Obama Insurance Call With The Religious Stirs Pool

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

On Wednesday, President Obama held a conference call with some 1000 religious leaders and some 140,000 listeners to discuss health insurance reform. The call was one of two phone-based events this week, after a series of high-profile town-hall meetings by the president. The other will be held Thursday, billed as a "live strategy meeting" in which Obama will update political supporters about his reform efforts. His latest effort to gain support from religious leaders is a continuation of his efforts to dispel myths about health insurance reform.

The Obama conference call sought to enlist religious leaders on behalf of his overhaul plan, as the White House struggles to get a clear message out about goals for health-care reform.

In the call to religious leaders, Obama talked about the opposition as bearing "false witness" in their dissemination and publication of false statements regarding health care reform, urging the listeners to reject misinformation about his plans. Obama said, "There are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness."

Obama, speaking to religious leaders, referred to some assertions as "ludicrous," and cited as an example rumors that the government is planning to set up "death panels" to determine the fate of the nation's elderly.


Obama says health insurance reform protests…”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: that is, that we look out for one another; that is, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. And in the wealthiest nation in the world right now we are neglecting to live up to that call."

This reflects his previous stance, stated at a meeting in Iowa last year when he said: "Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked,". The comment drew applause from the delegates. "Part of it is because the so-called leaders of the Christian right are all too eager to exploit what divides us."

True, the calls have, and will in future days and weeks, prove to be part of the controversy as more opposition from the Christian right appears. Proponents of "separation of Church and State" will begin to publish their own opinions.

Obama, who took no questions, said the opposition was no surprise. "Throughout history, whenever we have sought to change this country for the better, there have always been those who wanted to preserve the status quo," he said. "These always boil down to a contest between hope and fear." Obama now seeks help from religious leaders in support of health insurance reform.

Sioux City Journal