July 26, 2009 by D Stack
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Matthew 25:14-46 (New American Bible translation)
I tend to avoid religious justification for how I feel politicians should behave. My religious faith informs the way I vote but it is not a requirement that anyone whom I vote for shares my faith, so long as they do not hinder it.
However, it has been driving me somewhat bonkers over the past few weeks, listening to many of the same people who proclaim the United States to be a “Christian nation” speak out against universal health care.
The above quote is a fairly well known passage in the Bible. However I’d suggest reading it again, especially if you consider the United States to be a Christian nation. It is not a separation of individuals this Biblical passage speaks of, but a separation of nations. “[A]ll the nations will be assembled before him.” “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
So explain this to me. The same people whose Christian faith dictates that they post the Ten Commandments in courthouses, that the Pledge of Allegiance must be to a nation “under God”, that is against allowing marriage between consenting adults of the same gender, can’t be bothered to follow through with this decree for nations to care for the ill? Have they just now discovered a separation between church and state?
Shifting gears a bit, this is not the reason I believe Congress should use when considering universal health care. It informs my motivations. And if they are Christian it should inform theirs as well. But when you come down to it, how is it health care is not considered a human right? I’m fine with honest disagreement on the ideal solution. But at the end of a day, it seems a tragedy if one person lacks adequate health care. As reported by the AP, medical bills trigger half of all bankruptcies. Is it right for a person or family’s fortune to be wiped out due to illness? And while I am fine with private enterprise’s participation in a health care program, at the end of the day the government must be involved, at the very least in the form of subsidies, if any program is to be truly universal.
And universal it should be. Is that socialism? Maybe. But if so we as a nation are fine with socialism in a lot of other areas. I’m not seeing senators shouting that we must disband police forces and fire departments. There does not seem to be a massive effort to make every road in the United States privately built and maintained and paid for exclusively by user tolls. And I doubt you’d find a majority in favor of dismantling public schools. Of course not. These are things we view as essential needs. As is health care.
Just as a snide closing remark… It is worth noting that among the “least brothers” are in all probability illegal immigrants.