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Old 07-04-2013, 02:36 AM   #61
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Frankly, any other stance from an avowed Christian is simply incoherent.


as a European, i cannot get my head around this whole "God-fearing", "God bless America" type thing which so pervades US PR, and the "every man for himself" mentality...

i think a good way of revealing the ethics of a government is by seeing how it treats its poor and vulnerable - and the US falls very short indeed...
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:38 AM   #62
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as a European, i cannot get my head around this whole "God-fearing", "God bless America" type thing which so pervades US PR, and the "every man for himself" mentality...

i think a good way of revealing the ethics of a government is by seeing how it treats its poor and vulnerable - and the US falls very short indeed...


I agree. It sounds utterly bonkers to a good deal of us as well.

The majority of the country, that is.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:22 AM   #63
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The sad thing is that the extreme right has such a stranglehold on religious dialogue in this country that I had literally never heard the view that AEON expresses until just a couple of years ago, and then not by an American. American fundamentalists have completely branded Christianity with their own "by the bootstraps" image. When I heard that Christians in other developed nations consider it a spiritual duty to extend care to the poor-- well, my mind was boggled.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:29 AM   #64
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The sad thing is that the extreme right has such a stranglehold on religious dialogue in this country that I had literally never heard the view that AEON expresses until just a couple of years ago, and then not by an American. American fundamentalists have completely branded Christianity with their own "by the bootstraps" image. When I heard that Christians in other developed nations consider it a spiritual duty to extend care to the poor-- well, my mind was boggled.
don't American Christians read the Bible?? i mean, really, it's clear as day...
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:36 AM   #65
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The influences that you use to filter the Bible are so strong- most people are so deeply immersed in the cultural partnership of Christianity with rightwing politics that they are incapable of analyzing the relationship . I'm sure someone's written a book about how this mindfuck happened, but honestly I don't know. It's recent, for sure. It really happened with the rise of evangelicalism and their partnership with the political right in the late 70s.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:03 AM   #66
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The influences that you use to filter the Bible are so strong- most people are so deeply immersed in the cultural partnership of Christianity with rightwing politics that they are incapable of analyzing the relationship . I'm sure someone's written a book about how this mindfuck happened, but honestly I don't know. It's recent, for sure. It really happened with the rise of evangelicalism and their partnership with the political right in the late 70s.
yep, it's very scary... i grew up in an evangelical pentecostal church in the UK and went to catholic school so have kind of had my fill of religion, and remember hearing a pastor preaching against the Labour party - they were all right-wing Tories lol, and that's about the time the prosperity gospel started creeping in as well... that particular church was heavily influenced by the US evangelical scene - there were constant streams of visiting American pastors/preachers - the services were more like a football match than a normal British church lol - they also did nothing for the poor or the local community - the leaders were just interested in taking collections to build a bigger church and drive their big shiny cars - wankers

i went to loads of different churches all over the place after that, and definitely felt more at home in the quiet Anglican/CofE context... much more gentle and "real"... but i don't do church these days lol
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:46 AM   #67
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as a European, i cannot get my head around this whole "God-fearing", "God bless America" type thing which so pervades US PR, and the "every man for himself" mentality...

i think a good way of revealing the ethics of a government is by seeing how it treats its poor and vulnerable - and the US falls very short indeed...
What's really strange for me to hear, is that God wants us to be rich. When I hear preachers say God wants us to be millionaires with big houses and lots of cars, because it says so in the Bible, I am baffled. The Bible has plenty of passages - in the New Testament no less - that you can't serve God and money. I think it's the American mentality that it's the land of opportunity and we can have and do anything, and combine that with conservative religious beliefs, and you get this. It makes me glad I was raised Catholic, where there was a big emphasis on taking care of the poor as your duty to God.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:23 AM   #68
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What's really strange for me to hear, is that God wants us to be rich. When I hear preachers say God wants us to be millionaires with big houses and lots of cars, because it says so in the Bible, I am baffled.
It sells. People literally buy into that message just like they would any generic self help material. Of course, self help isn't a Christian concept either; the people you should be helping are all around you. I wish that sort of mentality could be applied to our health care.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:29 AM   #69
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The question was: police and fire are "socialized" services, shouldn't healthcare be fully socialized as well. I tried to point out it was apples to oranges, not suggest the CDC should function as our healthcare system.
No, you suggested that there was a difference between a public health care system and other 'socialized' services by making what, in my view, is a false dichotomy between helping society 'as a whole' and individuals.

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I would reject the notion that “if government provides (a), then it should provide (b), (c) and (d).
Fair enough, and there are debates on that matter. For instance, in Canada dental care is not covered under public health insurance. Should it?

That said, from an argumentation point of view, surely you can appreciate that if you support government providing (a), then you cannot coherently reject the notion that government should provide (b), if (a) and (b) are based on the same principle.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:36 AM   #70
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What's really strange for me to hear, is that God wants us to be rich. When I hear preachers say God wants us to be millionaires with big houses and lots of cars, because it says so in the Bible, I am baffled.
There are plenty of such congregations, especially in the south/southwest of the USA, generally headed by a bloated pastor living in a multi-million dollar mansion.

There was a story just last week of such a pastor, I believe somewhere in Texas, who sent a letter to his congregation asking for donations to upgrade his personal helicopter (!). I think the letter said something to the effect that he had a dream or vision that if they donate $52 in 52 weeks they will see the fruits of their labour and get that car they've always wanted or some such. This became public and he had to apologize but even then he said that his intentions were misunderstood. As if. And the whole point of these congregations is precisely that Jesus WANTS you to be rich and that it isn't a sin to be rich or to want to be rich or to pray for riches. It's an extremely materialistic view that I think is totally disconnected from their actual faith.

I think a big part of the problem here is that so many people are so naive and so gullible and so willfully blind that they cannot actually participate in the minimum level of critical thinking required to see through these sorts of things.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:41 AM   #71
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A European-style overhaul would require answering some basic, tough questions.
Like what, for example?

I'm curious as I'm not familiar enough with US constitutional/division of powers law to really understand what can be regulated federally and what can be left to each state in terms of healthcare. Could you have Canadian or Euro-style healthcare in one state, but not another, for example? Because if so, it seems to me the best way of going about showing the rest of the citizenry what the advantages/disadvantages are.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:23 AM   #72
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There are plenty of such congregations, especially in the south/southwest of the USA, generally headed by a bloated pastor living in a multi-million dollar mansion.

There was a story just last week of such a pastor, I believe somewhere in Texas, who sent a letter to his congregation asking for donations to upgrade his personal helicopter (!). I think the letter said something to the effect that he had a dream or vision that if they donate $52 in 52 weeks they will see the fruits of their labour and get that car they've always wanted or some such. This became public and he had to apologize but even then he said that his intentions were misunderstood. As if. And the whole point of these congregations is precisely that Jesus WANTS you to be rich and that it isn't a sin to be rich or to want to be rich or to pray for riches. It's an extremely materialistic view that I think is totally disconnected from their actual faith.

I think a big part of the problem here is that so many people are so naive and so gullible and so willfully blind that they cannot actually participate in the minimum level of critical thinking required to see through these sorts of things.


I think the problem is that people have such a high level of anxiety living in a nation with little to no safety net and decreasing economic mobility and increasing wealth inequality.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:50 AM   #73
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Perhaps everyone should get together and bypass the government - and fund hospitals through our own giving, make it a true non-profit; also knowing that one day we will all be on the receiving end of that charity.

The current quasi-regulated-maximize-profit system is simply a crime.
Not surprised by the mischaracterization of conservative Christianity elsewhere in this thread, as Aeon's statement here truly nails it.
The compassion called for by Christ leads to personal giving to others and to do so without calling attention to one's self.

The current big-government system allows too many to profit and too few to receive care. A vote for an entitlement system is not a proxy nor substitute for personal compassion and action towards others.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #74
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I'm not familiar with this. Could you elaborate?
[Note: just trying to explain concepts here]

The best way to understand a pure health care insurance system is to look at automobile insurance. When you purchase a new car, you purchase a policy that will cover costly repairs to the car (you are still responsible for gas, oil, maintenance, etc. on your own). If you get in an accident, insurance steps in to cover the repair bills - that way you can manage your overall cost of maintaining the car with regular monthly payments and avoid getting nailed by the one-time spike in costs. Insurance allows us to manage risk.
Now, let's say the government steps in and tells the insurance company that the policy must cover damage to the car that doesn't occur during the policy period (let's say you buy a car with a dent and then look to insurance to fix the dent).

The potential costs to the insurance company just went up - so the insurance rates for everyone go up. The individual is no longer managing their own risk, but must help cover additional risks taken by others.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:53 AM   #75
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Like what, for example?

I'm curious as I'm not familiar enough with US constitutional/division of powers law to really understand what can be regulated federally and what can be left to each state in terms of healthcare. Could you have Canadian or Euro-style healthcare in one state, but not another, for example? Because if so, it seems to me the best way of going about showing the rest of the citizenry what the advantages/disadvantages are.
My thought was more along the line - if we have a nationalized system (no state-to-state differences), what is the base line level of healthcare that should be made available to everyone. Should base line care include every new drug and procedure created by the medical industry? Do we include drugs that help conditions that could otherwise be addressed by diet & exercise? Do we include things like Viagra?

Today, we discover that healthcare coverage is rationed by a group of actuaries (i.e., sorry, your test won't be covered until you turn 50, your procedure is only available to people who are in worse heath than you), a top down type of limitation. My idea of "tough questions" would entail building healthcare from the bottom up. This would increase certainty regarding coverages and costs, while reducing the opportunity of businesses to profit from vague mandates.
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