What Would Jesus Do?

Well, okay, in this case Jesus might well have healed the afflicted. And we can all pray for those afflicted with serious illness in the prime of life. I do believe that miraculous healings do still occur. But I also believe that God gives us tools like modern medicine with which to bring about miraculous healing — which is no less miraculous just because we used our God-given gifts and talents to bring it about.

I am recycling here something I wrote 6 years ago, long before I became a Christian. I agree with my former self now more than ever, particularly in light of the commission to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Yet another local resident has tragically found himself in a horrendous medical situation. He was on a family vacation and suddenly became ill and underwent emergency surgery for Stage 4 brain cancer. Now he is faced with many months of chemotherapy, and who knows what the future may bring. A truly horrible situation, but one that could happen to any of us, really. There are no guarantees.

The LAST thing he and his family should be worrying about is how to pay for his treatment. Yet up go the posters, the donation jars, the fundraisers, the appealing pictures of this man surrounded by his family — he needs the help of the community.

Now I don’t know what kind of health insurance he had when he got sick. I have no idea whether it is adequate, whether it has unrealistically low caps on lifetime payments, or even whether this guy had any insurance. It doesn’t matter.

This is not what this family should be worrying about now, faced with a very serious illness with the potential to rob them of their husband, father, and breadwinner.

And they definitely shouldn’t have to be holding fundraisers and begging for donations at this treacherous point in their family’s journey.

And worse — every time I see another round of these medical fundraisers for yet another person I wonder — what if the family didn’t look sympathetic or have a touching story?

What if the kid who needed funds for treatment wasn’t cute? What if Mom and Dad weren’t good-looking? What if they had a less appealing story? What if they were in the middle of a divorce, their kids were ugly, and they had an uncle who was a notorious scoundrel? What if they were shy or came from a small family in a small town and don’t have dozens or hundreds of friends and family to hold fundraisers and seek media coverage to publicize their need? Does that make them any less deserving of a chance to live?

People might say, “Well, they should have taken personal responsibility to save enough, buy enough insurance, etc.”

Really? What would it do to our society if nobody could afford to buy a house or take a job at a non-profit or work as a poet or artist or musician or personal caregiver or take a risk of starting a business or going back to college — because their one and only focus in life, above everything else, needs to be personally saving up enough money for the unlikely event that they or their family are afflicted with a 1-in-a-million illness or injury?

We don’t want a society like that. We need poets, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, farmers, risk-takers, inventors, caregivers, independent business owners, and others whose main focus is something other than stashing away $millions just to be sure that “in case anything ever happens” they can pay for their own medical treatment without having to beg friends, neighbors and strangers for help.

And we certainly don’t need a society in which one needs to be (or at least look like) a model or a saint in order to be “appealing enough” to raise $millions from strangers in the event that one’s family needs unexpectedly expensive medical care that one’s insurance doesn’t cover.

We are a civilized society, or at least we pretend to be. Australians, Canadians, the British, and many other nations provide necessary health care to all — and they are not Communists or Socialists or whatever other Red Menace we’re currently worried about.

We need to take care of one another. That’s what a civilized [and now I might add Christ-loving and pro-Life] society does. And that includes routinely supporting those who are sick or injured without anyone ever having to beg strangers for money to pay for medical treatment.

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