An Open Reply…

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Brian McLaren’s  Recent post at God’s Politics,  An Open Letter On Health Care to Conservative Christians in the U.S.  is the kind of post that frankly drives me nuts,  broad on charges and innuendo, but very thin when it comes to specifics.  As such, though I consider myself a conservative evangelical Christian, I have no idea whether or not I would be one of the Christians he is talking about.

To be sure I have no doubt that there are conservative Christians who are not always “radically committed to integrity and civility,” but this could be said for virtually any group.  So why is this letter not to all Christians?  Sure there are those who may follow “Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Fox News” more than spiritual leaders, but how is this different from those liberal Christians who follow Obama, Reed, Pelosi, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN News, PBS News, the New York Time, Washington Post, etc.?  Again these are problems faced by all groups. So why is this just a letter conservative Christians?

About the closest McLaren get to specifics is when he mentions “talk of ‘death panels’ or inappropriate comparisons to Hitler.”   As for the comparisons to Hitler, this sort of political hyperbole is common to some on both sides,  as has been the case in the current health care debate.   So again why the restriction to just conservatives?   As for that reference to “death panels” granted, that may be a bit of political hyperbole, but the underlying charge on which this is based is not.   If a government panel is setting standards for when medical care will or will not be given, as the bill calls for,  they will in effect be deciding at least in some cases who will be given treatment that will allow them to live, and who will not and thereby be allowed to die.  

McLaren complains that he has received many emails with “outlandish claims about what President Obama is planning to do regarding health care.”  I have no doubt that is true.  Lots of false claims are made on the internet. But he goes on to claim that “They’re based on rumors spread by certain dramatic radio and cable-tv personalities, but they are not based in truth.”  At least one specific would have been helpful here.  At least one claim made by one personality to give the reader some sort of context would have been nice. 

For example I would say that a lot of outlandish claims have been made by President Obama in support of his plan, such that you will be able to keep your current insurance if you like it, or that doctors amputate feet and remove tonsils just to make more money and thus that is a good place to save money.

At the core McLaren seems guilty of his own complaint of  “not being satisfied to compare “our” best with “their” worst, as unscrupulous politicians and media personalities so often like to do”  Again I would ask why this was not an open letter to all Christians. 

As for the current health care debate, for me it comes down to this.  We have serious problems that need to be addressed and we have three main options:

 1) Do nothing;
 2) seek a solution that involves more choice and competition (i.e. a market approach);
 3) seek a solution that involves more centralized planning and control (i.e. a government approach).   

I would prefer 2, but Obama and the Democrats control the Government and are pursuing 3 which, for the reasons I have detailed in my book, Preserving Democracy, I believe will only make things worse, much worse.  And that is why I oppose it.  

I must also add that one of the problems here is one of trust and honesty.  The simple fact is that I do not trust Obama or the democratic leadership.  They have been pushing for many years for a single payer system. Obama in the past has said he wanted single payer but that it could not be gotten all at once.  He claim that the current plan is not the first step toward single payer, but in his short time as president Obama has already built up a reputation  of being less that truthful to the point that some now say that all of his statements “come with an Expiration Date.

When this is combined with wild claims such that doctors amputate feet and remove tonsils just to make more money, plus  the huge rush to push this through, I really have trouble seeing why anyone would support this effort in this fashion.

If Obama really wants to reform health care, then why doesn’t he take the time to do what Presidents in the past have done with their major proposals:  formulate an actual plan as opposed to just making vague claims about it, write it up as an actual bill, and submit it to Congress. Then let Congress consider it, let people read and understand it as he works to built a consensus of support in the country to get it passed.   Why must we have such a major reform rushed through so fast that few if anyone have actually had time t read it, much less analysis it.

Aug 14th, 2009

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