Real Healthcare Reform: A Medical Mission to *America*

I’ve previously advocated for a religious order of lawyers and inspiring Orthodox Christians to similar kinds of social service/philanthropia(Of course, a religion doesn’t have to be Catholic or Orthodox to do these kinds of things. Do they?)

Well, as I’ve pointed out, one of Catholicism’s great works in its Third World missions and service commitments has been medical.  Yes, the Medical Mission Sisters sang (and apparently still do!), but they and/or their coworkers also did/do alot of stuff we in this country ourselves now go poor paying others to do.  I won’t call most U.S. medical professionals “mercenary” … but among the most-loved Orthodox Saints are the Holy UNmercenary Physicians and Healersanargyroi in Greek, “without silver/money” literally.  Well, not literally, because somebody had to help them pay the farmer, the baker, and the candlestick maker; but it often wasn’t their impoverished, sick patients.  And the Catholics just declared the sainthood of the famous and much-loved Fr. Damien de Veuster of Molokai, who (apparently coincidentally) bore the name of one of the greatest Orthodox Unmercenaries, and went there from his native Belgium to serve the leper colony even without a medical qualification, only to die of the disease himself there years later.  More pointedly, perhaps the other best-known Unmercenary (besides Cosmas and Damian), Panteleimon, was martyred for undercutting his fellow physicians, pagans, on account of his Christianity!  (Talk about a patron saint of Healthcare Reform!)

There are still Catholic Sisters and Brothers doing medical service here, but I’d guess far fewer than in former generations, amid the plummeting numbers of Catholic Religious and priestly vocations in general, and the aging of those who remain.  Today they may have secular lay (in the religious sense) coworkers and collaborators, and lay boards of trustees running Catholic hospitals and such, but as I’ve said previously, you can’t beat Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, for “cost-cutting” measures, and in any case Catholic medical institutions without a doubt, just like Catholic schools, are part of the skyrocketing cost of healthcare (or education, respectively) in this country.  We’re not exactly Third World (mostly, though visit Southern Appalachia, the Deep South, and some key Indian Reservations), but as has been said, we’re not getting our money’s worth either, especially compared to the rest of the so-called Developed World, and even some countries not first thought of under that label.

Obviously the Latin Church’s traditional 3 “Evangelical Counsels,” the vows most members of religious orders take, are of less appeal today than in former times, especially to American Protestants and non-Christians.  But  if Third World service doesn’t appeal to some, maybe service closer to home will.  And as I suggested in both previous articles, even halfway measures approaching “the vows” — for a few years if not for life, maybe married or marrying, in (prudent) shared housing or at home, more-organized and “religified” associates and collaborators, even fundraising to support those who serve — would help economically.

Maybe even spiritually!

([BLEEP!]  We Orthodox better do it before the Latins think of it and stage a comeback!!! 😉 )

But think of it: 1/3 of a billion people, fully 5 percent of humanity, being bled dry by the structural evils* of their healthcare system … the world’s leading economy, whose ups and downs influence the economic downs of the rest of humanity as we see today….  What good, what caritas, what philanthropia could be done for the world even here….

(*–Scroll down to the mention of the Brian Wren lyric … including the warning about how to observe the unquoted rest of that hymn.)

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SEIU next for ACORNuts?

OK, this time it’s personal.  The Service Employees International Union is one of my labor unions, and they came to my aid when I was being targeted by management on the job apparently because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about … well, that’d go off-topic. 😉

As tonight’s Rachel jag continues(!), she’s revealed that, thinking prematurely that they’ve run ACORN into the ground [“Unless a seed falls to the ground…!”], the Right Wing Conspiracy — Big Business, Big Lobbyists, astroturf, AM radio, the Republican Party — may target SEIU (video) next for teaming up with ACORN to try to make poor people’s and workers’ lives a little less awful.  How does this hurt them?  Business has to pay slightly higher wages, sharing their massive profits (often already subsidized by one or more levels of government one way or another) with THOSE WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK THAT CEOs AND OWNERS GET THE CREDIT FOR.

And these guys attack US for “class warfare”?!! or “revenge”?!!

And if her guest’s idea that soon they’ll attack the National Council of Churches too, sounds exaggerated…  Conservative Evangelical leaders have long considered this Mainline Protestant ecumenical organization Communist.  (The Catholic bishops’ conference, too, though that group has swung Hard Right as they smell a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, and in reaction against same-sex marriage.)  Furthermore, they’ve been dancing on the grave of the Mainline for about a generation now, even though it’s not really going away (even though many of the Mainline think it is too), and recent research suggests that the relatively slight gains of Evangelicals vs. Mainline proportionately, are only because Evangelical women/couples are adopting artificial contraception more slowly than Mainline women/couples.  The Evangelical ‘bulge’ (no pun intended) is already slowing, but will continue growing for about another generation before ISTM the numbers start returning to their classical proportions.  (This is research sociologist Andrew Greeley has been involved in, but where I read it I can’t recall now.  [Many Years, Father!])

Two other things: What they’re now calling living wage has sometimes been called family wage.  So much for “family values”!

And another Greeley truism is that Democratic bigwigs, candidates, campaigns, either take their Catholic voters for granted, or don’t care about/are embarrassed about them … risking losing them to the Reagans and Bushes of this world.  Are workers and unions in the same fix?  Just like Official Dems, natural allies of/advocates for “bitter” small town and rural residents, don’t give them reason to switch their generation-long Republican voting habits?  Folks, I don’t see WASP “Limo Libs” reproducing fast enough anymore to warrant such a cavalier attitude towards our Party’s traditional coalition, the “Patchwork Quilt Majority”!!!  And many People of Color who get richer go Republican….

De-funding ACORN Unconstitutional

…as Rachel Maddow (video) documents.

BTW, re-fund ACORN via their website!

(Type carefully, or like I almost did, you might end up at the shiny new website of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese — force of habit!!)