Wednesday, August 19, 2009

White House holds health care conference call with progressive faith activists

Earlier today, the progressive organization Faith in Public Life organized and hosted a Blog Talk Radio conference call for thousands of faith activists and leaders to hear from President Obama and White House Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes. The call, named “40 Minutes for Health Reform,” aimed to create a centrally organized faith moment for health care reform over the next forty days at faithforhealth.org. 32 different religious organizations and denominations are co-sponsoring the movement, including, full disclosure, two that I belong to (The Episcopal Church and Sojourners). The broadcast will eventually be available for repeat listening at both Faith for Health and Blog Talk Radio.

Listeners online and on the phone first heard emotional stories about health insurance and health care from members of faith communities around the country, moved to Barnes’ Q&A, heard from pastors and rabbis about what their congregations are doing to support reform, and concluded with Obama’s speech. Little actual news was created and the specific legislative process was not addressed, though Barnes did say the President continues to support a public option. Obama’s speech focused on correcting misinformation and rallying people around moral themes. He had some pretty good sound bites, including the suggestion that folks like Palin, Beck, and Grassley (not that he named names but you know who he meant) are breaking the Ten Commandments: “I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness.”

For a full description of Barnes' Q&A, Obama's speech, and tips on what your congregation can do to help the cause of reform, read my write-up at MyDD.

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