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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Bishop's Weak Support for Health Care Reform

Health care for all is a civil rights issue. Those who can afford it, have it. Those who cannot pay do not have adequate medical care. This is a gross inequality in how American citizens are treated in our country. African Americans and LGBT people were also denied full rights to the American way.

The Episcopal Bishop of California, The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, has failed to publicly support the medical reform bill moving through the congress. His wishy-washy statement quoted below shows no support for the legislation, gives the clergy and laity of the Diocese no help in thinking about, preaching or studying the proposals. He gives a scandalously vague, pious and wooly statement that shows lack of leadership and inspiration.

In many places, the Roman Catholic bishops have told clergy to read a statement from the pulpit urging people to tell their congressional leaders to vote against medical care reform. This is leadership, though woefully wrong headed indeed.

I wrote as an experienced priest and preacher:

To my brothers and sisters in ministry:

I want to make a suggestion on how you might deal with the health care proposal from the pulpit or in a newsletter.

Our country needs to provide health care, insurance for the millions of children and adults who have no insurance. I want you to know that I personally support the current proposals. I urge you to think and pray about the issues and write your representatives and senators letting them know how you feel.

It tells people where you stand and what you support. You leave it up to them to decide what to do.

This is the Episcopal and Anglican way.

I call on the Bishop and clergy to be followers of Jesus the healer and the voters of the country to declare their humanity and justice by urging congress to pass health care reform.

Here is Andrus’ non-statement:

The church and healthcare

by the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14 

The above verse came to mind as I’ve been thinking about the healthcare debate in this country. When the specter of socialism was invoked regarding the public option, its doom seemed certain. Then, almost overnight, the public option was re-branded as Medicare:e (Medicare for everyone), and suddenly new life was breathed into the idea. 

The Ephesians verse referred to dissent and confusion in the nascent Christian movement, proving that a base in faith is no vaccine against facile currents of shifting opinion. I would like to point out, however, that while it is common to deride the massive legislative work of The Episcopal Churchs General Convention (I have heard the 300+ resolutions referred to as so what resolutions in the main), our deliberative process, bringing to bear passionate, expert people from many perspectives on any one issue under debate, and submitting each resolution that makes it that far in the process to the vote of the whole representative democratic body, gives us ground to stand on in areas like healthcare.

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