Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And We're a Christian Nation?

An interesting story from Belief Net:

Poll: Americans Pin Poverty Passage on Obama, not Bible
Tuesday November 24, 2009

(RNS) More Americans believe a statement about giving "justice to the poor and homeless" came from President Obama instead of its true source, the Bible. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Bible Society found that 54 percent of U.S. adults polled believe the statement -- "You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope.
Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless" -- came from a celebrity or politician, when the statement actually comes from Proverbs 31:8.

Of the 1,001 adults surveyed, 16 percent believed the statement came from Obama; 13 percent said it came from the Bible. Other popular answers included the Dalai Lama, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey. Other questions in the survey also addressed poverty and the Bible.

In a question about the teachings of the Bible, 40 percent said the Bible offers the most teaching on heaven, pride or adultery, even though poverty is actually mentioned more than any of these subjects.(Emphasis mine)

The survey was developed to coincide with the release of the society's new Poverty and Justice Bible, which highlights verses about poverty and justice and provides tips on helping people in need. By Angela Abbamonte, Religious News Service.

This is another reason I tend to doubt that the US is a "Christian Nation" based on "sound biblical principles". How can our nation be based on these when the majority of its population has no idea what it really says? We progressive Christians are accused of "cherry picking" what verses we want to follow, and yet conservative churches are willing to ignore the majority of what the Bible says in favor of some purity laws that happen to agree with what they personally feel is correct.

Right now we are nearing the end of the healthcare debate for another season. Those in opposition to the idea of a public option have sited many fanciful claims, from "it's a government takeover of healthcare" to "it's something we can't afford." We hear that a public option either "will drag the current system down" or "will make the private insurance companies unable to compete". Meanwhile, let's look at some other numbers from the CDC:

Persons under age 65
Number uninsured at the time of interview: 43.6 million (2008)
Percent uninsured at the time of interview: 17% (2008)
Percent with private insurance at the time of interview: 65% (2008)

Children under age 18
Percent uninsured at the time of interview: 8.9% (2008)
Percent with private insurance at the time of interview: 58% (2008)
Percent with public health plan coverage at the time of interview: 34% (2008)

43 million people without insurance. Almost one out of every 10 children in America are without insurance coverage. That's one in ten children that are not getting proper medical care.

Add to that the 2/3 of bankrupcies in 2007 that came from medical costs. Also add in that every year the equilivant of the deaths in the 9-11 attacks die because of lack of medical care/insurance.

I usually sign my e-mails off with a quote from Zacheriah: "Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another" --Zechariah 7:8-10. How much more plain can you get than this? To me this is the priority of God, not worrying about who sleeps with whom or whether or not the Genesis stories of creation should be taught in classrooms. To be Christian means to follow Christ. We as a nation are doing a pretty poor job of this.

1 comment:

Lauralew said...

Oh, I'm not surprised. When I lived in DC, I met someone who never missed church--she went to a Willow Creek affiliate. We walked together quite often and we talked about Christ on our walks. It became very clear to me that she knew little about the Bible. She even asked me one time if Job was in the New or the Old Testament! I apparently could not hide my amazement; she said she believed the Bible, but she had no time to read it.

So all she knew came from what her preacher told her--or didn't tell her.