Monday, September 30, 2013

Moral or Immoral Monday?

As many of you probably know, for quite some time now there have been various protests in North Carolina on Mondays. Those who plan and carry out those protests call them Moral Mondays.
Much of the protest in North Carolina has been about the drastic changes in voter registration laws. That was especially the target of the protests on Sept. 16, the Monday after the 50th anniversary commemoration of the church bombing in Birmingham (about which I wrote here).
As today is Monday, it will be interesting to learn what the good people of N.C. will do today.
But it seems that today will be an “immoral Monday” for the United States.

As is being widely reported, the federal government is on the brink of a shutdown. It ought to be a simple matter to keep the government operating. All it would take is to pass a budget.
But the Republican-dominated House of Representatives have been unwilling to agree on a new budget unless there was defunding, or at least delay of, the Affordable Care Act, which has been the law of the land since March 2010.
“Obamacare” has been the main target of conservative Republicans for many months now, and at this point they would rather shut down the federal government rather than to approve a budget bill that includes Obamacare, which is scheduled to move to the next stage of implementation tomorrow.
What is perplexing to many of us Christians, opposition to Obamacare is the main focal point of some conservative Christian groups, such as the Faith and Freedom Coalition. On Sept. 18 I received an invitation from them urging me to join, sending them membership dues of course. In large red letters at the top of that appeal were the words: Campaign to Undo Obamacare.
Just five days earlier, I received from the same group a multi-page “90-Day Battle Plan To Dismantle Obamacare, asking me to send them $75 a month in Sept., Oct. and Nov. to help fund their $3.3 million dollar campaign.
And on the 9/26 Washington Update webpage of Faith and Action, a conservative D.C. lobby organization, is this “poster” DELAY / DEFUND / DEMOLISH / DESTROY / OBAMACARE.
It seems very strange that Christian groups such as these, or that legislators such as Southern Baptist Ted Cruz or Mormon Mike Lee, see the most critical ethical issue in the land to be fighting against expanding healthcare insurance coverage.
A few days ago good friend Anton Jacobs expressed similar dismay well on Facebook: 
The specter of affluent leaders working overtime to stop a program to extend health care to a greater portion of the population boggles the mind. Could someone please explain to me the mind and heart of people who would deliberately deprive fellow citizens of health care for ideological reasons?
Unless something unexpected happens today, the government will be partially shut down tomorrow, for the first time since the Republicans forced a shutdown for 28 days in 1995-96 during the Clinton presidency. One of the main issues then was Medicare, for which the Republicans wanted to increase the premiums and the President wanted to implement the scheduled reduction.
The temporary shutdown of the government will not be a catastrophe, although there will be severe consequences to many people and unpleasant consequences for the nation as a whole. But it does seem to be rather immoral to cause this sort of pain because of opposition to a law which just next year will provide healthcare to some 10 to 15 million USAmericans who do not now have it.


  1. Although I agree that Morality should be the basis for our individual lives, and especially for our public actions, I am hesitant to accuse my opponents that their morality is misguided just because they are affluent or unwashed or have long hair, etc. My heroes at Kent State in May, 1970, were discredited because of their personal hygiene, and their tactics of obstructionism were considered unpatriotic. Let us all strive for more civil discourse, and recognize that minorities in a democracy need to receive a respectful hearing of their complaints, and non-violent resistance is a valid worst-case response when they are oppressed.

    My question to them on their opposition to Obamacare is why not let it fail, if it is so bad? As a born-and-raised Missourian, I say Show Me its harm. Why not just fix its flaws as they become evident? If the promise of better health for all of us is not achieved, won't it be easy to amend it or rescind it?

    1. Phil, thanks for reading this morning's blog posting and for sharing your comments.

      But Jesus didn't say "by their odor you shall know them." It was "by their fruits you shall know them." Surely we have some responsibility to look at peoples' actions (fruits) and decide if they seem to be moral or immoral. And weren't the Kent State "heroes" protesting against a war (and a President) that they thought was immoral?

      I do heartily agree with your last two questions.

  2. A local Thinking Friend writes from Colorado:

    "Greetings from Estes Park, Colorado where the locals and others have shown 'Mountain Strong' in recovering and rebuilding following a thousand year flood. Many communities are still inaccessible and travel is difficult. Estes Park is open and welcoming tourists and friends.

    "Tomorrow the Rocky Mountain National Park will likely close. This will be due, not to a natural disaster, but to a chosen decision by our leaders in Washington. Not being able to visit the park seems a small loss compared, however, to the loss if the Republicans get their way and stop the Affordable Care Act."

  3. Local Thinking Friend Eric Dollard sent the following comments by email (and gave me permission to post them here):

    "The Republicans do not have the votes in the U S Senate and they do not have the White House. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), whatever its problems, is currently the law.

    "If the Republicans want to repeal the ACA, they should do so when they have the votes in Congress. Refusing to fund the ongoing operations of the government because, essentially, they lost the last election is irresponsible, immoral, undemocratic, and unconstitutional. (Note also that it is only because of gerrymandering that they have control of the House at all.)"