America's "Religious Left" is jumping into the healthcare debate with a plan to launch a "40 Days for Health Reform" initiative starting Monday.
The move comes as conservative resistance hardens to President Barack Obama's attempts to overhaul America's healthcare system. This has taken the form of angry scenes at townhall meetings and has been driven in part by the "Religious Right," which claims on Christian radio stations and on the blogosphere that, among other things, "Obamacare" will result in taxpayer-funded abortion. That's a point disputed by most Democrats and their allies.
The pro-faith-based healthcare reform campaign is organized by liberal leaning religious groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life. Borrowing a page from the Religious Right, the conservative Christian movement that rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s as a key base for the Republican Party, the campaign will feature prayer rallies and a national TV ad.
It brings together evangelicals, Catholics and mainline Protestants and includes heavyweights from the Religious Left such as Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. There are many people of faith in the United States who believe that coverage needs to be extended to the nearly 46 million Americans with no health insurance because of biblical calls to care for the poor and the sick.
In his campaign for the White House Obama had tapped into the religious community and frequently invoked his own Christian faith. It remains to be seen if the faith community can inject some energy into what some see as a faltering drive at health care reform.