Christians Differing on Health Care Reform

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With so much talk lately about abortion on demand and death panels, President Barack Obama is trying to rally moral support for his health care plans.

Wednesday, he addressed Jewish rabbis and later spoke with a diverse group of Christians and Jews.

Still, the problem for the president is that religious groups are divided.

Christians concerned about health care in America start from the same premise, but it's how to achieve that goal where the differences emerge.

Several left-leaning Christian groups like Sojourners, Faith in Public Life, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and others are, in the middle of "40 Days for Health Reform."

The "tele-town hall" meeting will be followed by a national health care sermon weekend, prayer rallies and other events. 
    
"The real challenge is that insurance companies have not found a way to include low income people in their private policies in a cost effective way," said Simone Campbell of the Catholic group NETWORK.  "So those are the people who are being left behind and that's the perfect place for the government to get involved."

To form a more perfect union, Campbell added, government must fill in the cracks.

Still, many conservative Christians say it's churches that must fill the voids.
    
"I believe that this particular health care plan, as it stands now, is absolutely, patently ungodly and evil," said evangelical leader Bishop Harry Jackson.

Jackson says the health care plans will only lead to death-- that is more abortions performed and more sick Americans dying as they wade through government's red tape on their way to get care.

Several African-American leaders have written the president requesting their own meeting.

"We want the president to read our open letter, to remember that people who voted for him are also crying out for help to him on behalf of the babies and the elderly," one leader said.

Campbell says concerns over abortion should be left out of the debate.

"The need for health care reform is so huge," she said.  "It's so much bigger than just the abortion question."

President Obama's calls Wednesday do seem to be energizing people of faith who are behind his plan, but the calls are also inspiring those opposed to it-- those who believe abortion is very central to this health care debate.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.