140,000 Join Obama on Faith-Based Call

An alliance of faith-based groups held a hugely successful conference call with President Obama last night to discuss health care reform. 140,000 people participated in the call, which featured a variety of lay and clerical leaders, many with personal stories of the consequences of the lack of universal health insurance.

A young woman who worships at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver told about the consequences of losing Medicaid: she can no longer receive treatment for scoliosis. Another woman who worships at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Melbourne, Florida, spoke about the difficulties facing her family and the small-business they run because of the insane costs of health insurance and, especially, the power insurance companies have to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, a concern for those getting ready to retire but too young to participate in Medicare. Rev. Heyward Wiggins of the Bible Tabernacle Church in Camden, New Jersey, spoke of one parishioner whose lack of insurance caused his cancer to go undiagnosed until it was too late.

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Rev. Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners, a left-leaning evangelical organization, addressed the need for "truth-telling" in the current debate which, he pointed out, is a religious vocation. The President went further, saying "I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness. I need you to spread the facts and speak the truth."

Domestic Policy advisor Melody Barnes took questions on the call, most of which focussed on the general outlines of the reform effort. But, the question of abortion was raised and Ms. Barnes said that the reform efforts are not intended to permit public funding of abortion, but she did not address the thornier issue of whether government subsidies will extend to insurance policies that include abortion coverage which is the crux of the matter and Ms. Barnes is smart enough to know that. Her answer did not answer very much.

Different pastors also discussed the ways they were trying to affect the debate. My favorite suggestion came from my old neighbor in Little Rock, the Methodist Church, which organized a campaign called "No More Band-Aids," a letter-writing campaign by parishioners in which they clipped a band-aid to their letters.

The conference call was sponsored by groups as diverse as the Sisters of Mercy of America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The organizers, a core group of religious activists including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, PICO, Sojourners and Faith in Public Life, have been invloved in intensive lobbying efforts on behalf of health care reform. You can listen to the call by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

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9 years 2 months ago
Michael - I'm glad you pointed out that the phone-in with Mr Obama was sponsored by groups "as diverse" as The Sisters of Mercy, the ELCA, and Sojourners. Boy, that really runs the full spectrum of thought in this country, doesn't it? And if he ever conducts a "get out the vote" phone-in for gun control, I hope it's sponsored by groups as equally diverse. Such as the NRA, The Heritage Foundation, and Smith & Wesson.
9 years 2 months ago
You say, " But, the question of abortion was raised and Ms. Barnes said that the reform efforts are not intended to permit public funding of abortion, but she did not address the thornier issue of whether government subsidies will extend to insurance policies that include abortion coverage which is the crux of the matter and Ms. Barnes is smart enough to know that. Her answer did not answer very much." You are right, this doesn't answer much - but neither does the question. The very crowd that wants to drive people into the private insurance companies' hands are driving them into private insurance policies that do cover abortion. An abortion cost $300, giving birth costs $3,000. Which procedure would the insurance companies prefer to pay for? And the costs of medical care for the woman and child post birth can cost tens of thousands of dollars over the next few years. 
Why all the worry about subsidies funding abortion when nearly all citizens that pay insurance companies for insurance fund abortions! That includes Catholic Orders, Catholic institutions,  Catholic business men, and Catholics who work for health insurance companies. The federal funding abortion question seems to me to be mainly an obstruction to divert  people into the private funding of abortion and its huge profit potentials!
9 years 2 months ago
And during an earlier meeting w/rabbis, ''Deutschland uber allies'' was the muzak on the phone before the call started. Oh my God. Smoothest adminstration evah.
9 years 2 months ago
Terry,
Can you substantiate your claim or is it another right wing myth? And what does it have to do with healthcare?
9 years 2 months ago
John Stangle, since the President said that his Health Care reform will include regulations for all insurance providers, this would be the time to remove elective abortions from all insurance plans since elective abortion is not  Health Care. The purpose of Health Care is to preserve Human Life, not destroy it.
9 years 2 months ago
Terry's response is not helpful. We are supposed to be a Christian nation and we should be able to discuss the facts without comments like that. Obama recognizes that decent health care is something that we as brothers and sisters in Christ should want for other human beings. He talks the Christian talk and wants to walk the walk. The lies that have been obfuscating the discussion are shameful.
Daniel Patrick Moynahan once said, ''You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.'' There are no facts that place Obama in any such camp comparable to Hitler or any other dictator.
 

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