Churches Help Implement Obamacare: Strange, Dangerous Mix of Church & State

obama-abortion-mandate-catholic-church-devil-in-details-cartoonImagine hearing something like the following on your local news channel:

Pastors from across the country will continue in their efforts this month to encourage members of their communities and congregations to reject the complete debacle known as the Affordable Care Act. Lies will be exposed and the truth told from thousands of pulpits in a coordinated attempt to enlighten their sheep on the fallacies of Obamacare.

If the above statement were true, one can only imagine the public outcry from the Left. “How dare pastors use their pulpits to denounce governmental policies put in place to help the disenfranchised and uninsured!” they would say.  People would be rioting in the streets demanding action.  We would hear, “But, but… isn’t this a violation of separation of church and state? Or, “Do something! Churches are abusing their tax-exempt status by discussing political issues from the pulpit!”  And if this were true, how long would it take for the IRS to come calling?

Hypocrisy surrounds us and as we speak, a nationwide initiative is in force entitled, “Health Care from the Pulpit”.  Started in October, it continues as community organizers from Enroll America are invited to explain coverage and how to enroll-from the pulpit.

Enroll America’s stated mission is “to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act. Enroll America is a collaborative organization, working with partners that span the gamut of health coverage stakeholders—health insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, employers, consumer groups, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, and philanthropies—to engage many different voices in support of an easy, accessible, and widely available enrollment process…”

From the National Baptists Convention website:

What National Baptists Can Do to Spread the Word and Encourage Enrollment-

Get Covered America will hold national “Health Care from the Pulpit” outreach events to further engage the faith community in education and outreach efforts around the Affordable Care Act. Places of worship will conduct consumer outreach activities such as tabling, forums and information sessions in their local communities to spread the word about the new health care options made available by the opening of the Healthcare Marketplaces on October 1, 2013.  

Even though the “official” dates for the Weekend of Faith are October 25-27, 2013, you don’t need to limit your advocacy activities to that weekend!  We encourage you to use the resources provided to make information about the Affordable Care Act and what people need to do to get covered available continuously in your place of worship.  

Churches and their pastors are receiving thousands upon thousands of dollars in the form of grants to train ACA navigators, to educate, and to enroll those who trust their pastors to lead them down the right path.  In Jacksonville, Florida, Pastor John Newman allowed two community organizers from Enroll America to speak from his pulpit. They talked about everything from coverage, cost, to how to enroll. They also asked church members to fill out help cards with basic information for themselves or someone they knew that was uninsured. Pastor Michael Minor is also hard at work signing up his state’s uninsured for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Minor’s church is one of two in Mississippi that received a federal grant. When asked how he received the grant, Minor responded, “I applied for it.”

“Pastors are trusted messengers,” said Enroll America community organizer Anthony Penna. “They’ll be able to get the story across, they’ll be able to relate to that story and they’ll be able to ask people to enroll in health insurance.”

Pastors are being shortsighted. Do they not realize that money from the government never comes without strings attached? One cannot disparage these pastors’ good intentions in their attempts to help their flock. However, there is a fine line being crossed when pastors knowingly promote a tax–as the Supreme Court defines the ACA.  Do they not know about the abortion mandates written into this “law of the land”?  If they believe in the sanctity of life, how do they justify their theology while actively pushing for ACA’s implementation?

“Faith leaders are trusted partners in local communities. You have a unique ability to reach people, especially the most vulnerable, with the tools and information they need to get healthy, stay well, and thrive.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius January 18, 2011, Howard University School of Divinity Spring Convocation

Somehow lacking In Ms. Sibelius’s characterization of “faith leaders”, is the old-fashioned notion that pastors have the ultimate responsibility to inspire and promote a personal relationship with God–not healthcare. While not obviously a separation of church and state issue, it is troubling that pastors and churches are receiving money in the form of grants to push a political ideology fraught with governmental pitfalls.


Lydia Susanne has conducted exclusive interviews with Israeli author Lela Gilbert, activist and lead singer of KANSAS John Elefonte, Todd Daniels of International Christian Concern, and Bob Fu of China Aid, among other notable subjects for

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