The Christian left is elated today over the Obama administration’s Supreme Court health care victory. Many of the leftist faith groups that The Blaze has covered in the past have come out in support of the decision. While Jim Wallis’ Sojourners, the National Council of Churches (NCC) and other progressive Christian leaders, churches and movements took different tones in how they addressed the issue, the overarching theme was clear: Progressive believers are exhilarated, as they have been taking to blogs and social media throughout the day to make their voices heard.
From slight undertones to unconfined outbursts of excitement, the reactions have truly been divergent in their intensity. Take, for instance, Sojourners’ official statement.
“While people will undoubtedly remain divided about the Affordable Care Act and today’s ruling, it does mean that millions of people will now have access to health insurance coverage and the overall growth of spending on health care will be curtailed,” Sojourners’ Beau Underwood wrote on the outlet’s web site.
But Lisa Harper, the director for mobilizing at Sojourners, could hardly contain herself, spouting a more amped-up response to the news. In a series of tweets, she praised the “historic” accomplishment and expressed her support for the Supreme Court’s stance on the issue:
The NCC, too, took a much more overt approach to addressing the announcement. In a press release the group published on its web site immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision, the leftist Christian group reported that it “welcomed” the pro-Obama ruling.
In the release, NCC President Kathryn M. Lohre showered accolades on the now vindicated health care plan and connected its viability to Christian doctrine:
“The member communions of the National Council of Churches have supported readily available health care since we were formed in 1950 during the Truman Administration. We as churches follow the bold example of Jesus, who healed the sick, sometimes breaking the religious law that governed society.
Our members have always believed that health care is not simply another worthy cause to which we lend our name. Christians believe that human beings—all of them—are infinitely-valued children of God, created in God’s image. Adequate health care, therefore, is a matter of preserving what our gracious God has made.
That is why churches (and other religious communities) have established so many hospitals and other places of healing. And why we are convinced that health care is not a privilege, reserved for those who can afford it, but a right that should be available, at high quality, to all.”
Then, there’s TheChristianLeft.org, a massive network of Christian progressives. This morning, the group took to its Facebook page (which has nearly 83,000 fans) and posted some similar messages. Aside from linking out to the DailyKos in one post (a sign of just how far-left the group sways), TheChristianLeft.org reiterated its thirst for a “universal single-payer” system.
“One of the many reasons we started this page was our sheer dismay at the silence of ‘Christian Leaders’ during the health care debate,” the administrators write. “Never again will that happen under our watch. Jesus stood with the poor and the sick. So do we.”
Under another post that reads, “Jesus was clear,” the following image was posted:
The Catholic Democrats predictably sang Obama’s praises as well. On the group’s Twitter account, they called the ruling “a victory for the poor and working class.” Here are some of their social media messages:
These are just some of the samplings that are coming from the religious left. There will certainly be more from these religious figures and commentators in the coming days (The Huffington Post has a longer list of comments from these leaders here).
Despite these positive accolades, Christianity Today’s analysis of some recent Pew Research Center numbers showcases the overwhelming angst that is likely to come from the overarching evangelical community as a result of the decision (the majority of evangelicals skew right-of-center):
Evangelicals, more than any other religious group, wanted the entire health care law scrapped, according to a June poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. In poll results given toChristianity Today, three-quarters of evangelicals disapprove of the law, a number higher than any other religious tradition. Catholics and those unaffiliated with religion were evenly split. African-American Protestants were the most supportive religious group, with 81 percent approving of the law.
Pew also asked respondents if they would be “happy” or “unhappy” with three possible Supreme Court scenarios. Overall, the court’s ruling was unlikely to please many, regardless of the decision. About 50 percent of all Americans said they would be unhappy with a decision to uphold the law. But 48 percent said they would unhappy if the act were thrown out.
Among evangelicals, just one in five wanted the entire law upheld, and 62 percent of evangelicals said they would be happy if the court threw out the entire law. They would have been split over a ruling that took out only the individual mandate, leaving other parts of the law intact.
So, while the religious left celebrates, it seems the majority of Christians will likely be dissatisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision.