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As health care reform moved through the Senate this week, Christian political advocacy groups eyed two amendments: one they lost and another they won. The groups carefully followed the Senate Finance Committee hearings on health care legislation proposed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mon.).

1. Banning Public Funding of Abortion

Several groups lobbied for an amendment by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to permanently ban federally funded abortions. Family Research Council Action, Focus on the Family Action, and the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) targeted Senators on the committee, but only one Democrat—Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)—voted for Hatch's amendment. The abortion ban failed with a vote of 13-10. Like many groups, Americans United for Life vowed to keep on the issue to ensure that lawmakers fail in any "attempt to 'mainstream' abortion as health care."

2. Funding Abstinence Education

Focus on the Family Action and other groups applauded the committee's decision to provide $50 million for abstinence education programs—funding that was missing from the original plan. The committee voted 12-11 in favor of funding. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) voted with the 10 Republican members of the committee.

Racist Opposition?

President Jimmy Carter is not the only person to cite racism as a reason why people might challenge Obama and his proposals. Sojourners head Jim Wallis wrote that he sees at least some racial subtext in the opposition to Obama and his proposal. Ryan Rodrick Beiler wrote on Sojourners' blog that "the hatred being aimed at our current president is quantifiably different than that unleashed on Bush." Obama receives around 30 death threats daily, four ...

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October 2009

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