39 Million Americans Living in Poverty
47 Million Americans lack Health Care Coverage
Twin Scandals is a movement that seeks to draw the attention of church members to the scandals of the lack of health care coverage and the ongoing neglect of the poor and homeless.
There is a concern for the millions who lack access to basic necessities like health care or a modicum of economic stability. In these disturbing times, it appears that those who are directly concerned with these matters are disqualified from participating in public discussions about them. Their vulnerability, the fact that they require others to help them in securing basic necessities, seems to be the very justification for excluding them. Without the partnership of those who are directly affected, no meaningful change can occur.
Our elected officials need to be reminded that the social stability of those who have not benefitted from any economic revival need attention in a timely and effective manner. If we claim to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth who pray for the coming of the kingdom, we have no choice but to become proactive players in the ongoing debate about these two issues. Faithful disciples need to become advocates for and on behalf of the poor and needy. We need to become a critical constituency that will end the twin scandals of persistent poverty and the lack of access to health care in the richest nation on earth.
No longer can people of faith be silent as 47 million of us suffer because we lack access to adequate health care. All faith traditions challenge believers to act with justice, to engage in healing, and to treat everyone with compassion. "In the United States today we witness a health care delivery system which distributes services unjustly, rations care inequitably, and offers compassion only to those who can afford it." Now is the time for faith communities to take seriously their responsibility for health care for all. Health Care Justice is a matter of Faith—not Debate!
No longer can people of faith be silent as 39 million people now live in poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.2% of all persons lived in poverty in 2008. 26.6% of all single people, 19.1% of all people living alone, and 5.8% of all married people lived in poverty. Children are the fastest growing poor population. Although children make up 25% of the total population, they are 35% of the poor population (about 14.1 million). For nearly ten years a relentless assault on programs and benefits that poor people make use of has been underway. Arresting and rolling back this assault will take time, and we need to fortify ourselves for a long struggle.
The "Twin Scandals" can be affected by thoughtful faith-based advocacy: advocacy not only as a matter of "politics," but as part of our understanding of our discipleship obligation to our brothers and sisters in need.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend the rights of those who have nothing. Speak up and judge fairly and defend the rights of the poor and needy." [Proverbs 31:8-9]
"If health care is a basic right. . . Why then is not the health of my people restored?" (Jeremiah 8:22)