the weblog of Alan Knox

The Good Samaritan meets Health Care Reform

Posted by on Sep 7, 2009 in blog links, love, service | 3 comments

Joe (JR) at “More Than Cake” has written a post that excellently exposes our hypocrisy. The post is called “A Parable of Political Compassion,” and it presents the parable of the Good Samaritan in a updated, and timely, fashion.

Here is Joe’s post:


As our nation bickers over the right political solution to the problems facing the American healthcare system, I think ww are loosing sight of the real meaning of compassion. The following parable illustrates this well.

A Crowd gathered around the broken form of a Young Man who was lying motionless on the roadside Moments before the Young Man was riding his bike down the street, when suddenly struck by a car. Dazed and confused, the Crowd looked around for someone to offer direction on what they should do.

A Doctor came to the scene. He quickly ran to the Young Man’s side, bent down and began searching through his pockets. When the Doctor could not find an insurance card, he quietly moved away and said, “I cannot help this man.”

As the crowd became angry, a successful trial Lawyer came to the scene. Upon seeing the man bleeding to death, and hearing the story of the Doctor who refused to help, the Lawyer became angry. She decried this great injustice saying, “no one in America shouod be refused medical care just because he cannot pay.” The Lawyer quickly bent down beside the Young Man bleeding on the ground. She put her business card in the man’s pocket and said, “when you get well, come and see me. I will be sure to represent you in a big-money lawsuit against that Doctor, the Hospital, and the Insurance companies.”

Growing more angry, the Crowd began to grumble and complain, “what is wrong with this country!?”

A wealthy US Senator whose office was close to the scene came into the crowd. Seeing the Young Man bleeding to death on the ground, he cried out, “why has no one helped this man?!” The crowd reported the story of the Doctor and the Lawyer. The Senator knew something must be done quickly to save this man’s life. He jumped into action. He climbed onto a nearby soapbox and gave an impassioned speech to the enraged Crowd. ”We need change! We must pass a law to help this man who does not have healthcare! There are many Rich People in this country who have enough money to help this man get care. Come with me and we will pass a Law that will force these Rich People and Big Companies to pay for this man’s healthcare!”

The crowds loved the words of compassion spoken by the wealthy-Senator, made signs in support of his speech and followed after him to help pass a Law.

Before the Crowds could leave, a well-known Pastor jumped into the middle of the ruckus and decried to the immorality of the Senator’s proposed Law. The Pastor used his great influence and spoke passionately from the Bible to rally a counter-protest against the Senator and his Law.

The TV cameras soon arrived to film the scene. The nicely-dressed Anchorwoman knelt gently beside the injured man. She held a microphone to the injured man’s mouth and asked for a statement decrying the evils of the American healthcare system. Unable to speak or sign a press release, the Anchorwoman moved on to interview the Senator, the Doctor, the Pastor and people in the Crowd.

The Crowds passed by chanting their support for their chosen cause. The cameras followed. The young man was left alone, bleeding to death on the roadside.

An Elderly Man came to the scene. He bent down, and forced his aging fingers to bandage the wounds. The Elderly Man had no money of his own so he sold his car to help pay for the young man’s medical care.

Which of these people; the Doctor, the Lawyer, the Senator, the Pastor, the Crowds or the Elderly-Man reflect true compassion?

Which of these people offered a real solution to the dying man?

Which of these people are you?


As you consider the implications of Joe’s post, consider this as well. In the first 200-300 years of the church, the church was known for one thing in particular: taking care of people. The pagans who wrote against the church and Christianity always wrote about how Christians would pay their own money to take care of each other and even to take care of people who were not believers.

They would take care of the poor, the orphans, the widows, those in prison, etc. And, they wouldn’t simply throw money at some program to care for “the poor,” they would take care of poor people.

The Roman world first noticed Christianity because of the way that Christians cared for other people.

If the church still acted in this way, there would be no reason for “health care reform.” In fact, if the church still acted in this way – the way that Jesus prescribed – we could do away with all of our “evangelism programs” as well.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 9-7-2009

    Amen brother!

  2. 9-8-2009

    Great Article! I just wrote on this today as well!

  3. 9-9-2009

    I suspect many I’ve known through a ‘christian’ forum would be angry because they see it as the church’s role to help such people, and don’t want the state to interfere where they believe they have sole right to act. Whether they would sell their cars or not I cannot possibly say.

    As someone who lives in a country where I am permitted to enjoy the evil of social healthcare (we had a US congressman on the radio a few weeks back, he specifically described the NHS as evil, then tried to retract it) I cannot see why the people of America are so eager to be bled white by their present healthcare system. Making a profit isn’t bad, but when caring for people is focused around profitability, then it mixes motives most dreadfully in men’s hearts.


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