by Kay Helbling
A few years back I had to go in for a minor surgery. It was nothing that would warrant a call to our Pastor to make the ten mile trip to be with us. But, as I lay waiting to be rolled into the operating room, I saw the look of concern in the eyes of my two little boys. They didn’t know their mom would be okay. Obviously they were trying to be strong, but I could tell they were scared. We calmly explained that all would be well, but they needed something stronger. They needed prayer and the comfort that comes with prayer.
At that moment, the hospital Chaplain was making her rounds to visit everyone who was heading into surgery. She asked if we’d like her to pray for us. A light came into my boys’ eyes and a smile on my husband’s face. The prayer was deep and it was powerful. It gave them, and me, the strength we needed at a time when outcomes aren’t always a sure thing.
It was at that moment I knew there was one more important issue to lay on the table for discussion in the health care debate. I’d seen what the concern for the separation of church and state did to our little public school. No one on staff was allowed to pray, have any religious symbols present, or even use the word Christmas in their “holiday” celebrations.
I saw the disappointment in a little girl who was excited to show her teacher the Christmas card she’d made of baby Jesus and told that the card was not appropriate for school. So, will government run hospitals also not be an appropriate place for God?
Seeing the concern on my husband and sons’ faces for even a minor surgical procedure, I couldn’t imagine them being alone in a cold hospital if something were to go terribly wrong. And, what about those families who come not having a strong faith, but find a deep need in times of crisis. I knew this was one place where “separation” is not an option.
There have been many arguments made against a National Health Care system: cost, quality and access of care, and choice of physician. These arguments have rightly been discussed and the pros and cons of the system open for debate. But there is one argument that is going to be hard to support and that is to allow our hospitals to be controlled by a government that has consistently taken a rigid interpretation of the Establishment Clause.
Where tears and pain are frequent and hope and faith are the most necessary, a hospital seens an inappropriate place to build a bridge between a us and the Almighty Healer.
Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner, and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now enjoying an empty nest with her best friend—her husband.