Religious take health reform to web and pulpit

President Barack Obama will be participating in a national call-in and webcast with faith leaders next Wednesday night, August 19. The call is being sponsored by a network of faith-based groups including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners, the National Council of Churches, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The call-in will be the centerpiece of a lobbying effort called "40 Days for Health Care Reform."

Katie Paris, Communications Director at Faith in Public Life, said she anticipated thousands of participants on the call-in.

On a conference call this morning, the groups also announced their launch of a television ad on cable television. You can view the ad by clicking here

The group is also sponsoring a "sermon weekend" at the end of the month when they are encouraging local pastors to preach on the moral imperative of health care reform or to lead some kind of instruction on the issue with their congregations. Several ministers, including Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, expressed concern at the scare tactics being used to defeat the reform effort, and hoped that the sermons and discussions would help dispel those fears.

On the issue of abortion, the group has pledged its support for legislation that is abortion-neutral but they did not provide legislative specifics on how to achieve that. Many pro-life organizations are concerned that the federal subsidies for health insurance might include payments for plans that include abortion services, effectively gutting the prohibitions on the use of federal funds for abortion in the Hyde Amendment.

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