WASHINGTON – A prominent Southern Baptist leader and well-known Christian radio hosts will deliver a massive petition with 1.2 million signatures opposing the current health care bill to Congress Wednesday.
Using an ambulance and gurneys, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Salem Radio Network hosts will transport printed copies of the petition to the U.S. Capitol.
Boxes of the petitions will be presented to Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) at a news conference this afternoon scheduled just hours before President Obama's highly-anticipated health care address to Congress.
After the news conference, the senators will take the boxes to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Meanwhile, House GOP leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will deliver copies of the signatures to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"This petition is indicative of a spontaneous grass roots eruption of protest against a government takeover of the American health care system," said Land, who hosts the radio show Richard Land Live!. "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."
Land and signers of the petition take issue with the idea of a government-run health care system like in Britain or Canada. They say the current bill before Congress would force most Americans to give up the insurance they have and enroll in a government-run health plan.
"I support the right to choose my own doctor and to choose a health insurance plan that best fits my family's need and budget," state signers of the "Free Our Health Care Now" petition.
"I want to get the treatment I need, when I need it, without delay or denial and I want my health care to be patient-centered rather than government-centered."
The petition also calls for fairness, urging the government to give the same tax breaks to those who have to pay for their own health insurance as employees receive. Government assistance, the petition says, should be redirected to those that truly need it.
Signers also say they want more control to make their own health care decisions and a more portable insurance plan that is less wasteful.
Though not mentioned in the petition, many conservatives are also opposed to the current bill for moral reasons. They believe the bill leaves room for federal funds to pay for abortion services in both public and private health plans.
ERLC released a report that analyzed the health care bill and concluded that its wording was vague enough to allow for government funding of abortion. The report called the bill H.R. 3200 an "extremely dangerous legislation" because of its effects on the issues of sanctity of human life, costs and taxes, and bureaucracy and intrusiveness.
According to a new Gallup Poll survey, American people are nearly evenly split on health care reform. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they want their member of Congress to vote against the health care bill, while 37 percent want their member to vote in favor.
One in four Americans (24 percent) say they have no opinion about which way their representative should vote on the reform bill.
On Wednesday, Salem Radio Network radio hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt will join Land in delivering the signatures opposing the health care bill to Congress.
The petition is sponsored by the National Center for Policy Analysis and SRN.
"This petition drive represents an unprecedented melding of terrestrial radio, new media including the Internet, and traditional retail politics as our hosts deliver to Congress over 1.2 million signatures on the hottest political and moral issue of 2009," said Tom Tradup, Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming.