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.

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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