UCC leaders laud health care passage as being of 'the realm of God'
Written by staff reports
March 22, 2010

Baylor (left) and Jaramillo - in Washington, D.C., for the 2010 Ecumenical Advocacy Days - react to the U.S. House of Representative's passage of health care reform legislation.
Photo Gregg Brekke

Leaders in the United Church of Christ are lauding passage of major health care reform following a vote of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21.

"We thank the members of the House of Representatives for their courage, vision, and leadership in making a wise decision and voting on what is best for people living in the United States," said the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, the UCC's general minister and president, who was in Washington, D.C., attending the UCC-supported Ecumenical Advocacy Days when the House gave its approval to historic health care reform. "The passing of this bill moves us closer to the realm of God, a realm where mercy, compassion and love for all reigns on earth."

Black said members across the UCC are rejoicing that "the House put millions of individuals, children and families ahead of politics and egos and voted to help end the suffering of those without health insurance and to end the discriminatory practices of health insurance companies."

The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries, said, "After nearly a decade of struggling for a new health care system, this historic vote moves us closer to realizing the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health, as proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt's 1943 declaration 'Freedom from Want.'"

"While we recognize that the bill is far from perfect, we know that it was necessary to pass this bill as a first step in moving our great country forward in guaranteeing that health care is a basic right," Jaramillo said.

Remembering the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s oft-quoted sentiment, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman," Barbara Baylor, the UCC's minister for health care justice, said, "This day will go down in history as the first time that we can dare to believe that perhaps the injustice in health care will not remain the most shocking and inhuman."

"The United Church of Christ will continue to speak prophetically that health care is not only a basic human right but a human need that includes everyone," Baylor said. "We will continue to work with the faith community and the Administration to make sure that the bill is perfected and our health care system is inclusive, accessible, affordable and accountable or everyone."

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Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3801
guessb@ucc.org