I've not been over to The Desperate Preacher's Site in quite a while. It's a place overrun by Religious Leftists and has been provided fodder for many a post over the years here at Brutally Honest.
And so it does again. A pastor named Nail-Bender (someone I used to interact with frequently and who I have much respect for) has put up a heart-wrenching post, one I'll excerpt in part here:
Two weeks ago, I learned that my parents’ home is being foreclosed on. This course was set due to illness with both parents and the need for them to re-mortgage their home in order to pay their mounting medical bills. Although my father has worked his entire life as an industrial mechanic, though he had insurance, and even though they are both eligible for Medicare, with cancer, a rare genetic cardiovascular anomaly, brain surgery, other illnesses, thousands of dollars in medicines, the massive co-pays, other treatments insurance wouldn’t cover, and a tanked economy that deeply hit my father’s industry, my parents are now losing the home. My father struggled to preclude this from occurring. Through the physical suffering of disease and the constraints of a 76 year-old body, my father did not retire. With his skill-set, even in a bad economy, and in a job that is meant for younger people, he desperately continued to work more than most … but still, it wasn’t enough.
Such is the nightmare of the time and culture in which we live -- a financial system built-on and collapsed-by the greed of those who cared little for the consequence, and an insurance/illness industry pregnant by the profits of sick people, where good people can work hard, have medical insurance, get sick, and lose their home. It is no wonder that Jesus said, “…for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” It was not meant as a compliment.
The shock of it all has moved Mom into such a difficult space, almost to a point of total dysfunction. That is the very difficult part of all of this. Likely, it is post traumatic stress. She weeps and keeps repeating, “They are taking our home. We should have been able to do better.” I try to gently explain that she and Dad did nothing wrong but that they simply became sick while living in an insane system created to wreak exactly this destruction. But of course, she can hardly hear it. She still sees it as somehow, “their fault.”
I’m so angry about this demonic system, a system that destroys the lives of old folks and then seduces them into believing they are guilty of suicide. More, I’m angry at my own past compliancy in it, only moving to calling for economic and relational justice during the past 15 years. Worse, it was my local church that taught me that not only was my acceptance of such a system appropriate, the system itself was “Christian.” There is much about which to repent. For me … for us all.
This is their reality and the reality of tens of thousands of other Americans.
Do we need universal health care today? No, we needed it before my parents and tens of thousands of others had lost their homes. We needed universal health care yesterday.
So, I ask that you join us in prayer. Mom is especially in deep need of the felt-presence and surety of God. And then, I ask you to act. Call your congressional representative and demand universal health care. Teach a class on how Jesus advocates for and literally lives into “the least of these.” Engage in issues of justice. Welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, care for the sick. If not now, then when? And if not us, then who?
Grabs ya doesn't it? Nail-Bender (who I know as Steve) has a way with words. And in this particular post, its personal nature is most compelling. I saw it yesterday and have been thinking about him and his parents since.
But is it the function of government to compel us all to help Steve's family or any family found in similar circumstances? Compel being the operative word. Is it the function of government to compel us all to act as Christians ought? Who did Christ compel to follow him or to be His disciple? And if the government should compel charity, could it not compel us all to conversion? And if so, does it not then move from charity to tyranny?
I think it does.
Steve is emoting and he should. It's his family. But I think if Steve would think through what he's asking to take place as a solution, he'd stop. Because Christ does not compel anyone to do anything and Steve is a Christ follower and must know this.
Today, via e-mail, I recieved something that makes the case without reference to what Christ does or does not compel us to do. It is most worthy and again, I excerpt, but only in part... forgive the length but its necessary:
"Several years ago, I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could.
"In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them.
"The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.
"The next summer, when it began to be a time to think about the election, I concluded that I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up."
A stranger's curt greeting
"When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.
"I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and . . . '
"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett, I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'
"This was a sockdolager. . . I begged him to tell me what was the matter."
"'Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have no capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it.
"'In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you.
"I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest . . . but an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth having, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.' "
"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."
Crockett's vote on bill recalled
"'No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true? "
"Well, my friend, I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly no one will complain that a great and rich country should not give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and am sure, if you had been there you would have done just as I did."
"'It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is, the more he pays in proportion to his means.
"'What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.
"'If you had the right to give him anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20 million as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines nor stipulates the amount, you are at-liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper.' "
Wide door to robbing people
"'You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people, on the other. No, Colonel. Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.
"'If twice as many houses had been burned in this district as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief.
"'There are about 240 members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably. And the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.
"'The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.
"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits~of the Constitution there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.
I end in prayer for Steve's family. I end in prayer for all who via one circumstance or another are at their wits end. I pray for God's people to rise up and intervene in some way and for God to manifest His presence in these circumstances tangibly.
But I also pray for this country. We are at a crossroads. And emoting is not the method by which we should choose which path to take.
Not now. Not ever.