Speaking of N. T. Wright, Michael Kruger points to an interview with Wright earlier this year in which Wright chastises American Christians who oppose national healthcare (i.e., Obamacare). In Wright’s own words:
In [the United States], for example, there seem to be Christian political voices saying that you shouldn’t have a national healthcare system. To us, in Britain, this is virtually unthinkable. Every other developed country from Norway to New Zealand has healthcare for all of its citizens. We don’t understand all of this opposition to it over here in the U.S. And, we should remember: In the ancient world, there wasn’t any healthcare system. It was the Christians, very early on, who introduced the idea that we should care for people beyond the circle of our own kin. Christians taught that we should care for the poor and disadvantaged. Christians eventually organized hospitals. To hear people standing up in your political debate and saying—”If you are followers of Jesus, you must reject universal healthcare coverage!”—and that’s unthinkable to us. Those of us who are Christians in other parts of the world are saying: We can’t understand this political language. It’s not our value in our countries. It’s not even in keeping with traditional Christian teaching on caring for others. We can’t understand what we are hearing from some of your politicians on this point. Yet, over here, some Christians are saying that it’s part of the list of boxes we all should check off to keep in line.
Thus Wright makes the astonishing claim that Christians must support a nationalized approach to healthcare as the only valid approach. Kruger offers a rejoinder that makes the case for small-government solutions to the healthcare debate. I appreciate what Kruger has to say, but I would argue that Christian concern about this law is even more fundamental than debates about the size and scope of government—an issue about which faithful Christians can disagree.
Regardless of one’s views on nationalized healthcare, the law in the United States forces Christian citizens to violate their consciences. Does Wright realize that Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate stands as one of the greatest threats to religious liberty our country has ever faced? Does he realize that Obamacare forces employers to buy insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs? Does Wright know that the law forces Roman Catholic employers to pay for drugs that their church says are immoral?
Christians should not divide with one another over political issues such as the size and scope of government. Neither should they divide over differences about national healthcare. But neither of those points have been the primary loci of concern among American Christians. Christian opposition to Obamacare in the United States has been most vociferous because of the law’s proscription of religious liberty. To miss this fact is to misunderstand the nature of Christian opposition to Obamacare.
(HT: Mike Bird)