Category Archives: religion

Humanitarian Hypocrisy

by Raymond Ibrahim
Special to IPT News
October 26, 2012

The world’s double standards concerning which peoples qualify as oppressed and deserving of help are staggering. Two recent stories illustrate this point:

First, a report exposed, in the words of the Turkish Coalition of America, “Turkey’s continued interest in expanding business and cultural ties with the American Indian community” and “Turkey’s interest in building bridges to Native American communities across the U.S.” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., even introduced a bill that would give Turks special rights and privileges in Native American tribal areas, arguing that “[t]his bill is about helping American Indians,” and about “helping the original inhabitants of the new world, which is exactly what this legislation would do.”

The very idea that Turkey’s Islamist government is interested in “helping American Indians” is preposterous, both from a historical and contemporary point of view. In the 15th century, when Christian Europeans were discovering the Americas, Muslim Turks were conquering and killing Christians in Europe (which, of course, is why Europeans starting sailing west in the first place). If early European settlers fought and killed natives, only recently, Turkey committed a mass genocide against Armenian Christians. And while the U.S. has made many reparations to its indigenous natives, Turkey not only denies the Armenian holocaust, but still abuses and persecutes its indigenous Christians.

In short, if Turkey is looking to help the marginalized and oppressed, it should start at home.

But of course, Turkey is only looking to help itself; the American Indians are mere tools of infiltration. One need not elaborate on the dangers involved in thousands of Muslim Turks settling in semi-autonomous areas in America and working closely with a minority group that holds a grudge against the United States.

Yet if one can understand Turkey’s machinations, what does one make of another recent report? Fifteen leaders from U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—are asking Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, since “military aid will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

These are the same church leaders who utter nary a word concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians from one end of the Muslim world to the other—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation insignificant in comparison.

If Muslims are subjugated on Israeli land, at least one can argue that, historically, the Jews were there first—millennia before Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the 7th century. On the other hand, millions of Christians—at least 10 million in Egypt alone, the indigenous Copts—have been suffering in their own homelands for 14 centuries, since Islam burst in with the sword.

Nor is this limited to history: from Nigeria in the west, to Pakistan in the east, Christians at this very moment are being imprisoned for apostasy and blasphemy; their churches are being bombed and burned down; their women and children are being kidnapped, enslaved, and raped. For an idea, see my monthly Muslim Persecution of Christians series, where I collate dozens of anecdotes of persecution every month—any of which, if Palestinians experienced, would make headlines around the world; but as it is only “unfashionable” Christians who are experiencing these atrocities, they are regularly overlooked.

Nor are Palestinian Christians immune from this phenomenon: a pastor recently noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians], Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.”

Indeed, the American Jewish Committee, which was “outraged by the Christian leaders’ call,” got it right by saying: “When religious liberty and safety of Christians across the Middle East are threatened by the repercussions of the Arab Spring, these Christian leaders have chosen to initiate a polemic against Israel, a country that protects religious freedom and expression for Christians, Muslims and others.”

By any objective measure, the atrocities currently being committed against Christians around the Muslim world are far more outrageous and deserving of attention and remedy than the so-called “Palestinian Question.” Incidentally, Israeli treatment of the Palestinians—some of whom, like Hamas, openly declare their intent to eradicate the Jewish state—is largely predicated on the aforementioned: Israel knows Islam’s innate animus for non-Muslims and does not wish to be on its receiving end, hence the measures it takes to exist.

There is a final important point of irony concerning the differences between Turkey’s Muslims and America’s liberal Christians: the former engage in hypocrisy to empower Islam; the latter engage in hypocrisy to disempower Christianity, even if unwittingly. Just like secular/liberal Americans who strive to disassociate themselves from their European heritage—seeing it as the root of all evil and championing the rights of non-whites like American Indians—liberal American Christians strive to disassociate themselves from their Christian heritage and champion the rights of non-Christians, hence their keen interest for Muslim Palestinians.

And all the while, the one religious group truly persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other—Christians—are devoutly ignored by the humanitarian hypocrites.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Egypt’s Christians: Distraught and Displaced

by Raymond Ibrahim
Investigative Project on Terrorism
October 5, 2012

Last week Reuters reported that “Most Christians living near Egypt’s border with Israel [in the town of Rafah in Sinai] are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop.” Photos of desecrated churches and Christian property show Arabic graffiti saying things like “don’t come back” and “Islam is the truth.”

All media reports describe the same sequence of events: 1) Christians were threatened with leaflets warning them to evacuate or die; 2) an armed attack with automatic rifles was made on a Christian-owned shop; 3) Christians abandoned everything and fled their homes.

Anyone following events in Egypt knows that these three points—threatening leaflets, attacks on Christian property, followed by the displacement of Christians—are becoming commonplace in all of Egypt, and not just peripheral Sinai, even if the latter is the only area to make it to the Western mainstream media. Consider:

Genocidal Leaflets

On August 14, El Fegr reported that leaflets were distributed in areas with large Christian populations, including Upper Egypt, offering monetary rewards to Muslims who “kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah—the Christians in all of Egypt’s provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah’s curse upon them…”

As a testimony to just how safe the jihadis feel under Egypt’s new Islamist president, Muhammad Morsi—who just freed a militant jihadi responsible for the burning of a church that left several Christians dead—the leaflets named contact points and even a mosque where Muslims interested in learning more about killing Christians should rally “after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed.”

On the same day these leaflets were distributed, a separate report titled “The serial killing of Copts has begun in Asyut” noted that a Christian store-owner was randomly targeted and killed by Salafis.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Properties and Persons

For months, Arabic-Christian media have been reporting ongoing stories of Muslim “gangs” and “thugs” attacking Christian homes, abducting the residents, including women and children, and demanding ransom monies—not unlike what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria. In one particular case, the Muslim gang attacked the home of a Coptic man, “releasing several gunshots in the air, and threatening him either to pay or die.” The gang “picked this specific village because Copts form 80% of its inhabitants.” Such reports often conclude with an all too familiar postscript: Christians calling police for help and filing complaints, all in vain.

A Coptic Solidarity report from August 20 titled “Copts in Upper Egypt Attacked, Beat, Plundered,” tells of just that—how Christians are being beat, their businesses set on fire, and their properties plundered (see also here and here for similar reports). Likewise, according to Al Moheet, a new human rights report indicates that, in Nag Hammadi alone, there are dozens of cases of Muslim gangs abducting Christian Copts and holding them for ransom. Concerning these, the Coptic Church is daily asking for justice from the Egyptian government and receiving none.

Christian Displacements

As for the exodus of Copts from their homes, this, too, has become an ongoing crisis, so much so that a recent statement by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.” The statement also made clear that what happened in Sinai is no aberration: “Displacements began in Ameriya, then they stretched to Dahshur, and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Rafah [Sinai].”

Indeed, back in February, a mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked and displaced Christians in the region of Ameriya, due to unsubstantiated rumors that a Christian man was involved with a Muslim woman. Christian homes and shops were looted and then torched; “terrorized” women and children who lost their homes stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village, and none of the perpetrators were arrested. Later, a Muslim Council permanently evicted eight Christian families and confiscated their property, even as “Muslims insisted that the whole Coptic population of 62 families must be deported.”

A few weeks ago in Dahshur, after a Christian laundry worker accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim man, the latter came with a Muslim mob to attack the Copt at his home. As the Christian defended his household, a Muslim was killed. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims terrorized the area, causing 120 Christian families to flee. One elderly Coptic woman returned home from the bakery to find the area deserted of Christians. Rioting Muslims looted Christian businesses and homes. Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives.

Most recently, at the same time the media was reporting about the displacement of Christians from Rafah, over in Asyut, after a quarrel between two school girls—a Christian and a Muslim—several “heavily-armed” Muslims stormed the home of the Christian girl, causing her family and three other Coptic families to flee the village. When the father returned, he found that all his saved money and possessions had been robbed and plundered; and when he asked police for help, the officer replied, “I can’t do anything for you, reconcile with them and end the problem.”

Indeed, this has been the same attitude of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood led government: in all of the above cases, the government looked the other way, or, when called on it, denied reality. Thus the Coptic Holy Synod made it a point to assert in its statement that “nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes.” As for the Rafah incident—the only incident to reach the mainstream media—Prime Minister Hisham Qandil denied that Christians were forced to flee, saying “One or two [Christian] families chose to move to another place and they are totally free to do so like all Egyptian citizens.”

Such governmental indifference is consistent with the fact that, despite promising greater representation for Egypt’s Christians, President Morsi just broke his word by allowing only one Copt—a female—to represent the nation’s 10-12 million Christians in the newly formed cabinet.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

DNC, Ideology, and 9/11

In a recent email article, Paul Eidelberg commented about the Democrats efforts to remove God from their party platform before its 2012 National Convention held last week. He not only states the obvious when identifying the Democratioc Party as the party of atheism but he also sees its as representative of elimating the Declaration of Independence and Jews as well.

The following are excerpts:

“[T]he brouhaha at the DNC was not simply the God issue but also the inseparable Jew issue. One may arrive at this conclusion by noting the unholy alliance of Islam and the Left lurking at the Democratic Convention, which surfaced by the omission of God and Jerusalem from the initial draft of the DNC party program.

“Erasing God from the DNC party program is tantamount to erasing God from the Declaration. Since the God of the Declaration is the God of the Jewish Bible, the Democrats came close to symbolically erasing the Jews. It was as if Ahmadinejad was drafting the DNC program!

“Although the Democratic Party reversed itself on the God-issue, the motive was political, not theological. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the American Democratic Party is the party of atheism. The forthcoming November election will be the first election in American history in which the paramount issue—whether muted or not—is theological. America is approaching a climax of world-historical magnitude.”

Eidelberg goes to attribute the liberalism of the left as one of the main causes of anti-Semitism in Europe and America:

“The Left was weaned on Jew-hatred, as may be seen in Marx’s anti-Semitic diatribe, “On the Jewish Question.” Marx was a historical relativist. His relativism underlies Carl Becker’s book on the Declaration of Independence, and Charles Beard’s economic interpretation of the American Constitution. These two books were published in 1913. Beard’s book took academe by storm. Its Marxist-type relativism has not abated to this day; indeed, it’s well-entrenched in the White House!”

So what does the athiestic Democratic Party and the predominance of liberalism have to do with 9-11? Journalists have investigated numerous aspects of 9/11. One journalist delved into the background of the lead terrorist Mohammad Atta, who was born and raised in Egypt. The journalist discovered Atta was not religious at all. He was already a pilot before coming to America. He was fluent in many languages other than Arabic. He was well connected to government and security contractors. He even cursed God while partying. The point is he was not a devout religious jihadist. He lived like a moral relativist liberal.

One might infer from the above that motivation behind 9/11 was rooted in liberalism and its opposition to the moral and religious foundations of the American empire.

Caring for the Poor is Government’s Biblical Role

Jim wallis, CEO of Sojourners, wrote a valuable article on the biblical perspective of the purpose and roles of government. His ultimate focus is on the government’s repsonsibility of care for the poor. Although I anticipated a liberal-leaning diatribe for welfare, what I read was an excellent defense for the common good. He argued not for equality of outcomes but rather for the justice of fair outcomes economically and otherwise. To get to that point, Wallis shows how governments are to defend their people against evil while promoting the good. He covers the responsibilities of executive, legislative and judicial aspects of government as well as business to protect and promote the well-being of all citizens. In so doing, Wallis offers readers an outline for a just and good society based on the biblical record.

Caring for the Poor is Government’s Biblical Role” is worth reading.

The War Against the Jews

by Efraim Karsh

The sustained anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds. Since Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, anti-Zionism—as opposed to criticism of specific Israeli policies or actions—means denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation (and one of the few that can trace their corporate identity and territorial attachment to antiquity) while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated anti-Jewish racism, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known.

By any conceivable standard, Israel has been an extraordinary success story: national rebirth in the ancestral homeland after millennia of exile and dispersion; resuscitation of a dormant biblical language; the creation of a modern, highly educated, technologically advanced, and culturally and economically thriving society, as well as a vibrant liberal democracy in one of the world’s least democratic areas. It is a world leader in agricultural, medical, military, and solar energy technologies, among others; a high-tech superpower attracting more venture capital investment per capita than the United States and Europe; home to one of the world’s best health systems and philharmonic orchestras, as well as to ten Nobel Prize laureates. And so on and so forth.

Why then is Israel the only state in the world whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged while far less successful countries, including numerous “failed states,” are considered legitimate and incontestable members of the international community? The answer offered by this article is that this pervasive prejudice against Israel, the only Jewish state to exist since biblical times, is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds.

On occasion, notably among devout and/or born again Evangelical Christians, this obsession has manifested itself in admiration and support for the national Jewish resurrection in the Holy Land. In most instances, however, anti-Jewish prejudice and animosity, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known, has served to exacerbate distrust and hatred of Israel. Indeed, the fact that the international coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the libels against Zionism and Israel, such as the despicable comparisons to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, have invariably reflected a degree of intensity and emotional involvement well beyond the normal level to be expected of impartial observers would seem to suggest that, rather than being a response to concrete Israeli activities, it is a manifestation of long-standing prejudice that has been brought out into the open by the vicissitudes of the conflict.

To read more, click here.

The above excerpt originates from an article by the same title and author as first published on-line by the Middle East Forum, where the author is principal researcher. He is also research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed (Yale University Press, 2010).

War On Christianity

by Dallas Henry

Matt. 24:9 “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

Day after day, night after night, the news media question, denounce, or just plain ignore the good news. They want higher taxes to fund massive new federal spending for more liberal experiments. They want America – and the world – to see our military as corrupt and barbaric – and failing. And they’ll denounce anyone or anything that stands in the way of that message.

Brent Bozell (founder and president of the Media Research Center,) surveyed 18,000 nightly news shows broadcast by ABC, CBS, NBC, the Cable News Networks and the Public Broadcasting Service, and found only 212 stories that focused on religion. That amounts to 1 percent of coverage although 52 percent of Americans say they attend church and more than 90 percent say that they pray regularly.

The ACLU fights for the free speech and expression “rights” of Pornographers, Witches, Abortionists, Homosexuals, Convicted Criminals, Child Molesters, Occultists, Communists, Lesbians, Nazis, Illegal Aliens, Aids Patients, and Satanists. They have resolutely attempted to deny those same privileges to Christians.

The ACLU has sought to halt the singing of Christmas carols like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” in public facilities; deny the tax-exempt status of all churches – yet maintaining it for themselves as well as for various occult groups; disallow prayer – not just in the public school classrooms, but in locker rooms, sports arenas, graduation exercises, and legislative assemblies; terminate all military and prison chaplains; deny Christian school children access to publicly funded services; eliminate nativity scenes, crosses, and other Christian symbols from public property; repeal all blue law statutes; prohibit voluntary Bible reading in public schools – even during free time or after classes; remove the words “In God We Trust” from our currency; deny accreditation to science departments at Bible-believing Christian Universities; prevent the posting of the Ten Commandments in classrooms and government property; terminate all voucher programs and tuition tax credits; prohibit census questions about religious affiliation; and purge the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

WorldNetDaily reported that a Christian employee of Hewlet Packard was fired for posting Bible verses condemning homosexual behavior on his desk in response to posters displayed during a company campaign to promote a diverse work force.

CNN founder Ted Turner asked employees who had ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday if they were “a bunch of Jesus freaks?”

A teacher confiscated book covers that contained the Ten Commandments and threw them in the trash saying the Commandments were “hate speech” that might offend other students.

Samuel B. Kent of the Southern District of Texas decreed that any student uttering the word “Jesus” would be arrested and tossed in jail for six months.

Well known, Alabama judge, Roy Moore was roundly denounced by the big media for erecting and refusing to remove Ten Commandments stone tablets from his courthouse. The media hated him so much, that they bashed him out of office.

There were two mayors, one in San Francisco and one in New Paltz, New York. The media described the San Francisco mayor has young, handsome and Catholic. Everything they wrote about him was in the positive. It was the same with the mayor of New Paltz, New York. Both mayors were breaking state law by performing same-sex marriages.

Christians are often subjected to scorn and ridicule and denied their religious freedoms. They are often are called “Bible-thumping idiots.”

In Dec 2002 – MSNBC talk-show host Phil Donahue asked Dr. Jerry Falwell: “Do You Have to Be a Christian to Get into Heaven?” Dr. Falwell quoted John 14:6. Many in the audience applauded the Rev. Falwell’s statement. Donahue expressed disdain for their reaction. They were characterized as bigoted, ignorant, hateful and unenlightened.

Ever heard of Rosie O’Donnel & Elizabeth Hasselbeck? Rosie’s statement 9/12/06 “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.” One British writer saw them as overbearing lesbians and fundamentalist left-wing bubbleheads furiously howling at each other.

68% of Americans say the media have damaged moral values in America, according to a report released by the Culture and Media Institute.

1 Cor. 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Continue reading

Pastor On Trial for Helping Mother & Daughter in Same-Sex Custody Battle Travel Internationally

by Wendy Wright

A judge orders that a little girl be taken from her mother and given to a lesbian woman with whom the little girl has no biological ties or relationship.

An Amish/Mennonite pastor is on trial for allegedly, and perhaps partially unknowingly, helping the mother and daughter travel to another country.

Yet homosexual advocates say that same-sex marriage or unions don’t affect anyone other than the individual couples.

The trial of Pastor Kenneth Miller began this week in Vermont. He is accused of helping Lisa Miller (no relation) leave the U.S. in 2009 for Central America with her then-7 year old daughter Isabella.

As with many custody cases, there are many details and twists and turns. This story is replete with state officials allowing another state’s same-sex civil union laws trump their own laws upholding traditional marriage.

Years ago, Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, both of whom lived in Virginia, entered into a civil union in Vermont. Lisa had Isabella through the aid of a fertility clinic. Soon after, Janet and Lisa broke up. The mother and child lived in Virginia, where Lisa became a Christian and renounced her former ways. Janet lives in Vermont.

A few years later, a custody battle ensued in Vermont. Virginia does not recognize same-sex marriage or unions. That state has both a constitutional amendment and a state law only recognizing traditional marriage.

Yet judges in Virginia defied those laws and incomprehensibly ruled that Virginian citizens Lisa and Isabella must obey Vermont’s laws and court rulings.

A Vermont judge had ordered that Lisa hand Isabella over to Janet Jenkins for unsupervised days-long visits.

Isabella had returned from these visits with this virtual stranger recounting episodes that left her not wanting to go back, like being required to bathe with Janet. Soon after Lisa and Isabella disappeared, the judge – to punish Lisa for not producing Isabella for a visit – gave full custody to Janet.

The case has become a cause celebre for homosexual activists with the New York Times on the trail of Lisa and Isabella. The newspaper recently ran a story on an Amish/Mennonite community in Nicaragua where the mother and daughter had lived for a time as the FBI and Interpol conducted an international manhunt. They sought the pair, claiming Lisa “abducted” her daughter.

The New York Times reported this week on as the trial began against Kenneth Miller who prosecutors accuse of driving Lisa and Isabella from Virginia to New York in 2009, where they crossed into Canada to then fly to Central America.

A website set up by supporters to follow Pas. Miller’s case can be found at

As they state, “When considering the correct response in this case, we take inspiration from Jesus’ way of relating to people in whatever situation they were in – that is with compassion and lack of condemnation . . . We wish to clarify that this was an act of mercy without a political agenda.”

This article was originally posted on the Turtle Bay and Beyond blog by Wendy Wright, who is Vice President for Government Relations and Communications at the Catholic Family & Human Right Institute.

The Trouble with “Jumah at the DNC”

By: M. Zuhdi Jasser

It is troubling that the Democratic National Convention has decided to promote and lend its name and national political platform to the organizers of the “Jummah at the DNC”. The leaders of this event – Jibril Hough and Imam Siraj Wahhaj as advertised are no moderates. They are radicals. These individuals embrace Islamist supremacy and have demonstrated support for radical ideologies.

A quick Google search by the DNC would have shown them that Hough and Wahhaj are leaders in the separatist American Islamist movement. While they may be able to get a few thousand Muslims to attend the event, they are NOT going to be mainstream Muslims. Most will likely come from Hough and Wahhaj’s radical networks that have long been entrenched in the Charlotte area. Make no mistake they are part of the Islamist movement.

This is not about their right of assembly; this group under a different name pulled the same stunt at the US capitol in 2009 claiming 20k and getting 2-3k. THIS IS ABOUT the DNC calling this an “official function” listing these radicals as typical of the DNC community and more importantly about this organization speaking out AS representing supposedly typical American Muslims (or “Mainstream”).

If that is who the DNC is consorting with then all Americans, Democrats should be concerned. There are many patriotic Muslims who are part of both parties, and when radical ideologues like this do a demonstration of “solidarity” in the name of our faith and choose an imam like Siraj Wahhaj who I saw with my own eyes in 1995 seditiously say it his duty and our duty as Muslims to replace the US Constitution with the Quran- then we need to speak up!

Their jummah (group) prayer is supposedly against the Patriot Act, the NYPD, and Islamophobia and is actually NOT about our democracy but about empowering their Islamist and MB sympathetic groups into the very fabric of the political system so that Americans become anesthetized. We need American Muslims to speak up and marginalize these radicals. The DNC needs to understand and reject them because of their radical history and ideas.

They use our American Muslim identity to speak as “one community” as a political unit or as a “bloc vote” – a political Islamist party when in fact most us Muslims don’t want that political unity and seek reform against their ideology that seeks to hijack our community. They do not represent us.

For more on Jibril Hough please review AIFD’s piece “Connecting the Dots of Islamism-Jibril Hough, the Islamic Political Party of America (IPPA), and the Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM)” or listen to Dr. Zuhdi Jasser’s March 8, 2010 interview on the Keith Larson show on WBT Charlotte.

ObamaCare Catch-22: Crushing Fines for Religious Entities in Mandate

By Bridget Johnson

Under President Obama’s healthcare law, the HHS can levy $100 per employee, per day against institutions that won’t comply with the mandate.

Therefore, religious employers with hundreds of employees could be fined millions of dollars each year. A 50-employee institution, for example, would face a penalty of $1,825,000 each year.

“ObamaCare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), sponsor of the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act. — Read More

Obamacare, Politics and the Myth of Free Money

By Kevin Holtsberry

A growing chorus, pushed by liberal interest groups, think tanks and a sympathetic media, is castigating governors who are reluctant to expand Medicaid and implement state level exchanges in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling. These critics present themselves as seeking only the good of citizens while accusing the governors of playing politics.

This is disingenuous at best. First, pretending that supporters of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) are not engaged in politics requires a level of naïveté larger than the national deficit. You might recall how the bill was rammed through Congress using every parliamentarian trick available and remains widely unpopular.

You might also recall the immense pressure applied to the Supreme Court in the run up to its decision. Any attempt to overturn the act was portrayed as judicial usurpation and a threat to the American system. And in the aftermath of the decision, the left insisted that the court had spoken and that now the country must fall in line. All of this activity aimed at passing and implementing the most ambitious piece of legislation in my lifetime was certainly not beanbag.

And more importantly, this accusation of “politics” ignores the fundamental fact that public policy in a participatory democracy always involves politics. The components of the act are not somehow exempt from political debate and discussion simply because of a court ruling. And given the stakes, and the forthcoming presidential election, it is only natural that elected officials across the country are being cautious.

Second, the underlying argument assumes that federal spending is somehow “free” money and that the offer of expansion is simply to good to pass up.

In a rather rich case of projection, Innovation Ohio accuses Governor Kasich of playing politics while Ohio loses millions. The ideologically sympathetic Toledo Blade follows a similar line, accusing Kasich of politics on the issue rather than taking the generous federal money and immediately implementing Obamacare in Ohio.

The irony is that this mindset is what has gotten us to where we are today. It is a belief that federal dollars are free and Ohioans should grab every penny lest they be scooped up by other states. The history of Medicaid is one of states getting hooked on federal dollars only to have the program gobble up their budgets even as it offers less and less flexibility and reduced quality of care.

But state taxpayers are federal taxpayers. These dollars don’t magically appear in Washington to be doled out to states, the money comes from individuals in those very same states. Ohioans are rightly concerned about the federal deficit and about paying higher taxes. Increased spending in Washington impacts Ohioans to pretend otherwise is to ignore fiscal reality.

The Blade casually tosses aside the fears of increased Medicaid enrollment through a woodworking effect as if the dollar amounts are not significant. But those numbers are big enough to give governors across the country, both Republican and Democrat, pause. And whose numbers should we trust, state experts or liberal think tanks who support Obamacare?

These governors understand that Medicaid is a deeply flawed system that hooks states on a process of expanded enrollment with the promise of federal funds. Once on this path any attempt to reign in spending or control costs means giving up not only the state’s share of spending but the feds as well.

And is it really realistic to assume the federal government will never attempt to roll back the amount it covers? Half the assumed savings of Obamacare comes from reducing Medicaid reimbursement rates. Facing a deficit beyond what many of us can conceptualize, will Washington continue to pay out vast sums to states already committed to expanded coverage for their citizens?

In reality, what underlies this debate is a mix of politics, policy disagreements and deep uncertainty about the future. Governors understand that what is good for Washington is not always (rarely?) good for the states. They understand that Medicaid is a failed program that has devastated state budgets, increasingly involves reduced flexibility, and carries with it perverse incentives.

Caution in this case is not mere politics but good common sense.

Kevin Holtsberry is President of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.