Monday, August 24, 2009

Faithful Reform in Health Care

August 20, 2009 - Statement by Faithful Reform in Health Care

140,000 people of faith participate in historic call with faith leaders and President Obama

The following press release was prepared regarding the conference call held with faith leaders from across the country on Wednesday, August 19. I participated in the call. Check out the report of the call below.

Cleveland, OH - An estimated 140,000 people of faith listened to a conference call with faith leaders and President Barack Obama in an historic 40-minute conference call on Wednesday afternoon. Sponsored by the Faithful Reform in Health Care Coalition and more than thirty other religious organizations, the call was part of the continuing massive mobilization of people of faith around the issue of health care reform. The focus was to energize faith advocates around the moral imperative for making REAL reform happen this year.

Faithful Reform in Health Care member organizations were well-represented on the call, including a denominational executive, local clergy, a health care professional and people of faith victimized by our current health system. All who spoke addressed the urgency of moving forward together for a health care future based on our shared faith values. Call participants were urged to encourage truth-telling, to model civil discourse, to maintain a steady moral drumbeat for reform, and to lead in hope.

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), emphasized that we have the moral vision and the policy expertise to make reform happen, but not the political will to succeed. She emphasized how important people of faith will be in creating political will by engaging with our members of Congress in the coming days.

Congregational pastors, priests and rabbis reported the work that they are doing to engage their congregants and communities in health care reform and reminded us about how intimately our lives are connected to those who suffer in our current health system. A Muslim physician reminded us how difficult it is for health care providers to do their work in our current system.

President Obama and the White House Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes addressed concerns, most notably, clarification of the President's priorities, issues around cost, abortion funding, and conscience protections for health care workers. They both emphasized how very important the faith voices will be in making health care reform a reality this year.

President Obama concluded the call with the reminder that "men and women of faith have shown what is possible when we are guided by our hope and note our fear." People of faith have historically been at the forefront of social reform in our nation's history, and that hope-filled leadership will be no less important as we work for health care reform.

Faithful Reform in Health Care coalition members and their congregations will be among the leaders in follow-up activities by raising a moral vision for our health care future the weekend of Aug. 28 - 30 in Health Care Sabbaths, Candlelight Vigils and other public events that will be held across the country.

The link to a recording of the call is available at here.

Contact Rev. Linda Hanna Walling, Faithful Reform in Health Care, 216.325.0010.

Faithful Reform in Health Care is the largest interfaith coalition of national, state and local organizations and individuals working for health care reform in the United States. It is the collective voice of faith communities committed to a vision for a health care future that is grounded in their shared sacred values.

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