Mark Green is currently a Tennessee state senator, and he wants to be the Representative for Tennessee's Congressional District 7. Green is a physician who opposes Medicare exapnsion. As he explains it:
". every person who came to Christ came to Christ with a physical need. People go to God because of a physical need and they walk away with a spiritual need met. That's the story of the Gospels. And so government has stepped in, at least in this country, and done all the work for the church. And so the person who's in need - they look to the government for the answer. Not God. And I think, in that way, government has done an injustice that's even bigger than just the entitlement - creation of an entitlement welfare state. I think it's even bigger. And in this setting, I'll share the story. I think it interrupts the opportunity for people to come to a saving knowledge of who God is.." www.patheos.com. Article by Michael Stone, September 14, 2018.
Also: Mark Green on Youtube: "So I see our government-based assistance taking God out of the picture. And if you look at the gospesls --- if you go and study the gospels, every person who came to Christ came to Christ with a physical need. People go to God because of a physical need and they walk away with a spiritual need met. That's the story of the Gospels. And so government has stepped in, at least in this country, and done all the work for the church. And so the person who's in need - they look to the government for the answer. Not God. And I think, in that way, government has done an injustice that's even bigger than just the entitlement - creation of an entitlement welfare state. I think it's even bigger. And in this setting, I'll share the story. I think it interrupts the opportunity for people to come to a saving knowledge of who God is.."
Just so. After having read the most powerful moral prose ever written in any language --- Dostoevsky's "Grand Inquisitor," I can't help but wonder what Jesus himself would say to Mark Green were He to appear at one of Green's campaign rallies, say. Let's try to imagine the scene:
Mark Green has just finished speaking to voters at a campaign rally, where he has done his best to convince the voters that he is the best choice for Tennessee's 7th congressional district. As Green prepares to leave the hall, Jesus walks to him from the stands. Jesus is the same pale, Caucasian blonde that uncounted artists have painted over the millennia. He is dressed in a pure white caftan. (Jesus figured that if He appeared at the rally as a typical, olive-skinned middle-eastern man, Green and the audience would probably not recognize Him.) Green is brought up short, and assumes that Jesus is a liberal prankster.
Green: Good afternoon, sir. I have to say that your costume is imaginative.
Jesus: Thank you Mr. Green. It's like an old friend.
Green: Let me be frank. As you must know, I am a serious Christian, and I naturally take offense at your posing as Jesus Christ at my rally. You are obviously trying to mock me.
Jesus: Not at all Mr. Green. I just want to chat with you a bit. And, I'm not posing. I really am Jesus Christ. (Some of those who are leaving turn back and listen.)
Green: Preposterous!! If you are Jesus, then prove it by performing a miracle. Levitate that table, for example.
Jesus: I'm sorry, Mr. Green, I can't do that. It's in the gospels, you know. It wouldn't be fair if I performed a miracle for you when I refused to change the stones into bread for Satan. You remember, don't you? You'll just have to take my word that I really am Jesus Christ.
Green: Well then... What can I do for you?
Jesus: I'll try to make this short. As you just said in your campaign talk, you oppose an expansion of the national health care system you call Medicare, because "it interrupts people's opportunity for people to come to a saving knowledge of who God is."
Green: Yes, that is indeed my view.
Jesus: Has it occurred to you that you might be overstepping your authority here? After all, didn't I heal people, to say nothing of casting out demons?
Green: Yes, of course you did. And that's just my point. You were a private individual, acting in the capacity of a doctor of medicine. By the way, I am a physician too, so we are in the same line, really. These things should remain in the private sector, not be given over to the government.
Jesus: Well now, that's just what I want to discuss with you. You spoke very authoritatively about the gospels a few minutes ago. Doesn't it say there that the Pharisees tried to trick me with a question about paying taxes? And didn't I tell them to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's? [Mark 12:13]
Green: Yes, you did.
Jesus: So, obviously I was not opposed to taxes -- not even opposed to paying them to Caesar.
Green: Yes, that's true.
Jesus: Now, the Romans were pretty powerful, weren't they? (Green nods.) So powerful that no one could even imagine what came to be called "democracy" — like here in America, where the people can not only decide to tax themselves, but they also decide just how much those taxes will be, and what they want to spend them on. Am I right?
Green: Yes, you are right.
Jesus: OK. Now, let's consider some of my other sayings — like "it's harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle;" And "from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him to takes away your goods do not ask them back;"[Luke 6:29-30.] And "greater love hath no man than he who gives his life for his friends." Shall I go on, or do you get the idea — that helping others who need help is better than a somewhat greedy approach to life, right? (He winks at Green.)
Green: I get the idea.
Jesus: OK. Now, would you agree that it's pretty hard for people to support their families, and at the same time minister personally to those in need - especially people with serious medical problems?
Green: Yes, of course.
Jesus: OK. So, if the taxpayers of a democratic nation do want to help sick people - especially poor sick people - and they realize that they can help many more poor sick people by telling the government to divert some of their tax money to pay doctors to treat them than they can help them with chicken soup, say, isn't that also a way of taking my messages seriously?
Green: I guess it is.
Jesus: OK. In your campaign talk, you said that government-paid health care "interrupts the opportunity for people to come to a saving knowledge of who God is."
Green: Yes, and that is still my belief.
Jesus: But why do you believe that? You certainly know that if desperately ill religious people are cured by a doctor, they will certainly thank God for His help in guiding the doctor's hand. Right? Isn't "Thank God" a common expression from the parents of a sick child who is cured by a doctor?
Green: Yes, I understand that.
Jesus: OK. One more thing, and I'll let you go. Lets take a case
where the doctor who performs a cure of a sick child is paid by the government, instead of by the parents themselves. The parents simply can't afford to pay that much. The parents are of course thankful, and they thank God
for their child's deliverance. Would you say that, if the poor parents' neighbors have agreed to help pay for the doctor's cure of their child through their taxes, then they – the poor parents – somehow cannot have "a saving
knowledge of God?" Is that really your idea of God?
(Gently) You don't have to answer — just think about it.
Green: (Chastened) I will — I promise.
Jesus: Good. I'll be back one of these days.
As in Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor, Jesus kisses Green, and walks out.