Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

New Proof that Richard Land is a Moron

Richard Land, head of the misnamed “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission” of the Southern Baptist Convention is a moron.  Oh, he has a Ph.D. from Oxford in Church History–and is fairly competent in the area of his narrow specialization.  But they should never have given him a job where he has to speak regularly on things like ethics, faith and public policy, church-state matters, etc.  That’s his job and he sucks eggs at it.

Latest proof of this is found in this article in which Land claims that the recently expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) is a Trojan Horse for “socialized medicine.”  Only the UK really has “socialized medicine,” Mr. Land. Yes, in the British system doctors and health care workers work directly for the government–and the people LIKE it that way. (Don’t believe me: Ask yourself why even PM Maggie Thatcher didn’t DARE to privatize healthcare in the UK.  She would’ve lost an immediate vote of no confidence in Parliament and lost early elections–while protesters would have been at #10 Downing Street day and night until she was run out of town on a rail, “Iron Lady” or no!)  But Canada, France, New Zealand, Australia and most other Western democracies have “socialized health insurance” rather than socialized medicine.  Most doctors are still in private practice.  It’s just that everyone is covered by a single insurance program paid for by their federal taxes.

Land thinks S-CHIP will crowd out private health insurance.  I doubt it.  Not by itself.  We NEED universal, not-for-profit healthcare in a single-payer system like Canada’s.  The easiest way to get there would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone.  But this is a GOOD THING–not an evil.  No one would fall through the cracks.  EVERYONE could get help when sick. The poor could stop using emergency rooms for primary care.  The U.S. could stop having infant mortality rates that are as low as some Third World countries. 

Further, it would help in our current economic mess.  What is the largest labor cost for big businesses? Employee health benefits.  This makes U.S. firms less competitive with foreign companies.  If General Motors was a Canadian company, even with the same poor management and same bad business model, it would not have needed a government loan last December–because it would have saved approx. $22 billion (rough estimate from GM back in December–I no longer have the source) in labor costs per annum!  Think how much cheaper we could make U.S. products without such labor costs.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy.  Well, if entrepeneur Smith has a brand new idea  for a business in nation with socialized health insurance, Smith can quit his job without losing health benefits and open up his business without worrying about how he can either provide health insurance for employees (much harder for small businesses to do this ) or attract good employees without such a benefit. 

And small family farmers can also have an easier time–not having to worry about either doing without or buying expensive insurance individually.

Medical expenses would drop in a few years time for several reasons:  1. Much less paperwork. The scores of people needed to deal with the huge number of forms for various insurance companies would stop clogging the system.  2. People would go to  the doctor sooner and catch things early–which extends life and cuts costs.  3. Since hospitals and other institutions would not be motivated by profit (just not losing money),  we would see less inflated costs. 4. The latter would be helped by placing caps on the size profits that Big Pharma can make with its drugs.

If S-CHIP is a tiny step on this road, as Land thinks, then that’s a good thing.  I want to see much bigger steps, such as supporting Medicare for ALL Americans. (Did you know that currently the only Americans with a Constitutional right to healthcare are convicted criminals in prison? Otherwise it is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and banned by the 8th Amendment.  That’s good for the prisoners–and bad for the rest of us.)  But even then  it wouldn’t be “socialized medicine,” just “socialized health insurance.”

Now why would a Christian minister (follower of One who passed out free healthcare miraculously all the time!) be against healthcare for children?

February 11, 2009 - Posted by | Baptists, economic justice, ethics, healthcare


  1. Now why would a Christian minister (follower of One who passed out free healthcare miraculously all the time!) be against healthcare for children?

    Because you’re right…he is a moron. In the wake of the Disney boycott by Southern Baptists (because they offered healthcare to the partners of gay employees), Michael Eisner said, “I don’t know why Christians would want to deny healthcare to anyone.”

    BTW I sat next to Land on a shuttle from an airport once. He’s as big a jerk as he is a moron.

    Comment by Howie Luvzus | February 11, 2009

  2. Yeah, Howie, I met him twice during the years he was helping to destroy my alma mater, SBTS. You couldn t try to dialogue with him.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 11, 2009

  3. I just can’t understand why conservatives evangelicals are so anti-socialized healthcare. Does it sat anything like that in the Bible? I don’t think so.

    Those conservatives are much more heretic and blasphemous than they ever expected to. (BTW, I’m not necessarily a liberal).

    Comment by mountainguy | February 12, 2009

  4. Well, Mountainguy, I understand. Theologically, I am a centrist, not a liberal. (I draw from Anabaptist, Neo-Orthodox, Liberationist, and Progressive Evangelical sources mostly.) Politically, I am a democratic socialist which is more of a progressive than liberal view.

    But this anti-healthcare view is held only by evangelicals in the United States. In Britain, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc., almost all evangelical Christians, however conservative on issues like same-sex marriage, are entirely PRO-universal healthcare. Any other position would be viewed by most as anti-Bible. American evangelicals are captive to an ideology that blinds them, here.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 12, 2009

  5. That’s true. I think anti-healthcare among northamerican evangelicals is a consecuence of antisocialism, not a biblical based position.

    Comment by mountainguy | February 12, 2009

  6. I think you could have had a stronger post about the strengths of single-payer health care without having to call a brother-in-Christ a moron.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | February 13, 2009

  7. Well, if the shoe fits. . . 🙂

    Jesus once called Simon Peter “Satan.” Paul referred to fellow Christians with whom he disagreed sarcastically as “superapostles.” He called the Galatian Christians “fools.”

    Far too many contemporary Christians, especially in the U.S., confuse agape love with the culture of “niceness.”

    And Richard Land has said that non-fundamentalist Christians like myself are not even brothers and sisters in Christ, but “cousins” at best and has referred to us as unsaved. I don’t think he’d have any room to complain.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 13, 2009

  8. “1) Respect everyone, even when you disagree strongly.”


    Comment by Dave J | February 17, 2009

  9. Dave, that’s a fair rebuke. Guilty as charged.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 17, 2009

  10. I am sure you can call him a moron. Land graduated magna cum laude from Princeton. That’s quite something.

    Comment by Myles SG | October 3, 2009

  11. No, what’s “quite something” is the way Land, whom I’ve met, talks about his Princeton experience not as rewarding, but almost fearful. He also has a doctorate from Oxford in church history, specializing in one area of the early English Baptist movement. When he sticks to that subject, he’s quite knowledgeable–but he is completely unqualified for the actual job he has as he proves daily.

    You can have impressive degrees and still be an all around idiot, as Land is. You can have no degrees and be brilliant. Most of us are somewhere between those extremes.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 3, 2009

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