Last month, right-wing pastor Jim Garlow was interviewed by Megan West of the organization My Faith Votes, where he claimed that “healthcare is God’s issue” and suggested that the government should impose a tax on citizens that could be given to churches so that they could provide healthcare to the poor.
According to Garlow, any government healthcare program is “doomed to fail” because the Constitution lists the “enumerated powers of what the government is allowed to do and can do, and one of them is not healthcare.” Instead, Garlow argued, the government ought to defer to the church on this issue because God “has already designed a format” for properly providing healthcare to a nation.
The “format” for healthcare that Garlow proposed has three tiers: the “government of personal responsibility, government of the family, and government of the church,” notably excluding “the civil government,” which he said has no role in providing healthcare.
“First of all,” Garlow argued, healthcare is “my own personal responsibility: I have to make decisions for my health. If I am not exercising properly, this is a terrible confession to make, if I am not properly exercising right now like I should, then I have to get that corrected it or I will pay a high price for it.”
The next safety net should be the “family unit,” Garlow reasoned, because “I can take care of my children much better than Donald Trump can. He’s a good man, but he can’t take care of my kids.”
The final resource for those in need of healthcare, Garlow suggested, ought to be the church because Christians are already commanded to care for the poor and the widows and the orphans: “If the church were freed up from the encroachment and the severe over-regulation in our culture and the severe over-taxation of our culture, the church could resume what it did very successfully” throughout history.
Garlow insisted that “the best medical care and welfare benefits can be done by the church” and should be funded through a “once every three years, ten-percent taxation on people” that would allocate money to “the faith communities.” According to Garlow, allowing the church to provide healthcare would “get rid of the freeloaders that abuse welfare.”
In the anticipation that some might object to his unconstitutional conflation of church and state, Garlow insisted that his plan actually puts the church and state “in their proper lanes.”