Yesterday’s vote to approve the ACHA lingers like nausea. Two hundred seventeen people voted in favor of a bill that blatantly and viciously hurts people, takes insurance coverage away from the people who need it the most, and will return our country to the days of commonplace medical bankruptcies, homelessness and death caused by conditions that are easily treated.
In the hours after the vote, a number of my friends have privately expressed shock at the complicit silence among our Christian friends. Some people, myself included, once counted ourselves among the faithful; we’re still connected to faith communities and former-church friends. And we’re all stunned and disgusted that no one among our Christian friends is saying a word about this deadly decision.
My path in belief in God started when I was a child in Catholic school, moved through my becoming a born-again Christian in high school (against my mother’s wishes), continued in college, where I attended Church regularly. As a young mother, I brought my children to church with me, seeking the belonging promised by sermon after sermon, Bible verse after Bible verse. Whatsoever you do for the least of your brothers that you do unto me.
I believed with a fervor and passion that rivaled my love for my children. I believed in Jesus, in the Spirit, and in the church, what my friends in faith called the “body” of faith, the flock of people steeped in love and forgiveness for their fellow man. As an introvert, I never got comfortable with the making friends part, the joining groups part, but my heart and soul found solace in the knowledge that no matter what, Christians would always do the right thing. When it mattered, when things got dark, Christians would be the Light of the world. I really believed that.
My departure from belief in Christ didn’t change my belief in Christians, aside from the seemingly isolated examples of corrupted souls in positions of power. Those people, I reasoned, were different; real Christians walk in God’s love, follow the Commandments, and take care of fellow human beings because it’s the right thing to do.
So today, I realize how wrong I was. Those Christians are now happily posting puppy videos and pictures of their “super awesome” brunch with their godly friends, while the rest of us watch in horror as our society folds back upon itself in search of a simpler and more ignorant time.
I suppose what I expected was some intellectual or moral cohesion among the populace, down here where the little people are, away from the bright lights of politics. Surely these people see the craven idiocy of this proposed legislation. They must recognize that what’s been proposed would have immediate and severe consequences.
If you don’t believe anything will change, then you’ve been watching the only network that’s spouting that nonsense: Fox News. Every single other media outlet acknowledges that this bill is horrifying. Here’s a primer on what it does from a very reliable health care reporter, Sarah Kliff.
Have Christians not been following the tale of my friend’s son’s heart surgery? And how, without insurance, the family would never be able to pay to save his life? Did they forget already about my daughter with brittle bones and a wheelchair? What do they expect HER to do without insurance when she breaks a bone? Set it herself? What about when she needs surgery?
What about people they don’t know? Thousands of stories are flooding in all over social media. “”My patients will literally suffocate. Home oxygen? Home ventilators? Not covered.” Shubha Srinivas, MD MPH, Pulmonary/Critical Care, DC” , or “I suffer from and it prevents me from working as often as need to “, or “Diagnosed w/an autoimmune condition at 32. Docs can’t tell me cause. What different choice should I have made?” Just type in #IAmAPreexistingCondition and you’ll be overwhelmed.
How can they turn away, so blithe and unaffected? These are people who have been taught–and I know, because I sat next to them during those sermons–to LOVE each other. To CARE for each other. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This is what we learned about together. This is the example we were entreated to follow. And right now–when our elected officials wield this axe, swinging it wildly toward the heads of the most vulnerable, where are the people who vowed to love each other?
They will know we are Christians by our love. (more after the video)
I don’t share their faith in God anymore, but I am stunned at the absence of Christian objectors to this barbarous action. Just after the election, I noticed that my Christian friends became quieter, but I attributed that to shock. I figured that they’d show up when things started getting really bad. When concrete things started happening, I assumed Christians would show up, shields up, swords at the ready, the Army of the Lord ready to defend the vulnerable, just like Jesus commanded.
But here we are, seven months later. The shock has worn off, and they’re still acting as if nothing has changed, as if nothing is wrong. I don’t believe they don’t know what’s going on; the voices of complaint are too loud to ignore. That’s what’s the most chilling about this; they know, and they don’t care.
I lost my faith in God a couple of years ago, but I maintained faith in my fellow man. Most people try to do right, but Christians hold themselves to a higher standard. They’ll hold the moral hard line when other people waver. They’ll be there, I thought, when the going gets hard, when things look especially bleak. They’ll show up for their fellow man.
I’d prefer to think that I’m wrong, that Christians are privately mustering their numbers to oppose this dastardly legislation. Given everything I’ve seen, I’m not counting on it.
My days of believing that Christians stand for what’s right are over.
Here are helpful links for contacting your elected officials