Being lied to and taken advantage of is something many of us have gotten used to over the years as we work ourselves silly trying to be responsible citizens in these United States. But many of us were also raised to believe in a god and trust there is a higher being that loves and heals and knows the truth about what justice is and how compassion works. And most of us who were raised into any sort of community of faith believe that caring for and comforting the sick is among those things that a caring and loving God would have us do for one another on this earth.
This, I hope, is part of the basis for the belief that healthcare is a basic human right. All people, all life, all health matters -- or so we might envision in a just and compassionate nation and world.
But our healthcare system doesn't rest on any of those sorts of ideas. In the United States, the good and faithful delivery of healthcare is reserved for those with money or at least for those with the right kind of insurance (provided the insurance doesn't fail at crucial moments, as it is prone and designed to do).
Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they aren't judged healthcare-worthy by the rest of us. Yes, we all are the judges and the jury convicting our fellow citizens and sentencing them to early and unnecessary deaths. We are responsible for our sisters and our brothers. We have allowed this convoluted and sick system to rob us of thousands of our fellow human beings and the financial well-being of millions more. We are not carrying out the work of any of the major faith communities when we allow money and power to decide who lives and who dies -- and when we therefore assign the status of God to the almighty dollar and not the Almighty.
The only way to cover everyone is to go to a single-payer system, said President Obama. But he says he won't do that. Why? Because he knows the god he now serves is not the one his mother taught him about or even the one he tries to allow his daughters to know. His gods have become the gods of political and profit power.
What is so hard about this convoluted health reform effort so far is that we want to trust Mr. Obama as a moral person who believes that healthcare is a human right. He may indeed be a good and decent man who just cannot see how much we need him to stand by that belief and honor it in policy.
But tomorrow President Barack Obama is set to make an appeal to the faith-based community on his vision of forcing every American to purchase the private health insurance product he knows is defective. Health insurance provides neither guaranteed access to healthcare nor protection from financial ruin in the event of illness -- both of the things it is advertised and sold to do. It is a product fraught with fraud. And now our President, a man who said he was a man of faith, is going to ask the faith community to help him sell health insurance to everyone. He'll exploit the good intentions of the faithful to feed the ill-will of the moneytakers. Not exactly the folks Jesus wanted in the temple.
Praise God, and pass the health insurance reform ammunition.
If you'd like to hear the call during which the President will ask major churches of the nation to join him in getting the best possible legislative deal for the health insurance industry, go to the Families USA call site and sign up... but get ready to pray for us all.
Pray that someone in that faith community asks about the people who won't be able to afford the best coverage or the even have assurances that the coverage they are forced to buy will give them the same access to care as their wealthier fellow Americans. Pray that someone on the call will say that having a tiered healthcare system that allows different levels of care for folks based on their wealth is not what their God or higher power would have in mind.
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Pray that someone in one of the great faiths listed will ask Mr. Obama how he can stand for less than equal treatment for all.
Families USA: The Voice for Health Care Consumers
We hope you can join the faith community and President Obama this Wednesday evening, August 19, for a special conversation on health insurance reform. The call is being hosted by numerous faith-based organizations-please see a complete list of conference call sponsors below. Please RSVP to ensure your place on the call and to submit a question. Thank you!
"President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to join us on a conference call on Wednesday, August 19, at 5:00 pm eastern. It will be a wonderful moment to share with thousands of others who want to be part of the solution and are working to raise a moral vision for our health care future.
Because thousands of participants are expected, you are urged to RSVP to help facilitate planning and to guarantee your place on the call. In addition, we invite you to tell your family, friends, and colleagues; spread the word through your email networks; and invite others to listen to the call with you. Please help us meet our goal of thousands!
List of conference call sponsors (as of 8.12.09)
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)
Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good
Christian Community Development Association
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faithful Reform in Health Care
Faith in Public Life
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
National Council of Churches in Christ
Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
PICO National Network
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference
Sisters of Mercy of The Americas
The Episcopal Church
The Latino Leadership Circle
The New Evangelicals
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church And Society
United Methodist Church, Washington Office of Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries