Aryeh Spero

President Obama is having difficulty convincing most Americans that national health control will improve their lives and now has turned to the clergy to persuade the American public that upending our present system is necessary to fulfill, as he says, "the religious obligation of helping others.” Recently, he held a conference call with a group of liberal Jewish rabbis and he suggested that they use their pulpits and sermons during the upcoming Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to convince their flocks that his national health control legislation constitutes the "moral and ethical thing to do." The President went on to say: "I need your help," and many that listened appear eager to turn their Houses of Worship into lobbying pulpits.

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Aside from the blatant entanglement of religion and politics, the President is wrong in asserting that national and collective health control is a moral and ethical prescription. Everyone agrees that the President's plan will cause a new rationing of health care. There’s also the danger that the President’s “comparative effectiveness research” will set cost-effectiveness standards to be used against Medicare enrollees to deny them life-extending new drugs or operations because it’s not “worth it.”

But the Bible, in Deuteronomy, explicitly states:” Therefore Choose Life," meaning that where life can be prolonged and the ways and means to do so are available, one should choose to live. While that person's life may not be valuable to the collective scheme, it has its own integrity and value to family. For most Americans, the Biblical directive toward the individual supercedes what the bureaucrats will one day decide. People should be free to choose.

In Exodus, the Bible says: "And heal and continue to heal." Healing should not be stopped when medicine is available and one is willing to pay for that healing. Nowhere does the Bible suggest that an individual should forego healing medical care simply because someone else doesn't have the means or chooses not to do so. Rationing and enforced health-care ceilings would deny the individual from pursuing his healing.

Just as Biblical justice never asked that a person forfeit his rightful claim in a case simply because the other person needs the money more, it also does not ask that the individual relinquish his or a member of his family's right to live or to be healed because a misguided "social justice" demands a system that denies the individual on the altar of the collective.


Aryeh Spero

Aryeh Spero is a pulpit rabbi in the New York City area and a frequent contributor to major national newspapers.

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