November 1, 2007

Access to Health Care is a Pro-life Issue

I do a lot of things on the train - read, listen to Van Til or some 80's music on my iPod....sometimes I talk to I was too tired to do any of that....especially since my iPod froze and I couldn't hear Van Til on Barth. So I decided to spend the time in my own thoughts. Last night I had been reading Clouser's Myth of Religious Neutrality, so I was able to interact with some ideas as I dozed between stops. The essence of his book is that all theories are reducible to religious belief, and so the only way to not have religious belief is to not have theories. He defines religious belief as
any belief in something or other as divine. 'Divine' means having the status of not depending on anything else. (pp. 21-22)
So you're wondering what the heck this has to do with universal health care. Contemplating the upcoming presidential election, one cannot avoid this issue. I've heard it stated by a colleague that health care should be available to everyone, it shouldn't be a privilege, it should be a right. Looking at it another way, according to her, it is a moral obligation on the part of American taxpayers to make a way for every American to have affordable access to health care. Despite the great difficulties and complexities in developing such a system, many of which I doubt could actually be overcome, I find myself agreeing with her in theory, and the reason I agree is because arguments for such a system are grounded in the belief of human dignity. Like the abortion debate, access to health care is a life issue.

This isn't hard to wrap our minds around. We care for each other on a variety of levels, and when a friend or loved one is sick, we want to see them well, and that may mean taking them to a doctor or hospital. It is a moral obligation within our relationships to care for one another this way because to do otherwise would be to neglect their life. And the basis for that is love and respect of the inherent dignity of all persons and is rooted in the imago dei. We can think of dignity as both something each person has, and also in the way that persons are treated by other persons. But no one gives dignity, all people have it.

So back to the issue of health care. Any moral obligation is dependent on something beyond ourselves, otherwise there is no moral obligation. Health care for all Americans is nothing less than a religious, prolife argument - I'd really like for the presidential contenders to call it what it is.

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