Popular Christian pollster George Barna weighed in on the health care debate this week, asserting that Jesus would support universal coverage.
Looking at the Bible for guidance, Barna wrote that he found stories of a Jesus who healed hundreds of people who were poor and suffering. Whether the people believed in Him or not, Jesus had no condition to healing someone who was sick.
"You can describe Jesus' health care strategy in four words: whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever," wrote Barna in an editorial.
Jesus confronted illnesses and problems from paralysis and leprosy to demon possession and death. And he asked his followers to also heal others to put into action their love and compassion for those in need.
"Often, those whom He healed did not thank Him, and He was never paid for his medical care – but He healed them regardless, because it enabled Him to love those who lacked hope," he said.
Based on the Bible stories, Barna said the health care strategy exemplified by Jesus called for "people to help people." But if God's people fail to serve others in need, then he suggested they support the government, which is "acting as a national safety net," to run programs to help the needy.
But ultimately, it is God's people, or collectively the Church, who are responsible for caring for the poor and sick, Barna maintained. He applauded Christian efforts to set up medical clinics, pregnancy centers and hospitals in the country.
"Imagine what an impact the Church would have on society if it truly reflected the model Jesus gave us of how to care for one another!"
The Christian pollster said he was prompted to write the editorial because surveys continually show that Americans are struggling to figure out what to think about health care reform. In the editorial, he looked at specific accounts in the New Testament that guides Christians on how to view the poor and deal with people's medical needs.
On the Web: http://www.barna.org/