Sunday, August 23, 2009

When "Repent or Die" Becomes Literal

If health insurance reform fails, there's something worse than a system that provides health care only to people who can afford private insurance:

a system that provides health care only to people who worship an invisible sky wizard.

Yes, we've had faith-based health care in this country since its founding, and yes, most of the truly compassionate and non-judgmental health care provided to the poorest of the poor is provided by those who do so out of religious conviction.

But when the freakazoid largest congregation in Lexington - the second-largest in the state - makes providing health care to the uninsured secondary to "meeting the spiritual needs" of desperate people, I hear alarms screaming.

The Fayette County Refuge Medical Clinic, one of two non-profit organizations initially funded by Southland Christian Church, opened six months ago to provide free medical, dental and chiropractic care. There are at least six other similar clinics, without which hundreds of uninsured people couldn't be pro-active in their health care.


The Refuge provides not only some of the best medical care available but also tries to meet the needs of the whole person, spiritual as well as physical, Smith said.


Volunteers and staff members have devotions every morning and pray for patients who have asked for prayer on cards left in the lobby.


As far as Smith knows, even if a health care reform plan is passed, her clinic will continue to operate. But who knows what services it will offer and how? A clinic board member has read the current proposal and discussions about the clinic's future are under way with board members.

"We've definitely thought about it," she said. "We will adjust when that happens. Maybe we would shift into more dental care. But to be completely honest, the type of care we provide rivals any care that is out there."


Melrose believes there would be little need for government intervention or universal health care if more people lived their faith.

"I want people to read this and be challenged by it," he said. "I want them to get up and do something for this community.

"If we get focused on doing it God's way, all these other issues are non-issues."

Finished vomiting yet? Then don't read the whole thing. The writer goes on to claim that if enough freakazoids step up to the plate, we wouldn't need government programs at all. And this is from a professed liberal who is often crucified in letters-to-the-editor from professed conservatives.

This is the real danger: that ignorant, deluded freakazoids will use societal breakdown to justify the goals of the Dominionists.

This isn't a slippery slope; it's a 12-lane, no-speed-limit superhighway direct to denying medical care to all non-Xians.

We gave faith-based social work several decades to work between the Civil War and the Depression - I'll let you guess how well it succeeded.

But today it's not a question of faith-based social work failing to meet people's needs; it's a question of giving up on the whole idea of diverse people in a secular society creating a system that works for everyone, regardless of belief.

Not to mention the idiocy of putting your health and life in the hands of people who would deny gravity if the voices in their head told them to.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....

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