Last Tuesday, your editorial page featured an essay by B. Russell Harper of Christian Care Communities. Harper urged us to protest massive cuts to the Medicaid budget looming in Congress and in the Kentucky legislature. He asked us to "demand that (government) place a top priority on covering basic health care" for those unable to afford it.
I noted the word "Christian" in the name of his organization, and thought to myself how appropriate it was for a Christian to make this appeal. When a scribe asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment, he answered that there were two: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. "There is no other commandment greater than these." I thought that in a prosperous nation like ours, sincere Christians would insist that medical care be affordable for everyone.
All this leaves me puzzled about the strong link so many Americans see between Christian values and the Republican Party. Both Governor Fletcher and President Bush have taken Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes, and to veto tax increases. This pledge is irresponsible, since it comes after a period of tax cuts that threaten basic services. It says that no need can be great enough to justify a tax increase, even if the alternative is to let people die from untreated illnesses. How could a Christian justify such a pledge?