running hospitals or providing health care as the current religiously run hospitals and health systems determine what care is provided, even when the care is scientifically and medically necessary.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2016/05/07/health-care-denied-at-550-hospitals-because-of-catholic-doctrine/#142775375ad9

    https://www.aclu.org/feature/health-care-denied

  • Aubreythecat

    You forgot the /s

  • JenniferB

    Why is it that people believe there’s no middle ground between everyone’s on their own to sink or swim and communism? It always feels to me as if it’s just an attempt to stop the conversation to accuse someone of being a communist instead of being a means of furthering the discussion.

  • JenniferB

    Good point!

  • BrotherRog
  • coyotesays

    You have failed, because you have measured things. Listen to the Lord of Love, listen to the Lord **above**.

  • If we really care about the millions of poor people in America, we need to discuss real solutions. Obamacare has been a disaster for everyone except the unemployed. It has added hundreds of billions to America’s National Debt when we are already approaching economic collapse. How long are those unemployed people going to have medical care once America has gone belly-up because we couldn’t pay our bills? Socialism has a terrible record. It suppresses economies, dampens motivation and ambition, and pushes thriving nations into stagnation. It’s good to wish, but we have to use our heads, too.

  • Many people choose poverty. No government program is going to change that.

  • There is no middle ground. Socialism is just communism by vote.

  • It’s more selfish to push the nation into economic ruin because we decided the government is responsible for providing medical care for everyone. The government is us. We’re broke. I work, and I can’t afford health insurance. This Disneyland approach only works if you’re unemployed. For everyone else, it’s thievery. You may believe different. There’s no law that says you have to live in America. Why dont you move to a communist country if you feel so strongly about the government stealing from the citizens?

  • ToBNamedL8r

    The problem I have is that the government’s provision of health care is an invitation or worse, a cause for people to reject God and worship the one providing their food, shelter, clothing, health care, etc. Trust in the government with all your heart and lean not on any Biblical understanding. Glory to the government not glory to God. If you think that this is less than a plan of the accuser to pull people away from the gospel then I question your powers of observation and historic comparison. As far as your points that the church doesn’t provide those things, I disagree. Some religious organizations don’t, but THE church does and always has. If you aren’t part of a church that does that while helping folks get back on their feet then perhaps you need to either find a church that does that or start one.

    Oh by the way as far as health insurance is concerned http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Christian+health+insurance and you will find policies cheaper than Obama care with better service.

  • Bones

    That is the biggest load of bs out,

    I bet you’re glad the state protects you with police and the army.

    Maybe there should be a callout fee everytime some sponger calls the police.

    The Church doesn’t provide those things – neither does it provide for the disabled and elderly.

    Actually its posts and selfish attitudes like yours which cause people to reject your selfish god.

    Moron!

  • Bones

    You need another war to get of those poor unemployed.

    For a country in massive debt your defence budget continues to grow.

    But yeah its all about the dole bludgers and socialism.

  • Bones

    Nah…you have no idea.

    Most western countries have some form of socialist policies including the US.

    What socialist services does the US government provide?

    http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/46174-what-socialist-services-does-the-us-government-provide/

    A lot apparently, you Commie bastards.

  • Bones

    Typical right wing lies.

  • Bones

    Lol, I don’t live in America, that’s how I know you talk complete bs.

    The people pushing your country into economic ruin are people like yourself.

    Your Disneyland approach to defence spending which continues to skyrocket is evidence of that.

    But we get what you are saying.

    It’s basically the old “F*** the poor”.

  • Bones

    Btw in my country, last weekend my son was admitted to hospital with an abscess on his tonsils.

    They didn’t have the facilities here to lance it so they flew him from the hospital 400km to where he could be treated.

    Cost = $0

    I know you hate that.

    Oh yeah I’m going in for a hernia operation this week..

    Cost = $0

    I know you hate that.

    Need an ambulance?

    Cost = $0

    I know you hate that.

    Need police?

    Cost=$0 (maybe they should charge for callouts in the US)

    Btw I pay taxes.

    Some people need to stop reading right wing bs.

  • JenniferB

    I see. How do you believe that we should provide for police and fire protection, or the roads? Do we continue to fund them the way that we do now, or do we subscribe to their services like you can for Lifeflight or receive a bill after their assistance?

  • Basic services are part of any civilization. Socialism is when the government owns and/or controls resources and industries and redistributes wealth. That is a clear departure from our capitalistic foundation. If we demand that the government be our Sugar Daddy, we give the government more control over our lives.

  • How convenient for you. Who told you it was okay for the government to take money from others and give it to you. That’s the issue. Your country will suffer the same dismal return on socialism as every other nation that has been swindled by the “share the wealth” ruse. There’s nothing free in this world. Anyone who tells you any different is living in a fantasy world.

  • I once met a guy who was cleaning up off drugs in a program. He told me he moved to Portland because “it was a great place to be homeless and use drugs.” There are millions like him, who don’t want to have to do a daily tap-dance with some employer at a dead-end job, so they panhandle, live in camps, drink and get high. It’s an alternative to working and following the rules. I can’t blame them, but it’s still a choice. I’m not putting my own cost of living on others. I work. Many people aren’t willing to do that. It seems too much like a rat race, and in many ways it is. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  • That’s right. The U.S. is going socialist. A lot of people are very upset about that, because they don’t want the U.S. economy ruined.

  • Spare me. A toddler can whine about the bad things in life — war, poverty, injustice, etc. If you have no solutions to propose, you’re still just a whiner. Grow up.

  • Bones

    The one offering no solutions is you.

    Just whining and bitching about socialism and poor people.

  • Bones

    The US is already socialist.

    You’d better leave.

    I’m sure there’s a country in Africa you can emigrate to.

  • Bones

    Yes because all poor people are drug addicts because someone said…..

    Are all conservatives dicks like you?

    You’ve proven to be the king of ignorance on this thread pal.

  • Bones

    The government the people voted in on a national free health care system.

    It’s called democracy.

    Look it up sometime.

  • And the public has the perfect right to raise their voices about what was done and demand changes. That’s what democracy is. Look it up.

  • I haven’t drawn any generalizations here. I’ve said there is a large growing group of people in this country (and especially in transient-friendly cities like Portland) who choose homelessness. If you have some research to cite, let’s have it. Otherwise, your claim of ignorance is unsupported, which in any sound debate would itself be called “ignorance.” You’re going to have to do better than that if you really want to challenge my statements.

  • We’re fighting to the end to save what’s left of capitalism and sanity in America. It’s a harder road, but much more satisfying than being a rube and swallowing the liberal Kool-Aid. The progressives are going to be screaming their heads off in 20 years, asking how we lost all our freedom and opportunity in America.

  • Please reiterate; I don’t remember you offering a single solution. Refresh my memory.

  • JenniferB

    Oh, I see. So you do like the idea of socialized basic services. These have not always been around. Fire insurance was once a big industry, and police departments are a pretty modern construct. People have just recently decided that it is best for their countries and their communities if these basic services are publicly funded through taxation for the common good of everyone.

    You operate on a pretty strict rule of what constitutes “socialism.” I don’t want the government to own industries either. I do like it when there are some regulations put on industries though, because I remember things like acid rain in the 1970’s. We would still have it if we were waiting on corporations to be more worried about air quality than they are about maximizing profits.

    It is interesting that you mention our capitalistic foundation. Did you know that the founding fathers envisioned a country with only small businesses and not huge corporations? That was one of the reasons why they left England and why the Boston Tea Party happened. I believe that if our economy was typified by small business instead of huge corporations, a lot of things would be different in our country. But, you know. Government stopped “controlling industries” and so now you have huge conglomerates that take capital out of communities and hoard it in overseas bank accounts. Anyway, here are two quotes among MANY for you to consider:

    “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” — Thomas Jefferson.

    “The power of all corporations ought to be limited, […] the growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”— James Madison

    Also, did you know that even countries such as Sweden and Denmark, two of the most socialist nations of all in the world, also practice free-market capitalism and stress private ownership and allows businesses to sink or swim on their own with little help from the government such as subsidies? My point here isn’t that we should emulate Sweden and Denmark but that you definition is apparently wrong. “Socialism is when the government owns and/or controls resources and industries and redistributes wealth.” By your definition, since neither Sweden nor Denmark’s government owns and/or controls resources and industries those countries must not be what you intend by the term “socialist.” So if neither Sweden nor Denmark are socialist by your definition, then which countries are?

    I guess, apart from these musings, what I would like to find out from you (because you are so against any type of “redistribution” of wealth) is what you think should be done about hunger? Do you think that if people can’t afford to buy food and they can’t find any individuals to give them some they should just do without like in places such as Mexico? Do you know that between 2001 and 2010 in Mexico, over 85,000 people died of malnutrition there? Is that the solution to hunger that you see for the US which has a population somewhere around 2 and 1/2 times that of Mexico? Conceivably in our country, based on population alone, we could have seen around 200,000 deaths from hunger during the last decade if we had a similar system that didn’t include any kind of “redistribution” of wealth.

    I really do appreciate you entering into this dialogue. There are no easy answers, and thank goodness it is not either of our jobs to figure it all out. But I am really curious about what you want to do about something like hunger if there are no taxpayer based policies to feed people who would otherwise go without.

  • Bones

    You mean like reducing your military spending….nah…won’t happen…

    Or single payer health care….

    It’s poor people’s fault.

    Better to let them die.

    Well that’s your solution.

  • Bones

    Well capitalism’s done a great old job shafting Americans as evidenced by Wall Streets bailout and the death of manufacturing jobs as companies seek profits from cheaper areas outside.

    But hey you people gutted the unions and took power away from workers to give it to suits and shareholders.

    You’re reaping your reward and the rest of the world should take note.

    Heck, your new president had to threaten companies with the power of the state.

    Freedom and opportunity – f*** off.

  • ToBNamedL8r

    Thanks for your uber enlightened wisdom. I’m sure you are all for diversity of opinion in our great nation… unless of course it disagrees with yours. Don’t bother responding. I don’t get into arguments with bigots.

  • LadyMohan

    Our church does both, plus we reach out to the community next to ours with rides, visits, a moving ministry, prayer vine, love in action fund, children’s buddy system, mentoring groups, visits to group homes, jails, hospitals, etc.
    Our God in heaven is no selfish GOD. He would have sent his son Jesus to die for you even if you were the only man left on the planet. Visit a church or two before deciding none of them live up to your standards.

  • LadyMohan

    Amen!!! And this was never GOD’s intent! GOVTS job is to protect, our job to minister and care for the poor. At the same time, letting those on welfare who shouldn’t be, stay there when they could be working is WRONG!

  • Bones

    Visiting hospitals, jails etc is NOT the same as staffing or resourcing them.

    Heck I’ve done that myself. All of which costs nothing btw.

    Does your church have its own cardiac unit?

    Or provide pensions to the elderly?

    No, of course not.

    And people can’t live on your prayers…

    In fact the reason governments provide people with welfare is because the Church won’t and can’t.

    Obviously your god is nothing like its followers who are incredibly selfish and tightarse and also narcissistic thinking that they alone have the solutions despite evidence of 2000 years.

    Keep up!

  • LadyMohan

    Incorrect on all fronts

  • LadyMohan

    Site your sources

  • JenniferB

    I was just notified that someone clicked like on my last post to you. I thought it was funny in a sad way that you seemed to lose interest in having this conversation. I was hoping for a dialogue, but as is too often the case with people such as yourself you seem to have no interest in actually discussing your views. I was really hoping to find out what you thought should happen to families Who couldn’t afford to eat. I guess I will just have to assume that you like the Mexican plan to let them starve to death. Very Christian of you.

  • I don’t blog every day, or even every week. I would love to have a dialogue with everyone here, but there are far too many people to enter into dialogue with. However, I very much appreciate your desire to actually have a discussion (90 percent of people either just like arguing or are completely recalcitrant and therefore impervious to reason.), so I will answer your question. Of COURSE followers of Christ have a duty to help feed the hungry. That Biblical mandate is directed at individuals, not governments. “Government stopped ‘controlling industries’ and so now you have huge conglomerates that take capital out of communities and hoard it in overseas bank accounts.” That all happened AFTER the government put anti-trust and other controls in place to prevent abuse of labor. Huge corporations are not held accountable because Congress is bought and paid for. That’s the source of the problem. Giving taxpayer money away to people isn’t going to touch the problems you mentioned. Socialism destroys economies, creates dependence, degrades the built-in incentive to work hard and handle money responsibly. Look at Venezuela — a fairly prosperous nation until the current socialist regime took over. Now the country is in ruins. Socialism has the appearance of benevolence, but it is a thief of prosperity. The reason Mexico is starving is because its leaders are hopelessly corrupt. Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system in the history of the world.

  • “[W]e are the only developed nation that does not see health care as a right and not a privilege.” Rights don’t magically appear because lots of people want something. They are divinely ordered. I don’t recall where God said, “All people have the right for other citizens to pay for things they can’t afford themselves.” In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” There is no other source of rights. The wind blows in different directions with each new generation. If something is a “right,” it doesn’t cease to be a right 20 years later, nor does something that isn’t a right suddenly become a right just because we want it to be. I encourage you to study the meaning of the word.

  • “Gleaning amounted to a 10 percent tax for the welfare of the poor.” You’re equating governments and popular opinion with God. He had the right to make that requirement. The government does not, nor do any of us.

  • “People will give their weekly donation to the church food bank, then sit at their dinner tables that same night and talk about how the poor are lazy, unmotivated, and undeserving of their help.” Your comment is schizophrenic at best. In your example, the people are exercising personal charity. How is that deserving of criticism? And do you really believe there aren’t people who are lazy and unmotivated? You’re not living in the real world. That doesn’t mean PRIVATE CITIZENS shouldn’t help them, but one thing is for sure — issuing government checks harms many more people than it helps. Human nature is to take the easy road. Why should hardworking people be penalized for the suffering of others?

  • Examine socialized medicine in other countries. Many in those countries still go without health care (just like here), and the quality of their health care isn’t any better. Moreover, the tax burden is enormous. You’re advocating for disaster.

  • You think there isn’t corruption in socialized medicine too?

  • DDRLSGC

    There is more corruption and waste in HMO medicine than there is in the socialized medicine in Europe. You are the one that needs to be medicated and have your head examine.

  • $144948586

    “Human nature is to take the easy road.”
    Mmm mmm mmm.

    Broad is the road, my friend. Broad is the road.

  • It was wrong for me to make the snide remark about medication. I deleted it about one minute after I typed it. But I urge you to actually study what is happening with socialized medicine in other countries. It solves nothing.

  • BrotherRog

    Well put! Similarly, “But there’s another group of people who want to cut taxes and cut governmental social programs, and who merely say that they want the churches to take care of things. I’m talkin’ about the folks who don’t want to pay taxes and who don’t want to give to their churches either!”

    Read more at “Band-Aids Aren’t Enough” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2012/08/band-aids-arent-enough-progressive-christian-social-justice/#QhOxIHlPrifCzRBx.99

    Roger Wolsey, author, “Kissing Fish”

  • DDRLSGC

    I am sure that they have to deal with waste in other countries; however, they still manage to deliver good to excellent healthcare compare to the USA.

    Here is an article about waste from US hospitals: https://www.propublica.org/article/what-hospitals-waste. You wonder what percentage of it contributes to healthcare cost in this country?

  • JenniferB

    Sir, you are so far off topic from what the original discussion is about. Just to visit your tangent, Mexico has 15 people who are worth $150 billion while 55 million people live in poverty. Yes, corruption is a problem that certainly contributes to the poverty problem but it is not as simplistic of a problem as you seem to believe. Regarding Venezuela, to reduce an incredibly complex economic problem down to one factor is again way too simplistic.

    Now, what we are discussing is health care in the United States. Your statements have made it clear that you do not think that the government should do anything to assist individuals in receiving healthcare. You also haven’t acknowledged that neither individual christians nor churches as a whole have any intention of covering the healthcare costs for people who can’t afford them — or their food costs since that is something that I brought up. So if the church isn’t willing or able to take care of the costs of healthcare and food for those who otherwise would be unable to afford these things, and you do not believe that tax dollars should enable the government to help people, that leaves virtually no one. Why is it that you think that people who can’t afford healthcare or enough food should just be made to do without? If this isn’t what you are saying, then how do you propose that someone such as my daughter who has MS and is unable to hold down a job because of her disease should be able to afford the healthcare that she needs? Where do you believe she should get the money to feed her two children, or should they just do without adequate nutrition if they can’t find some individuals or churches to feed them? By the way, in case you’re curious, her husband left her and disappeared off the radar when she got sick.

  • Bones

    Because the gospel writer was talking about socio-economic policy……..

  • Bones

    No, human nature is to think of yourself….the survival of the fittest and all that…

    Which you’ve most eloquently presented.

  • Bones

    I just had a free hernia operation.

    Service was first class.

    Prior to that I had the teenage son up and they flew him 400km for free to have an abscess lanced on his tonsils.

    Actually even Trump says our free health system is better than yours.

  • JenniferB

    So I was curious and followed your link. Thanks for sharing. I have heard of Samaritan but never read up on it. I found it to be very inadequate for the needs of most Americans. The cost is high, any healthcare costs under $300 aren’t covered, it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, and you have to have a note from your pastor to sign up stating that you regularly attend church and believe in the triune God? 20% of Americans regularly attend services. I wonder what percentage of those have preexisting health conditions? This does not cover more than the Affordable Care Act nor is it necessarily cheaper either.

  • Bones

    Speaking of ignorance….Seems to be a pattern here……

    How America counts its homeless – and why so many are overlooked

    One in five homeless Americans live in California, where the problem is especially acute. In the Golden State and three other western states – Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon – more than 50% of homeless people are categorized as unsheltered, meaning they are living in the streets, vehicles or parks, in places not fit for humans to stay. In New York, by comparison, the number is less than 5%.

    City services are overwhelmed. After torrential rains in San Francisco last week, the shelter wait list for single adults reached a record 1,126 people, according to Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco.

    “We have this emergence of a very visible and very large homeless population in the shadow of tremendous affluence,” she said. “As folks are forced to remain on the streets for longer and longer, they’re really disintegrating. They’re developing more severe mental illnesses and more severe medical disorders, and losing limbs and in wheelchairs.”

    The homelessness problem appears especially severe in cities in the grip of soaring real estate markets. Places such as Seattle and Portland have declared states of emergency to deal with the crisis as they would a natural disaster, while the Los Angeles area, where 43,854 people were counted last year, has the largest number of homeless people in the region.

    The 4,000-square-mile count that covers most of LA County is the nation’s largest. It includes one of the most concentrated communities of unsheltered homeless people in the country: Skid Row.

    During this year’s count, Skid Row volunteers were forced to walk in the middle of the road as the sidewalks were blocked by jumbles of tents and lean-tos. People lay prone in sleeping bags, with cardboard boxes over their heads for a modicum of privacy.

    “Four! Five! Six!” announced one of the counters, the numbers mounting almost without cease.

    A barefoot woman in a bathrobe was bent over and scraping at the ground under a lamppost with her walking stick. A grizzled man almost ran into the volunteers and trilled “uh oh”.

    “You’ll see a whole lot of that,” said Lydell Londo, a formerly homeless man who struggled with a drug addiction and lived on Skid Row for about a year and a half and had joined the counters. “A whole lot of craziness.”

    The shimmering skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles loomed overhead, but on Skid Row many of the grimy buildings were dark. All the life was on the streets.

    Counting homeless people here is disconcertingly easy; volunteers estimated they had tallied about 275 homeless people in only eight square blocks.

    But counting homeless people outside of places such as Skid Row can be complicated. During this year’s count in Hawaii – the state with the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in America – volunteers fanned out across the islands to count homeless residents.

    Its homeless population has soared 30% since 2007 in tandem with real estate prices – what some call the “paradise premium”.

    Another person who will be left off the tally is Chris Kauffman, 39, who sat in a gray minivan filled with bags of his possessions and surfboards on the outskirts of the neighborhood when he saw the volunteers walk past. He has been living in his vehicle for two years because he was unable to afford rent. He wouldn’t mind answering the survey, he said, but nobody had asked him. “I’m pretty smart,” he said softly. “I know where to sleep so the police don’t bother me.

    While the count identifies around half a million homeless Americans on a given night, Culhane uses data extrapolations to estimate that some 2 million Americans experience homelessness at some point over the course of a year.

    For one in three, it lasts a week or less; for others it will be much longer.

    Some advocates take a more expansive view and define the many people who are “doubled up”, unable to afford their own place to live and making do by sharing space with friends or family, as homeless.

    Others say such people are merely “at risk” of homelessness. Either way, according to the US Census Bureau, this was 7 million people in poor households in 2014.

    Estimating the number of homeless Americans is by definition a fraught exercise. Doing so in winter, when many homeless people are huddled for warmth under freeway underpasses or inside cars, poses a particular problem.

    It is especially challenging in Alaska, which has one of the largest per-capita homeless populations in the country, concentrated in Anchorage. More than 400 people in Alaska were unsheltered, in sub-Arctic weather, according to last year’s count.

    Advertisement

    About 5am one recent morning, volunteers including six air force airmen set out on foot along an unlit bike trail through a large forested area in the south-west of the city.

    With flashlights they scanned for foot trails in the fresh snow that might lead to homeless camps. Given the temperature was just below 30F (-1C), they were also prepared to discover something worse.

    Deceased homeless people have been discovered during expeditions such as these. Weeks later, spring snowmelt in Alaska has also been known to reveal the frozen bodies.

    “When we have these big cold snaps like we did this winter, it’s not unheard of,” said Monica Stoesser, a social services worker who led the group. “It’s the reality of what sleeping in tents is like in Anchorage.”

    The airmen waded through thigh-deep snow to an old camp, which was unoccupied. Next the volunteers came upon a well-traveled trail that wound into the spruce forest. At the end were two tents, both covered with tarps.

    “Hello?” Stoesser called out. “Is there anybody home?’ There was no answer.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/16/homeless-count-population-america-shelters-people

  • Bones

    Wrong!

    Governments are to provide for the welfare of its citizens. This includes education, health and legislation.

    By the time churches got around to helping people they would be dead.

  • $144948586

    Because the gospel writer intended future generations to institute a quasi-democratic republic representative of the people AND then use that power to play identity politics and force the rich’s hand through the use of government policy and PRETEND that it isn’t oppressive……..

  • Bones

    The gospel writer knew nothing of secular socio-democracies.

    Instead he would rather people suffer and die than pay taxes. The kingdom of god exists for capitalists and the self made. Matthew 34:65

  • $144948586

    “The gospel writer knew nothing of secular socio-democracies.”
    Oh I got ya; so we can just assume they’d be OK with the dictates of a state so long as it was representative of only a portion of the people.

    “Instead he would rather people suffer and die than pay taxes.”
    You’ve still not shown me where I said this.

    “The kingdom of god exists for capitalists and the self made.”
    I also never said this.

  • Welcome to planet earth. In case you haven’t noticed, not everything goes well for everyone down here. It’s a broken world we live in. But homelessness is often an intentional choice. Being homeless in a social welfare state means you can eat and enjoy shelter and medical care without having to inconvenience yourself with getting a job, working hard and rolling with the punches. Socialism is a disease. Grow up.

  • It’s a broken world. Even if we had the money to fund everyone’s medical care (we don’t — the U.S. is broke and about to go belly up), socialism DOESN’T WORK. I’m going to bow out of this. I can see that facts are irrelevant to you.

  • JenniferB

    Facts. So says the person who defines socialism as “Socialism is when the government owns and/or controls resources and industries and redistributes wealth” and then proceeds to change the definition to suit his purpose at will. Just remember that the early Christians held everything in common and made sure that every one had enough to eat and their needs met. That is a fact from the Bible. Too bad churches don’t want to live according to how the apostles taught.

  • Maybe that wasn’t the best choice of words. Let’s call it “pretending taxpayers are responsible for taking care of everyone who is in an unfortunate situation.” It doesn’t work. But you’ve got your mind made up. I expect you will find some way to blame conservatives when the U.S. folds up like a cheap suit. Be safe out there.

  • Bones

    Someone needs to grow up and get off his couch.

    People are homeless because housing is unaffordable….gee that might be the reason why homelessness correlates with high rent and house prices….

    F*** you poor people choosing to be poor…..

    L.A.’s crisis: High rents, low pay, homelessness rising and $2,000 doesn’t buy much

    The homeless population increased 23% over last year, even though 14,000 people were helped off the streets.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-renters-struggle-06042017-story.html

    Socialism is your saviour….because capitalists like the Sanctimonious Mouse couldn’t give a f*** about you.

  • JenniferB

    And you will allow conservatives to take credit for the US remaining solvent even though the USA isn’t in financial trouble. You will also continue to not bat an eye at all at the money spent on weapons and military, nor will you complain while the wealthiest offshore their income instead of letting it “trickle down.” All the meantime you will continue to wring your hands while the large corporations continue to suck the monetary resources away from their employees, and the employees become poorer and poorer. Then you will continue to blame the poorly paid wage earners for ruining the country. Educate yourself, and stay away from right-wing radio. It is a mind number that parades opinion as facts, and twists truths until they are unrecognizable. Here is a google search if you decide to start learning what is really going on in our country: https://www.google.com/search?q=Why+the+US+isn%27t+really+in+financial+trouble&oq=Why+the+US+isn%27t+really+in+financial+trouble&aqs=chrome..69i57.9312j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  • Bones

    Lol, half your budget is spent on bombs – yes you have plenty of money to spend on health care.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83bd58df09b8a8846fe4b251ad0528e126240bbead0b20cb01aa419f3694c41d.png

    I see facts are irrlevant to you.

  • Bones

    Lol…who’s made their mind up again.

    Maybe you can get involved in more expensive wars. That costs more than your sick people.

  • Bones

    No one here is demanding change……..our last pm tried to change it and he got booted out real quick.

  • Have you ever heard of community living? Rooming houses? There are plenty of options for working with what we have. You have an allergy to truth, it would seem.

  • Bones

    Lol…..the Capitalist solution…..

    Meanwhile….thanks to the free market…..and low income…..

    Research from the U.S. and Scotland
    A number of researchers in the U.S. and one research team in Scotland have directly examined the relationship between housing markets and rates of homelessness. Using cross sectional studies a number of U.S. based studies found that tighter housing markets (housing markets with low vacancy rates and high median rents) are
    associated with higher rates of homelessness. Some of these studies also suggested a role for labour markets and demographic factors.

    For example, Quigley and Raphael (2001) found that median rents, vacancy rates, and rent-to-income ratios were significant predictors of rates of homelessness across the U.S. and explained a large portion of the variance. While Lee, Price-Spratlen and Kanan (2003) found that higher median rents and higher proportions of single person
    households were significantly predictive of rates of homelessness across 335 metropolitan areas.

    Elliot and Krivo (1991) reported that the availability of low-cost housing and expenditure on mental health were both strongly and significantly correlated with rates
    of homelessness across 60 metropolitan areas. They also found that the number of unskilled jobs and the percentage of female-headed households were significantly
    related to rates of homelessness. Looking at 23 metropolitan areas, Early (2005) found that people were more likely to sleep rough when the rents for lowest cost
    housing available are relatively high.

    This is consistent with Honig and Filer’s (1993) finding across a number of US cities that when the lowest 10% of rents were relatively high there was likely to be increased
    rates of homelessness in that city. They also found that growth in local labour markets (i.e. a recent growth in the number of jobs in the private sector) was negatively related to homelessness.

    Mansur, Quigley, Raphael and Smolensky (2002) found that increased income inequality was associated with increased rates of homelessness in California. A year
    earlier, using both national and Californian data, Quigley, Raphael and Smolensky (2001) found that higher rates of poverty were associated with increased rates of
    homelessness. Despite these findings, a number of studies did not find the unemployment rate of an area predictive of rates of homelessness (for example:
    Quigley, Raphael & Smolensky, 2001; Early & Olsen, 2002; Quigley & Raphael, 2001; Honig & Filer, 1993).

    In Scotland, Kemp, Lynch and Mackay (2001) examined whether structural factors could explain variations in rates of homelessness. The second phase of their analysis
    took a time series cross-sectional approach and looked at variations in rates of homelessness over local areas at a number of different points in time. They found that
    unemployment and housing market variables impacted strongly on homelessness as measured by the number of applications to and acceptances by Scottish local
    authorities for accommodation under the homeless category.

    In the earlier years of the cross sectional analysis (1981) vacancy rates were negatively related to homelessness rates. That is, homelessness was lower in areas
    with more available rental housing. However, in more recent years (1996) this trend reversed and areas with higher vacancy rates and lower rents had higher levels of
    homelessness.

    Findings from U.S. and Scottish research suggest a role for housing market conditions in explaining variations in rates of homelessness and suggest that weak labour
    markets and some demographic factors may also be involved.

    http://hanover.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/structural_drivers_of_homelessness.pdf

  • Boy, it’s brutal being a victim, isn’t it?

  • Bones

    Yeah pretty much.

    But you won’t need to worry.

    Daddy’s lookin’ after you.

  • I investigated a church-related “insurance” plan a while back, don’t remember if it was “Samaritan” or some other similar one, with many of the same limitations as you mentioned. In addition, they asked some nosy personal questions and one of the requirements was that you be legally married or else celibate. I don’t think the plan I looked at covered birth control at all. Celibacy IMO is wonderful, if you have the gift, but most people do not and the unmarried ones in particular need access to birth control.

  • It’s a nice idea that “the churches should care for the sick” but in reality most churches have enough difficulty covering their own operating expenses and whatever limited charities they can manage to fund on what their congregations can pay with tithes. The cost of healthcare is so ENORMOUS that it is simply unreasonable to expect churches to cover it. ONE cancer case w/ chemo treatment would quickly consume every available penny and still not be covered. Churches would have to become a continual “GoFundMe” project just to meet the medical needs of a couple of their members. I am not a fan of “big government” by any means, but one of the functions of government is to take care of things on a large scale that individuals and churches cannot manage on our own. And keep in mind that while tithes are 10%, taxes consume upwards of 30% of our income, so government is MUCH better funded than churches.

  • JenniferB

    I have a question for you…after the death of Jesus and for the following couple of hundered years, Christians worshipped in people’s homes, sold property that that they owned so the apostles could distribute the money to others, held everything in common, and made sure that everyone who came to services had what they needed. Do you believe that the early Christians were living inside the will of God? If so, are we now living in an unbiblical way and that is why so many people are suffering? Do you think that it is more biblical to support church buildings or to support the actual church?

  • Good question. People hardly ever bring up the scandalous “communist” origins of the Christian church, LOL! Of course, the circumstances were very different then. Just for one example, in the bible days a “poor” family might have only one milk cow or goat and a small plot of land to grow food, whereas the rich had many. Nowadays most middle-class people, never mind the poor, live on a tiny lot and cannot support even one dairy animal or grow their own food. And “medical care,” such as it was, did not cost 100 times a person’s annual income. “He poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them w/ cloth…” So “survival” was relatively cheaper than it is now and probably easier to provide for more people pooling resources as a small community. Those are practical considerations.

    But your question is more about the ethics and spirituality. Were they living “inside the will of God”? I am not privy to the mind of God other than what Jesus said re: taking care of the poor, in which case, yes. Are we “living in an unbiblical way?” AND “is that why so many people are suffering?” If by “biblical” you mean the normative way of life as described by scripture in the olden days, personally I would NOT want to “live in a biblical way” especially w/ regard to the treatment of women, etc. If by “biblical” you mean the way of life that Jesus endorsed – love one another as you love yourself – then yes, obviously people suffer when we choose greed over compassion!

    As for church buildings, I cringe when I see the mega-churches with their huge expensive buildings and the luxurious lifestyle of their leaders. On the other hand, I love the old cathedrals like Chartres which certainly took a HUGE amount of resources to build and we cannot even duplicate them with our modern technology today. They are historical treasures. But having said that, yeah, nowadays I think we are over-spending on buildings and bureaucracy that could be better spent on helping the poor. BTW, I have a minister friend who was fired from his job because he was “spending too much time helping the homeless” instead of fund-raising for his church!

    thx for your insightful questions and comments.

  • Bones

    Hate to break it to you but lies are lies.

    Churches don’t provide welfare, healthcare, pensions, social security, veterans assistance, public education, disability assistance……

    Who protects the elderly from volatile markets, corporate bankruptcies, fraud and greed by guaranteeing them a stable buy-in pension fund?

    Churches?

    Nope….

  • JenniferB

    “Biblically!” What a loaded word that means so many different things to so many different people! Perhaps I should have searched for a more concise word or phrase, though I don’t even know what I would choose.

    Things were simpler and cheaper 2000-3000 years ago, and there are no easy comparisons between then and now. I have read that the average cost now days to operate a church regardless of size is around $25 a week per member (not sure how children count into the equation.) Thinking about the “biblical model” of meeting in member’s homes, let’s say that a home church has 30 members. If every one of the 30 members was contributing $25 to a fund, that would free up $39,000 annually to assist those who need help.

    These are just things that I have been thinking about lately. Why pay for a building to meet in? Why pay for clergy? The more that I think about it, the more these things seem to be unnecessary to the mission of the church. Not only unnecessary, but I wonder if they often get in the way of accomplishing all of the good that the church could be doing.

  • Discordia

    About your friend who was fired for doing his job (helping the homeless). Was his congregation full tithe payers or was it a bunch of “raided my couch this morning and here’s what I found” types?

  • Discordia

    Don’t forget all the schools and libraries that are publicly funded. Not that everyone uses them.

  • I am not sure. I will ask him. As far as I know the congregants in that church are by no means wealthy so there may have been a dearth of tithes…

  • LastManOnEarth

    ***crickets***

  • Adrian

    Another question would be, can the church(es) care for the sick competently and ethically? In other words, can they be trusted to provide real, quality medical care without siphoning 90% of the funds to the church or the pastor’s bank account and to refrain from using their position of power to force their religion on desperate people? A good look at Christian “charities” suggests that they can’t…

  • Adrian

    It always feels to me as if it’s just an attempt to stop the
    conversation to accuse someone of being a communist instead of being a
    means of furthering the discussion.

    That’s because it is exactly that.

  • Adrian

    I don’t want the government to own industries either.

    I dunno, the idea that basic infrastructure (roads, water, power,…) would/should be owned by the country so the money for maintenance and upgrades doesn’t end up in the pockets of obcenely wealthy shareholders has its appeal…

  • Adrian

    Victim Blaming 101/Blaming the Poor 101 is a required course for Reich Wingers.

  • Adrian

    And tothing, tithing is always important, according to Rat Poberson and Co. Even/particularly when you can’t afford it.

  • Adrian

    Oh yeah, resenting people for exposing their hypocrisy by existing is a classic that never gets out of fashion among “good Christians.”

  • Michael J Sweeney

    If we are going to make America better again from within the multimillionaire Christians on TBN should pay for their health care of our own sick. It couldn’t be harder than saving africa.

  • Michael J Sweeney

    I think we need to actually equip them with tools to: first speak plain English, then second equip with citizenship, and third equip with the department of vocational rehabilitation and start interviewing. If they don’t want to be an American that’s a problem.

  • Michael J Sweeney

    Paul says you don’t work you don’t eat.

  • Bungarra

    “..socialism DOESN’T WORK….”

    First, the old University debating trick. Define your terms. What is socialism? From a perspective which includes watching the Red Army march into Shanghai as a child, is is not what many in the USA think it means. It is not dictatorial Communism, or its mirror image National socialism as we saw in Germany, or the total dictator ship of say Syria today. Joseph McCarthy was allowed to get away with political blackmail and distortion.

    “McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.”

    Democratic socialism as practiced in places like Norway does work. Even in in Australia compared to the US, we are in to top 10-15 for health cf US > 30, and the per head health care costs of the USA are 2.5 times or so as much as Australia. Unfortunately Australia is catching the American disease so is trying to increase the costs above that of inflation. see https://www.nationofchange.org/2018/01/24/the-norwegian-menace/

    US health care is a very good example. Any private company would have gone broke long ago if they delivered such a poor result per $1 invested.

  • Jason Goatcher

    This is a very good point.

    People don’t realize it, but it’s more profitable for the people who own health care companies if we stay sick. Socialized medicine is the only choice I can see if we truly care about our own health.

    Sorry, came to your personal page to respond to something and got interested. We probably disagree on a lot of stuff, but you appear to approach problems the way I would if I didn’t believe in God.