If you have read any of my musings you have probably seen me struggle with how the evangelical Christian church has become so intertwined with the conservative right and their attack on helping the poor, minorities, gay, disadvantaged people in our country.
I believe after reading more and more about the new health care proposal that I have finally figured out the link. The prosperity gospel of pastors like Joel Osteen who preach financial gains are God showing favor on them and a signal of their faith and righteousness.
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) [A] is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are traditional to Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.
The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be happy. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.
So how does this all connect?
This week, when all the GOP in congress were out touting their new health care plan, Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas said.
“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
Pressed on that point, Marshall shrugged.“Just, like, homeless people. … I think just morally, spiritually, socially, [some people] just don’t want health care,” he said. “The Medicaid population, which is [on] a free credit card, as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I’m not judging, I’m just saying socially that’s where they are. So there’s a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [into] the ER.”
The problem (well one of many) with this idea is that a 2016 Harvard School of Public Health study found that Medicaid expansion actually improved the health of low-income people and also reduced ER visits, saving everyone more money.
But to the GOP, fact has little meaning.So I dug a little more, especially into Paul Ryan and found this gem of an article
“And Ryan is unified in this as well. This is, in fact, the Rosetta Stone by which Ryan’s worldview is explained: Those who have achieved affluence have done so through proper moral choices and deserve rewards. Those who are struggling have made poor moral choices and require punishments to induce them back into prosperity. That’s the whole of it. And you can see how this is wholly incompatible with what “health care reform” seeks to achieve. In Ryan’s view, if you have come to the point in your life where you are incapable of simply financing your own health care, this is down to your personal failings, and you don’t deserve much beyond the barest of minimums.
So in the end, it’s not that Paul Ryan doesn’t understand health insurance. And it’s not that he doesn’t understand math well enough to know that the numbers don’t add up to a sufficient “replacement” for Obamacare. That’s because what Ryan is “repealing” and “replacing” isn’t a health care bill ― he’s swapping out the moral universe that gave birth to the Affordable Care Act with the one that he prefers. One in which the state rewards affluence and punishes those who fail to achieve it. One in which the very notion of redistributing money from the well-off to the poor for the purpose of health care provision is a mortal sin. Properly reconfiguring the universe along these moral guidelines is, to Ryan’s mind, an “act of mercy.”
So there it is- the GOP believe that they are rich and powerful, not because the color of their skin, the dick between their legs, the family that they were born into, no- they are rich and powerful because they are the moral elite and that God has blessed them beyond everyone else because of their righteousness.
And if the government “punishes” those who are more prosperous by higher taxes or having to pay more for health care even though they are not sick, the government is taking away from that what is their God-given prosperity.
The biggest problem with this world view is this- its simply not what Jesus said in the bible.