COLUMBUS: The loaves were real, the fish were made out of paper colored with crayons, and the meal was meant for 99 people, not 5,000.
But members of the clergy said their delivery of baskets of “fishes and loaves” to members of the Ohio House Tuesday symbolically represented the religious leaders’ support for expanding Medicaid to cover 275,000 more uninsured low-income Ohioans.
Never mind that the baskets ended up in the mailroom at the Riffe Center and not in the hands of lawmakers.
“It doesn’t take a miracle to do the right thing,” said the Rev. Timothy Ahrens Sr. of the First Congregational Church. “We are a people of abundance. We can feed our own people.”
Gov. John Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion has drawn wide support from the public, the clergy, business groups, hospitals, and health- and mental-health-care providers. Still, Republican legislative leaders are looking far and wide to Texas, Alabama and Florida for alternatives.
The story of the loaves and fishes comes from the Bible’s New Testament: Jesus performed a miracle by feeding a crowd of 5,000 with just two fish and five loaves of bread.
Tom Smith of the Ohio Council of Churches said: “It’s hard for me to understand why so many people are on the other side of this issue. There’s not a good reason to be opposed to this.”