U.S. faith groups push for healthcare reform

June 30, 2009

A coalition of progressive U.S. faith groups and pastors has launched a push for affordable health care reform, an effort they say is rooted in a “scriptural call to act.”OBAMA/Radio ads will appear from today until July 4th in five states: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina. The ads urge those states’ Senators, whose votes could ultimately decide the fate of President Barack Obama’s drive to transform America’s health care system, to back legislation “that makes quality coverage truly affordable for every American family.” You can see the ad script and audio here.Organizers also say that more than 600 clergy from 41 states and 39 denominations have said they will deliver sermons in coming weeks on the issue and urge their flocks to act. A pastors’ guide to health care will also be distributed to 4,250 religious leaders along with a shorter version to wider church members.PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life, Faithful America, Sojourners, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are the main religious advocacy groups behind the campaign.If this all sounds familiar, it should. The tactics being adopted by these liberal and centrist groups and activists are a carbon copy of the successful ones employed in the past by the U.S. religious right. The distribution of pastors’ guides, the call for public policy to be guided by scripture (in this case compassion for the poor and the ill), the preaching of sermons on looming legislation — it’s all taken from the loose network of conservative Christians which has delivered many a vote for the Republican Party.Conservative Christians remain a key base for the Republicans and they have also been decrying “Obama-care” on talk radio, the blogosphere and other outlets.Photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing.  Members of the audience shake hands with U.S. President Barack Obama after his speech about reforming America’s health care system in Green Bay, Wisconsin, June 11, 2009.


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Having access to affordable health care coverage as costs rise, is a key issue for many Americans right now and should be Congress’ top priority. Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports alternatives for individual health coverage. Learn more about some of the proposals and sign a petition at http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/tak eaction/index.cfm?ID=40 .

Posted by Maura | Report as abusive

yes it is good that the progressive church have someone to talk to,recent stats suggest that their congregations are getting smaller by the minute, so they have to find a pulpit somewhere.perhaps because they have a lot in common on social issues with obama they could elect him as arch bishop of washington,and become the state nominated denomination similar to the church of england.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I think these ‘progressives’ take more from the legend of Robin Hood than from Scripture. They are just another special interest group wanting to rob from the rich and give to the poor.As usual, nothing original here.

Posted by DrHenry66 | Report as abusive

Now we’re talking! This reform needs a broad support of society, it sounds encouraging.

Posted by Daisy | Report as abusive

Brian, it was 39 different denominations that were involved and one of them was Catholic, not exactly grounder breakers on social issues. How exactly would we get a “state nominated denomination similar to the church of england”?These are groups concerned that their members don’t have adequate or affordable healthcare and are looking out for them, that’s what churches do.Healthcare should not be a for profit industry, nobody’s care should be affected by the bottom line. An insurance company employee should not be making decisions about who gets what for treatment on the other hand neither should a government bureaucrat. So what’s the solution? A government funded but independently run, non profit national healthcare option administered by an agency similar to the Red Cross. The Red Cross is efficient enough to call me every six weeks looking for my blood which is more than I can say for my insurance company.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Maura, the “friends of the us chamber of commerce” are the enemies of healthcare reform. They are the healthcare industrial complex lobby, and are dedicated to preserving the monopoly of private insurers over healthcare rationing in America.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

hi eric h, what causes me to have some check with any thing to do with theses religious interest groups, is by the omission of, or any mention, of a group that have been doing this for many years, with out political motive,the salvation army,i wonder why?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

i suppose, being progressives, the eighth commandment (“thou shalt not steal”) is irrelevant

Posted by jd | Report as abusive

Any time the word “progressive” is used in a name, group or organization, one ought to pay attention. That name was used by the Soviets in their clandestine communiations with their agents identifying communists, marxists, left-wing radicals and fellow travelers that infiltrated our organizations. This was discovered later by NSA that broke the Soviet codes after WW II during operation Vinona.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Charles,Good work. But I hope that you are not paranoid of the word “Progressive”.And before Soviets used THIS WORD in their clandestine communiations, what was it used for?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Charles, excellent point. However, the frightening concern is that people are not paying attention to what is happening.We should all pray health care reform, progressive style, does not happen. In particular, the public option will indeed lead to rationing of health care and will destroy the good health care people now have.Be careful what you wish for. Once people realize what is in store for them, it will be too late to turn around. You do not want the government to have anything to do with your health care decisions. It won’t work, it is unsustainable and it will lead to the rationing of your health care.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

“the public option will indeed lead to rationing of health care” Complete scare tactic. Absolutely NOT TRUE. Check with the 37 other industrialized nations that HAVE a national health care plan.

Posted by topgun | Report as abusive

Topgun. I will start with Canada. They are having serious financial problems with their health care. It is not a scare tactic, just the truth.For instance, in Canada they will not cover certain procedures after a government determined age and if you want something covered for free you have to wait years for procedure.I have an aunt in Edmonton, Alberta. It is one of the better provinces regarding health care (not all provinces are equal). Anyway, after waiting for months to see a doctor about a problem she had the doctor said he could help her. If she wanted it done right away there was one clinic Alberta that would perform the procedure, however it would cost $2000.00 out of her pocket. If she wanted the free version, that would be no problem either. But here’s the sad fact, there is a 4 year waiting list….4 YEARS. She told the doctor she thought it was only a 2 year wait. His reply was, “that was last year”.So, anyone who thinks they are going to get quality health care for their ailments need to seriously consider the cost to their health. You will live with pain and depending on age, you will not be covered for certain government determined procedures or care.Just be careful what you wish for, you might not like the result.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

tc me and you have had this debate before,and after having the nightmare of having to call at my local social security office which made the DMV look like paradise i am not looking forward to anything being run by the government.in england many wealthy people use private heath care,and the consultant doctors are allowed to have their own private patents as well as being employed by the national health service, to supplement their wages.but everyone over there have total respect for the dedicated work force and the system in principle.the twenty years i have lived in USA i have had HMO insurance and the quality of the treatment i have had,has been appalling,the only advice that i can give to people here is watch you are not over medicated.i wonder if there was a vote in canada if people would like to have the system that we have here.it is good that people like me and you tc are debating all the points. it scares both me and my wife at the prospect of a government run scheme in LA were we live,you would never get through the doors.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian. Two things about Canada. When they need to have something done now, they come to the US. Also, we are warned time and again by the Canadians that we do not want anything to do with a government run health care program. It is a nightmare to get treatment, if you can get treatment at all.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

thanks for your comments tc,one of the factors that have had a profound influence in my judgment of the different positions that i take on health care is a miss trust of insurance companies.although i have this check i have to admit that their motive is profit orientated business and under certain circumstances they would have to conform to certain protocols that were imposed on them,and hopefully market forces would also make them more flexible.but the objections to these organizations completely vanish when i stand them beside the present congress that would be behind the administration of a government run health system.i cannot get into naming names because then you would not receive this posting, so i leave that to imagination.so on that basis i hope the government run scheme fails,and that we can make some provision for the uninsured who are mostly receiving treatment already.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive