Friday, December 18, 2009

This is not the Methodist Church that I knew

Politico has learned that the United Methodist Church has sent an email to its members in Nebraska urging them to put pressure on Obamacare holdout Ben Nelson:
Senator Ben Nelson's United Methodist Church sent out a sharply-worded email this afternoon to its members in Nebraska, urging them to push Nelson to vote for health care legislation, a sign of the increasing organization and sophistication of left-leaning religious groups.

Says the email from a church official:

The U.S. health-care system is broken. It needs to be repaired. Your U.S. senator, Ben Nelson, is the last holdout blocking an important step forward in the reform.

It is important that Sen. Nelson set aside his personal agenda and think about the common good. According to a recent report, if this bill fails to pass, nearly 40,000 Nebraskans will join the ranks of those without health-care coverage....

Frankly, I believe Jesus set the bar high in reaching out to the disenfranchised among us. I disagree that some ought to be able to have better health care than others — and so does The United Methodist Church!

The Senate bill is significant because it contains far more protections for people and covers far more people who currently do not have insurance.

It also includes a script for constituents to using calling Nelson, which begins:

As a fellow United Methodist, I'd like you to know that our denomination's position is that health care is a basic human right. Christ set an example in the parable of the Good Samaritan. People without health insurance in this country fear everyday that they will become ill and not be able to find or afford adequate health care.
I believe that Jesus would include the unborn in the "disenfranchised among us".

Rush Limbaugh today made the case that Ben Nelson's senatorial career in Nebraska is over if he votes for any health care bill that includes government funding of abortion.  But he also points out that Nelson is a real obstacle to the Democrats, a man of conviction and conscience (unlike Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders and the dubious Blagojevich-appointed Senator Roland Burris who are each trying to create their own respective 15 minutes of fame, but pose no real threat to Reid's plan).

Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard Blog calls on Senator Nelson to "End it today" and announce that he will not vote for cloture, so the Senators can be safely in their homes when the snow storm of the year hits tonight and tomorrow:
There's a really big snowstorm coming to D.C.tonight. It would be unsafe to ask all the staffers and Hill employees who'd be needed at the Capitol if Congress stays open all hours this weekend, as Harry Reid intends, to drive to and from work--especially since many will have to do so at night, and they won't be well-rested. So from the point of view of public safety and personal well-being, Ben Nelson can do everyone a favor, announce today he won't vote for cloture, and let everyone stay home this weekend.

Furthermore, Harry Reid is maniacally insisting on a Christmas Eve vote on a bill whose final text no one has seen yet. So from a good government point of view, Nelson can say that he feels he has to be against cloture.

And of course there's no need to vote in December rather than January or February--it's just that Reid fears the already unpopular bill can't stand up to more public examination and debate. So from the point of view of respecting democracy and the American people, Nelson can insist that he needs time--once we have Reid's text--to go back to Nebraska and have some town meetings to let his constituents' voices be heard.
If you want to read the part about New York Times columnist David Brooks' two cents on the matter, you'll have to click on the link here.  I really don't care what Brooks thinks.

I hope Ben Nelson will have the strength to follow his conscience and his constituents, and not the left leaning leaders of his church.

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