The repeal of Obamacare: Do unto others?

Yesterday the Republicans in the US House of Representatives finally succeeded in passing the American Health Care Act, the bill to repeal and “replace” Obamacare. Of course, it’s not a done deal: It still has to pass the Senate, which thankfully will be a much more difficult task. But even so, the passage of this bill  leaves me with a heavy heart.

Part of it is that I myself have health insurance through Obamacare, but that’s not the big issue for me. Fortunately—knock on wood—my health is fine for the moment, and because I live in Mexico, I can get relatively cheap medical services if needed. What pains me more is the plight of the sick and suffering people who are depending on Obamacare right now for the insurance they need to get the care they need. I have a good friend who told me that he could finally get the mental health services he had needed for years as a result of Obamacare, and he is very afraid that he will lose those services. And on the extreme end of the suffering scale, let’s not mince words: Many people will literally die if the repeal goes all the way through.

This strikes me as the height of madness and cruelty. Of course, I cannot see inside the hearts of all those who voted for the bill, so I cannot divine their motives for doing so. But whatever their motives may have been, the bill they voted for cannot be reasonably seen as an honest attempt to actually provide good health care to those who need it most. As was widely reported, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the earlier version of this bill would cause 24 million people to lose their health insurance in the next ten years. The new bill does not appear to remedy this at all, an inconvenient truth that was probably behind the Republican leadership’s decision to not even send the new version for CBO review. It sure seems that those who voted for this bill knew, or at least should have known, that its effect on the lives of their fellow human beings would almost certainly be disastrous.

All of this brings my mind inevitably to the Golden Rule, especially since so many of the Republicans who voted for this bill identify as committed Christians. How could anyone who takes the teachings of Jesus seriously reconcile voting for this bill with Jesus’ injunction to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? This question isn’t angry or bitter for me; I’m truly befuddled and would like to know. Yes, I get that people can simply be hypocrites who vote for self-serving reasons, but even they usually try to justify in their own minds what they do—people have a need to at least think that they’re living up to their highest ideals. In a case like this, how do they do it?

Well, I don’t know. Fortunately, I can take comfort in A Course in Miracles and in the teachings of the historical Jesus. What these teachings tell me is that the people who voted to repeal and “replace” Obamacare yesterday are still precious children of an infinitely loving God, brothers and sisters who deserve only love, compassion, and goodwill. Nothing a person does can change that. These teachings tell me as well that God has a plan for all things, and that in this plan, each of us has a role to play in bringing His love to those who need it most. I understand that many people don’t share these views, and each person will need to find his or her comfort in whatever way is most helpful. But for me, these teachings and the life experiences they’ve given me are a real lifeline.

So, since the repeal deed has not yet been completely done, I say let’s stand up lovingly and firmly for everyone involved: those who need their hearts opened to compassion, and those who need the health care that Obamacare provides (however imperfectly). In fact, I would humbly suggest that we shoot even higher and go for single-payer. It is time, once again, to do unto others…

10 Replies to “The repeal of Obamacare: Do unto others?”

  1. The Golden Rule for me often needs the wholesale disclaimer; “forgive them for they know not what they do”.

  2. I see you found the blog, Dennis. Welcome! Yes, I’ve reflected on that particular injunction of Jesus quite a bit lately. Certainly one to remember in these difficult times.

  3. GREG: All of this brings my mind inevitably to the Golden Rule, especially since so many of the Republicans who voted for this bill identify as committed Christians. How could anyone who takes the teachings of Jesus seriously reconcile voting for this bill with Jesus’ injunction to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? This question isn’t angry or bitter for me; I’m truly befuddled and would like to know.

    PAM: Hi Greg. Regarding the Golden Rule, we are told in the Course, “You are asked to behave towards others as you would have them behave toward you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate….”

    The above passage makes me think that an answer to your question must begin with having The Holy Spirit show you how a truly committed “bible is the only Word of God-curriculum’ Christian sees the world while simultaneously divesting yourself of the idea that often their perspective of the world is derived from ego, ego, tiny bit of cherry picked bible passages, and more ego. I say this only because this is what the Holy Spirit required of me in the days when I would have completely joined with you in your befuddlement regarding Healthcare and many other issues—and asked Him to show me their perspective.

    What happened for me is that (in about three months) I SAW (miracle level SAW) that the Bible, and Christians came to me Saviors and nothing more. When I gained this insight, in a very concrete way, their political views became wholly understandable as views that could be held by people who Love the Bible and see it as a book of Love. Doesn’t mean I adopted all their views—I didn’t. However, it does mean I saw said views as perfectly acceptable views that could be believed by God-loving and God-Following-and Holy Spirit-Hearing people.

  4. I’m not quite sure that I understand your response, Pamela. I of course agree with you that we need to ask the Holy Spirit how to perceive other people, including conservative Christians. But my question above was about how conservative Christians personally reconcile their support of the Obamacare repeal with Jesus’ Golden Rule. That is something I’d still be very interested in knowing—not to condemn them as human beings, but simply to understand how they are thinking. In trying to connect with other people, especially those with whom I disagree, it helps me to know more about where they’re coming from.

  5. Greg, I am saying that the only way to understand their perception of the Healthcare issue in relation to the Golden Rule (especially if said perception seems so disparate from being committed to Christianity that one finds self befuddled which is to say confused, bewildered, and discombobulated with their view) is to see THEM differently. For example, maybe, just maybe, their understanding of The Golden Rule is as complete as your own and as Christian. Do you think there is some way, if you asked The Holy Spirit, that He could show you this in concrete terms?

  6. Pamela, it seems like we’re going around in circles here a bit. Again, I agree that we need the Holy Spirit’s help to see people differently. It’s a great point, and something I work on doing on a regular basis—believe me, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me perceive people lovingly all the time, including the conservative Christians we’re talking about.

    But what I’m talking about in that paragraph isn’t about that. It’s about something more down-to-earth. When I say “befuddled,” I simply mean “I do not know how these Christians consciously, in their own thinking on the matter, reconcile support of Obamacare repeal with the Golden Rule.” I personally find these things difficult to reconcile, but in the spirit of civil discussion, I would like to hear what my conservative Christian brothers’ and sisters’ views are on that. (Especially the views of the Christians in Congress who voted for repeal.)

    After such a discussion, we might end up disagreeing on whether our respective views are equally complete and in accord with the teachings of Jesus. My guess is that we probably would end up disagreeing. And that’s okay. All views are not equal in their validity (their accordance with the truth), but disagreements don’t change the fact that we are brothers and sisters in God, and calmly discussing such disagreements could even bring all parties closer to the truth. Then we’d all be a little less befuddled! 🙂

  7. Greg, I am sorry that I am not being clear. I (same as you) think that an exchange of political views will produce disagreement; however, I don’t think that disagreement is an environment in which understanding another’s different perception necessarily arises and thrives. If one wants a concrete, see-it-in-the-world solidity of the loving and Christian nature of the views of full-gospel, conservative Christians when it comes to healthcare, it can be attained by understanding them in the context of their valid but different form of The Curriculum. This would involve the following:

    1. Gathering together all bible scriptures about government and reviewing the interpretations of these scriptures held by the 80 percent of born-again, evangelical Christians and 70 percent of Catholic Charismatics who are fully committed (read and study their bibles daily and talk with Jesus and The Holy Spirit as best they can) conservatives. What is their understanding of what the Bible (old and new testaments) say about Government? Is the Bible’s view very positive about government, seeing it as a good and godly source of authority or does it see certain conflicts and, if so, what are the nature of these conflicts and how does it tell people to resolve these?

    2. Gathering together all scriptures about finances and Charity, e.g., what to give, how to give it, and Who to give it too and, again, look at their interpretations of these scriptures. What does the Bible say about taxes and their use by Government. What does the Bible say about Charity and how believers should participate in it. Does the bible view it as God’s Will for the government to levy taxes and, if so, how much should be taken?

    I bring up The Holy Spirit because ONLY He can show us how to do the above and, in my experience, it takes awhile. However, the results are beyond amazing and in my experience this is what really produces understanding of how they can come to supporting the healthcare bill produced by the House.

  8. Excuse the typos. Can’t write and discuss various ‘morning things’ with my daughters at the same time.

  9. Pamela, I think the project you propose sounds great, and I’d love to see someone actually carry it out. Carrying out such a project isn’t at odds with anything I’ve said. I’m glad we’ve found something to agree on. 🙂

    P.S. No problem with the typos.

  10. I am also glad we agree on this Greg. I really do not see any other way to see the Christian and loving nature of their conservative views; otherwise, it is just seeing the ego in them having its insane say and forgiving them for it.

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