WHATSOEVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF THESE: MATHEW 25 DOESN’T SEEM TO BE MUCH IN VOGUE AMONGST THE DENIZENS OF THE EVANGELICAL RIGHT IT THE USA.
One of my favourite passages from the Bible comes from Mathew 25: To quote our Lord, he says ‘…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’. What he’s trying to say is that the measure of a people is how we treat those less fortunate amongst us. And that a good deed done to one of them, is in fact an act of glorifying God, and doing the contrary is to commit an offense against his name.
This brings me to the health care debate in the US. For the last several months, leading up to the signing into law of the watered-down, yet still historic health legislation by the US government of President Obama, two different schools of thought have emerged. Both of them have been diametrically opposed to one another, and seemingly unable to come to terms with each other.
On the one hand, the Democrats, the party of Mr. Obama, have been lobbying for years for a universal form of health coverage, similar in principle, if not application, to such systems as the one we have here in Canada, or France. Their arguments have been based on the notions of fairness, in the sense of allowing as many Americans access to either free or affordable coverage as possible.
They argue that such measures are a cornerstone of democracy, liberty, and freedom, so that justice can prevail, and millions of Americans can rise out of poverty, and live the American dream of owning their own home and so on.
On the other hand, the opponents of the scheme, mostly conservatives in the Republican Party, have argued that such measures are an infringement on their personal freedom and liberty, and that this would be an undue interference of government in the personal lives of individuals, and that they’re not in favour of paying more taxes for such measures.
This is where their discourse falls flat on its face. Most of these people profess to be of the Christian faith, and to espouse Christian principles of living. Most of these people already have enough money to afford private coverage under the existing system, or to pay out of pocket for private care. However, when it comes to the crunch, and they’re asked by their government to share a part of their wealth with their fellow citizens so that they too can benefit from the same advantages that they have, they say ‘NO’.
They even go so far as to mount huge advertising campaigns and to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on such things, as well as equally huge sums on government lobbyists, to prevent any such redistribution of wealth from occuring, even threatening lawmakers with assasination if they vote for the reforms.
This is the reality of America today. A society which is pathologically obsessed with the rights and privileges of individuals and of the preservation of individual property rights and wealth, especially that of corporations, which, after all, are considered to be individual persons under the law.
Like I expressed in a previous article, this is one of the many reasons why I like living in Canada, with its institutions of Constitutional Monarchy, and why we should do more to uphold such a system. Otherwise, the wild-eyed pursuit of money, power, property, prestige, and overall economic gain, which permeates the social landscape of our neighbours to the south, will spread all the more to our country.
My Bible is dog-eared at Mathew 25, it sort of reminds me of my obligation and duty as a Canadian citizen. I just hope the Americans are going to be able to apply its principles with their new law, and we don’t chuck that whole page from the Good Book, with our latest rounds of government cut backs here in Québec and the rest of Canada.
I’m not big on offending people, especially the Big Guy upstairs. He told us to be nice to each other and try to get along. Hmmm… Maybe God was Canadian, eh?