A speaker at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting Friday said if free health care is labeled "socialism" by Republicans, then they should "acknowledge that the Bible must then promote socialism."
"When we embrace moral language, we must ask does our policy care for the least of these? Does it lift up those who are most marginalized and dejected in our society? Does it establish justice? That is the moral question," said Rev. William Barber, who has spoken at several DNC meetings. "If someone calls it socialism, then we must compel them to acknowledge that the Bible must then promote socialism, because Jesus offered free health care to everyone, and he never charged a leper a co-pay."
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DNC chair Tom Perez and others in audience gave a standing ovation before Barber took a shot at Republicans, saying, "If you want to have a moral debate, bring it on, baby."
"The Bible says a nation will be judged by how it treats the poor and the sick and women and the immigrants," Barber said. "The Bible says that God makes it rain on the just and unjust alike. If you want to call caring for folks socialism, then the Constitution is a socialist document because it calls us to promote the general welfare and to establish justice."
Health care has been a major issue during the Democratic presidential primary. Several major candidates have endorsed a single-payer vision of "Medicare for all" that eliminates private health insurance, while others, like former Vice President Joe Biden, have called for bolstering Obamacare and providing a "public option."
Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), one of the top five Democratic candidates in the primary, backtracked on Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) single-payer plan, saying, "I have not been comfortable with Bernie's plan" after she previously endorsed and cosponsored it, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, has received scrutiny for his policy proposals. Biden attacked Sanders in June, saying socialism is not necessary and even counterproductive.
"It doesn't require socialism, and it doesn’t require some fundamental shift. It requires sort of reordering capitalism to make capitalism work and save it," Biden said.
"This is not about the past," he added. "It’s about the future and what are we going to do? What are we going to do? How do we move this country forward? And it’s all within our wheelhouse to do these things. There’s not a single thing we cannot do."