“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” – Tony Perkins, FRC
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council (FRC). Christian Post, an evangelical newspaper, calls FRC “the leading social conservative advocacy group.” Commenting on the proposed Republican changes to Obamacare (AHCA), Perkins said (here): “FRC agrees with portions of the AHCA. It eliminates two of the problems with the healthcare Hydra: the individual mandate and taxpayers' forced partnership with the abortion industry… What's troubling is that the GOP seems to be surrendering to the view that health care is a government entitlement. Somewhere along the way, they succumbed to the idea that the government has to provide health care.”
Based on his Christian worldview – and Perkins is an ordained minister – Perkins believes that medical care should be a free market. He protests against any entitlement for medical care. This presumably includes Medicare and Medicaid, both of which are government entitlements for health care. Christian Post seems to agree. They mentioned no Christian opposition to FRC’s position.
Note that every “Christian” country (majority Christian population) except the United States does treat medical care as an entitlement, and has some form of universal health care. Perkins and his evangelical colleagues seem to think that if someone can’t afford health care, the Christian thing to do is to let him drop dead. None of them has proposed a way to deal with this obvious problem.
What would Jesus do?
Strangely, all this evangelical talk about the Christian thing to do ignores Jesus. This bizarre phenomenon is actually quite common. Although FRC emphasizes their "Christian worldview," if you look their web site and its discussion of 14 major issues, in no case do they cite Jesus or any scriptural support for their position. They seem to feel that they have a direct channel to God and Jesus, and are forwarding these divine revelations.
But Jesus was quite specific about his views of health care. In Matthew 25, he describes what will happen on Judgment Day, when God/Jesus separates the “sheep” going to heaven from the “goats” going to hell. Those going to heaven are saved because “I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me… (25:36). Those going to hell are condemned because “I was hungry and you gave me no food, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not care for me.(vv. 42-43)” There is little doubt about which category Tony Perkins and his colleagues falls in.
Similarly, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus condemns those who fail to help a victim they find in the road, including pious and self-righteous individuals. But a Samaritan, a member of a despised group, is blessed for helping the victim.
Tony Perkins and his evangelical colleagues are the modern counterparts of Cain, saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The hundred million or so evangelicals have been thoroughly indoctrinated and have virtually no idea of what Jesus said or meant. They just follow the leader(s).
What Did Conservatives Say About Health Care?
People have short memories. Obamacare was formerly Romneycare, a Republican program enacted in Massachusetts. When Governor Romney passed the program, conservatives praised it.
Romneycare was designed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative icon. It was designed as a conservative alternative to the health care program proposed by the Clinton administration. It was widely praised by conservatives, which is why Romney chose it for the state of Massachusetts. This is also why Obama chose it for America. He assumed that even conservatives would have few objections to a conservative health care program.
But he was wrong. Republicans tried to repeal it numerous times, and even compared it to Nazi programs. Conservative Republicans promised much better alternatives, but never provided any details. Trump promised a program that would cover everybody at much lower cost. They were lying. Their current proposal will immediately force millions to lose coverage, and will create a death spiral of increasing insurance premiums. They don’t even know what it will cost, yet are rushing it to a vote.
This is sheer demagoguery. Mr. Perkins and his colleagues are trying to raise hell. May it engulf them.