Archive for August, 2009

Video: Health-Care Hermeneutics with Jon Stewart – Steve Holt – God’s Politics Blog

Just posted over at the God’s Politics blog:

Video: Health-Care Hermeneutics with Jon Stewart – Steve Holt – God’s Politics Blog.



As I was reading Roger Ebert’s well-worded defense of healthcare reform on his blog, I was reminded of how irrational people can be when their “principles” are affronted. Let me explain.  Ebert confronts nearly all of the prominent statements from opponents of the president’s healthcare reform plan, point by point.  Here’s an excerpt:

Many of my readers opposed the Obama plan, some of them in great detail. I will not try to simplify their arguments; you can read them for yourself. But here, in broad outline, are some of their most common statements, and my responses:

It is “socialism.” Again, yes. The word socialism, however, has lost its usefulness in this debate. It has been tainted, perhaps forever, by the malevolent Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who succeeded somehow in linking it with the godless Commies. America is the only nation in the free world in which “socialism” is generally thought of in negative terms. The only nation in which that word, in and of itself, is thought to bring the discussion to a close.

It is wrong for ideological or philosophical reasons. Readers have written about their belief in Federalism, Free Market Capitalism, strict Constitutionalism, personal liberty, Libertarianism, and so on. To one of these readers I wrote something like: “Do you think your views on federalism will be of much interest to unemployed wage-earners unable to obtain coverage for their families?” To another, I wrote: “I hope your philosophy will be of comfort if you develop a serious illness.”One reader said that the only things the Constitution guarantees us are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and Congress should enact no laws about anything else. Actually, it’s the Declaration of independence that mentions “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but never mind. Some might believe universal health care would be of great assistance in enjoying life and the pursuit of happiness. It is a peculiarity that some of those happiest to cite the Constitution are the least interested in its Bill of Rights.

(he lists 6 or 7 more — which I’d encourage you to read — including an appeal from the Gospel of Matthew)

First off, I enjoy his questions to “people of principle” about how they benefit those most in need, including themselves if a tragedy should occur.  As it is with many fiery debates in the public sector, it seems that those who yell the loudest many times have no direct connection to the issue at hand.  (ie, knowing someone without healthcare)  Second, I was thinking about “socialism,” and all the socialized things we enjoy in this country.  Post offices.  Schools.  Retirement. The list goes on.  I’m sure there are more.  I don’t hear healthcare critics calling for the shuttering of school houses because education is not one of the explicit “guarantees” of our founding documents.  Also not hearing stories of people mailing their social security checks back to Washington, D.C.  “I always use FedEx for sending letters and packages to friends and family … do my taxes have to go toward a ‘public option’ for mail?”  Maybe I’m just not listening hard enough or looking in the right places.

All that said, I’m not sure the plan that’s on the table is the best we can do.  But that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about thinking through our arguments for or against something, putting ourselves in the shoes of another, and doing it with civility.

A Post

Having been called out by my mom to start blogging again, I must respond. I really want to blog regularly, believe me. My dilemma is not that I have too little material, but too much. I have sensed that the content of this blog is changing, but into what I don’t know. I want it to be less “religious.” Not less spiritual, less inspirational, or less action-inducing, but less “religious.” As I persist within a post-religious culture, I become less and less satisfied with circular conversations among “insiders,” instead concerned with how those who feel far from God can feel his presence and the joy that accompanies it.

This is partly why I decided to make this a gardening blog this summer, though I haven’t done a very good job of keeping that up either.

So, I ask, what should this blog be? I’ve been doing it for about 4 years now, and I feel it changing. It’s no longer the sounding board for a deconstructionist and method-happy grad. student, a venue for connection with other people of faith during a dry season relationally, or a creative outlet for a frustrated wannabe writer.

So what is it? Does it matter? Should I hang it up and just write for multi-contributor blogs like God’s Politics and Jesus Manifesto? I really covet your opinion/s.