A Bonneville County Democratic operative, precinct captain and state committeeman recently wrote a letter to the editor using the parable of the good Samaritan to push for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. The letter attempts to make the point that Jesus is weeping because Christians have not followed the parable of the good Samaritan and expanded Obamacare’s Medicaid into law. However, the argument that expanding Obamacare’s Medicaid follows Jesus’ parable about the good Samaritan is at best wrongheaded and at worst shameful emotional pandering to Christians.

Bryan D. Smith

Bryan D. Smith

The story of the good Samaritan is a parable by Jesus that answers the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells the story about a man who fell among thieves, is stripped of his clothing, wounded and left half dead. By chance, a priest and a Levite happened upon him, but passed by on the other side, whereas the Samaritan came where he was and had compassion on him. The Samaritan went to him, bound up his wounds, set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn and gave two pence to the host saying, “take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.”

This story could not be farther from supporting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Statistics show 60 percent of the people whom Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will benefit are single able-bodied adults, not helpless people. The good Samaritan went to the man and bound up his wounds himself rather than pass a law to delegate the man’s care to a faceless governmental bureaucracy.

The good Samaritan set the man on his own beast, paid the host his own money and promised more of his own money to take care of whatever he needed. Compare that to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion where the government uses its powerful taxing authority to take money away from the good Samaritan and others and redistribute it mostly to single able-bodied adults. The point is that the good Samaritan used his own time, property and money to care for the man, and did not establish a government bureaucracy to impose Jesus’ teachings by force. Compelling someone by force is exactly the opposite of Jesus’ teachings.

I’m sure the good Samaritan felt peace and satisfaction in his heart that always come to those who engage in service to their neighbors. And I’m sure the man he helped felt gratitude for the kindness and neighborly love he received.

But I’m also sure that if the government would have confiscated the good Samaritan’s beast and money under threat of prison and/or property forfeiture (this is the power the government has to force tax collection) and given them to the man who fell among thieves, then the good Samaritan would have felt resentment while the man “helped” surely would have felt entitled.

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is toxic charity that in no way makes us “good Samaritan” neighbors.

Smith is the Second Vice Chair of the State of Idaho Republican Party and the Fourth Vice Chair of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee. Smith also teaches Sunday School at his church.

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