ELCA NEWS SERVICE
July 1, 2009
ELCA Pastor, Others Speak Out on Health Care Reform
WASHINGTON (ELCA) - During the Fourth of July congressional recess, a faith-based ad campaign will launch nationally to address the need for health care reform. The campaign includes airing radio ads featuring local pastors June 30 to July 4 in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina, as well as meetings with members of Congress and building a grassroots movement to raise awareness of health care issues.
The radio ads will air on Christian and mainstream radio stations featuring pastors from each of the five states. In the ads they ask their senators "to support health care reform that makes quality coverage affordable for every American family," according to the campaign organizers.
The Rev. Mark J. Seem, pastor of Pella Lutheran Church, Omaha, Neb., a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said, "Many people in Nebraska are making difficult choices: medicine or electricity, a doctor's appointment or rent. If that's acceptable in the United States of America, then both life and the pursuit of happiness have become the exclusive rights of some and the empty dreams of others." Seem is the voice of the Nebraska radio ad, and made his comments in a conference call with reporters this week.
The ELCA Washington Office staff is working directly with the sponsoring grassroots community organizations and national religious advocacy coalition to promote the campaign. The staff is also encouraging people to share personal health care stories and take action on health care issues through participation in "Health Care Sundays."
"These designated Sundays allow congregations the opportunity to educate, contemplate, and discuss health and health care reform," said Robert Francis, director for domestic public policy, ELCA Washington Office.
Seem explained that his congregation is aware of the urgency of health care reform, but there is no agreement on how to implement it. "We are going to continue discussing and praying as a congregation," he said. "It's important that we see ourselves as (part of) a much bigger body of Christ. Just one congregation can do very, very little, but as an entire faith community we can do a lot. We can have a major voice in our communities."
The ELCA Washington Office staff has made health care reform a top domestic legislative priority for 2009. "The costs of health care are detrimental to both our nation and our families, especially low-income families," Francis said. "The faith community plays a critical role by calling for public policy that allows for quality health care which is affordable for all."
Currently committees within the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are at different stages in crafting health care legislation. Both the House and the Senate are expected to consider health care reform legislation before the August recess.
Details of the ad campaign are at http://www.faithfulamerica.org on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog