Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Color Me Outraged Over “Dhimmitude!”

(This post is in response to e-mails received recently that are discussed on the Snopes site at http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/exemptions.asp.)

I’m not a constitutional or legislative scholar. But I’m privileged to have a reasonably fast internet connection, sufficient RAM and processor speed, and a willingness to spend a few minutes doing a couple of simple searches. First, I searched for the documents themselves. (The U.S. Government Printing Office site at gpo.gov is easy to access.) Then, I did a search of the main documents for a word reported to be contained in “The Healthcare Bill” frequently referred to derisively (and perhaps deservedly) as “Obamacare.”

The versions of what may be called “The Health Care Bill” include the original failed attempt at passing healthcare reform in 2009 (H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, 1,017 pages), that bill’s replacement passed by the House of Representatives in November, 2009 (H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, 1,990 pages), and the final amendments to that version (H.R. 4872, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, 153 pages) signed into law on March 30, 2010. Those are the three I searched. The word “dhimmitude” does not appear in any of them. To be certain, since page 107 was cited in the e-mails I have received, I read page 107 in each document. The word does not appear there.

As an Evangelical Christian pastor who is exempt by conscience from the Social Security system, I will likely be among those who will also be exempted from the healthcare legislation, just as those in various other sects of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and others who would be covered by the (current version of the) law’s “Religious Conscience Exemption” (which appears on pages 299-300 of H.R. 3962).

So, in short, I must agree with the anonymous author of the e-mails forwarded to me recently. Yes, “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.” If, of course, the “this” is the tendency of “concerned Christians” to spend far more time, energy, blood-pressure, and serotonin being foolishly outraged over fictitious claims regarding any number of topics (By the way, “In God We Trust” does, in fact, appear on the new presidential dollars. You’re welcome.) than most of us expend in loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:34-40), sharing Christ’s offer of the free gift of God: eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23), or even encouraging one another’s growth and maturity to a depth of love that casts out even the ultimate fears (I John 4:18-19).

My hope is that this brief note will promote a new step toward that growth and maturity. My expectation, though, is that it may only make you angry. But that might lead you to some growth, too. So, there it is.

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