Religious Right/Left: Similar Health-Reform Strategies

By Jacqueline L. Salmon It appears that the religious right is taking a page from the strategy book of the … Continued

By Jacqueline L. Salmon

It appears that the religious right is taking a page from the strategy book of the religious left and is urging churches to hold forums in their churches to discuss health-care reform. Organized by the FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council, ministers are being urged to put together town-hall meetings to “inform and activate the people in your pews and communities” against health-care reform.

A new program from FRC Action, it offers sample agendas, church bulletin inserts, invitations to local Congressional representatives and sample sermons.

Example from the sample sermon: “This morning I am going to take on a hot topic: the government takeover of health care. You might say , “Pastor, isn’t this a political issue?” My answer is yes, it is a political issue, but it has ethical and moral dimensions to it that compel me to share how biblical truth applies and how committed Christians should engage it.”

That’s not far off what religious supporters of health-care reform have been doing. One religious coalition has published a guide for religious leaders and members of participating congregations that uses biblical teachings to make the case that the nation’s health-care system is in urgent need of repair.

The sponsors, including Sojourners and PICO, are urging congregations to hold “health care Sabbath/Sundays” and attend town-hall meetings.

UPDATE: J.P. Duffy, media director of the Family Research Council, says FRC Action’s effort wasn’t copying the religious left. In fact, he says, FRC Action has conducted similar operations in defense-of-marriage activities in 2005 and on judicial nominees in 2005 and 2006.

UPDATE: The health-care reform call-in program last week featuring President Barack Obama reached 140,000 on the phone, and has so far been played 300,000 times on the Web site, according to Faith in Public Life, which helped organize it.

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