I've been a bit disheartened lately. You see, I call myself a Christian. I try as best I can to live as a person with a good heart would. I'm not perfect at it. BOY am I not perfect at it but I try.
And then I see stuff and I hear stuff. The healthcare debate brought a lot of this to a head but it's not the first time I've seen and heard stuff like this.
Throw out the issues over money and costs and taxes and such. I know there are a lot of issues to that. What hits me is the core -- the philosophy at the heart of this. In all the wrangling about Healthcare -- money aside -- one refrain I keep hearing over and over again out of many who protest this is the indignation people seem to have other the idea that THEY will be paying for SOMEONE ELSE'S healthcare. This idea that those who cannot afford their own healthcare are somehow not deserving of it because either they're not working hard enough or they don't know how to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, or they've been addicted to drugs or alcohol.
This isn't JUST about what's on the news. I work on a college campus and while hitting the vending machines I heard two students talking. One, apparently a Med student or something said "People go to the emergency room now who can't afford it and they do it because they know no hospital CAN turn them away for treatment and yet SOMEONE has to pay for their treatment. We've got a guy who came in through our ER just recently, and he's been addicted to heroin who knows how long and the public is paying for his care." And his tone of voice indicated that he, himself, was disgusted by this and figured most other people would be too. I've heard sentiments like this preached from pulpits with my own ears. I've heard stories from people I have no reason to doubt that they have heard similar things preached from other pulpits. I've seen it in comments to print articles online. I've heard it in the news. I've seen stuff like THIS:
"Nothing for free over here; you have to work for whatever you get."
"No, I'll pay for this guy; I'LL decide what he gets!"
There is just this undercurrent that people have to DESERVE the help we give them. People have to EARN the right to charity. Or that only certain people in certain circumstances are WORTH charity.
And on top of all of that, people judge that "worth" based on how these people are NOW. Denying the fact that a person can change, that who a person is now may not be the same person they are in five years or ten. Some people never change, some do, but we can't know their futures. We can't see the path they are going to take and to deny them help because of the way they are NOW can also mean to deny them a future. Even if they squander that future they still had the chance at it. And maybe they won't squander it -- who's to know?
And sadly, I hear people saying all this stuff who call themselves Christian and it just.... I'm not kidding. This is really making me sad.
Christians of all people should know -- you don't EARN God's love, you don't DESERVE anything we get from God. It is a gift out of love.
To me it's one simple question. You ask, "Are they a human being?" If the answer is 'yes' then that's all they need to DESERVE to be treated like one and to DESERVE ANY help we can give them.
And I wonder WHY so many people who act in Christ's name seem to forget this fact.