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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Life and Death Issue: Universal Health Care (II)

What is Universal Health Care?

Social Gospel peddler Jim Wallis of Sojourners answers the question posed in the heading in the following manner: “To guide our search for more humane and effective health care, we will need to establish some principles: for example, that health should be a human right and not a commodity for sale, and that wealth should not determine one’s share of health in our world. We need to build consensus on principles and priorities if we are to address successfully the enormous challenges of public health in a world of massive inequalities. And until something is done to make universal health care a reality in America, millions of families will remain poor.”[1]

Wallis’ statement contains almost as many errors as words. The quote from his book also raises a number of serious questions. First, who is the “we” that will establish the principles that will guide us in this investigation? Does it include Jimmy Carter, who wrote the Foreword to Wallis’ book? Clearly, Wallis has someone or a group in mind. Who might that be? Will conservatives be allowed to participate, or will “we” comprise only leftwingers?

Second, where and how does Wallis establish the principle that health is a right? For Wallis, it is the principal thought that Jesus healed. The quantum leap conclusion, therefore, is that health is a right. Surely Jesus said that somewhere in the gospels, didn’t he? If, health is a right, as Wallis asserts, then why didn’t Jesus heal everyone while he was on earth and not just the few mentioned in the gospel accounts? Moreover, in this age of the Holy Spirit, why doesn’t the Spirit pick up where Jesus left off and become the divine health (care) dispenser?

Third, Wallis’ assertion that health (care) should not be a commodity for sale, entirely misses the mark. Health care, rather than being given over to the government to run, should be privatized in a free market economy. Mr. Wallis doesn’t want that because his particular brand of the Social Gospel drives him inexorably in the direction of Socialism and Socialism disdains the free market. No, what Wallis and those like him desire is a government run and controlled health care system (read: socialized medicine) that would be similar to the Post Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the IRS running your health care according to their rules and on their timetable. Therefore, if you get turned down for a particular procedure, you have no recourse of appeal and nowhere else to turn.

Why do you think so many foreigners that have socialized medicine in their country of origin fly to the United States and have their procedures done? The short answer is: because it is much better and ultimately cheaper.

Fourth, if Mr. Wallis would like to see more charitable giving by United States citizens overseas to rid poverty (how does he intend to do that when we cannot even completely eradicate it in our own country?), then he might want to lobby for the President and Congress to lower corporate and individual income taxes. As far as the “massive inequalities” in the world are concerned, I’m still unclear how Wallis intends to remedy them. They have existed for time immemorial and I, for one, would be keenly interested in how he intends to rid the world of poverty. Mr. Il of North Korea might put a kink in Wallis’ plans by not wanting to cooperate with Mr. Wallis’ plans to provide all North Koreans with affordable health care. Il barely provides them with a sustainable lifestyle, let alone expensive health care!

But there is more to this. Does Mr. Wallis really expect us to believe that the wealthy do not profit from private health care in socialistic countries? Does he really want us to believe that the wealthy and prestigious in countries with socialized medicine actually stand in queues waiting for their turn for health care? That’s almost as silly as Mr. Obama, Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Pelosi, or Al Gore putting windmills on their lawns or driving Smart Cars. Do you think they are going to send their children to government schools? In fact, are we so naïve that we actually believe that they are going to do anything they want us to do?

What Wallis and far too many of our current politicians want is government controlled everything and America is being pushed hard in that direction and needs to muster up the gumption to push back—and soon!

In the last issue, we were listening to Canadian Bill Gairdner as he described the Canadian socialized medicine program. How did Canada get there? Did they always have socialized medicine? The answer is: No. There was a time when Canada’s health care was provided under normal free market conditions. Admittedly, “a very small number of Canadians got caught without insurance. Their remedy was usually the charity of the doctor or hospital, special community funds set aside for this purpose, mortgaging their assets, or assistance from family.”[2] This all sounds quite feasible and hardly grounds for forcing and coercing Canadians to give their hard-earned money to those without health care. Thomas Paine once quipped, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Thomas Jefferson added, “The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield.”

Economist Walter E. Williams says that with all that’s going on around us, it’s easy to blame the politicians. But, “Politicians tend to do precisely what we elect them to office to do. We Americans elect politicians to office on their promise to take what belongs to some Americans and give it to other Americans to whom it does not belong. Or we elect them to give some Americans special privileges that are denied other Americans…. Indeed, more than two-thirds of the federal budget is spent for programs that fit the category of legalized theft.”[3] The net result is that every time Congress meets Americans lose another freedom. Again Williams: “Welfare and liberal visions of the War on Poverty haven’t simply been failures. They made whole classes of Americans indolent, dependent, and immune to the traditional cure for poverty—a growing economy.”[4]

Either Wallis has no clue when it comes to basic economic principles or when it comes to issues like poverty, or, worse, he knows and doesn’t care. Wallis claims to be a Christian; to be an evangelical. If he is, it is next to impossible to understand how he could possibly be in favor of creating an indolent, non-productive class in America, or how he could vote for a president that is so “in-your-face” about his pro-abortion stance, not to mention Mr. Obama’s views on embryonic stem-cell research. But I digress.

Gairdner recounts how previously responsible, law-abiding Canadians took care of their health care. Almost imperceptively—freedoms are hardly ever lost all at once; rather, it is a gradual, piecemeal process—the government was creating an atmosphere where it was considered a travesty if there were even one person in Canada without health care. That same perception is being created in the U.S. today. Politicians talk about the huge number of Americans without health care. Hillary Clinton mentioned the number 47 million, which is absurd. Mr. Obama’s promise for universal health care will include every illegal in this country. If we drop illegal aliens from the list—which we should—we’re down to 30 million.

Then we need to ask how many of those 30-or-so million don’t want health insurance right now. They are young and healthy and would rather spend their discretionary income elsewhere. Why can’t they do that in a free country? If you answer, “They can,” I’ll respond with, “For now.” You see, Mr. Obama’s plan, like most of the failed socialized medicine plans requires 100% participation. The idea is if the state sees itself as the public protector (Nanny), then it is government’s duty to require free people to cough up their money to take care of others.

One of the key architects of Canada’s health care program was British immigrant, Tom Kent, who was “the socialist-minded adviser to Prime Minister Pearson.”[5] He was followed by a long succession of health ministers, including Monique Bégin, who penned the book Medicare: Canada’s Right to Health. The title says it all. She and Wallis must have compared notes. But here’s the kicker on Kent. He was an unelected, yet highly influential person, who was an ardent socialist. He pushed socialized medicine on the Canadians and they were so apathetic that they let him. It was Kent’s rabid ideology that Canadians allowed to go unchecked. In essence, they permitted him to quash their freedoms and politicize the medical framework of the entire nation.[6]

In our next issue, we’ll examine more in detail how socialized medicine organizes scarcity and give you more interesting statistics from the Canadian Frazier Institute.

[1] Jim Wallis, The Great Awakening, Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America, (NY: HarperCollins, 2008), p. 123. Emphasis added.

[2] William Gairdner, The Trouble with Canada, (Toronto: General Paperbacks, 1991), p. 300.

[3] Walter E. Williams, More Liberty Means Less Government, (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1999), pp. 51-52.

[4] Ibid., 55.

[5] Gairdner, Trouble, 301.

[6] Ibid., 302.



Blogger randy buist said...

The biblical text gives you NO RIGHT to question the faith of Jim Wallis. Since he claims to be a Christian, you need to accept it. Anything else, flies in the face of the biblical text.

It is neither your right to question if he is a Christian nor is it your right to write such. Your mockery of the biblical text is ironic. Why such a disdain for the Scriptures?

9:37 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy: "Since he claims to be a Christian, you need to accept it. Anything else, flies in the face of the biblical text."Randy, I wonder that you could post such a thing in all seriousness. What in the world do you do with all the biblical references to "false brethren" and the need to spot, rebuke and call out such men?

Scripture is pretty plain that we are not to judge those OUTSIDE the church. However, those who are WITHIN the church we are to judge. That is right from the pen of the Apostle Paul.

It's pretty hard to take you saying Ron has disdain for the Scriptures when you cheerfully gloss over so much of the Bible yourself.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Should I/we, then, have accepted the "Christianity" of Bultmann and Tillich?
Why do I not have the "right" to question a man who says that his favorite evangelist is Charles Finney, who is a Pelagian; a heretic?
You may find it loving to "accept" such people, but I suggest that this is really part of your problem.
You disdain biblical orthodoxy and orthodox theologians and embrace obvious liberals like Wallis and McLaren.
Nice try, but your lack of biblical discernment regarding theological liberals is appalling.

8:11 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Finney planned more churches than you could even dream. If that wasn't the Sprit leading Finney, then what was it Ron?

Yea, I'll hold to it. Your narrow interpretation of the Scriptures flies in the face of many believers who thought differently than you do.

For all of your age and wisdom and travels, I find it astounding that you believe your theological perspective is superior to all others. What gives you the arrogant right Ron?

9:37 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


Do you find your theological position superior to rattlesnakes? If you are allowed to believe so, why isn't he?

5:34 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...


If it was "just Ron's theological perspective" alone, we might indeed wonder. But it is not just his theological perspective. Ron is reflecting hundreds on hundreds of years of theological perspective, which you've apparently forgotten. Sad for one who claims to come from a Reformed perspective.

And I note that you ignored my previous comment. What will you do with those Scriptures I cited that clearly tell us how to handle false teachers? You can't answer it because it will hoist you on your own petard.

8:59 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...


No, I don't. I know that many of my beliefs are not as 'correct' as they could be.

I've seen how Latinos and Kenyans with much less than us Americans treat their fellow brothers and sisters. They too have faults and issues, but they don't hold their money so tightly.

I've talked with many wise and aged people who have great humility while holding to their beliefs. While holding firmly to beliefs, they have much grace in the same manner that Yahweh shows grace to us.

I know I am often wrong. I also know that the biblical text is good. I trust that the Spirit will guard the church as necessary.

I've grown out of a far-right Calvinist pesspective. While I have no doubt of the salvation of God-fearing people such as Ron, his accusations fly straight in the face of the biblical text.

IF you doubt my perspective, fine. Read about Charles Finney. Read church history books, and read what other followers of Jesus have written about him. Then ask yourself if Ron's perspective is narrow and lacking in discernment.

Either Ron has it right or church historians over the past hundred years have had it wrong. And Ron accuses others of re-writing history.

9:03 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...


To answer your previous question: I'm not entirely sure what to do with those texts. I realize we are called to be careful of false teachers. It's probably fair to call our Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses for being false teachers. Larger groups of Christ followers have generally agreed upon 'cults' who claim to be Christians.

Historically, it was such things as councils who agreed upon false teachers. Even those present their own issues though.

So, I ask you this: What do you do with the following verses...

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of GOd, God lives in him and he in God."

"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever lvoes God must also love his brother.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well."

from I John 4 & 5

9:16 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...

So, it's pretty obvious not all of my beliefs are correct. I certainly differ with Ron, but I don't have the right to call him a heretic. Because he believes Charles Finney was not a follower of God doesn't mean that he doesnt' love God. Because I believe we have a responsibility to little children even after they are out of the whom, doesn't mean that I am not a follower of Jesus.

The biblical text is entirely clear on this. :)

9:22 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


Thanks for your response. I don't at all have a problem with you holding a different position than rattle. I don't even think it's arrogant. However, you obviously think, at the very least, you're "more correct" on this issue than he. You sure are presenting it that way. If that is the case, then you can't really castigate him for thinking he is more correct than Finney can you? Speaking of church history, throughout the ages there are scores of church councils declaring different people to be heretical or wrong starting with the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. I'm simply pointing out inconsistency in your argument. Just the fact that you are making an argument means you think rattle is wrong and you are right. You are exempting yourself from the standard you are setting up for rattle. That is definitely "less correct".

As for the texts, that was really Solameanie's post, but I do agree with him. Even in the passages you cite we first see that acknowledgment is all that is required, but later it is revealed that it must be a sincere confession. If you just say it but don't match the life (by hating your brother), you're a liar. So we see Scripture defining its own terms.

Your implication in your last post is that anyone who is conservative does not want to care for children once outside the womb because they do not support public health care. I live in Canada, under the public health care system. Once you start giving your tax money to a government to administer it for the purposes of health care you lose control of what can be done with it. Some is used to help children who are truly unable to provide for themselves. Some is also used to slaughter over 100,000 children each year who are unable to protect themselves. Overall the loss to children far outweighs the gain.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...


I'm not Icedawg. (smile) Although I am dog tired today.

I'll post an answer to your question this evening. Busy day today.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

If Finney is a Pelagian, which he is, and the Christian Church has condemned Pelagianism, which it has, then what should we say about the churches planted by heretics? I think you slept through both Church History and Logic.
There are equally other groups in other countries that have been willing to practice genocide against their neighbors, so I don't see your point at all.
You have contributed nothing in your rants. They are incoherent blather. You are still in the camp of theological liberals and have so little discernment that you do not see heretics and their dangerous aberrant theology. And you are supposed to be guarding God's flock?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Okay, Randy, now I have some time to answer your comment about Jesus words in 1 John.

You cannot just clip those comments out with a pair of scissors and then juxtapose it on to whomever "names the name of Christ." As Jesus said pretty plainly elsewhere, not everyone who says to Him, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Keep reading what the Apostle John said in the rest of his writings. He clearly qualifies that statement about "acknowledging that Jesus is God" with an admonishment to discernment, specifically saying this in 2 John 10: Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

I would (and I am sure Ron would) make a strong case that men like Brian McLaren etc. are not abiding in the teaching of Christ. And when I say teaching of Christ, I don't just mean the red letters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The entire Bible is God's Word, and Jesus is God Incarnate. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

So let's not cherrypick Scripture to try and shield heretics from correction and call it unloving to expose their errors.

4:25 PM  

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