In healthcare practice, I have found Christian values to be mostly beneficial. The prevailing social and legal atmosphere, however, poses difficulties in harmonizing Christianity and healthcare practice. The essential Christian values, regarding healthcare practice, include the sanctity of human life, kindness, and heterosexual behavior (Millar, 1986). It is on these values that the Christian debate concerning the USA Health Care Policy is founded.
In the Bible, kindness is named as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It involves showing gentleness and empathy towards all people (Kilner, 1992). Moreover, kindness is the virtue that we should be good and caring to all people, regardless of origin or class. It is exemplified by the life of Jesus; Jesus fed his followers for free, he healed the sick and gave hope to the poor. Besides, Jewish culture, from which Christianity borrows, held that a little harvest was to be left in the farms, so that the poor would also have food. Such deeds act as the foundation of the virtue of kindness (Millar, 1986). It is in this spirit that Christian organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have set up healthcare centers. Though their healthcare centers are not absolutely free of charge, they are not profit driven. This ensures they give their patients the best possible treatment.
The sanctity of the human life is a key element of Christianity. In the 10 commandments, it is prohibited to murder/ kill a person. This virtue stems from the creation doctrine that states that humans were created in the image and likeness of God. This debate has been very significant in fighting against abortion in the United States. Christians argue that a person begins to exist at conception; at the fusion of the sperm and the ovum. In my view, this is correct and indubitable (Center for Economic and Social Rights, 2004). The argument for abortion is agreeable only when it is outside, when a person begins to exist. While a zygote may not be biologically classified as a human being, it is, definitely, a person with respect to philosophy.
In addition, the sanctity of human life also comes along, when surgeons have to make the delicate decision, whether to save the baby or the mother. In this case, both the mother and the baby are human beings. It is here that the principle of utilitarianism begins to operate. Utilitarianism, in its turn, is a principle of ethics that states that the morality of an act is based on the measure of greatest good that it achieves. A moral act is, therefore, that which achieves the greatest good in the long-term for all the stakeholders (May, 1994). It is in this spirit that most healthcare centers choose to save the mother. While this may be rated as a good decision, it is not the utmost good according to Christian principles. The attempt, therefore, lies in trying, as far as possible, to save both lives.
Heterosexuality v homosexuality has recently elicited heated debates from all sectors of the United States and the Western World. Christianity expressly requires that people of the same sex should not be engaged sexually, as it is abominable and unnatural. An example is made of the fire that destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, when they angered God by engaging in homosexual behavior. According to Christianity, the eventual legalization of homosexuality is a sign that the end of time is near. It has been argued that homosexuals should not do midwifery, or run children homes, or offer child healthcare. This is because their sexual orientation implies lack of respect for the institution of holy marriage, and the procreation role of a marriage.
The US Healthcare Policy is founded on the Christian virtue of kindness. This virtue is, however, socialist in nature. It is the socialist aspect that previously caused most regimes not to implement the policy. Being labeled a socialist in the USA is certainly not any political party’s pleasure; it could easily mean sabotage or losing in the next general election. It can, thus, be rated courageous that the Democrats sanctioned this move by President Obama to implement the universal healthcare policy. In Christianity, we are constantly reminded to take care of the poor, the needy and the sick. It is definitely against the sanctity of human life that a sick person can be denied healthcare on the ground that they cannot pay for their treatment (Kelley, 1998). While this is right, from a capitalist perspective, it denotes an overly materialistic approach to healthcare. Materialism is the main enemy of kindness.
The cost of the Healthcare Policy ultimately falls on the taxpayers. While this may be seen as an undue expense to the government, it, definitely, isn’t. The country loses much more in the deaths and dependence ratios of the sick. If those sick people were offered treatment, they would be productive citizens. Besides, healthcare is an issue of fundamental human rights. Lack of a healthcare policy condemns the poor to early mortality, while it is dehumanizing to state that one should die early, because they are poor. It is true that the government doesn’t directly profit from the healthcare policy. According to Christianity, being led by profits in healthcare issues is evil. It negates the sanctity and unlimited value of human life (Kilner, 1992).
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