SCHIPs & The Gospel of Life

It is easy enough to understand how some pastors tend to ignore issues of poverty, health care and peace in their preaching if they do not follow the common lectionary but, instead, choose at will the biblical text on which to preach. The concern for personal holiness, with a special focus on the hot button "pelvic theology" issues, can be made to trump all else if you confine your preaching to certain texts from the Hebrew Scriptures and Pauline epistles. But, the priests of churches that employ the lectionary – the Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran churches – cannot get round the fact that in the Gospels Jesus of Nazareth had a lot more to say about how we treat the poor than he did about any sexual misdeeds.

So, it was encouraging to see the reaction of some evangelical leaders yesterday to President Obama’s signing of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. "We go back to our churches, and we hear the pain that comes from our people," said the Rev. Heywood Wiggins, pastor at the Camden (NJ) Bible Tabernacle church on a conference call sponsored by the group Faith in Public Life. "So we bring that voice to Washington to make sure our national leaders understand how important this issue is." Rev. Wiggins was invited to attend the White House signing ceremony.


A faith-based community organizing coalition, the PICO National Network, has been at the forefront of the religious community’s efforts to get SCHIP passed. PICO has more than one thousand member churches of various denominations in 17 states. Nilda Santana, who joined PICO through her Catholic parish in Orlando, told a all too familiar tale for those who have been engaged with this issue for years. "Not being able to afford insurance through my employer, it was a choice between putting food on the table and insurance for my children," Mrs. Santana said. "Due to SCHIP I have medical coverage I wouldn’t have been able to afford." This may be only one chapter in the Gospel of Life, but there is no doubt that it is an important chapter.

Political progressives were not the only ones celebrating yesterday. Bishop Roy Dixon serves an evangelical church in San Diego. He is a Republican but he worked to build a bi-partisan coalition to support SCHIP. "It’s not like we all think or vote alike….I am very conservative and have been that way all my life," said the Bishop. "But I believe that children definitely need SCHIP, and I’m very glad it passed."

Catholics can take pride in the fact that Bishop William Murphy - like Bishop Dixon, a man not easily tagged as a liberal - issued a letter to Congress urging the passage of SCHIP in his capacity as USCCB chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. The hierarchy will continue to have differences with President Obama on abortion policy, but that cannot prevent them from working on common goals such as SCHIPs and, despite some complaints from the far right, the bishops will work with the new administration. They should. As we saw yesterday, the Gospel of Life can be spread in many ways. Ask Mrs. Nilda Santana and her children.




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9 years 11 months ago
SCHIP, the first easy step to US Socialism. Those who take religious pride in helping the poor using others money are sadly wrong. If an individual or group voluntarily provide help to the poor they are doing the Lords work. When government takes money from individuals and redistributes it to the poor they do political self serving work. Just because religious leaders support this redistribution of wealth does not sanctify the government’s actions. Government may be good or bad but when it comes to taxation and distribution of welfare it is never holy. Yes, when all else fails, governments should help those who truly need it and cannot be helped any other way. A curious comment: ''The hierarchy will continue to have differences with President Obama on abortion policy, but that cannot prevent them from working on common goals such as SCHIPs and, despite some complaints from the far right, the bishops will work with the new administration.'' Isn't it nice the ''Far Left” justifies support of an active abortion advocate? President Obama in his first week opened international US funding for abortion. The US is now Pro abortion! We have murdered some 50,000,000 innocent babies since Roe vs Wade and now we are exporting our ''success'' and some religious ministers to include Catholic support this guy. These same supporters attacked George Bush, a strong pro-lifer, for 8 years who by the way liberated and freed some 50,000,000 people in the Middle East. 55 years ago good Father Teed pounded in to my head that “The end never justifies the means nor do the means justify the end”. Or with the current administration in mind” if you lie down with dogs you will wake up with fleas”.
9 years 11 months ago
If you commenters would hear the Gospel of Christ, rather than the gospel of Rush, you would find that our money is inherintly corrupting and belongs to the government (Caesar) anyway. You also find that one of our most important callings is to help the poor, the sick, and especially the poor, sick children. Would Christ oppose SCHIP? Would he care that our taxes might go up? If you would ''do the math,'' you would realize that for 35 years the Republicans have said they would put an end to abortions, but have failed totally and miserably. Why? Because they are much more interested in money and political ideology than in helping real people find a way through the fear and despair of a difficult pregnancy. Maybe the best way to end abortions is nationalized health care. It would at least be trying something different.
9 years 11 months ago
Response to Mr. Jack: Just like with slavery abortion is and economic issue? Those plantation owners were debtors. Their only assets, in many cases, were their slaves. Would you have argued against the abolitionist? Would you have argued that the way to end slavery was to change the economic incentive to have slaves? Or would you have said that violating basic human rights cannot be tolerated one moment longer! We cannot let the killing continue. 3000 to 4000 lives daily in the US!! How long will this go on. I hope you are right. I hope SCHIP will lead to fewer abortions. I have my doubts. Lastly, my comments have less to do with politics and more to do with the legitimacy of the priest and bishop preaching about ''pelvic theology''.
9 years 11 months ago
The ''pelvic theology'' issues may or may not be a common biblical theme BUT when over 3000 to 4000 innocent humans are killed each day in this country then this ''pelvic theology'' issue certainly is proportionately more important than the health care that these children won't ever need. You don't have to be a genius to do the math.
9 years 11 months ago
But if the parents had the health care and were paid a livingg wage, they would likely not resort to abortion. If the teens and their parents were assured that no shame would come upon them for being found pregnant and that having (and keeping) the child would not ruin their future prospects, they would not be forced into abortions by their (often Catholic) parents. If living wage bonuses for an additional child were large enough, most men would not care whether the child is really theirs, ending the need for abortion to cover adultery. Of course, all of you put your economic rights to avoid socialism over the rights of the child. You can feel any way you want about economic policy. That will not change the fact that over the next eight years, the new regime will do more to reduce abortions with economic policy than the prior administration did in the last eight.


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