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Health care and sick children

Newsweek/WaPo’s On Faith tends to produce some gems, some drivel, and a lot that’s pretty bland. Today their question was

Is health care for children a parental responsibility or a moral imperative for society?

It produced a decent mix of answers. The best, I think, was Samuel Rodriquez’s comment on the silence of the “Pro-Life” movement on this issue. It seems obvious to me – I think the “Pro-Life” movement has little interest in what happens to people after birth. But while I have no faith in the leadership of that movement, there are good people in there. I hope they may hear this from someone that’s harder for them to dismiss out of hand. With a few exceptions, the rest of the columnists seem to see the obvious problem with that dichotomy, and recognise that there’s a moral obligation to take care of sick children. And then there’s Cal Thomas. He starts by saying:

Parents should have primary responsibility for their children, including health insurance. The more parental rights that are ceded to government, the more authority we relinquish to government.

Hmm. So the issue isn’t about whether a sick child gets the care he or she needs, it’s about “parental rights”?

Jesus’s admonition to care “for the least” is personal, not governmental, but since the Left thinks government is God it believes in constantly expanding government

In first century Palestine, “government” was authoritarian rule by outsiders. Government was not the expression of collective will. In a democratic society, the government’s role is to do the will of the people. If you care for the poor yourself, or if you instruct your employees to take your money and care for the poor, it’s still a personal act. It isn’t the same as expressing opinions about what a foreign dictator should be doing. It’s also interesting how quickly Thomas turns a forum about faith into a forum for political attacks. Third sentence. Good job. The he continues

Notice the same Scripture it twists to justify more spending and bigger government, it ignores when it comes to sex, abortion, marriage and all sorts of other things. The Right does the same, of course, when it mostly ignores poverty and justice issues.

It’s hard to say whether Thomas is talking about Matthew 25:31-46 or the whole Bible. (Thomas called his column Best Way to Help ‘the Least’. This is a reference to Mt 25:45: Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me, which is embedded in the larger context of verses 31-46.) The passage says nothing about “sex, abortion and marriage”. The Bible as a whole says very little about marriage, and does nothing to condemn abortion (although it mandates it in one instance). On the other hand, the Bible says vast amount about poverty and justice. To suggest that these “sins of omission” are somehow comparable suggests either an ignorance of the Bible, or a desire to willfully misrepresent what it says.

Thomas ends by saying

The more power government exercises over us, the fewer rights we are likely to retain.

So, personal rights and freedoms are somehow superior to the wellbeing of children? That’s pretty disgusting. Is he saying that it’s better to have sick children die than to cede more “freedom” to the government? And it’s somehow worse to cede that freedom to a government which (at least in theory) belongs to the people than it is to cede that freedom to an insurance company, whose policies you will never have the right to influence?

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