In the wake of the Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, the usual array of religious organizations reacted in the usual ways: the Mainline Protestants and the Jews delighted; the Southern Baptist Convention and the parachurch religious right dismayed; the Catholics all over the map, with the USCCB perched in the middle. The one big no show was the National Association of Evangelicals.
The NAE is normally not shy about taking stands on public policy issues. And back in 1994, it actually recognized "the need for health care reforms and the desire to make health care available to all." But this time around such recognition has not, apparently, been part of its Christian witness.
No doubt, for the NAE to make even modest noises in favor of the ACA would put it at odds with many of its constituents. According to the latest survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of evangelicals would have liked the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. But such considerations haven't stopped the NAE from supporting not only comprehensive immigration reform but also President Obama's decision to stop deporting the children of undocumented immigrants. Fully 58 percent of evangelicals take the other side on that one.
Welcoming the stranger is certainly a biblical principle. But healing the sick is right up there with feeding the hungry. It's time for the NAE to stand up and be counted in this millennium.