Praying for Socialized Medicine

As Obamacare implodes, the religious Left has a meltdown.

The apparent political implosion of Obamacare after Scott Brown’s Massachusetts win is already enraging the Religious Left.  To have been so close to fulfilling a decades long crusade only to face defeat can be infuriating.  When government controlled health care is seen as portending the advent of God’s Kingdom, then the fury is even greater.

Writing for Jim Wallis’ Sojourners, activist Valerie Dixon impatiently urged “congressional courage” to defy public opposition to Obamacare.  It’s a typical Religious Left theme:  Help the people even when they don’t want it!

“Now is not the time to read more into election results than we ought,” Dixon anxiously cautioned.  “And even if the election were a referendum on health-care reform, so what?  This is a representative democracy. It is a republic because we expect our leaders to lead.”  How wonderful that the Religious Left is now interested in political and constitutional theory.  More frequently, they demand virtual rule from the streets.

But Dixon explained that we should expect Congress, when overriding the people’s opposition to government-controlled health care,  to summon the “moral vision to lead us forward and to have an enthusiasm and a commitment to that vision which is so strong that we will see the vision too.”  In other words, maybe Americans will awake to the beauty of Obamacare if Congress will presciently force it upon an unwilling public.  After all, “We need our elected officials to demonstrate the virtues necessary to do what is right for the American people.”

Evidently Dixon, like the rest of the Religious Left, does not believe that Obamacare proponents are obligated actually to persuade Americans of the merits of their “vision.”  Just pass it, at whatever cost, and hope that public opinion will supinely surrender when they have no option left.  “We need them to demonstrate the virtues of responsibility, commitment, complexity, and love,” Dixon serenely opined about Congress, which is so well known for these noble traits.  “Now is the time for courage.”

Contrary to Dixon’s insistence that a republic is supposed to be about leaders stubbornly defying the public will, America’s divided form of government is supposed to inhibit radical agendas that lack consensus support.  Famously, if apocryphally, America’s founders supposedly framed the Senate especially to be a “cooling” saucer that resists the heated “vision” of zealots, with or without majority support, who want to impose what many Americans ardently oppose.  “ The country needs the moral clarity that universal health-care legislation will bring,” Dixon insisted.  But if such a vision arouses such widespread resistance, its proponents, at least in American democracy, are obliged to argue more persuasively before the nation must kneel before it. Evidently, the Religious Left realizes its arguments have failed, but it still demands the coercive powers that Obamacare would grant.

Similarly, another Sojourners columnist bewailed the collapse of public support for Obamacare.  “The insurance, pharmaceutical, medical, and financial industries are simply delighted that a majority of Americans are now unwilling to do what it takes in order to have a fair, compassionate, and reasonably priced health-care system,” fretted LaVonne Neff.  “We like the health care we currently have, even though our insurance premiums and copayments increase every year as our coverage decreases and our claims are denied. We don’t want to change our system in any way. Except, of course, to make it better. And cheaper. Without actually changing anything.”  She snarkily concluded:  “We believe in magic.”

The real “magic,” of course was the proposal that government directed health care could, through centralization and force, provide better and more expansive health care at reduced cost and increased efficiency.  Neff cited the usual and now discredited claims that other Western countries have better health statistics because of government health care.  Americans do have greater health problems because of behaviors not as common to Europe’s homogenous and more static societies. But America remains virtually the best place to actually receive care once sick.

Immune to factual data, history and human nature, government-controlled health care has long been and remains the object of the Religious Left’s frenzied faith.  What tent-revivals once were for evangelicals, Obamacare rallies have been for the Religious Left.    Last month, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ lobbyists joined with Vermont socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and at a Capitol Hill Obamacare candle light vigil and rally.   United Methodist Board of Church and Society chief Jim Winkler unthinkingly defended the Senate’s version of Obamacare’s abortion coverage, which would become one cause of its demise.  “American families should have the opportunity to choose health coverage that reflects their own values and medical needs,” he implored.  “A principle that should not be sacrificed in service of any political agenda.”

Surreally, Winkler further cluelessly pleaded that Congress “should stand up for the people who could be most helped by health-care reform” by “enacting meaningful legislation now that includes a strong public option.”  A little later, Winkler convened a press conference with Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow and, perhaps sensing the impending collapse, became a little histrionic:  “Authentic health-care reform has been delayed by insurance companies seeking to protect vast profits and grotesquely inflated executive salaries.”  He further angrily alleged:  “Demagogues have frightened many U.S. citizens — including the so-called “teabaggers” who are demonstrating on Capitol Hill today — into believing their health care is at risk.”

Even last month, Winkler was complaining at his press conference:  “One disappointment has followed another,” while warning recalcitrant Congressmen that “they risk facing the same prophetic judgments once visited upon the rulers of Israel,” and insisting:  “Now is the time for moral courage in the face of money and power.”  In other words, Winkler realized most Americans opposed Obamacare but desperately demanded that Congress approve it any way.  After all, it’s the Lord’s will, or so the Religious Left insists.

Winkler shrilly complained that pro-life “faith leaders of various stripes have placed their ideological and financial agendas ahead of the needs of the American people” by opposing Obamacare.  Unselfconsciously, he actually was describing the Religious Left’s own zealous and apparently failed imposition of health care statism on an unwilling nation.