9:21 AM, Feb 15, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as "talking points." These materials are part of the "Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit," which is available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
From the beginning, HHS has sought to develop partnerships with faith-based organizations to promote the Obamacare. This "toolkit" has been available since 2013. However, the details of these partnerships have largely escaped the attention of the national media. The Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action program encourages churches to use the second Sunday of each month during open enrollment to hold informational meetings and sign-up events. The sample bulletin insert appears as follows:
The suggested announcement includes insertion points for the name of the church promoting the event:
The materials also include two full pages of "talking points," which end with an admonition to churches that "[y]ou are trusted messengers in this community. We hope you share this information with those around you so they can be connected with the care they need."
Non-profits such as Community Health Connectors have also brought togeather churches and faith-based organizations with government officials for information regarding the ACA, recently even hosting an "off the record" conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama "to discuss how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the lives of your congregation members."
HHS also offers to make officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) available to speak at church events. The CMS "2nd Sunday HIM [Health Insurance Marketplace] Enrollment for Faith and Community Event" form asks for contact information, desired topics and dates, and an audience profile, including if any "other CMS, HHS, Congressional Members or any other VIP officials expected to attend."
In at least one case, a marketplace even invoked scripture as part of the enrollment push. In March 2014, D.C. HealthLink, the insurance marketplace for the nation's capital assigned a theme to their Weekend of Action, "The Body is a Temple and it Must Be Insured," drawing on I Corinthians 6:19, which says that "your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit."
According to a recent blog post on the HHS website, more than 5,500 faith leaders have "promoted health insurance enrollment within their communities through efforts like the Second Sunday program." The deadline for open enrollment for 2015 coverage is Sunday, February 15.
10:38 AM, Jun 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Associated Press reports:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
7:01 AM, May 15, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
Ben Carson is warming to the idea of running for president. Since the famous brain surgeon retired last year from Johns Hopkins Hospital, he’s been speaking around the country to enthusiastic audiences. And they’ve affected his thinking about seeking national office.
World Vision and the definition of marriage.May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By TERRY EASTLAND
On March 24, World Vision, one of the nation’s best-known Christian relief and development nonprofits and one of the world’s largest charities, announced that it would no -longer exclude from employment, on its stateside staff of 1,100, Christians who are in legal same-sex marriages. Two days later, having heard from church partners and supporters who disagreed with the decision, the board rescinded it. Thus, as before, no one in a same-sex marriage may work for World Vision.
9:45 AM, May 7, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
This week, the Supreme Court affirmed a New York town council's tradition of beginning its meetings with a prayer. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the court held, by a bare majority, that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause does not prohibit such prayers led by local clergymen, even when the prayers tend to be Christian.
7:28 AM, May 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
During a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the "different cross-currents of modernity" and the challenges they present on the African continent.
3:33 PM, Apr 20, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Amid the usual news stories this Easter Sunday – accounts of the president’s family attending church and the pope addressing multitudes – there is this startling and vastly hopeful headline:
'It’s not even close.'7:01 AM, Apr 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former New York City mayor is pledging to spend $50 million this year to push gun control, the New York Times reports. For this and other deeds (such as taking on obesity and smoking), Bloomberg believes he's going to heaven.
On Twitter, he attacks and belittles those with different views. 4:28 PM, Jul 30, 2013 • By OREN KESSLER
Fox News’s now infamous interview with Reza Aslan last week has rallied much of the media to the Iranian-born and now Hollywood-based academic’s defense, and catapulted his recently published Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Explaining the connection between family and religion. Jun 24, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 39 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
'Time was when the whole of life went forward in the family,” the historian Peter Laslett once wrote, “in a circle of loved, familiar faces. . . . That time has gone forever. It makes us very different from our ancestors.” Laslett was writing in 1965, as he lamented the decline of the family over the course of England’s industrial age. But even then, after a century and a half of upheaval, families in Great Britain and the rest of the West were relatively large, divorce was rare, and illegitimacy was frowned upon.
Apr 15, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 29 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Even though it’s only April, the New York Times may already have run the most embarrassing correction that will appear in any major newspaper in 2013. In their story on Pope Francis’s first Easter message, no less than the Times’s Vatican reporter informed readers, “Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus, three days after he was crucified, the premise for the Christian belief in an everlasting life.”