Archive for the ‘health care’ Category

Christian Coalition/Republican Party?

January 18, 2011

The Christian Coalition of American sent out an e-mail blast today demanding that Congress repeal last year’s landmark health care reform bill. The e-mail decries the “government takeover of our nation’s health care system” and includes a list of claims about the terrible things the bill would do: fund abortions, limit doctor choice, cause health care costs to increase, raise taxes, kill jobs and cause people to lose their current insurance:

We can demand that Congress repeal it!

We can speak out for free market reforms, not government run schemes that stifle innovation, ration care and increase our taxes.

And we can demand reform that focuses on empowering personal choice and freedom – not government.

Every bit of that — like “government takeover,” “kill American jobs,” “limit our choice of doctors,” “ration care,” “free market” — comes from talking points promoted by the Republican Party. And it’s more evidence that the religious right isn’t really a religious movement. It’s a political movement that manipulates its supporters on behalf of an agenda that has very little to do with faith and “traditional values.”

The Christian Coalition’s e-mail letterhead features this slogan: “defending America’s Godly heritage.”

Yeah. Sure you are.

(By the way, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund explored the religious right’s ties to the Republican Party in a 2006 report: The Anatomy of Power.)


Chilling Times

January 8, 2011

The shooting this morning of an Arizona congresswoman (who at this writing is in critical condition) is a chilling moment in American history. It appears that six people were killed, including a young child and a federal judge.

Some have already noted that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was featured last year in a map created by Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee. The map used crosshairs to identify 20 members of Congress who supported health care reform legislation.

Just as stunning is the language we continue to hear and see from extremist right-wing groups, including in Texas. This morning, in fact, the Houston-based Life & Liberty Political Action Committee sent out an e-mail accusing the Obama administration and congressional supporters of “death-dealing” health care reform of using tax dollars to murder babies through abortion and subject the sick and elderly to “death panels.” Then we read this passage:

“Politicians’ home offices are staffed by locals… locals who do not want to look their neighbors in the face and lie. These Congress Critters LIVE in these areas and when they come home on breaks and to campaign (continuously) they are no longer sheltered by taxpayer-paid Capitol Hill staffers who shield the Members from We the People.”

Let’s be clear: the Life and Liberty PAC’s e-mail does not — thanks goodness — call for assassinating elected officials. It explicitly calls for recipients to sign petitions, fax elected officials and vote out anyone who supported health care reform. But we wonder what message the PAC’s leaders really think they are sending with outrageous and incendiary claims that the government — with the support of President Obama and members of Congress — was murdering babies over Christmas:

“Not only has the government attempted to eradicate Christ from His own birthday celebration; but like Herod, our government was murdering babies throughout the holiday season… with your tax money.”

The e-mail goes on to charge that “ObamaCare Death Panels have already begun” and are essentially condemning seriously ill people to death. And then this:

“Since the unborn, elderly and the infirm and vulnerable were not afforded respite from government death-dealing even during the Holy Season of Christmas, there can be no respite for the politicians who fund their deaths in the New Year!”

As we said, chilling.

Pro-Life Values? Seriously?

September 17, 2010

Today at the religious right’s annual “Voter Values Summit,” former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had this to say about health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions:

“It sounds so good, and it’s such a warm message to say we’re not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition. Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle [to] our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, ‘I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.’ He’d say, ‘Tell me about your house.’ ‘Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.’ And he’ll say ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.’ Well, no preexisting conditions.”

So people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get health insurance should just die? We didn’t realize the religious right sees human beings who are seriously ill as being like houses that have burned down. Silly us.

A Catholic Split on Health Care Reform

June 20, 2010

A new editorial in the Roman Catholic periodical Commonweal highlights a key division among Catholics over the recently passed health care reform bill. In short, this division is over questions of whether the bill provides government support for abortion.


Hypocrisy and Cathie Adams

March 16, 2010

Remember when we warned you about the extremist politics of Cathie Adams? When the former head of the far-right Texas Eagle Forum was named chair of the Texas Republican Party last fall, we noted her shameful attacks in the past on President Obama’s faith, Hispanic immigrants and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Now she’s got the Texas GOP, in an e-mail to activists today, charging that congressional Democrats are violating the Constitution if they use a specific parliamentary maneuver to pass health care reform in the U.S. House. Problem for Adams’ and the other folks at the Texas GOP: Republicans used the same procedure to pass legislation 35 times the last time they controlled Congress in 2005-06. Oops.

TFN has no position on health care reform legislation pending in Congress, but we have noted the hysterical attacks from the far right. So here’s some unsolicited advice for Adams: if you’re going to accuse someone of breaking the law (or worse, violating the Constitution), make sure your own side hasn’t done the same thing numerous times. Otherwise, you’ll get a reputation for problems with hypocrisy. Just sayin’.

David Barton Plays ‘Expert’ Again

January 4, 2010

David Barton clearly has no shame. Once again he’s letting the far-right Web site OneNewsNow — “a Christian news service . . . that exists to present the day’s stories from a biblical perspective” — promote him as an authority on the Constitution. Last summer OneNewsNow quoted the head of the far-right organization WallBuilders as a “constitutional expert” explaining why proposed congressional health insurance reform bills were supposedly unconstitutional. Today the outfit revisits the issue and quotes “constitutional historian” David Barton claiming that the health reform bills would fail to pass court challenges:


Faith and Health Insurance Reform

December 9, 2009

In the religious right’s continuing attacks on health insurance reform efforts in Washington, yesterday the Texas-based Heritage Alliance blasted out an e-mail warning far-right activists not “to despair” over the possible passage of legislation intended to make sure every American has access to affordable health care. To give in to despair, the e-mail says, would be a sin:


Health Care Advice from the Far Right

November 24, 2009

Sometimes when you think you’ve seen it all…

For the far right, opposing proposed health insurance reform isn’t enough. Now they want people to protest by refusing health insurance coverage that reform efforts might make available to them. Check out this excerpt from an e-mail fundraising appeal from the executive director of the United States Justice Foundation:

“I’m asking you to flatly refuse to buy government insurance. And, if needed, the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) will represent you in court, to defend your decision. You have my word.”

Oh, goodie. But will the USFJ also pay for treatment if that uninsured patriot gets cancer or is crippled in an auto accident? And what about his kids? Will USJF pay for their hospitalization when they can’t get the asthma medicine or insulin they need because Mom and Dad are unemployed and have lost their health insurance?


The Religious Right and Health Care Reform II

November 14, 2009

Talk about hypocrisy.

Religious-right groups and Republicans have charged that taxpayers would be funding abortions if any private health insurers that cover the procedure also accept federal subsidies for premiums under proposed health care reform legislation. That would be true, they say, even if individual abortion procedures are paid for out of a separate pool of privately paid premium dollars, not public subsidies for premiums. So the U.S. House voted to bar private insurers that accept those premium subsidies from covering abortion.

Now reporters have been checking into insurance plans offered by the Republican Party and religious-right groups. What did they find? Yup. You guessed it.

The GOP is doing its darndest to quickly move on from an embarrassing revelation — that even as congressional Republicans insist that the health care overhaul does not cover abortions, the national party’s own health plan covers elective procedures.


Talking Points

November 13, 2009

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“As a religious right guy, I’m thinking there was a guy named Jesus who had some things to say about these kinds of concepts. And I don’t want to live in a society that lets a few test cases die on the steps of the hospital. I can’t go there.”

— U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., responding to “hard-right” activists who have told him that they are willing to let people without health insurance “die on the steps of the hospital” to make a point about the problem of “free riders.”

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news about politics and the religious right. Subscribe here.

The Religious Right and Health Care Reform

November 12, 2009

One of the most puzzling things about the debate over health insurance reform has been the religious right’s strident opposition. If the movement’s leaders didn’t constantly remind you that they are pastors and people of faith, you’d never know it from their comments about health care.

Instead of honest proposals for how our society can make sure the sick and vulnerable get the care they need (didn’t Jesus talk about that?), we’ve heard religious-right leaders rail against taxes, a supposed “government takeover” of health care and fictional “death panels.”

Case in point: today’s e-mail from Rick Scarborough, who founded the Lufkin-based group Vision America to “inform and mobilize Pastors and their congregations to become salt and light, becoming pro-active in restoring Judeo-Christian values in America.”


David Barton: Now a ‘Constitutional Expert’?

August 27, 2009

It’s bad enough that the State Board of Education claims David Barton is an “expert” who is qualified to help guide the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. But now we’re told Barton is a “constitutional expert,” too. Wow. Not bad considering that he earned only a bachelor’s degree in religious education, right?


The Religious Right and Health Care

August 13, 2009

The Texas Freedom Network has taken no position on national health insurance reform, but we have been fascinated by the torrent of e-mails from religious-right pressure groups opposed to it. Oh, we’re not surprised that the religious right opposes reform — the movement’s leadership has long been in bed with economic and  “small government” conservatives (even when they’re trying to dictate how people live their private lives). What’s fascinating is that so many who piously proclaim their Christian faith are so disingenuous and deceitful in their statements about health insurance reform and so supportive of the rude and uncivil behavior of some reform opponents.

Texas-based groups on the far right have even promoted videos of disruptive protesters shouting and jeering members of Congress trying to answer questions about reform at “town hall” meetings. When others object to the shouts and deliberate disruptions, those same far-right groups claim the right to free speech — all the while ignoring efforts to drown out the speech of reform supporters at the meetings.

Nationally, religious-right pressure groups have launched aggressive fund-raising and disinformation campaigns targeting health care reform. Many of their statements echo charges about things like “death panels,” euthanasia and “pulling the plug” on Grandma. Some examples:


Whose Values?

July 1, 2009

We wonder whether many of the foot soldiers in the religious-right movement will ever wake up to how they have been used. Over the years we’ve all seen how religious-right pressure groups wade into areas that would seem to have nothing to do with promoting “traditional family values” (whatever that means to them) and other “culture war” issues. Case in point: a group called CRAVE — Christians Reviving America’s Values — is calling on supporters to oppose the Obama administration on health care reform. From a CRAVE press release headlined “America Cannot Afford Health Care” (and quoting the group’s president, Don Swarthout):

What have the uninsured people been doing for health care all of these years? The answer is simple. They have been going to Emergency Rooms to be treated because our laws and the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors say that they must be treated. . . .