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Obama Mobilizes Religious Left Over ObamaCare

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On March 16, 2012 @ 12:10 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 32 Comments

The Obama Administration is mobilizing the Religious Left to conduct a prayer vigil outside the U.S. Supreme Court when it hears arguments about Obamacare’s constitutionality in late March. Apparently the United Methodist Building, prominently across the street from the court on Capitol Hill, will serve as headquarters for the prayer warriors. The building will host a “radio row” for pro-Obamacare broadcasts by sympathetic radio hosts.

Obviously Obamacare supporters seek to blunt widespread religious opposition to Obamacare, especially its facilitation of abortion coverage through insurance exchanges and the recent mandate compelling religious employers to cover insurance for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization.

According to The New York Times, about 100 pro-Obamacare activists representing 60 groups attended a White House meeting in early March to plot the prayer vigil and other pro-Obamacare advocacy across the Supreme Court hearing.  The overall theme will be: “Protect our health care, protect the law.”

Faithful Obamacare devotees will gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the morning of March 26.  “The witness will be a compassionate commitment to the common good and will provide a voice for the most vulnerable people in our society,” a Methodist lobbyist explained.  “Those on the margins of society are the most likely to be affected by the results of the Supreme Court deliberations.”

The prayer vigil’s organizer is Cleveland-based “Faithful Reform in Health Care,” whose members include the Islamic Society of North America (which has offices in the Methodist Building), Evangelicals for Social Action, the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (owner of the Methodist Building), Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mennonite Central Committee, and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, among others.

Faithful Reform in Health Care, representing 60 mostly Religious Left groups, also filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court defending Medicaid’s expansion under Obamacare. “We have elevated a moral vision for our nation’s health-care future and have raised our voices in support of affordable quality health care for all,” explained Faithful Reform’s chief, the Rev. Linda Hanna Walling.

The largest member of the Faithful Reform coalition is probably the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, which claims to represent 7.5 million United Methodists in the U.S.  Its $5 million lobby operation in the Methodist Building on Capitol Hill is the largest Religious Left advocacy operation in Washington, D.C.  “Our United Methodist Social Principles state that providing the care needed to maintain health, prevent disease and restore health after injury or illness is a responsibility each person owes others, and government owes to all,” explained chief United Methodist lobbyist Jim Winkler.  “It is unjust to construct or perpetuate barriers to full participation in community. The United Methodist Church believes it is a government responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.”

Other Religious Left advocacy actions for Obamacare this month include a “virtual party” by teleconference in which activists will share testimony about what Obamacare has personally meant to them.   The United Methodist lobby office explained:  “Persons are encouraged to gather with colleagues, friends or family members around a speaker phone; share a piece of anniversary cake [celebrating Obamacare’s 2nd anniversary] or other treat together; and celebrate the progress made in moving toward our faith-inspired vision for our health-care future.”

There’ll also be an interfaith prayer vigil by conference call to plead for moral discernment among the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court during the ACA hearings.  And there’ll be a special “Health-care Justice Sabbath Observance” in the Methodist Building’s chapel, interspersed by several days of press conferences and radio broadcasts.

Honchoing the Methodist involvement in the pro-Obamacare advocacy during the Supreme Court will be the United Methodist director for work on “Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care.”   The United Methodist Building was built in the 1920’s to lobby for temperance causes.  By the 1960’s, the far left had captured Methodism’s lobby arm and jettisoned much of the alcohol work in favor of lobbying for the Great Society and against the Vietnam War, among other causes.  The temperance dollars gathered early in the 20th century from pious Methodists now underwrite lobbying for Obamacare.

The old Methodist temperance crusaders would be shocked that their work has been subsumed into Obamacare’s assault on religious liberty, including the contraceptive/abortifacient mandate.  But they also bear some responsibility.  Prohibitionists imagined that legislation, orchestrated from Washington, D.C., could solve social evils.  That failed experiment, instead of teaching an important lesson to church activists, instead birthed the Religious Left’s blind faith in Big Government.

Exploiting the church to pray for a government take-over of America’s health care system, even if religious liberty is trampled, amply illustrated the Religious Left’s current priorities.  Its religion, as politically expressed, is less about faith and more about control, coercion, and capitulation to centralized control by unelected secular elites.  Americans who care about liberty and faith can pray that the Religious Left’s pro-Obamacare prayers will get divine answers very different from the requests.

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