August 11, 2009

Liberal Clergy Working With Obama To Counteract Heath Reform Backlash

Liberal religious groups said publicly on Monday they are working with President Barack Obama in a national campaign to counteract the unexpectedly fervent conservative disagreement to his plan for a renovation of the U.S. healthcare system.

Created by liberal evangelicals, including some Protestant and Catholic, the group has Obama contributing to a call-in program with religious leaders available on the Internet on August 19.

"As a pastor I believe access to healthcare is a profoundly moral issue," Rev. Stevie Wakes of Olivet Institutional Baptist in Kansas City, said in a teleconference broadcasting the "40 days for Health Reform" campaign.

Protestors have met with members of Congress around the US in town hall meetings planned to get a feel of the public opinion on the healthcare plans being worked on in Congress.

Lawmakers discovered that fury contributed to partly by Christian and conservative radio hosts that healthcare cause taxpayer-financed abortion, which has created a negative reaction.

Conservative Catholics frequently agree with Republican evangelicals that disagree with abortion, but think that the biblical requirement to aid the sick and the poor is just as important. Obama's healthcare plan wants to give health insurance to the 46 million uninsured Americans.

Leaders of the "religious right," the conservative Christian coalition that is a key part for the Republican Party, is a large part of the opposition.

Religion is a key part of politics in the US, where church attendance is soaring. Obama mentioned this reaction in his White House race, mentioning his own Christian faith.

This counter-attack by the religious left will also highlight events with Congress members in states like Colorado and Florida.

Analysts note that it remains to be seen if it will benefit political disagreement at this important stage for the healthcare plan.

Lawmakers are trying to pass the legislation in 2009 to shun involving healthcare reform in 2010's congressional election.

"I think that the Democrats were surprised by the strength of the religious right and the insurance companies and those opposed to healthcare reform when they got their grass roots efforts going," noted Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

"So it took awhile for the Religious Left to get their national campaign going and we'll see whether or not it has the same emotion and intensity," he said to Reuter's News.