Obama: 'We are God's Partners in Matters of
Life and Death'
Pro-Obamacare groups launch "40
for Health Reform"
A sudden shift towards religiously-charged rhetoric in President
Obama's stumping for health care reform continued yesterday in a
telephone conference, in which the president said that "we are God's
partners in matters of life and death."
Obama told the virtual gathering of Jewish rabbis - as many as 1000,
according to the Washington Jewish Week news service - that he was
"going to need your help in accomplishing necessary reform."
Washington, D.C. Rabbi Jack Moline posted some of the president's
statements in a series of live tweets, which went viral on the Internet
before Moline deleted almost all the posts hours later. A handful
of other Jewish clerics tweeted the event, which was not publicized by
the White House.
In a conference call with largely left-leaning faith leaders yesterday,
Obama also used religously-charged terms to dismiss the notion that the
government would fund abortion through the new legislation.
"These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to
discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and
moral obligation - and that is that we look out for one another, that I
am my brother's keeper and I am my sister's keeper," he said. He also
accused opponents of his healthcare plan of spreading "misinformation"
and "bearing false witness."
Pro-life leaders immediately blasted the president for the comment,
pointing out that the House version of the bill now explicitly calls
for the funding of abortion in the government plan, as well as taxpayer
subsidies of plans that cover abortions.
The social justice groups sponsoring the conference claim that 140,000
individuals attended the call. The same groups - PICO National
Network, Sojourners, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faith
in Public Life, and Faithful America - are now hosting a "40 Days for
Health Reform" campaign to tell lawmakers "that quality, affordable
healthcare is a moral issue for people of faith."
The site's attitude toward the arguments opposing the health care
overhaul is remarkably similar to the White House's own "Reality Check"
Internet campaign. Visitors are encouraged to sign a petition that
reads: "As a person of faith, I support health care reform, and I'm
tired of shouting, disruptions and distortions preventing an honest
debate. Over the next 40 days, I commit to doing my part as a
person of faith to promote health care reform. I commit to taking
actions like writing my representatives, attending events, and telling
my friends about our efforts to make the faith community a positive
force for health care reform."
40 Days for Life, an international movement encouraging prayer, fasting
and advocacy for the end of abortion that has exploded in popularity in
recent years, accused the health reform campaign of mimicking its
pro-life counterpart, but with the opposite result.
"Who would have ever believed that the President of the United States
would copy a page out of the 40 Days for Life playbook as a way to push
abortion?" mused 40 Days for Life national director David Bereit in an
email to members. In Judaeo-Christian tradition, forty days is a
spiritually significant length of time, often dedicated to sustained
prayer and purification.
Meanwhile, strong warnings against the legislation in its current form
have gone out from faith groups that oppose the killing of the unborn,
including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Focus on the Family,
the Catholic Medical Association, the Christian Medical and Dental
Association, and the Southern Baptist Convention. While many of
the groups express eagerness for genuine health care reform, they say
that the current bill would amount to a vast expansion of abortion,
among other troubling aspects, and therefore should not be accepted.
Christians Reviving America's Values president Don Swarthout questioned
the President's apparent moralizing in favor of his own health care
"I thought the use of religion in order to convince the people to
follow anything political was prohibited by the U.S. Supreme Court's
rulings," said Christians Reviving America's Values president Don
Swarthout in a statement. "Now the President of the United States
is using religion to convince people to follow his political position."
He continued: "As a Pastor I may understand the Bible a little better
than the average person. Apparently, the President thinks the
Bible says government should help the poor instead of the Bible calling
upon Christians to give to the poor.
"The truth is our very salvation may depend upon helping those in
need. However, there is no place in the Bible which tells us that
the government is supposed to do these things for us."
Contact: Kathleen Gilbert
Date: August 20, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.