Exodus 4:21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”
Exodus 7:3 “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.”
When Moses wanted to appeal to Pharaoh in order to convince him to allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt, God advised Moses that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not allow the Hebrews to go free. What followed, the plagues, the death of children all happened because God meant for them to happen. In fact, in the study of the Old Testament there is a great deal of destruction and conquering, it is really brutal. And what is important about that is the fact that the major disasters which occur in the Bible are all orchestrated by God. It should be noticed that in the Bible, the false idols are statues built of gold.
Another ancient spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita centers entirely around a battle. On the surface, like the Bible, we have a story about Arjuna and his relationship with many of the people on the other side of the battle. We know that he is a great warrior, but it seems that many of those people that he will be required to kill, were also important to making him into the man that he has become. The Bible seems to be filled with unfairness, and ambiguity. Many Jewish Sages have created back stories to make just what seems unjust, but it is still adding details to a story thousands of years after the story was written. In the Bhagavad-Gita the Lord Krishna, who had been posing as Arjuna’s charioteer gives us a spiritual view of the story, depicting it as an external playing out of a human internal battle.
It was understandably easier for the eastern philosophies to be clear in the meaning of their stories because they were not competing with so many other regional belief systems that made it necessary to make the hide the teachings in stories without explanation. But it is my belief that all religious stories are meant to be inner journeys and that all of the experiences that we have in the world around us are the physical manifestations of those inner journeys to be taken by the soul.
There is no other way to make sense of the world that we live in. Today in the United States there is a hardening of the hearts of Republicans and some Democrats who call themselves “Conservative” to the suffering of Americans who, because of the cost of living, the economy and subsequent unemployment, and the rise in catastrophic illness and its cost are literally dying and losing what little they have. There is no explanation for these statistics except that God has hardened the hearts of of those who could make a difference.
It is easy to see why some people believe that we have been abandoned by God. It is easy to see this if we see life as beginning and ending with the body. From that perspective, either there is no God, or God is uncaring and capricious. Life is as senseless as so many stories in the Bible. But we are not these bodies we are the souls within them. And God did not create the world and turn away, the world is recreated every moment, with every life born into it. Flesh and blood come from the earth, come from man, but life, the life force that animates us and all that is, comes from and exists within God. It is not manmade.
So God is here and God is Love. The experiences that we have are lessons for the soul and the bodies that we wear to have these lessons are no different than a school uniform. Rich, poor, black, yellow, red, brown, white, all are nothing but parts of the lessons in this life. Their meaning is personal and universal but only within the life in which we wear them. The soul has not race, nor does it have a gender. It has wealth but that wealth is measured in love, compassion, and understanding.
The following statistics, are proof that our hearts have been hardened, and proof that there can be no recovery because our hardened hearts will not permit us to make the only changes that would prevent what lies ahead. And so we will fall, and that falling is what will free us, what will part the Red Sea – the sea of suffering and oppression that enslaves us all.
At-Risk Americans: The Uninsured And Underinsured
By Janis McMillen
Data from multiple sources agree that in 2007, 47 million Americans (15.6 percent of the total U.S. population) lacked any kind of health insurance coverage. When these numbers are adjusted for age (excluding those 65 years and older), the uninsured percentage of the population rises to 17.9 percent. Moreover, it is estimated that 25 million adults under age 65 were underinsured during 2007, despite having insurance all year. In total, 42 percent of all adults (86.7 million) were either uninsured or underinsured during 2007.
Putting a face on persons who were uninsured or underinsured during 2007 and 20081
- Age: One of three people under age 65 were uninsured for some or all of 2007 and 2008; of the total uninsured population, 60.1 million were adults (between 19 and 64 years of age)
- Duration: Among the underinsured/uninsured, 74.5 percent were uninsured for nine or more months and one-quarter were uninsured the entire 24 months
- Employment status: 80 percent of individuals who were uninsured were in working families and only 16 percent were not in the labor force (due to disabilities, chronic illness, or serving as family caregivers)
- Income: Nearly 60 percent were in families with incomes below the federal poverty level (FPL: $21,200/year for a family of four); 52 percent with incomes between 100 to 200 percent of FPL went without health insurance in 2007/2008
- Racial and Ethnic origin: 55 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 40.3 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of other racial or ethnic minorities had no health insurance in 2007/2008, compared to 25.8 percent of whites. While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be uninsured, whites accounted for 49.8 percent of the uninsured
- Age breakdown: The likelihood of being uninsured declines with age; 49.5 percent of those 19 – 24 years old, 36.3 percent of those 25 – 44 years old, 32.5 percent of those 45 – 54 years old and 21.2 percent of those 55 – 64 years old were uninsured over this two-year time period. The 55- to 64-year-old age group consumes more health care on average than younger adults.
For all ethnic and racial groups, lower-income families and individuals were more likely to be uninsured than lower-income whites. This disparity continues even as incomes rise in all groups.
There is a marked increase in the number of adults having difficulty paying medical bills – the most visible consequence of the weakening in insurance coverage. In 2007, 41 percent of adults (72 million people) reported problems paying medical bills, faced bill collectors or were in debt for medical care, up from 34 percent or 58 million in 2005. The majority had insurance at the time these bills were incurred2 – well in advance of the economic downturn.
1 All statistics above and below are from http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/americans-at-risk-findings.html
2The statistics in this paragraph are from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Testimonies/2009/Feb/Testimony-Insurance-Design-Matters-Underinsured-Trends-Health-and-Financial-Risks.aspx
Janis McMillen (LWVUS Board member and LWVKS) is chair of the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force.
Produced by the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force, 2009
Poverty Facts and Stats
Author and Page information
- by Anup Shah
- This Page Last Updated Sunday, March 22, 2009
- This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.
- To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version:
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.Source 7
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.Source 8
Today we live in an age where information is at our fingertips. We cannot hide from what is all around us and because of this, we are responsible for it. Yet we do nothing.
When the pharaohs heart was hardened it was because Egypt had become a nation that worshipped the golden calf. What is the golden calf but money, power, and all of the things that turn one away from God. Had Moses convinced Pharaoh to free the Hebrews it would not have been because he had seen the error of his ways, nor because he had realized that the Egypt had become corrupt and inhumane, no, it would have been nothing more than a gesture made to the brother he grew up with. Had he released the Hebrew slaves, he would have simply increased the numbers of the other slaves. It was time for Egypt and the Hebrews to see what happens when man turns his back on God and on his fellow man for the sake of the wealth that gold promises.
Man has lost his heart. The industrialized nations of the world are Egypt. In the United States, Congress represents Pharaoh and its heart has been hardened to the plight of the majority of the people. The government and all of those with power worship at the alter of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks, and all of the movers and shakers Wall Street. And we are the Hebrew slaves. We are enslaved by the insurance companies that take our money and give back nothing. We are enslaved by the pharmaceutical companies that charge so much for medications that people die because they cannot afford them. We are enslaved by the banks that charge so much money for credit card interest that we can never pull ourselves out from the debt that they pile on our backs.
We are the slaves and we are not going to be freed. Those who could free us have had their hearts hardened. We will be freed when the system collapses under the weight of its own inequity. We will be freed by God, but that will only be the beginning. We have already been given the commandments by which we must live. We already know they type of people we must become to enter the promised land. We must become the promised land. We must build something new. We must not attempt to recreate the golden towers that enslaved us. We must redefine success and greatness. We must establish a new path for our children to follow, one that is not for the self but for all. We must become one people, and one family. We will have no choice. We are slaves, but it is time to build a free world. We will not recover, we must reinvent. We must acknowledge the chains that bind us and know we are bound by the chains of our desires. And when we relinquish those desires, we unlock the chains. We will then lift the fog that hides our future and once again see a light to follow.