|Some Baptists Echo "The Lie of the Year"|
|Issue: 81 Page No: 24 Updated: 01/27/2011 01:13 PM|
Some Baptists Echo “The Lie of the Year”
The 2010 "Lie of the Year" found a snug home among some Southern Baptist leaders.
PolitiFact.com, which won a Pulitzer last year for its investigative fact-checking of political claims, announced this month that the year's top lie was the accusation that the health care reform passed earlier this year amounted to "a government takeover of health care."
"The phrase is simply not true, "explained PolitiFact, a nonpartisan fact-checking organization."PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers."
"It's true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers," added PolitiFact. "But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market."
PolitiFact's announcement noted that many other fact-checkers have also pointed out that the” government takeover" claim was incorrect. PolitiFact credited conservative political consultant Frank Luntz for pushing Republicans to repeatedly invoke the phrase. Luntz believed the phrase would spark greater opposition to the proposed health care reform.
Although PolitiFact noted numerous Republican legislators and conservative pundits who echoed the phrase, they did not include conservative Christians in their report. Yet, Southern Baptists and other conservative Christian leaders also parroted the phrase.
Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), repeatedly invoked the phrase. While supporting a petition last year that rallied conservatives against the proposed health care reform, Land used the phrase to describe the proposed legislation.
"This petition is indicative of a spontaneous grass roots eruption of protest against a government takeover of the American health care system," claimed Land. "Anyone who doubts the strength and vitality of this movement needs only have attended one of the thousands of town hall meetings to know that this is real."
Following President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, Land again made this claim in a Baptist Press article.
"It is time for the president and the Congress to start over on health care and to address real and serious needs for true health-care reform in a broad-based, bipartisan, issue-by-issue strategy instead of trying to cram down the throats of the American people a one-size-fits-all, government takeover of one-sixth of the economy," argued Land.
In a Baptist Press column, Land went ever further by claiming the proposed legislation would be a “government takeover of healthcare, i.e., 'socialized medicine.'" Land also frequently invoked the” government" and "socialism" memes on his radio program, "Richard Land Live!"
Brian Kaylor is a contributing editor for EthicsDaily.com. This article first appeared on December 29, 2010 and is reprinted by permission.
Cite This Page:
Kaylor, Brian. "Some Baptists Echo "The Lie of the Year"" ChristianEthicsToday.
The Christian Ethics Today Foundation. Winter 2011 (Issue 81 Page 24)