Religious Groups on Pros, Cons of Health-Care Reform
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Recent posts on various blogs lay out the stark differences in the way religious groups are coming at health reform.
John Gehring, a senior writer for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, details the case for religious supporters of health-care reform in an article in National Catholic Reporter. It's a nuanced argument.
"At the heart of complicated legislative battles over health care are profound moral and ethical questions," Gehring writes. "Even if we are satisfied with our own health care, what responsibility do we have as a society to make sure the system works for everyone? How do we balance individual interests with policies that best serve the common good? While specific solutions to a 21st century health-care crisis can't be found in the Bible, Koran or the Torah, our faith traditions offer timeless values about human dignity, compassion and loving our neighbors as ourselves. People of goodwill can disagree over the most effective ways to ensure reform. But we must not waver from this core principle: health care is a human right, not a privilege."
On the other hand, Stoptheabortionmandate.org has very specific information on who to contact, where to go for town hall meetings and what questions to ask at the meetings. You can download a kit with talking points and rebuttal statements.
"President Obama and liberals in Congress say they want health care reform but they are using health reform as a way to ram through taxpayer funded abortion," is the claim.
There is it, whether you believe it or not, clear and concise.
I'm not taking sides here. I'm just pointing out that each side is using a radically different approach to argue its case. One is a less specific argument that aims to appeal to a sense of justice among the faithful, while the other goes for the jugular with detailed arguments and suggestions, using an issue about which many Americans feel profoundly conflicted. A wedge issue, if you want to call it that.
So far, judging from opinion polls, the wedge issue is winning. At least so far.
Jacqueline L. Salmon
August 25, 2009; 8:44 AM ET
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