It’s this article winding the Saturday clock today, titled: What the Flap Over Health Care Tells Us About American Religion.
That interesting juxtaposition of words caught my eye since the fact that there is a flap never ceases to amaze me and I’m often curious about religion, American or otherwise. Not curious in a “What’s it all about?” sense as much as “How does such a load of bollocks manage to fly?”, but curious, nonetheless.
One reason it does fly, apparently, has much to do with that hypocrisy thing:
We begin with the teachings of Jesus, for his message was clear.
He told his followers to care for the poor. In fact, providing for those he called “the least of these” was perhaps his highest priority. He didn’t say how to get that job done. He just said, Do it.
But in this richest nation on earth, where 75 percent of its people claim to be Christian, the poor — even the working poor — routinely fall through the cracks. One would think that Christians in this country would utilize “any means necessary” to make sure that no one in this country is homeless or starving or naked or without basic healthcare.
Indeed, one would think that the 75 percent of the nation’s population that claims to follow Jesus would rejoice when the government creates a tool to provide healthcare for virtually all the nation’s poor. And one would think that those same Christians would rise up in furious protest and righteous indignation when some politicians attempt to sabotage that tool — and thereby sabotage the nation’s poor.
But that seldom happens. In fact, many Christians denounce the health care law as a tool of the devil and support its repeal.
Or is it?
The guy writing the piece makes a living off religion as “Distinguished Professor of Religion and Director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College” … Huh? … so must be well invested in the idea that there’s value in them thar holy hills and pointing out an obvious disconnect is worth the effort it takes to do that.
To me, however, it seems a gianormous waste of time akin to trying to get Sarah Palin to shutthefuckup with the stupid shit by publishing every stupid shit thing she says. Wouldn’t it be easier to just state once and flatly that Palin is a moron and religion is a load of crap, then drop both subjects?
Is it helpful in the least to mention Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King, as this article does, and their ponderings on the false virtue of sanctimonious pretense as an attempt at finger-wagging when sanctimonious pretense is the name of the game?
In fact, when Christians read the Bible through the lens of American individualism, limited government, and free-market conservatism, there is no way they can acknowledge what the Bible teaches about social justice and compassion for the poor.
A man who responded to one of my editorials, for example, complained, “No where does the Lord, or his Son, Jesus Christ, say that government should take care of the poor and downtrodden.”
Yeah … like that guy will be shamed by a finger-wag in his direction. Not bloody likely. But he will most certainly be proud as all get-out of his adherence to Christianity, consider it some sort of personal moral victory, trot it out often, wave it around and try to shove it down the necks of others.
A handy thing, a defining title, a membership in a club that conveys some version of gravitas; to be able to say “I’m a Christian” and have that taken to mean something significant.
The only question is this: how will America’s Christians respond?
I’m guessing … with greed and hypocrisy, as always.