Obama accuses some healthcare critics of “bearing false witness”
U.S. President Barack Obama enlisted the “Religious Left” on Wednesday to help galvanise public support for his faltering drive for healthcare reform, using the language of faith as he accused some of the critics of his biggest domestic project of “bearing false witness.”
Obama made a brief pitch to a “call in” organised by various liberal and progressive faith groups called “40 minutes for Health Reform.” It is part of a campaign launched last week to counteract a movement to stop “Obamacare” that has been driven in part by conservative Christian activists.
“There has been a lot misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Obama said.
Obama took issue with some of the most emotive allegations that have been raised by social conservative opponents of his vision for overhauling America’s healthcare and health insurance system.
“This notion that somehow we are setting up death panels that would decide on whether elderly people get to live or die … that is just an extraordinary lie.”
“You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortions. Not true,” he said.
Liberal people of faith helped to propel Obama to power but it remains to be seen if they can make the difference on healthcare reform.
“In the weeks ahead the nation will hear a steady moral drum beat from the faith community,” said Jim Wallis, a leading liberal evangelical of the activist Christian group Sojourners. The campaign will include prayer meetings, sermons and nationwide TV ads.
They face a competing chorus from the Religious Right which has focused on the allegation that Obama’s healthcare plan will lead to federal funding for abortion — a point denied by the president and many of his supporters (see previous blog). But it is an issue that can gin up the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base.
In America, both the political left and right must often appeal to people of faith because of the country’s high rates of religious belief.
(Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting about healthcare at the Kroger Supermarket in Bristol, Virginia July 29, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)