July 4, 2009

Faith Communities & Healthcare

Can you feel it? The momentum for healthcare reform is building. If you pay attention at all to the news it feels like there’s some story about this issue everyday. I’m really excited because I think things are shaping up politically for this to really happen. Michael Moore, though imperfect, has laid the groundwork, the economic crisis has intensified the healthcare crisis, and Democratic leadership is in place. But that’s not all--the faith community is organized! As one phenomenal example, check out this excerpt of a press release from Faith in Public Life. It publicizes a faith-based healthcare campaign sponsored by them, PICO National Network, Faithful America, Sojourners, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

As the health care debate heats up and Senators head home for Independence Day Recess, pastors from across the country are taking to the airwaves with radio ads to remind lawmakers that the status quo on health care is "not who we are as a nation" and that "America can do better," emphasizing our nation's values in the days leading up to July 4th.

Drawing on the Scriptural call to act with a spirit of courage, love and action, the ads will run beginning today through July 4th in five key states--Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina--urging Senators from those states, whose support will be critical to the passage of meaningful legislation, to support reform that makes quality coverage truly affordable for every American family. The ad script and audio are available here.

On top of faith communities airing radio ads and being locally and nationally organized to encourage their Senators to support “reform that makes quality health care choices affordable for all families,” these efforts were covered by over 100 newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately some faith-based groups like the Family Research Council and the Institute on Religion and Democracy seem to be trying to derail healthcare reform. Last week I blogged about Tony Perkins debate with Jim Wallis and this week Mark Tooley sent an email out blaming the Religious Left for the plague of fatherlessness, illegitimacy, crime, social decay, and further poverty in the 1960’s. Why are conservative Christian groups actively opposing efforts to ensure sure that Americans have affordable and accessible healthcare.?

This goes to demonstrate the importance of having groups like Faith in Public Life--who provide an alternative to the Religious Right, but also groups like the Beatitudes Society---who work to counter the harmful actions and influence of the Religious Right (more about that in my previous post).

Here's one other great ad that highlights the importance of healthcare reform. It's from PhRMA and Families USA. It's not faith-based, but I think it should inspire persons of faith to act.


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