Ex-pastor And Punk-rocker Challenges The President's Position On Healthcare Reform As A Moral Imperative

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Jason T. Berggren, author of 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith, challenged President Obama's emphasis on morality in a recent conversation on healthcare reform with over 1,000 religious leaders.

Jason T. Berggren, Author of "10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith"

core moral and ethical obligation that we look out for one another ...that I am my brother's keeper, my sister's keeper

Is healthcare reform a moral imperative? That's the stand President Obama has taken over the last few weeks in pushing his plan for change. It is a question Jason T. Berggren, the outspoken author of the controversial book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith, has been contemplating ever since the President's recent conversation with over 1,000 religious leaders. Berggren has his reservations over the President's words as he explains in a recent statement on his website entitled "How Dare the President!"

"With all due respect, I am outraged," Berggren delivers in response to Obama's tactics in promoting his healthcare legislation to the faith community. The President further explained that expanding healthcare fulfills a "core moral and ethical obligation that we look out for one another ...that I am my brother's keeper, my sister's keeper," and "We are partners with God in matters of life and death." Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton also came out with similar sentiments.

Berggren refers to this as invoking "the popular Jesus" in chapter 8 of his book:

"We all know the popular Jesus--the one who said so many generous, patient, tolerant, and graceful things. Everyone loves the popular Jesus. Everyone likes to quote him in speeches to support personal causes. At Easter and Christmas, the popular Jesus helps sell merchandise and fill churches. Many forward-thinking people quote the popular Jesus to resolve problems. World leaders tackle current events relying on the words of the popular Jesus."

It is a tactic that Berggren questions and is angered by. Berggren reveals three basic reasons why in his recent statement:

1.    It implies that any lack of support for or hint of questioning of the current plan is immoral.
2.    The media is curiously quiet about the President's approach. The same method from a candidate of the opposite political persuasion would bring accusations of attempting to destroy the separation between church and state.
3.    Most importantly, it is extremely inconsistent considering the President's position on abortion.

In light of the President's attempt to take the "moral high ground" while holding such a starkly inconsistent position on abortion, Berggren has become very suspicious of the actual content of the legislation. Rather than a sincere moral imperative, it appears to be politics as usual--engaging the old tools of guilt, fear, and manipulation to promote a weakening agenda. The author wonders, "Where are the open C-SPAN debates? Or the informational websites for citizens to raise their concerns on that hold the attentive eye of the White House, as promised during the campaign?"

To Berggren, a true moral imperative in the context of healthcare reform should raise the quality of care, increase the access, and reduce the cost. Like many concerned citizens, he has reviewed essential portions of the legislation and doubts it is able to deliver on any of these fundamentals.

Berggren typically focuses on matters of faith on his site. He also discusses current events and real-life issues, since they often intersect with his faith and values. He says, "I am frequently fixated on the idea of whether my worldview is affecting my faith or if my faith is affecting my worldview." His desire is to find the balance between the two.

To learn more about the author, his book, or his current discussions visit http://www.10thingsihate.com.

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