Religion and Politics in the US

Welcome to RelPol, a student peer reviewed online magazine. This magazine is part of the assessment for the module "In God We Trust" @ the University of Hull.

Political Integrity & The Healthcare Gospel

Video taken from Fox News:

All Presidents must dream of ending their terms with the realisation of a vision.  But will Barack Obama realise his, with the fulfilment of a healthcare ‘gospel’?  Is it even right to call it a gospel?

Anyone with an understanding of the Christian faith will be familiar with the word gospel.  The word simply means ‘good news’.  The four biblical ‘Gospels’ are the good news of Jesus Christ according to the long established quartet of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  It seemed however that the 2012 American presidential candidates of the incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney may well have seen themselves as new boys on the gospel block.  Just what their ‘good news’ was, became a matter for political debate of course, but if they were to be caricatured as spiritual political leaders with a Christian ethos, then the gospels according to ‘Doubting Barack’ (The president is not an overtly religious man who rarely commits to his Christian faith in public) and ‘Mitt the Mormon’ (Mitt Romney is a Mormon….obviously) were attempts to merge modern day Christianity and its cult Mormon opposition with the mainstream American politics that resonate throughout the White House.  If the political force that presides over the USA at present is truly as Christ centred as it might appear – despite irreverent articles like this attempting to poke fun at it, one might be surprised by a more ferocious attacker….American Evangelical Christianity!  The Goliath of the charge against Barack and Mitt was a certain Bill Keller.  Keller is a leading evangelical figure in the US and he saw no good news in this presidential sparring twinset.  In fact Keller long demanded a vote for Jesus and not for Obama.

Consider this particular barb from his very own website:

“This is not about politics, it is about THE ETERNAL SOULS OF MEN! A true Christian will NEVER put politics above souls, so please watch for any so-called Christian leader who endorses and supports either President Obama or Mitt Romney, since they are nothing but ‘hirelings’ and NOT true men or women of God since they obviously don’t care about souls!”[1]

-Bill Keller

As we all know, Obama survived the Romney fight (whilst also heading off a late 3rd candidate charge by Jesus himself if Keller’s is to be believed – think Ross Perot with more hair and less money!), relatively unscathed and easing into a second term full of fresh attacks and policy questioning.  So some things never change!

But have these attacks been fair?  More importantly, was Keller (amongst others) devaluing the Christian ethos woven into the fabric of Obama’s presidential legacy?  You need look no further than the oft maligned ‘Obamacare’ health system for a modern day example of a visionary at work.  For just like Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, many feel that the Obama office has been trying its hardest at a modern day equivalent. [2] Whilst many in America would agree that this ‘revolution’ is required sooner rather than later, it is a shame that most of the supporters of ‘healthcare for all’ (think Britain’s NHS, just 65 years behind the times…) are outsiders looking in, from countries that are long used to state run systems.  But boy oh boy does the US as a nation of sensible, intelligent people need to rethink about health care.  Just consider two of the many damning facts about the state of U.S medical care:

1 – One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

2 – According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance. [3]

It then becomes no surprise that almost 82 Million people in the United States have inadequate or no current healthcare insurance whatsoever.  That’s a third of the country!  How can that be right?  Bill Keller, would it be Christian to leave that as the status quo?

For those still unsure about the tenuous link between Old Testament teachings and President Obama’s Health Care Revolution, think on this.  When the Israelites were starving and tired in the Wilderness, they wanted to turn back, it would have been easier to turn and go back into slavery.  But, like American medical care today, a better deal lay just beyond the struggle.

For all that Keller implied, the political ‘Gospel of Obama’ is still good news for some….namely the Democrats.  Whether or not it is good news for the wider world still remains to be seen.  If the dynamic duo of President Obama and his current Vice-President Joe Biden – himself a Roman Catholic (is that ok with you Bill??) are to go down in history as political gospel writers, then the real good news for any combination of Christianity and Politics must reflect Chapter 5 verse 9 of Matthew’s gospel in The Bible.  It says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”.  Even Bill Keller can’t argue with that….can he?


[2]Bible: NRSV. Exodus 16: 1-36


[4]Bible: NRSV. Exodus 16:2


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 3, 2014 by in Uncategorized, Vol 2, 2014/15.
%d bloggers like this: