America’s Shame

TODAY THE PRESIDENT vetoed a $35 billion bill that would have dramatically expanded children’s health benefits over a period of five years. Reason given? “Too expensive.”

At the same time, he is demanding another $190 billion for the disastrous war in Iraq—a war that has already cost (according to the Congressional Budget Office) nearly $460 billion—a total now rising by $2 billion per week.

The veto took place behind closed doors, unlike the fanfare that accompanied the President’s public declaration two days earlier (while apparently oblivious to the phenomenally grotesque irony) that October 1 would be “Child Health Day.”

So much for “compassionate conservatism”—stick a fork in it; it’s done. Ditto for “no child left behind.”

We can’t afford $7 billion a year for the health of our children. But we CAN afford well over $100 billion a year to carry out America’s first-ever war in which we proactively attacked another nation—and by choice, not of necessity or self-defense. A war in which we abandoned the moral high ground we’d held for more than 230 years.

So far, over 3,800 American troops have died in this war—and over 28,000 have been wounded. Iraqi casualties have been far higher.

  • A total of $35 billion for children’s health is “too much.”
  • A total of $460 billion (so far) to continue death and destruction is “not enough.”


All are entitled to their own opinion about all this, of course. And if you’re OK with this veto today, that’s your choice. But for me, being a Christian means lining up on the side of health and life—not misery and death. I can’t even imagine any scenario in which Jesus Christ could reject helping children while approving the needless slaughter of countless thousands.

This isn’t political—it’s moral. This isn’t liberal versus conservative. This is right versus wrong.

And if what happened today is not wrong, then my Bible is meaningless.

  • War—justified by proven lies.
  • Torture.
  • A government eager to help the rich—while ignoring the poor.
  • Spying on citizens.
  • Setting aside the Bill of Rights (no more habeus corpus).
  • Setting aside the Geneva Conventions (the rights of prisoners of war).

This isn’t the America I knew until just recently. It’s beginning to look more and more like the America prophesied in Revelation 13—the lamb that transforms into a dragon.


4 responses to this post.

  1. You make some great points here. As you know, I’ve been in this fight for just over a year now. All the work we have put into helping create the political will for this bi-partisan legislation for the truly “least of these” in our society, and our compassionate conservative of a President vetoes it. It’s really a punch in the stomache!


  2. Posted by john on October 3, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Come on Ken!—Money aside, the president was more than willing to sign a new bill at twice the poverty level, but not three times–that is a family income of 60K per year–Perhaps you are in favor of nationalized healthcare–fine–then say so instead of using shaming as a mode of arguement—I also remember our prophet saying that we should always assume good in people and accusations of “proven lies” does not seem to lie in that vein. Politically, honest people can dialogue and disagree, but overarching political spin and talking points divides rather than bringing good caring people together—
    I do understand that many in DC believe that now that one side has their ‘Victory’ to use against Republican candidates [see today’s Daily Kos] a bill will be passed to cover those at twice the poverty rate, and soon.
    Also your post seems to imply that if one disagrees with you
    we are not on the side of health and life . Once again,Come on !!!
    Then to shift at the end into political attack completely detracts from the rest of your post. Are you preaching to the choir or are you interested in entering into conversation with those that may well disagree?
    My question to you is this? What are you and your local church doing to help those directly in need of services as opposed to expecting the ‘government’ to take care of them.
    Interestingly enough, the new Auto Workers agreement is opening up conversation concerning our nation’s traditional business or company based health insurance provision vs. the gov’t role seen in Europe. Should be interesting!
    I applaud your passion for those without care . Johnny


  3. Thanks for the comments, John. One point of a blog to is to engender discussion. And to me, that means stimulating not just feedback that agrees with what I post but also contrary viewpoints.

    As a Christian, I believe we, myself included, have not just a right but an obligation to speak out when confronted with what we are convinced is personal or social injustice….with political acts that run contrary to the example and teachings of Jesus.

    I exercise that right and obligation while respecting the freedom of anyone else to disagree with me and for their sense of morality and justice to vary from mine. What I deem wrong and immoral, you may not.

    But my personal conviction is that if I err, I want it to be on the side of peace, not war….on the side of caring more for the disadvantaged than for the wealthy and moneyed interests…and on the side of speaking against injustices rather than remaining passive and silent.


  4. Thanks too, Ryan, for your comment. I admire your activism as pastor of the Hollywood church….surely a challenging assignment…in pursuing such causes as affordable housing, children’s health care, etc.

    Your blog entitled “Intersections” at is a laudable adjunct to your ministry, and I hope that anyone who reads mine will find yours as valuable and motivating as I have.


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