Churches praise health care law, lobby groups condemn it

Churches praise health care law, lobby groups condemn it June 28, 2012

David Gibson of Religion News Service has an interesting round-up: “Religious groups react to Supreme Court health care ruling.”

Here’s the break-down:

Hallelujah, Amen!: National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Rabbinical Assembly, Hadassah, Sojourners, Faith in Public Life, Network, Catholic Health Association, National Catholic Reporter, Catholics for Choice, Catholics United, Unitarian Universalist Association.

"People Who Say They're Moving to Canada Because of ObamaCare"

It’s Armageddon!: Southern Baptist “Ethics” office, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Alliance Defense Fund, Traditional Values Coalition, Family Research Council, Conscience Cause, Susan B. Anthony List, Becket Fund, Rick Santorum, CitizenLink.

Meh: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

So in Gibson’s tally, six actual church groups praise the decision, while only two condemn it. But six “religious” lobbyist/fundraising groups also condemned the decision.

I get that the 37 denominations that make up the National Council of Churches are perceived as “old-line,” shrinking and irrelevant. But the NCC represents 100,000 congregations and about 45 million American Christians. So why is it that the Liar Tony Perkins — whose Family Research Council claims a membership of about 1 percent of that — is far likelier to be cited as a “religious leader” than anyone at the NCC is?

(Seriously: 45 million members in the National Council of Churches’ denominations. 455,000 “members” for the Family Research Council. Why is the far, far, far smaller group treated as the more prominent voice?)

Gibson also, oddly, lists Rick Santorum and the Susan B. Anthony List in his round-up of “religious groups.” Santorum is religious, but not a group. The SBA List is a group, but it’s secular. (I suppose SBA List was included because they’re anti-abortion, which in recent decades has become the primary hallmark and shibboleth of some strains of American Christianity.)

For the record, the Liar Tony Perkins addressed the health care decision in one of his several daily press releases. Perkins says this decision “will force taxpayers to fund abortions.” That’s not at all true.

Unsurprisingly, the Liar Tony Perkins is lying. He does that quite a bit.

Hemant Mehta collects a bit more of the reactionary reaction from the theocratic lobbying groups:

Liberty Counsel falsely claims this is about “the largest funding of abortion in history.” And it contradicts the actual facts of the matter by claiming that the biggest deficit-reduction bill of the 21st century “will bankrupt America.”

And the Becket Fund claims that “Never in history has there been a mandate forcing individuals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.” Tell that to the Quakers.

And if you’re interested in reading much more in that hysterical vein, Right Wing Watch has a summary of the response from Sarah Palin, Faith and Action, the Christian Medical Association, Ladies Against Women (Concerned Women for America), Operation Rescue and a few more.

I wrote “response,” singular, because they all say pretty much the same thing. These religious right groups are in an unholy snit. That was anticipated, and they’ve been rehearsing this particular snit for weeks now. Problem was they were also busily rehearsing their happy-dance of triumph and that was the response they expected to be performing today, so they may have rehearsed that one a bit more carefully.

On the political front, The Onion had this story covered back in 2010: “Republicans, Leukemia Team Up To Repeal Health Care Law.”

In the coming weeks, Republicans and leukemia will travel the country in an effort to diminish support for the increasingly popular bill, which GOP sources said goes against everything that Republicans and the massive accumulation of toxic cells stand for.

… “I look around and I see Sen. Bob Bennett, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, eosinophilic and megakaryoblastic leukemia, and Sen. Pat Roberts, and I think, ‘This is what the Republican Party is all about,'” Sen. McConnell said. “We don’t like this new bill. We don’t like that it will cut the national deficit by $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. We don’t like that it’s now illegal for insurance companies to suddenly drop a parent for getting deathly ill. That’s why we’re so very proud to be working with leukemia.”

In the home state of John C. Calhoun, Sen. Jim DeMint is calling for the nullification of the health care law. The idea that 33 million people may gain access to affordable health insurance has him calling for an attack on Fort Sumter.

Sen. Lindsey Graham — the other Republican from South Carolina — tried out the first failed GOP talking point. Since the mandate is upheld under Congress’ power to tax, Graham said, the ACA must be a massive “tax increase.” As Ed Kilgore notes, Graham hasn’t done the arithmetic there, because that means everyone who is insured is getting a nifty tax cut. Graham’s logic makes the ACA one of the biggest middle-class tax cuts in history.

Condemning the ACA as a “tax increase” makes about as much sense as denouncing it as “socialized medicine” and announcing that you’re moving to Canada in protest.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • How was it that Jesus fellow said it, “By their delicious, delicious tears you shall know right wing ghouls.” 

  • PJ Evans

    I think condemning ACA as a ‘tax increase’ makes more sense than denouncing it as socialism and saying you want to move to Canada. (Because Canada has health care coverage of the kind that most sane people in the US want, and the right wingnuts kept telling us was really bad.)

  • Miff

    The ironic thing is that Canada has real government-provided healthcare.

  • GG

    As a lifelong lcms Lutheran I learned a long time ago that any time the synod makes a public statement it is going to be pretty embarassing. I can sure sympathaize with Fred when it comes to being part of a church whose leaders have some bad priorities.

  • Nirrti

    Sooo…..I guess the Southern Baptist Church and those other denominations that oppose ObamaCare are willing to pay for the uninsured’s  medical expenses instead. 

    If they don’t, what they’re saying is they don’t give a care about the sick or the poor….or anyone for that matter. Since when did these churches turn into institutions run by sociopaths?

  • Tricksterson

    Especially since for years they’ve been using the Canadian healthcare system as a boogieman as to why a single payer system is a bad idea.

  • Tricksterson

    Do you belong to Missouri Synod or to the more liberal ELCA?  If the former why?

  • reynard61

    “Since when did these churches turn into institutions run by sociopaths?”

    In the SBC’s case, at least, it’s founding.

  • Mau de Katt

    Conservative Christianity, especially of the fundie evangelical bent, is so dedicated to the idea of “persecution” that this is the language that they respond to best. 

    Of course, to today’s Conservative Christians, “persecution” = “not getting their way.”  It is the “persecution” of a spoiled two-year-old having a tantrum.

  • Lori

    Problem was they were also busily rehearsing their happy-dance of triumph and that was the response they expected to be performing today, so they may have rehearsed that one a bit more carefully. 

    I direct your attention to # 18 on this list:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/the-internet-responds-to-supreme-court-ruling-on-o

  • reynard61

    Careful, GG; I feel an Emo Phillips moment coming…

    (Sorry I couldn’t find a better quality video.)

  • friendly reader

     First off, Tricksterton, lcms = Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, so that’s GG’s denomination.

    But I’m going to second pointing out that the ELCA would love to have you. :)

  • (faceitous remark) I…think…the…Elcor…would…love…to… meet…you…too… (giggle) (appending picture)
    http://www.fybertech.com/4get/12631141666754.jpg 

  • friendly reader

    Ah, video game reference, had to look that one up. Do I lose my nerd cred for knowing nothing about Mass Effect other than that people were upset at the ending?

    It might be fun if we were pronounced elk-ah, but it’s boring old ee-el-see-ay. LCMS, ELCA, throw in WELS (who make the LCMS look like a bunch of hippies) and we’re a crazy alphabet soup that, unless you are either (1) Lutheran or (2) live in the upper midwest, is borderline incomprehensible.

    Back when Oprah had this thing about calculating your “real age” based on life experiences in addition to your age. My newspaper in Madison ran a parody for Wisconsonians. One of the items was “add a year to your life for every time you’ve had to explain the differences between Lutheran denominations.” I’m pretty sure I’m over a hundred.

  • Lynn

    I am curious, if anyone in thread knows: what happens if you, say, work for a small non-profit that decided they couldn’t afford to offer insurance so you don’t have any. 

    You barely make enough to make ends meet even with resorting to the credit card regularly but at the same time the government doesn’t consider you poor enough to provide coverage for you.

    What is the coverage/tax actually going to look like for the poor that aren’t categorized as poor?

  • PurpleAardvaark

    Moving to Canada to protest US Healthcare? That’s like moving to the Antarctic to protest Winter.

  • Guest

    Lynn, there are a lot of loopholes for people making under 400% of federal poverty level (based on household size), and someone ineligible for Medicaid who’s barely making ends meet is more than likely under that threshold.

  • We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  • Tonio

    So why is it that the Liar Tony Perkins — whose Family Research Council
    claims a membership of about 1 percent of that — is far likelier to be
    cited as a “religious leader” than anyone at the NCC is?

    Because he’s good at self-promotion. Should the NCC have someone with the same talents who can use them for good instead of evil? I don’t use the last word lightly.

  • Tonio

    Condemning the ACA as a “tax increase” makes about as much sense as
    denouncing it as “socialized medicine” and announcing that you’re moving
    to Canada in protest.

    That’s an example of Frank Burns thinking that’s destined to be a classic, just like “Keep government out of my Medicare.”

  • There have been waivers granted under what appear to be ad hoc processes. As well, provisions due to kick in contain heavy premium subsidies, as well as an expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

    Basically, the individual mandate is to prevent people from only buying insurance when they get sick. It’d be like only buying car insurance after you get into an accident.

  • I’m not sure how facetious it is, but if someone on the right-wing seriously blurted that out without even thinking, that alone is pretty lulzworthy.

  • GG

    Far too much truth in that Emo Phillips bit!  

    I’m LCMS for the same reason most people pick their church, that’s the church that my family goes to, you can put up with a lot of nonsense out of the head office if that’s the price you have to pay to see your grandparents, aunts and uncles and mom and dad every week.

  • It’s going to depend on how much the person involved makes. At lower levels of income, but above official poverty, there is a subsidy to buy insurance. The numbers are spelled out in the plan, but I haven’t analyzed them, and would in any event have to know the income of the person involved to give a useful answer.

    Fly in the ointment: in states that refuse to participate in the Medicaid expansion some very poor people will not be covered by Medicaid or the subsidy.

    The ACA sausage has some really bad-tasting parts.

  • mmy

    @19da349ae3a7835f7bef46906f7f4cb1:disqus :
    The ironic thing is that Canada has real government-provided healthcare.

    Actually, no, Canada doesn’t have government-provided healthcare. Canada has a system of provincial/territorial single-payer systems which, for the most part, function reciprocally.

    Doctors (and hospitals) in Canada provide services to patients and then (usually) send the resulting bill to appropriate government agency to be paid.

  • Johnsmithofamerica

    “Since when did these churches turn into institutions run by sociopaths? ”

    Given that the Southern Baptist Convention was founded in order to support slavery, it has never NOT been run by sociopaths.

  • dessicated painini

    I’ll be honest – the Buzzfeed list of “I’m moving to Canada!” tweets got under my skin. Why? There was clearly no vetting whatsoever of the seriously misinformed from the sarcastic. Three or four of the featured tweets set off my sarcasm detector (which is NOT top-of-the-line, believe me), so I clicked over to the feeds and found three very clear examples of, well, people who had been JOKING. At least one referenced Poe’s Law in a follow-up. Whoever amalgamated the tweets could have, say, checked the feeds of people they were about to unleash a storm of “Hey, idiot, Canada has single-payer” on, but they didn’t bother. Neither did most of the people who sent such responses, obviously.

    There were, admittedly, several others who seemed serious, or who I honestly couldn’t determine (because, say, they didn’t seem to mention politics whatsoever most of the time.) But it bothers me that Buzzfeed was so eager to provide its readers something to point and laugh at that they didn’t even try to sort it out. They just didn’t care.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    Hey, Fred?  I’m hoping you read these comments.  If you do, here’s something that you really need to call some attention to.  A little piece of news from my home state, which has, unfortunately, been in the news lately for all the worst reasons:

     http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2012/06/louisiana-eliminates-state-funding-for-libraries.html

    Summary:  our darling governor Bobby Jindal just killed pretty much all funding for public libraries in the state of Louisiana, in order to focus on “health” and “education.”  (Read:  kickbacks to pharmaceutical companies and vouchers for private far-fight Christian-based religious schools). 

  • You just said something pretty profound. :-)

  • You know, the internal contradictions in this whole kerfuffle put me in mind of Rudyard Kipling’s Court of the Apes: “Brother, your tail hangs down behind!”

    Let’s see. The Obamacare everyone wanted was “public option” — any of the thirty or forty single-payer options available in any other CIVILIZED nation that isn’t run by monkeys with tails hanging down behind. Obama and his handlers decided this was a “non-starter” given the right-wing nutcases who vote, so we got Romneycare.

    I always viewed the individual mandate as a Republican poison-pill inserted at the behest of the private insurance companies. “We’ll sign off on this if you make EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY buy our product, bwah-ha-ha!” I could hear the sigh of relief in Right-Wing Central when they announced that. “Good one,” they said to each other. “Obama will never bite on that.”

    Followed by the “Holy Shit, he went for it!” not too long after.

    So the Right then had to mobilize to FIGHT the very Frankenstein’s Monster they had unleashed.

    Here’s the funny thing — at one level I almost wish they’d killed the individual mandate, because the next option is to kick the Nutty Right in the teeth and adopt the public option that everyone wanted from the start. Which would, of course, put all of the private health insurers out of business.

    I’d have thought the Right would be crowing that the Roberts decision saved the insurance companies from getting plowed under. But no, it’s a “disaster” and and “apocalypse” for the Right that the private insurers are still alive and looking to make profits beyond their wildest dreams of avarice.

    This is SO much like one of those Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck routines.

    “Did not!”
    “Did too!”
    “Did not!”
    “Did too!”
    “Did too!”
    “Did NOT!”
    “Did too!”
    “Did NOT!!!”

    Jeez.

  • PJ Evans

     And the Right was so sure that it would be a disaster and the stock market would crash – but it went up today.

  • Related: WABBIT SEASON!
    DUCK SEASON!

    …. Elmer season. :P

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If you’re ever in the mood for trolling (and I will put my hand up here and admit that from time to time the temptation overtakes me) search “Obama” on Openbook.org.

    Today I learned that the reason healthcare costs less in Europe than in the US is that in Europe all medical treatment, emergency or elective, is withheld once you turn 65. True story.

  • Did they also tell ou that if Stephen Hawking had been a citizen of the UK, he’d have been dead decades ago since there is no way the NHS would pay to keep him alive?

  • nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  • Especially since for years they’ve been using the Canadian healthcare
    system as a boogieman as to why a single payer system is a bad idea.