Greg Garrett: A Christian View of Obamacare

I really like Greg Garrett’s thoughts on how Christians might think about the Affordable Care Act.  I applaud his efforts to reflect Christianly (and not just politically) on the meaning of the act.  Here is a taste:

How might Christians have a conversation about Obamacare that isn’t simply about political talking points and dueling statistics?

In Faithful Citizenship, I argued for the importance of identifying what we’re really talking about when we talk about politics, and discussed how we might make ethical decisions from our Christian core, not our secular culture. We often reason from the standpoint of freedoms and liberties, important American ideals, but they’re not necessarily preeminent for us as people of faith. While certainly we extrapolate an absolute value for each human being by the way Jesus loved and valued everyone, these rights and freedoms are book-ended for people of faith by responsibilities.

Liberty is always balanced, in the life of Jesus, against the needs of others, and his actions throughout the gospels show a continuing pattern: Jesus ministers to others; he goes up on a mountain alone or with close friends and takes care of himself; he comes back down and ministers to others; he takes—or tries to take—some time for himself. Jesus does have some boundaries—notice how he perceives when someone touches the hem of his garment seeking healing in Mark 5—but he also is on Earth intentionally doing selfless things on behalf of those who need his help: healing, feeding, teaching, casting out unclean spirits.

Taken together, these consistent actions of Jesus suggest a Christian attitude toward the issue of health care; if we take his life and teaching seriously, Jesus seems to indicate that healing and taking care of the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves are supreme Christian values. Jesus is a force of life and hope who empowers—and requires—his disciples to heal and feed and teach and restore people to their right selves. All of this argues that we may, as Christians, be called to uncomfortable places when we begin to serve our brothers and sisters, a place where our secular boundaries and values would call us to stop short.