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Religious Left Targets Conservatives By: Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For decades, the Religious Left has vilified conservative politicians it loathed, especially when they cited their religious faith.  It also demonized religious conservatives, who were especially infuriating because their churches were larger and causes more popular than the Religious Left could ever imagine for itself.

Now, enraged over the faltering of Obamacare, Jim Wallis’ Sojourners is lashing out at conservative and populist commentators who dared question the high sacrament of socialized medicine.   Wallis has organized pro-Obamacare conference calls for his Religious Left supporters, including one joined by President Obama himself, seemingly to little avail.  So Sojourners now is urging its Religious Left supporters to target Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh with mass emails demanding:  “Tell the truth.”  Meanwhile, emails directed at Glenn Beck more graciously offer to “pray” for him, until he recants.

“E-mail Glenn Beck and pray for him,” Sojourners implored.  “As Jesus challenged the leaders of his time with prophetic parables, add your voice to those telling these painful stories about the real state of health care in America.” Evidently Beck, on his Fox News program, had wondered how his own daughter with cerebral palsy may have faired under a government controlled health care system concerned about “quality of life.”   

Helpfully, Sojourners promised Beck that “in reality, nothing in any of the proposed health-care reform legislation would take away the right of a parent to carry her child to term; nothing would deny life-saving treatment to anyone in need. Those painful decisions would still be left to families, and ultimately, yes, to God.”  Of course, Sojourners and other Religious Left groups have an almost blind faith that The Welfare State can heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead.  But more skeptical minds emphasize that even government programs with lofty goals often have unforeseen tragic and even sinister consequences.   But maybe Beck will still appreciate the “prayers” from Sojourners.

Sojourners didn’t bother praying for Hannity, Limbaugh or O’Reilly, all of whom are instead instructed to “Tell the Truth.”  Evidently, Hannity had dared to warn on his Fox program that government controlled health care could result in rationing that, for example, might tell some women that resources are not available to treat their breast cancer, handing them a “death sentence.”  Sojourners did not like that very much, because Big Government is an endless cornucopia, and it’s morally wrong even to doubt the state’s endless resources for redistributing wealth, managing society and doing good. 

In the Sojourners suggested email chiding Hannity, he is told that private health insurance is more likely to shun breast cancer victims because of their obsession with “profits.”  Hannity is told:  “As Jesus challenged the leaders of his time with prophetic parables, add your voice to those telling these true stories about the real state of health care in America.  Because you are in a position to influence public perception, I urge you to tell the truth about the need for health-care reform in our nation.”  For the Religious Left, “The Truth” always equates with greater government control and power.

But sinful O’Reilly apparently will not yield to The Truth.  He told his Fox program:  “If the government takes over health care ... and begins to tell people when they can live and when they can die, and the country goes bankrupt in the process ... more people will be harmed, including poor people.”  So Sojourners supporters are telling O’Reilly that they are contacting his “advertisers to urge you to tell the truth about the need for health-care reform in our nation.”

The other sinner is Rush Limbaugh, who told his radio audience: "There really isn't a crisis in health care in this country." Sojourners berated Limbaugh for his “deliberate misinformation,” insisting that “our current health-care system lets people fatally fall through the cracks.”  In contrast with the current wicked system, Obamacare would miraculously “fix this problem by ensuring that all people have access to affordable care, either through an employer-based plan or through subsidies to buy insurance in an exchange marketplace.”

Will Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck come to the sinners’ altar and confess their transgressions before Jim Wallis, as Sojourners fervently prays they will?  Probably not.  But not all are predestined to respond to the Good News of Big Government for all. Meanwhile, unlike the tiresome imprecations of the Religious Left, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), relying on Christian teachings that predate the 1960’s, is cautioning against Obamacare.

“We think this government-controlled approach is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice,” the CMA warned in a September 21 open letter.  “This approach has been and will be ineffective. The federal government has a very poor track record of managing large programs in a cost-effective manner,” CMA logically emphasized, citing the huge unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Medicaid.  “Giving the federal government the power, and primary responsibility, to contain medical expenditures could threaten the provision of medical care to the most vulnerable, the elderly and chronically ill.”

The CMA concluded:  “We must ensure that well-intentioned efforts to bring about ‘change’ are not exploited to create a federally controlled system that promises health care for all, but creates an oppressive bureaucracy hostile to human life and to the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.”  In other words, Christianity and common sense warn against accumulating unrestricted power, even for ostensibly admirable purposes, into a centralized authority, especially government.  

Like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity, are the Catholics also sinning by presumptuously questioning whether Big Government should control health care in America?  Will Jim Wallis and Sojourners also demand that CMA “Tell the Truth?”  Stay tuned.

Mark D. Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He is the author of Taking Back the United Methodist Church.

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