Monday, August 31, 2009

Obama Calls on Religious Leaders to Help Sell Health Plan

I have posted here before about a movement among ministers and priests to boldly speak out about political issues. Such actions have been said to be against the so-called "separation of church and state" and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has threatened to withdraw tax-exempt status from any church that allows this. Various groups have from time to time taken up the cause against such free speech by religious leaders, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). And groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) have stepped up to support the free-speech rights of the religious leaders.

Now we learn about President Obama making conference calls to thousands of Christian and Jewish ministers, priests, and rabbis. The goal of the calls was to secure support for the proposed health-care bill. Our President wanted these religious leaders to help sell the bill to their flocks.

By so doing, is he not asking them to do the very type of activity that the ACLU would say is against the law? So far I have not seen news of the ACLU speaking out against the President's phone calls (but if I have missed that in the news, please comment and let me know about it).

Personally, I don't think religious leaders should be kept from speaking their minds about political issues that are tied to basic religious principles. That's part of their calling. But if it's wrong in one context (when the leaders might be supporting a conservative position) then it should be wrong in other contexts (where leaders support a liberal position). Or it should be OK in either case.

Read more here:

Obama appeals to rabbis to help pass health care reform

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