How did a bunch of Christians come up with the AHCA?

A friend and former colleague is a minister. Even though we don’t work together anymore, I still like to receive his weekly devotions. Taking a moment to consider the words of a theologian once a week doesn’t seem like a bad thing to do.

It’s a moment to be prayerful in a way reminiscent of my Catholic upbringing, a moment to spend reflecting as though in a pew — without having to be bound to one! (I do still go for weddings and funerals …)

Anyway, I think somewhere in one of our devotion-related email chains, I was complaining about how politicians make such a big deal about their religion when running for office. However, it’s not always so easy to make the connection between their beliefs and their conduct while serving their term.

The American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives is a classic example.

I know I’m on shaky political commentary ground to bring up the subject of religion without referring to Muslims, and I’m uncomfortable with the idea of calling people out on their religious beliefs. For the life of me, though, I can’t fathom how a bunch of Christian Republicans came up with that bill.

No, I don’t practice Catholicism anymore, so far be it from me to pretend I belong on a pulpit, but I did go to parochial school. And I logged enough time in that aforementioned pew to have developed a list of favorite bible stories.

My absolute favorite is the story of the Three Wise Men — I’ll explain why another time. Another favorite is the story of Jesus in the temple. Some readers won’t be surprised by my choice — lol.

For those who aren’t familiar, Jesus disagrees with the idea of conducting commerce in the temple and proceeds to throw a tantrum and vendor tables in defiance of the practice. I also really like the passages about Jesus tending to the poor, the sick, the sinful.

Who can fault a guy for wanting to comfort and uplift the afflicted and downtrodden?

So, again, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how House Republicans — 99 percent of whom are Christian — came up with a health care bill that cuts health care for the poor in order to give tax cuts to the rich.

I must have missed the bible story meant to inspire that kind of action.

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There’s more than just religious hypocrisy behind this legislation and its hurried passing, though. Pick a hypocrisy, any hypocrisy.

Like, what about all the lawyers in the House who voted for a bill without having heard all the evidence behind it, like a Congressional Budget Office scoring?

Or the representatives with backgrounds in finance who voted for this bill without understanding its financial ramifications, like our own Rep. Bruce Poliquin? Does Poliquin understand our rural hospitals simply can’t bear any more cuts to Medicaid/MaineCare?

Poliquin’s interpretation of the ramifications for his constituency differs from those offered in a fact-checking article. It’s too bad he’s not more open to discussing those discrepancies.  

I do hope the Senate tackles the issue of health care reform with a bit more integrity than was reflected in the House of Representatives. One would think they can, since their colleagues in the other chamber have set the bar pretty low.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.