The Texas Freedom Network has taken no position on national health insurance reform, but we have been fascinated by the torrent of e-mails from religious-right pressure groups opposed to it. Oh, we’re not surprised that the religious right opposes reform — the movement’s leadership has long been in bed with economic and “small government” conservatives (even when they’re trying to dictate how people live their private lives). What’s fascinating is that so many who piously proclaim their Christian faith are so disingenuous and deceitful in their statements about health insurance reform and so supportive of the rude and uncivil behavior of some reform opponents.
Texas-based groups on the far right have even promoted videos of disruptive protesters shouting and jeering members of Congress trying to answer questions about reform at “town hall” meetings. When others object to the shouts and deliberate disruptions, those same far-right groups claim the right to free speech — all the while ignoring efforts to drown out the speech of reform supporters at the meetings.
Nationally, religious-right pressure groups have launched aggressive fund-raising and disinformation campaigns targeting health care reform. Many of their statements echo charges about things like “death panels,” euthanasia and “pulling the plug” on Grandma. Some examples:
From Concerned Women for America, which charges that reform would set up “a system whereby bureaucrats and government boards will determine what health care we can have” (as opposed, we’re guessing, to the for-profit insurance bureaucrats who make those decisions now):
“These citizens [referring to reform protesters] are smart enough to know that the bill sets up a system whereby bureaucrats and government boards will determine what health care we can have. And with the way this Congress and President have acted in the last few months, Americans are convinced that they cannot be trusted with our health care.”
From the Orwellian-named American Center for Law and Justice:
“We’re working aggressively to defeat dangerous health care reform legislation currently before Congress — legislation clearly subsidizing the death of thousands upon thousands of unborn children through government-mandated abortion services.”
From the Christian Coalition of America, which tries to frighten the elderly and disabled with claims that they would lose their care under health reform legislation:
“Liberals know how effective we can be when we stand together. That’s why they are currently dismissing and deriding conservatives who are attending town-hall meetings as ‘paid activists’ or even as ‘racists.’
They truly will stoop to anything – which means we must commit to work even harder in the coming weeks.”
From The Institute on Religion and Democracy, which cloaks its right-wing positions with soothing talk about an “ecumenical alliance” and “social witness” while attacking progressive people of faith:
“The new Evangelical Left, like the old Social Gospel Religious Left of decades ago, always materialistically equates Big Government and centralized control with the Kingdom of God. They learned no lessons from the 20th century, when Big Government again and again wreaked destruction and was often the antithesis of Christian teachings. For the Religious Left, Obamacare is just one more opportunity for coercion and eradication of private initiative.
Revealingly, the Religious Left seems uninterested in lowering doctors’ expenses by limiting lawsuit abuse or providing tax credits towards private coverage. Such proposals distract from the larger agenda of expanding state power.
Why do Religious Left activists always worship at the altar of the Big Government? More traditional religious believers, understanding human nature, look to other altars.”
However the debate over health insurance reform ends, one thing is obvious now: the true nature of these religious-right pressure groups is open for all to see.