The Crusader Online

September 27, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 4

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Chaplain's Corner

I have been wondering what Jesus might have thought about shutting down a government because one is opposed to a specific incarnation of health care reform. Shutting down government in general, particularly if it was Roman and if it meant an end to unjust taxation, might not have sounded that bad to him, but because of health care?
Jesus came preaching and teaching the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). In Mark's rendition this means that mostly rather than talk a lot he, instead, did things. Most characteristically, he healed people. The status of these healings is hotly debated, but no serious scholar doubts that Jesus had a reputation for delivering health care free of charge. Jesus' view of God's love for human beings, of our respect for one another as independent persons, of human wholeness, was that people be healthy. The very presence of disease and people in need of healing are signs that God's will for us is being frustrated. The very idea of the Kingdom of God for him meant that people experience physical and mental wholesomeness -- as a gift.
It seems to me this raises the question of health being, to think of the Declaration of Independence, a 'Creator-endowed' human right. If being healthy is a basic human right, a good we would wish for all people, then would it not follow that access to health care, regardless of ability to pay, is also a basic human right?
For Christians this problem is unavoidable. We need to rethink how it is that we accept as normal a situation in which a fundamental good proclaimed in the message of the Kingdom is denied to so many because they can't afford health care. But for all of us, regardless of faith, Jesus raises a central question for our time: are we willing to grant that the access to the services we need for a healthy life is a fundamental human obligation we have toward one another?

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