What would Jesus do?

Let a disabled man die or extend a hand of salvation?

By LYN JERDE
Freelance writer

Let’s talk about family values.

Let’s talk about the sanctity of life.

Let’s talk about belief in a creator God.

And, let’s talk about my friend, Finn.

Some Telegraph Herald readers might remember Finn Bullers from when he was a reporter in the 1990s – as was I.

Not long after Finn moved on from the TH, I went to his wedding, where he and a lovely woman named Anne vowed to be there for each other in sickness and in health, until death separates them.

I remember how, when Finn and Anne addressed each other at the altar, they were frank about the challenges they’d face keeping those vows.

Finn has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He walked down the aisle using a cane, and he had to sit on a high stool in the receiving line because he couldn’t stand for long time periods.

Finn and Anne now live in Kansas. They have a son and a daughter. They love each other. They love their children.

And Finn is fighting for his life – not just against his unrelenting disease, but also against the government of the state of Kansas, a government put into power largely by voters who claim to hold Christian values.

Kansas, under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback, changed the state’s Medicaid program and moved about 380,000 people, including Finn, into something called KanCare, in the belief that some recipients were getting more aid than they need.

KanCare officials concluded that Finn – who can’t walk and needs around-the-clock breathing assistance to stay alive – needs a trained caregiver only 40 hours per week, not 24 hours a day.

Finn has appealed the decision. But if it’s upheld, Finn says he’s faced with two choices: either Anne, on top of her full-time job to support the family, must also be Finn’s caregiver, or Finn and Anne must divorce, so that the government can qualify Finn for 24-hour assistance.

Now I know, from having family members who have worked for government entities, that government agencies have rules, parameters, etc. that are used to determine what kind of taxpayer-funded help people may receive. Just for now, I’ll take the folks of KanCare at their word that they have extensively investigated Finn’s case and, by their rules, he only qualifies for 40 hours of care per week.

But let me ask this: Please tell me how such a decision upholds the values of family, of life, of creation.

What “family values” are lived out when a wife has to break her marriage vows with someone she loves dearly, because she simply cannot take on his care and a family-sustaining job, too?

How is the value of human life, from conception to natural death, upheld when a man who can’t breathe without machines – but who speaks articulately, guides his children and blesses people with his existence – is placed in jeopardy of losing his life because he can’t afford the care he needs?

And is there anything more pro-evolution – more opposite of the belief that God created everything with love – than the unspoken assumption that saving Kansas taxpayers a few cents matters more than a man’s life?

I’m just asking.
___________________________________________________

Lyn Jerde is a shoe-leather journalist from the Midwest who has written a faith-and-values column for 18 years. Her e-mail address is lyncjerde@att.net.

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