Oh-boy. President Obama just opened up an Evangelical can of worms. Yucky. See below.
When the President got on that Wednesday conference call sponsored by progressive and moderate faith leaders he said some of his critics are "bearing false witness". Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he's definitely referring (not exclusively) to people who are talking about these death panels and government funding of abortion. Guess what? He's talking about conservative Evangelical groups. When you come out on a FAITH conference call and use the words, "bearing false witness" that is a direct slap down of conservative Evangelical groups. You can debate the intention behind his words but it really doesn't matter because it is really only how it is received that matters. In essence he was calling these Christian groups a bunch of liars. It's a serious charge. By ratcheting up the rhetoric, the President just amped up the fight against him and opened up a can of worms.
The President may think these groups are bearing false witness but they think the same thing about him as well as the people associated with Health Care within the White House. They truly believe that this administration is purposely being secretive and not up front with the American people.
With his words on the conference call, the President essentially just insulted millions of Evangelical Christians who don't believe they are bearing false witness but rather feel justified in their viewpoint because they carry a heavy dose of skepticism about this administration.
What we have here is two sides who both claim they know the truth. By the President calling out his Evangelical critics (not by name but as stated above the implication is pretty clear) he chose to use divisive words. For a President who loves nuance, why couldn't he simply say something about how he simply doesn't see eye to eye with his critics or that while he acknowledges their concerns he just simply sees it a different way. He went further. Seriously, if indeed the President says a health care reform bill will not lead to government funded abortion (whether directly or indirectly) why not just write that specific language into the bill?
Look, ultimately what we are seeing play out here is a landscape tussle by two faith factions. While I hate labels, let me invoke them to lay this out in the most simplest of terms: the "Religious left" is trying to drive the social justice, Matthew 25 scripture moral philosophy in their quest for health care. Then you have the "Christian right" driving the abortion and End of Life care moral issues. Both sides have stated their cases. Both sides believe THEIR morals are more pressing. Church attendees around the country are discussing these important health care issues. What will be the final verdict?