I’ve been thinking more and more about the ‘how’ of funding the kind of reform necessary to meet the needs of the 46’000’000+ Americans who do not have health insurance.
Such an endeavor has led me to ask some crazy questions, most of which need be dropped. However, there is one that keeps coming back to me: should churches give up their non-profit/tax free status to help fund health care reform in America?
I ask this specifically of the Church for reasons which may admittedly reflect my understanding of Christian engagement with issues of contemporary justice than may be universally held.
First, I ask this question because I believe that the Church exists for the healing of the world. As such, I believe that the Church should be willing to risk and give up anything which privileges it to the exclusion of others. By maintaining a system which keeps the church from paying into government funds which are used for the benefit of the citizens of America, the church may systematically be part of the problem with funding.
Second, I ask this because I believe that the opportunity for well being is a right which is tied to the inevitable moral essence in every person. If I’m correct, then shouldn’t the Church do everything in its power to make sure that people in all places and of all types get that which is morally (and ethically) theirs?
Someone quirked at me the other day that they were unsure when it become a right for every person to have health care. I was, and remain, shocked that anyone would even remotely consider that it is not the right of people to be healthy and well. But maybe this is part of the problem: namely that the church in America has grown numb to the major social issues of our day and thus grown disconnected from one of the greatest aspects of its character, self-sacrifice.
I mean what would be more giving than to suspend one’s privilege to provide for those least privileged?
If the church wants to stand for justice, and if justice in America today means making sure all its citizens have access to health care, should the church give up its tax-free status in order to fund the care of ‘the least of these’ in her midst?