Here in America, we have the freedom to worship in any way which we individually deem fit. Without a doubt, we exercise that particular right with a passion, and there are those among us who tend to get pretty fierce protecting that right. Among the more commonly known exercises of faith, America sports a healthy representation in a wide variety of views and practices. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, and Paganism are but a few, as there are plenty of others. For that matter, don’t forget Agnosticism and Atheism either.
The reason we have this right is based on the fact that someone wrote it down on a piece of paper well over 200 years ago that the government (Congress specifically) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. At the time those words were written, the electorate as a whole found it to be a pretty good idea, and subsequently made it the first sacred cow in the Bill of Rights which prevents the government from jacking with our individual freedoms.
There is a population among the faithful in America today which subscribe to either faith healing or alternative medicine. The best way to define or explain these methods is to apply one simple question. Are any of the costs derived from the utilization of these methods covered by your current health insurance company? If the answer is “No”, then the method, practice, ritual, etc. being undertaken to cure what ails you is probably an element of faith healing or alternative medicine.
Contemporary western medicine is a wonderful thing, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of practices that will cure us of all of our problems. More often than gets reported, patients will reject the standard after it continues to fail to solve a problem. In turn, they explore an alternative medicine which involves things like acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, scented candles, chimes, bells, positive and negative energies, and a host of other methods and practices we haven’t even heard of before.
Faith healing is a whole different practice all together. The whole concept is based on the faith a patient has in a supreme being. Through a combination of prayer or other rituals, the patient is cured of an ailment by a divine presence. The practice is most commonly identified with Christianity, however I would tend to suggest that faith healing has been around for a longer time.
Now I would expect that the stronger adherents to alternative medicine and faith healing find the act of holding any sort of health insurance to be incongruent with their beliefs. If one is using methods to stay healthy which are not covered by the insurance policy, why would they even carry a policy? It’s like getting insurance for a motorcycle that you don’t even own. In essence, those adherents are freely exercising the practice of their religion. This is a freedom protected by the first amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Consider that clause from the first amendment and apply the notion of universal healthcare as it is being suggested today, especially where faith healing is involved. According to language in the bill (pgs 167-168) being pushed through the House of Representatives today, Americans would have to provide proof to the IRS upon filing their taxes that they are covered under what the government would deem a qualified healthcare plan. The alternative would be a fine hovering around the cost of such a plan.
Let’s drill that down a little bit.
Congress is considering the passage of a law which will force Americans to carry a health insurance plan which would most likely focus on contemporary western medicine. Adherents to faith healing do not subscribe to contemporary western medicine. Some would consider the act of doing so to be against their religion. One can only surmise that the passage of a universal healthcare plan is going to trample the first amendment rights of a specific group of Americans.
All in favor?