Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Creed

In the midst of the partisan screaming over health care reform, it seems like few people are taking the time to consider the larger theological and moral issues at hand.

As a Christian, I believe that each and every one of God's children is of sacred worth, and that access to quality, affordable health care is a fundamental right of all human beings, not just those who have the means to afford it.

Although I voted for President Obama and my theological and moral convictions generally cause me to lean toward the political left, I don't know enough yet about the specific proposals for health care reform to know whether I would be in favor of a specific bill or not.

What I do know is that in Matthew 25, when Jesus talks about the differences between the sheep and the goats (those who are participating in the life of the Kingdom of God, and those who are not, respectively), one of the identifying marks of the sheep is caring for the "least of these" when they are sick, because whatever one does to any of God's children, they do unto God.

With that in mind, I'd like to share something I received in an email the other day from Tony Garr, director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC), which contained a "Health Care Creed" developed by People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO), and Sojourners.

As one of God's children, I believe that protecting the health of each human being is a profoundly important personal and communal responsibility for people of faith.

I believe God created each person in the divine image to be spiritually and physically healthy. I feel the pain of sickness and disease in our broken world (Genesis 1:27, Romans 8:22).

I believe life and healing are core tenets of the Christian life. Christ's ministry included physical healing, and we are called to participate in God's new creation as instruments of healing and redemption (Matthew 4:23, Luke 9:1-6; Mark 7:32-35, Acts 10:38). Our nation should strive to ensure all people have access to life-giving treatments and care.

I believe, as taught by the Hebrew prophets and Jesus, that the measure of a society is seen in how it treats the most vulnerable. The current discussion about health-care reform is important for the United States to move toward a more just system of providing care to all people (Isaiah 1:16-17, Jeremiah 7:5-7, Matthew 25:31-45).

I believe that all people have a moral obligation to tell the truth. To serve the common good of our entire nation, all parties debating reform should tell the truth and refrain from distorting facts or using fear-based messaging (Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:14-15, 25; Proverbs 6:16-19).

I believe that Christians should seek to bring health and well-being (shalom) to the society into which God has placed us, for a healthy society benefits all members (Jeremiah 29:7).

I believe in a time when all will live long and healthy lives, from infancy to old age (Isaiah 65:20), and "mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Revelation 21:4). My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters who watch their loved ones suffer, or who suffer themselves, because they cannot afford a trip to the doctor. I stand with them in their suffering.

I believe health-care reform must rest on a foundation of values that affirm each and every life as a sacred gift from the Creator (Genesis 2:7).

If you share the conviction that health is a fundamental right of all God's children, regardless of your political leanings, I hope you will share this creed with others on your blog, Facebook page, or whatever other means you have of communicating your beliefs to others.

(Note: the biblical passages cited and linked above are not intended as "proof-texts" to argue that God is in favor of one political position over another. They're simply intended to point to some biblical passages that inform these convictions. If you read and interpret these and other biblical passages differently, I affirm and honor your convictions, just as I hope you will affirm and honor mine.)

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

Matt, thank you so much for this. Well put.