With the launch of a massive faith-based, pro-health reform campaign Monday, one of the initiative’s most prominent supporters clarified that those involved are not advocating a particular health reform plan, but the moral position that the health system must be fixed.
“This isn’t a political issue, it is a deeply theological issue, a biblical issue, and a moral issue,” said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. “So we are not going to at any time during the debate weigh in on the particulars of policy questions…[We’ll] leave the plumbing to the politicians.”
Wallis and other religious leaders helped launch the “40 Days for Health Reform” campaign. The effort involves faith leaders from across America who will press Congress to pass legislation that will expand affordable health care coverage in America.
Television ads featuring local evangelical, Catholic, mainline pastors and people of faith began airing on cable TV on Monday. And starting Tuesday, in-district prayer rallies and events will take place to reach 100 members of Congress.
At the end of the month, National Healthcare Sermon Weekend is scheduled to be observed by Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy who will preach about healthcare reform in congregations nationwide.
Other organized events, including candlelight vigils and visits to members of Congress, will continue to take place in September.
Evangelical pastor John Hay, Jr., who pastors West Morris Street Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis, shared during Monday’s teleconference what inspired him to be involved in the campaign.
“As pastor of an urban core church within walking distance of major hospitals, it seemed like some people in our congregation might as well have lived a 1,000 miles away from those shining institutions,” Hay said.
“They often put off a serious health problem until it reaches chronic stages and then make an emergency run,” he said. “This is no way for the most blessed country in the world to treat its most vulnerable citizens.”
The campaign launch included the announcement that President Barack Obama will participate in a nationwide call on health care reform with people of faith from across the country on Aug. 19. The call-in event is sponsored by a coalition of more than 25 religious denominations and organizations.
On Tuesday, President Obama held a town hall meeting in New Hampshire to personally address the concern of Americans about the health care overhaul.
Opponents of the proposed health care legislation have been very vocal, with some complaining the plan is too expensive or that it is a government take-over of the health care system.
This month, angry protesters have disrupted several town hall meetings led by pro-health care reform Democratic congressmen. And President Obama was greeted in New Hampshire with one side of the road lined with supporters of his health care overhaul, and the other side lined with opponents.
About 46 million people are currently without health insurance coverage in America.