For the Christian, “love thy neighbor” is right up there with “love the Lord thy God.” Should that compel the Christian to lobby for a health care industry that’s heavily regulated if not controlled by government?

Not so fast, says Rev. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the study of religion and liberty.

Sirico says the religious left pitches the debate as “a Manichaean battle between the forces of Light and Darkness, prooftexting the president’s and the Democratic congressional reform plan with handy bits of Holy Writ.”

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He scolds them for rather uncharitable statements: “the tone-deaf Religious Left has mobilized for the rescue of socialized medicine, one of its most dearly sought objectives. In doing so, its leaders have labeled the honest dissent of ordinary Americans as the fruit of ‘mob rule,’ the result of manipulation by “right wing” talk radio hosts, and evidence of outright misinformation and falsehoods. Not a very Christian thing to do, if you ask me.”

Sirico also pans the morality of adding significantly to the public debt: “would the Religious Left simply have the government declare a Jubilee and disavow these debts when they become totally unmanageable?”

The most stinging rebuke, however, is that commonly levied by the religious left against their co-religionists, a “sort of idolatry.”

(Cross-posted from State House Call.)