Is race a factor in Health Care reform?

Race seems to always be a touchy subject on my blog. This is due partly because there is a wide variety of perspectives, ideologies, and theologies coming together to dialogue, which I think is a good thing.  Rather than avoiding it, I think continual dialogue is needed.  So I thought this video of Tim wise talking briefly on the subject could open up the discussion. Before anyone completely rips everything he says to shreds, please LISTEN first, and try to hear what he is saying.  Also lets all continue to work on being respectful to one another, treating one another with dignity.  Imagine us less worried about proving our point and supporting our parties ideology, and more concerned with building unity, understanding, and empathy, as we all move towards the goal of mutually benificial progress.  Freestyle with me, how has race impacted American politics?

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

8 thoughts on “Is race a factor in Health Care reform?

  1. You know, Drew, I thought we had come a long way with bringing down barriers between races. And I’m not going to give up hope because of an almost rabid attitude of what I hope is a small group of Americans. We need to keep writing about how unbalanced that rabid attitude is, how much suspicion it causes between people of different races, cultures, religions, and so on. I see President Obama standing on a beach, suddenly hit by a tidal wave, almost dragged out to sea. He’s got to get his bearings–he is the great communicator and we can all get through this together, with, like you say, mutual respect and honoring us all as children of One God. Thanks for your commitment.
    Pam B

  2. I’ve finally figured out what’s been bothering me with the issue of racism – where ever it’s brought up in a situation like this. . .
    I see a monster in this world (Sin) with many heads (Greed, lust, selfishness, hate, racism, callous indifference, willful ignorance . . . you name it . . .the list is long!)

    Addressing the one head of racism is futile in my mind to solving the issue at hand.

    Is racism part of the problem in the health care debate?
    YES, Yes and a thousand times yes. But it’s not the whole problem nor is it even the major problem. So what is the point?
    If we removed the issue of racism where ever it may be in the hearts and minds of those in this debate – would that mean we would then all be in agreement on one solution ? Is that what’s holding us all back from the final answer?
    So why then is it treated as if it were at the top of the matrix?
    What percentage of those who oppose government run health care are doing so because of racist reasons?
    How many of those who are opposed – simply just don’t like the thought of the government having that much control over their health care and the money that will be taken from them in ever increasing amounts for an ever decreasing service when it’s probably not even constitutional?
    There is no comparison.

    What was that about sifting out gnats while swallowing camels?
    It brings to mind the story of when the armies of the Philistines and the armies of the Israelites were positioned against one another and there was Goliath out front challenging the Israelites. Where there some puny little punks on the Philistine side that were also a part of the overall problem? Yes.
    And if they had come out and challenged the Israelis would that have solved the problem and won the war if the Jews went over and kicked those few butts?

  3. DR wrote: “So why then is it treated as if it were at the top of the matrix?”

    I don’t get this comment because NOWHERE have I heard ANYONE claiming the biggest issue affecting the healthcase discussion is racism. I think this Tim Wise interviewing is very enlightening and brings a certain perspective, but I didn’t even hear him saying (and this is his area of expertise and why he was on TV) that all resistance to healthcare reform is driven by racism. But its there.

  4. Also: I thought his point about people turning against the poor when the pictures became mainly African-American was very interesting. I work with the poor…and I see/hear these negative stereotypes a lot. Just yesterday on the front page of our local newspaper they highlighted a local health and wealth gospel church and the pastor was quoted as saying “why are people poor? Its a result of sin.”

  5. Okay, after reading the above comments I added some…but when I original came to Drew’s blog, I meant to post the following. I just wrote this via e-mail to a friend who send me this link, so I’ll just post it in its entirety rather than re-writing (though I fixed some typos):
    Thanks…I finally got to watch this. My concern is our media can’t seem to process issues of this depth. The governor of New York said something about racism last week (didn’t catch the details) and the headline I saw was “Governor Patterson Plays the Race Card”. What is that? It immediately trivializes it…and negates whether or not there is truth to what he said. If there is truth in it, it isn’t playing anything…so why not evaluate his claim for truth. Our media can no longer evaluate statements for truth, they just say “so and so said this” and “the other side said this”. I mean, if I go on TV and say “the sky is plaid” they ought to be able to say “Steve is wrong” or “Steve is lying”…but we get “Steve says the sky is plaid, others say its blue…our panel of pundits will debate who made the better case at 8pm. Tune in for the fireworks!” Oy vey.

    So back to the original point, I’m glad this point is being made…but since the media and many people can’t handle talking honestly about race, it seems raising this issue would be counterproductive to getting to real dialogue on the healthcare issue, even though it should be part of the real dialogue. Its very frustrating.

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