Lord, When Did We See Thee Sick and Not Minister to Thee?
June 23, 2017
By The Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, Bishop of Arizona
A few weeks ago, I wrote to you about the importance of the church taking a stand on moral and ethic issues that affect our country. The pending vote on healthcare is now such a time.
It is sad to think that as one of the wealthiest countries on earth, we continue to see healthcare for our citizens as a privilege rather than a basic human right. We are the only first-world country that does not provide basic medical care for all of its people. This is to our shame as Americans and as Christians. Now senate leadership has unveiled a bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA)) which will not only reduce coverage for the neediest in our midst, but will provide a large tax cut for the richest people in our society.
I am happy to see that lawmakers from both parties are in agreement that such a proposal is quite simply immoral. It is also in direct contradiction to what most Americans want. Even politically it makes no sense. One recent poll points out that there is not one state where a majority of voters support the AHCA.(1) I am frankly at a loss why the Senate majority leader, who was treated as a child for polio at government expense, would have protesters in wheelchairs forcibly removed from the entrance to his office.(2)How as a country, where so many were raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition, did we become so mean, greedy, and cruel?
I will be adding my name to those opposed to this bill and I invite you to do the same. A phone call to our two senators (both apparently considered “undecided votes” at this time) would also be worth the time.*
Jesus makes it clear that we as his followers have a responsibility to care for those who are the most in need in our society. Read Matthew 25:31-36. It’s not an option. No one gets into heaven without a letter of recommendation from the poor.
“Lord, when did we see you sick and not minister to you?” Apparently in the halls of Congress everyday.
*The simplest way is to call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for either Senator McCain’s or Senator Flake’s office.