The downside to being the stimulator (my word for what is often referred to as "devil's advocate," although I hope I'm advocating for Someone else) is that people don't often know when I'm seriously presenting a case, just advocating another position to make them think it through, or just trying to be funny.
So, some of you have asked me what is it I actually think about HRC.
Do I really want to share this? I'm pretty opposed to blanket labeling, because everyone defines a label based on where they are on the scale. There's my friend Warren, who when we moved with 2 other guys into a house together 20 years ago, we spent the first night debating for hours whether or not the KJV was the only reliable English translation of the Bible. To him I've always been a liberal Christian. To my friend John, a newspaper editor, I was an ultra-conservative pastor. Both guys knew the same "me", they just labeled me based on where they were on the scale. That's why I hate labels, they say less about me and more about the person/group using them.
So this is a risk. I'm going to be labeling myself somewhat.
At heart, I believe I am a political and social conservative. Okay, everyone stop laughing! It's true. I believe that a small government is the best practice, that the best government is one that is exactly large enough to do what Romans 13 describes. I like free market capitalism. I am pro-life. I believe in individual responsibility.
I'm also a patriot. I think that US-style democracy is the best form of government invented by man. Actually, I'd be interested in an absolute monarchy if Jesus could be king, but beyond that, I like what we have here, albeit still in it's relative infancy compared to many other societies around the world. I would not easily want to live anywhere else in the world. Although I struggle with the value of war, I'm grateful for men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of...well, of me. And my family. I tear up at the playing of Taps, and I get extemely irritated at those who do not respect the National Anthem and start cheering before it's over.
But I've also become passionate in recent years about the people often referred to as "marginalized." People who through little or no choice of their own have ended up in the wrong place. People dealing with oppression, injustice, unfairness, lack of access, poverty, disease, etc. Mostly because of the work and ministries I've gotten involved with over the past decade or so, I've been able to meet and get to know widows, orphans, immigrants, and more. I've been exposed to those who have been doing such ministry for years, and had the Holy Spirit illuminate how often the Scriptures talk about God's care and concern for "the least of these."
So here's my label for me: conflicted.
Which brings me back to healthcare reform. I'm very conflicted.
Do I worry about government interference on 26% of the economy? Absolutely I do. Do I think that most ideas coming out of Washington are produced by men and women who spend more time worrying about their reelection than they do the real problems in our world? Yes, I do. Do I wish that we lived in a world where the government didn't even consider this because the Church cared for all people in need? Definitely yes!
Am I glad that now health coverage will be guaranteed for people with pre-existing conditions? Absolutely I am. Do I think it is a good thing to ensure that insurance companies cannot drop someone's coverage because they get sick? Yes I do.
I could go on, but there you have it. I am both for and against HRC. I am both disgusted by it and excited about it.
Like virtually every human decision and invention in this world, it is shades of good and bad. I don't think it's armageddon, I don't think it's the end of the USA, and I don't think it solves all the problems. I don't even know that I think it's good. I'm pretty sure it's got plenty bad in it. I think it will help hundreds of thousands of people. And I know it's going to cost me money.
So call me conflicted. (Please don't call me worse, I don't want you to label yourself.)