You don't love God, if you don't heal your neighbor.

I suppose that it had to happen sooner or later. The US and British political issues are so different that it was only a matter of time before the bubble of my patience burst and I'd weigh in on matters of politics.

One of the most heated debates lately has been on the issue of healthcare. The US has a pay-for-care system in which one buys, or an employer provides, health insurance. The UK has a system in which the National Health Service guarantees healthcare to all, without cost. Barak Obama is making it his business to move the US toward the UK model, and it's been a thorn in the side of some, for a variety of reasons. Various facts and figures are bandied about, and I've read a blog recently that quotes statistics that 37% of voters support his model, and 57% oppose it. Not surprisingly, 62% of Democrats support it, while 87% of Republicans oppose it.

Further to that, I've been stunned to discover that there are many who profess the Christian religion who are opposed to changes, and that baffles me more than anything else. Pardon me if I appear to oversimplify this, but didn't Jesus say that the greatest commandment was to love God, and after that, to love your neighbour as yourself? Matthew 22:36-40 has it:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

"The second [greatest commandment] is...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself". There's even a song about it - composed by one Carl Story. In part, it reads as follows:

There are many people who will say they're Christians
And they live like Christians on the Sabbath day
But come Monday morning 'till the coming Sunday
They will fight their neighbor all along the way.

Oh you don't love God, if you don't love your neighbor
If you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
If he gets into trouble and you don't try to help him
If you don't love your neighbor and you don't love God.

In the Holy Bible, in the book of Matthew
Read the 18th chapter and the 21st verse
Jesus plainly tells us that we must have mercy
Then a special warning in the 35th verse.

So according to this, what would Jesus do about healthcare? Well, let's take a look at his ministry, according to the Bible. He cast out demons. He cured the blind, made the mute speak, put a spring in the step of the lame. He even cured leprosy, and according to the Bible, he didn't just wave his hands about or tell them to be better, he showed enormous compassion by actually reaching out and touching him. Yes, according to Mark 1:40-45, he "Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man" and he was cured. Not only that, but he did it for free, and in the case of that one leper, he asked that he keep quiet about it, and not tell the whole world.

Now I'm not a Christian, though I have read the Bible many times over, and my understanding of Jesus' ministry was that he sought to do good things for no reward, and that he encouraged his followers to do the same, and in the same way. Compassionately, without prejudice and as a part of a Christian work.

So, here's the thing. I see supposed Christians opposing a publicly-funded healthcare system, a system which to my eyes, demonstrates a compassionate Christian love for neighbour. And it mystifies me.

The only thing I can think is that these people (who, I assume have paid health insurance already) don't see any social obligation to help those less fortunate than themselves to have the same. Where, I ask, is the Christianity in that? Surely, according to their Master's own words, they should take the view that "these people are our neighbours and we should love them as ourselves, if we are claiming to love God".

Maybe you may think that I'm oversimplifying this, but it seems so simple to me. I don't understand. Maybe these folk should prayerfully review these few verses, reflect on the tale of the Good Samaritan and then take stock again.

I would have no problem with paying less to the insurance companies (who think not of their neighbours but of their investors), and paying a little more in taxes. But then, I'm not a right-wing Christian.




Cross-posted at my blog

Delightful night yesterday. Good news all around.

UNM Anime Club, in which I serve as Secretary, had its first meeting last night.

The turn out was 63 people meaning that while our pizza bill was rather high (free pizza to everyone who showed up) we did much better than expect in recruitment department.

We advertise via fliers around campus and we had a booth by the University's duck pond all week (draped in wall-scrolls and various other anime related things).

Sixty-three is a significant number. If we retain even half of the people who showed up last night, we will be one of the largest student organizations on campus. Much larger than most of the fraternities and sororities.

Go us.

In other news on the BookReader front, my new fingerspelling class is intimidating as All-Hell. The Sign Language lab on campus is a line of cubicles lining the wall, with Mac machines fitted with cameras so you can view yourself on a slight delay as you sign. It's a little unnerving, but also interesting as you can watch your eyes move about, something that is almost impossible to do in a mirror. I don't remember half of the lab introduction last week because I was busy making faces at the screen. Each station also has a VHS/DVD player/recorder. We record our signing and look for mistakes. My main problem is uneven speed. Particularly when I fingerspell, I start out slow and get faster and faster until I'm tripping over my own fingers. There's so much wrong with my signing at this point that I sometimes despair. My skill seems to be directly related to how confident I am, as I am completely unable to sign correctly to actual deaf people or my teacher but am quite verbose when signing to other students or friends. On the plus side, I am getting better. My comprehension is up and my letters are clear. I could be a lot worse, but I'm not and I find sign fascinating so this isn't something I'm going to drop after I get my needed language credits.

I'm perfectly happy today as I have chocolate-chip pancakes. If you are not perfectly happy I recommend you make some.

That is all. Have a great week, everyone.

Not eating still. Don't feel like cooking, there's just rice and vegetables. May drink cold soy milk after pouring hot chocolate mix in it. Currently naked, wrapped in a dirty blanket awake for hours. Can't make music, can't write, the notes are all wrong, discordant, the words are all insufficient. Must take the bus in a few hours to get checked for STDs. Feels like I'm visibly atrophying. Strange warts, hair thinning, gray hairs in my beard. I'm only 21. Probably just a hypochondriac, just paranoid, just overly aware. Writing these insignificant thoughts is all I can do to affirm my life, my existence. A satellite adrift in outer space, sending out radio signals. Forgot how to cry years ago, can't be clever like you. Those are old conceits. Turns out I have less talent than I thought before, but that I'm not completely talentless. A new motto. Too logical for love, too logical for insanity. Listening to Joy Division, Radiohead, The Raincoats, Manic Street Preachers, and Nirvana obsessively (no, I'm not British). I WILL laugh at this later. Writing a sentence, now, is like climbing up a cliff. A paragraph is a mountain range, the Himalayas. Remembering every little thing I did wrong, imagining I'm being persecuted for it. Looking for reassurance from other people and not finding it. Will affect self-modesty to hide self-loathing/self-glorifying (thinking you're the greatest, but hating yourself and others for not actually being so). Damn, damn, damn. Shying away from friendships. Acting happy, being engaging - it's all too exhausting, not worth the effort. In isolation, looking out of a large window to see hummingbirds feeding, discovering who I am by analyzing my shadow, vague, formless, always changing. Shadows everywhere, always changing - larger then smaller, slanting right then slanting left. No work, no school today. Must shower now, try for another day.

I know this is terrible writing, but this is the best I can accomplish right now, literally.


Today's mix CD/playlist: young marble giants - credit in the straight world the kinks - see my friends panda bear - comfy in nautica manic street preachers - sculpture of man joy division - isolation aphex twin - nannou radiohead - dollars and cents the raincoats - the void ariel pink's haunted graffiti - among dreams my bloody valentine - to here knows when nirvana - tourette's

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