The Affordable Good Samaritan Act
Once upon a very strange circular movement of time, a rabble-rouser from Nazareth was invited to defend the Affordable Good Samaritan Law before the Supreme Court of the United States -- in the year 2012. Being at least somewhat unfazed by these occasional circular movements, the rabble-rouser ran his fingers through his hair and beard to better present himself to the Court, gave one last thought to the added strangeness of walking past a crowd of christians angered by the prospect of 30 million or so poor folks getting affordable health care... but now the rabble-rouser needed to focus: what to say?
All eyes turned to him as he rose to speak -- not a few faces were shocked that one with his ragged appearance should be addressing the Court. He began, "Esteemed Judges, I have but a few words to say... I remember suggesting to my friends a long time ago that to truly and deeply live, one must follow the pathway of love -- especially an active, compassionate, love for the stranger, the different, and the 'other'... a few got it then, and a few still get it today... the story I told them would perhaps still be helpful today, although I will tell it just a bit differently:
"There was a homeless woman who had fallen on very difficult times. She had lost everything. Her home had been foreclosed. Her medical bills had taken everything else -- still she was glad to be alive. Then she was beaten and raped and left abandoned in some strange town. Falling asleep on a bench, she breathed a prayer to a "God" she no longer had any faith in. Then she slept.
"It happened then that three candidates for President of the United States arrived together to enter a large hall for a political debate. Now normally, the streets and sidewalks were cleared of both trash and the "down-and-out" so they could happily argue about great issues without burdensome reminders of reality. But with news crews and cameras watching they came to a stop in front of the bench holding the sleeping, homeless, woman. The first one suggested that they all cross to the other side of the street -- so she'd have more room to breathe. Another said, "Between her sins and the policies of the food stamp president, our doing nothing will provide the American people with a powerful visual aid of all the failures of Western Civilization without a strong Christian foundation... so let's move on." The third one said, "If we stop to help her, the government might make us buy broccoli for everyone -- none of us would any longer be free, and oil and gas subsidies might be in danger... hence, I'm also in favor of moving on."
"Then, as the candidates and cameras moved on, a young African-American man -- carrying a Qur'an -- came up to the woman. He had just read the part about the Prophet Jesus and thought that he'd follow his example. He lifted the woman and gently carried her to the hospital that was just a few blocks away. The hospital staff graciously received the woman, thanked the young man, and began to care for her. The young man asked if there was anything else that he needed to do. The staff again thanked him and said no -- but that he could come back to visit her... and lastly, they said, "Thanks to the new Affordable Good Samaritan Act, this woman will receive the very best health care available -- at least as good as the care a Supreme Court Justice would receive."
With that, the rabble-rouser was caught up in another circular movement of time, and simply disappeared from the court. Seemingly perplexed, one of the justices turned to another and asked, "What was that about broccoli?"
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.