how hard DO you work?
Of course the big question everyone seems to have an opinion about is the healthcare debate.
Some people love our healthcare system, wouldn’t change a thing. it’s just perfect. (these people more than likely work for an insurance or pharmaceutical company)
Most seem to agree that we have a high level of health care in America, it’s not perfect but we have many of the best doctors and scientists in the world practice and research here. Most would also agree the bureacracy of insurance companies is ridiculous and it’s become way too expensive to afford healthcare outside of an employer-based benefit.
Where we seem to disagree is in just WHO should have healthcare. Some think everyone should have access to it (i.e. education, electricity, etc). Others think that only those who can pay for it, should have it. Is healthcare a product to be consumed or a service to be provided?
Last night I was talking with my Dad about his family. He had an older sister who passed away before he was born when she was only a year old. This was during the depression of the 30′s and they lived in eastern Kentucky where there was obviously no health care system. She died from diarrhea. They had no access to a doctor or hospital who could help this dehydrated little girl. That is almost unfathomable in 2009 to think a child in America would die from that so I guess we have progressed some.
Some might say, “not my problem” or “if her parents had worked harder they could have gone to a doctor” or “why should I have to pay for this little girl?”
This is the point in the discussion where this person begins to rant about abuse of the welfare system and how “those people” (whoever “they” are) are just lazy and want to take advantage of the system. Again, I think most would agree there is some serious abuse in our welfare system. The rant then usually includes some form of the rhetorical question: “Do you know how HARD I work? Why does the government get to take that away and give it to someone who doesn’t work?”
At this point, I usually want to ask, “how hard DO you work?” Like an old standup audience waiting to hear the punchline. “I work SO hard ….(rim shot)”
What has really bothered me is the way Christians argue about this issue. I think Chrisitans start with at least 2 presuppositions in this discussion that basically revolve around possession.
1 – Some presuppose that all that they have worked for belongs to them. They have worked hard, they have earned it, they get to decide what to do with it. They do business the old fashioned way…they EARN it. This is logical and makes sense. No free lunches. Everything has a price. No pain no gain. (insert your own quip here). When the Sermon on the Mount is mentioned, these folks quote Proverbs or some Levitical rule. (They sometimes also confuse scripture with talk radio.)
2 – Others presuppose that they deserve nothing. All that they do “have” really belongs to God. Without him they would have absolutely nothing. They are recipients of grace and receive what they have with the realization that God gets to decide where it goes. If you want more, give it away. If you want to gain, you must lose. If you want to live, you must die. The parable of the workers fits them (Matthew 20:1-16).
I think the people in group #1 have missed it. I am guilty as all Americans are of consumerism and selfishness, but I can still believe that part of our very existence on this earth, is to follow Christ’s example to care for those that nobody else cares about. I don’t know what that means in terms of national budgets and tax cuts and employer incentives. I don’t know if that is accomplished through socialized medicine or strict reform on health insurance companies. I just know the Church used to be the people who started hospitals and schools and orphanages and you name it. If nobody else wants you or will help you, the Church is supposed to embrace you. Somewhere along the way, we got out of that business. Maybe someone realized you can’t make any money taking care of “those people”.
I don’t have any answers to the debate. But I think if the Church took care of people, the government wouldn’t have to.