Pastoral letter urges activism on health care reform
Written by Staff Reports
July 28, 2009
In a pastoral letter addressed to members of the United Church of Christ, church leaders have called upon churches "to actively work towards the creation of a national health care system and to affirm the moral and justice imperatives of equal access for all people."
The UCC's letter was signed by current General Minister and President the Rev. John H. Thomas, incoming General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey Black, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, and Minister for Health Care Justice Barbara T. Baylor.
Citing the UCC's recent passage of a church-wide resolution urging advocacy in support of healthcare for all, the letter promotes a personal call to action as a means of implementing equitable access to and delivery of care.
UCC members are encouraged to contact their elected officials, identify themselves to the lawmaker as members of the United Church of Christ, and register their concerns for a health care plan that includes the seven points agreed to by an interfaith coalition:
- Coverage for all persons
- Access regardless of ability to pay
- A full set of benefits
- A choice of physicians and other providers
- Elimination of racial and ethnic and other health care disparities
- Waiver of pre-existing condition exclusions without any age limits
- A publicly available, government administered, insurance option
Additional actions include gathering delegates from congregations to visit the home offices of legislators during their August recess, attending the "Health Care Now!" rally July 30 in Washington, D.C., and organizing a Jericho march in communities around the nation insisting that the walls of inequitable health care come down.
The UCC joins a large and diverse interfaith coalition in calling for health care reform. At the July 7 Faith Leaders Summit on Health Care held in Washington, D.C., this coalition stated, "No longer can we afford to squander the hopes and dreams of the American people through a much-too-costly system that contributes to economic despair."
The UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries will issue health care related action alerts throughout August including a call for a preach/teach in, group lobbying information, phone chain organization and a letters to the editor campaign.
The complete text of the pastoral letter and call-to-action, formatted as a printable PDF bulletin insert, can be found at ucc.org/health-care-reform.