Thursday, February 3, 2011

Health Care Debate Must Not Forget the Vulnerable - The Hill's Congress Blog

By Joel C. Hunter - 02/02/11 04:00 PM ET

As some in the Senate are determined to move forward a vote to repeal health care reform, the disconnect between the rushed and charged nature of the debate on Capitol Hill and the care and caution such a momentous decision requires is striking.

As a pastor who strives to follow the scripture-recorded call of Jesus to “heal the sick,” I consider access to health care to be a faith-based goal. God desires healing and abundant life for the poor as well as the rich, and denial of health care coverage falls far short of God’s standards of justice and compassion for people.

Discerning the best path for our nation to solve such problems isn’t nearly as easy as recognizing the moral imperative. But given the scale of our health care system’s shortcomings, we need our individual acts of compassion but also systemic policy solutions.

I supported the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law last March, because I believe that government help can be one of the ways God provides for the needs of people. As in the Genesis story when God placed Joseph into government to provide for those without resources, God’s means are not limited to individual or religious institutions’ efforts today.

Dr. Joel C. Hunter is senior pastor of Northland – A Church Distributed, a nationally-recognized evangelical megachurch in Longwood, Florida. He served on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals’ board of directors.

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