Continued from Part 2 (http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/search/label/Religion).
With the Christian Church being the foundation for many of the life lessons that we learned as children, and given that it’s leadership and spiritual advisors are as every bit as susceptible to the insanity to which has infected all other aspect’s of America’s secular institutions, it’s should come as no surprise that it’s supposed adherents have come epitomize a distortion of its values. Take the current debate over health care reform.
As children, we are taught to help everyone who needs it—a central tenet of Christian as well as all religious doctrines. With respect to the between 40 and 45 million Americans who either have no health insurance coverage or who are underinsured, it’s astounding that many supposed men and women “of faith” can justify the current system of runaway health care cost, and near universal unaffordability—if not for employer-based coverage—for the sake of embracing their political allegiances and their associated dogmas. We all know the pitfalls of the current system of health care in America, one that culminates with it being the single greatest cause of bankruptcies year-to-year. However, despite both the reality and the need, opponents of health care reform resort to un-Christian-like tactics such as distortion of facts, fear mongering (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/14/health/policy/14panel.html?no_interstitial - NYTimes article, "False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots," from 08/13/2009), willful ignorance (see link below), selective facts which support their political dogmas (http://www.newsweek.com/id/211981?GT1=43002 - Newsweek magazine's article "Seven Myths About Health Care," as sourced from Factcheck.org, from 08/14/2009 ), and a slew of other hypocritical acts. And all for what? Because they believe that any government-subsidized programs intended to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans would be “Socialist” in policy (forgetting that private business can successfully compete with similar government-adminstered endeavors; Fed-Ex, UPS, and other mail delivery services are doing far better than the U.S. Postal service, and the private security firm--the former Blackwater Group--is able to pay its employees better than the U.S, military). Apparently these individuals hold the idea of a Free Market America far more sacred than the tenets of their religious faiths, or the support of reason. And challenging opponents on this observation will only result in a weak defense comprised of twisted and secular logic. In one recent town hall protest in Raleigh, North Carolina, a reporter for a local television station illustrated that many of the protesters there had not even read any portion of President Obama’s health care reform proposal. In fact, one woman, when interviewed, said that she “didn’t have to read the proposal,” and that she relied on the “voice of the Holy Spirit to tell her it was wrong.” The logical effect of this sad dynamic is that while it’s apparently ok for a sick person to pray for a healing, but any government-backed effort to help pay for medical treatment is wrong based on her interpretation of Biblical principles. (http://www.wral.com/news/local/politics/video/5794533/ Uninformed health care reform protesters in Raleigh, NC, from 08/14/2009 broadcast). It seems that many of those opposed to universal-backed health care in this country do so based on either ideological reasons, to gain political power for oneself and/or political affiliation (ultimately), or as a knee-jerk defense of Free Market principles; people should left up to their own devices when it comes to assistance. From a philosophical perspective, these reasons run against the very first Christian Commandment…Thou shall have no other God before me (and the principles He is said to stand for).
It’s ironic that people are opposed to such a laudable idea as universal affordability of health care coverage, when opposing runs counter their self-interests. Often citing the potential costs of implementing such a policy, many of these same individuals opposed to health care reform had no problem with supporting—at least by their lack of protest and quiet acquiescence—the increased defense budget spending and the costs of America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq under the last administration’s tenure…one that has to date resulted in over 1,500 American military deaths, an untold number of Iraqi civilian deaths, a rising deficit, and the tarnishment of the country’s reputation in the global community.
What happens when politically dogmatic individual individuals and organizations prevents us from helping others by misrepresenting the goals and intentions other individuals or groups simply to make their ideas more favorable? While this is nothing new—more conservative individuals and groups have a history of labeling unionizers, women and minority suffrage campaigners, civil rights workers, and others they disagree with as “Socialists” “Communists”—this tendency has gained a more intense fervor over the past 20 or so years. On the flip side of coin, more liberal individuals and groups have been quick to slander individuals seeking to strengthen the traditional family unit—a laudable goal to be sure given the high divorce and single parent rates in this country—as “fascists.”
What are to do about parents who treat parenthood so casually…or even worse, those who micromanage their children’s every move, thought, or goal?
What’s the effect for society when the institutions meant to guide us and make our lives better—secular and spiritual—have become as dysfunctional as the individuals who comprise them? How are things supposed to get better for our society when our political machinations become nothing more than organizations staffed with opportunists and self-serving individuals looking to pad their pockets? Is there any wonder that people like myself are so cynical toward these institutions…that there is a recently revealed growing resurgence of anti-government militias (See the Associated Press article, "Officials See Rise in Militia Groups Across US." http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iyMfoxDzPi3tRgwrutPFpd154C7QD9A13T3O0 and Southern Poverty Law Center: http://www.splcenter.org/ )
What hope is there for society when we are so quick to hurt one another for nothing more than simple personal of political advantage?
What are we supposed to do with the life lessons that we learned as children, but disregard as adults? How about disregard them for want of their effectiveness? Let’s teach our children that it’s ok that their parents embrace a selfishness attitude toward parenting. That it’s understandable that parents live their own lives vicariously through the live of their children. And let’s tell them that it’s ok to treat our children like gold, but other children like crap. It’s ok to drink and drive…even if it puts the lives of ourselves and others at risk.
Let’s teach our kids that it’s ok to ignore helping others in our society simply because we want to validate—in both our own minds and those we hope to convert—the particular dogmatic beliefs we chose to embrace. Let’s teach them that embracing socio-political beliefs are far more important than our own spiritual teachings about helping others and elevating our souls…that "socialism" (and other similar beliefs) is the worst idea humanity has ever conceived…more evil than genocide, serial killing, rape, or even war. Let’s teach our kids that the labels we attach to those who wish to see progressive change in the world mean more than their intentions.
Let’s teach our children that it’s wrong for two consenting adults to engage in sex, but that’s its ok for us to engage our children.
While we’re at it, lets tell them that solving disputes by fighting (especially if it’s on national television) is fine.
Let’s just throw out the life lessons we teach children; give reality a chance to catch up with the hypocrisy we engage in on a daily basis. At least then we can stop asking ourselves, what’s wrong with us?
For an illustration of the desperate need for universal health care affordability, click on the following link:
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=8309740 or watch the recent NBC Nightly News piece below.