By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Richard Land, public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention—the nation's largest evangelical denomination—is joining an anti-healthcare-reform press conference in Washington tomorrow that will culminate in the delivery of a petition to Capitol Hill via an ambulance and gurneys.
What's striking about the press release that Land just sent round is that it includes no mention of the Democratic healthcare proposals' abortion provisions. Indeed, it makes no attempt to frame the debate as a moral or faith-based one.
Rather, Land opposes an increased government role in the healthcare system. From the release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 8 2009—Richard Land, host of Richard Land Live! and president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will meet with other Salem Radio Network hosts in Washington, DC, tomorrow to deliver SRN's "Free Our Health Care Now" petition, opposing the health care reform legislation now before Congress. He will be joined by prominent radio hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt.
The petition, sponsored by the National Center for Policy Analysis and SRN, has gained over 1.2 million signatures since its launch May 25. Printed copies of the petition will be transported to the U.S. Capitol in an ambulance and delivered to congressional lawmakers on gurneys.
"This petition is indicative of a spontaneous grass roots eruption of protest against a government takeover of the American health care system," said 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."
There are some congressional heavyweights involved in the news conference (below), a clear indication that the sore feelings between the GOP and its Christian right base that were in evidence in the run-up to and aftermath of the 2008 presidential election are fading. Who would have guessed that the two camps would have come together over blocking the Democrats on healthcare?
From the release:
Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have agreed to accept the boxes of petitions at a news conference set for 2 p.m. and will take the boxes to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid following the conference. NCPA Chairman and former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont will lead the news conference, which will take place just hours before President Obama's health care address to a joint session of Congress.
In addition, House GOP leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) will deliver copies of the signatures to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Other lawmakers to appear at the conference will be announced later.