Written by Gregg Brekke
The United Church of Christ joined a myriad of faith community leaders and organizations last week in urging the Obama administration and Congress to "complete the task at hand on behalf of the millions who are left out and left behind in our current health-care system."
Faithful Reform in Health Care, a coalition of denominational and interfaith organizations including the UCC, has conducted follow-up calls on next steps, said Barbara Baylor, minister for health care justice in the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. "We are asking our individual congregations and members to deliver the Hill letter to their own congressional members in their own districts," said Baylor today.
The Feb. 24 letter – which included the signature of the Rev. Geoffrey Black, UCC general minister and president – was signed by more than 4,000 people of faith under the umbrella groups Faithful Reform and the Washington Interreligious Community.
Fifty-eight national religious organizations were represented, as were more than 80 regional and state faith groups, and 26 national faith leaders. Religious leaders also ran a full-page print ad in The Hill and an online ad at The Hill's web site, showcasing the letter and its signers.
The letter implores action to create a society in which "every person is afforded health, wholeness and human dignity. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously wrote in his 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.' Less well known is his admonition that 'of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.' Let us not delay health-care justice any longer."
"This is your moment for political courage, vision, leadership and faith. We urge you to take heart and move meaningful health-care reform forward," the letter insists.