A physician whose Christian faith leads him to care and advocate for his rural Indiana patients struggling with addiction and infectious disease. A Capitol Hill lobbyist whose Jewish faith leads him to fight in the halls of Congress to defend healthcare programs. A physician whose Muslim faith fuels her devotion to her low-income patients on the South side of Chicago.
All of these inspiring people, and thousands of others like them, are living testaments to the fact that all major religious traditions embrace a core responsibility to care for the sick. From creating history’s first-ever charity hospitals to presenting a unified front to defend programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the faith community has consistently acted on that mandate.
As a March 2017 statement by leaders of 40 U.S. faith organizations said, "The scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, as well as the sacred teachings of other faiths, understand that addressing the general welfare of the nation includes giving particular attention to people experiencing poverty or sickness."
An Historic Opportunity
We are blessed to live in a time of opportunity to make significant progress toward meeting those obligations from our sacred teachings. Americans across the political spectrum share deep frustration with our current healthcare system, and acknowledge the existence of healthcare as a human right. They are demanding change.
The faith community can help make that change happen. The history of successful social movements, from the abolition of slavery to the civil rights movement to the anti-apartheid movement, teaches us that. We know that the economic argument in favor of universal healthcare is a powerful one, but the moral argument is even stronger.
People of faith stand in the ideal position to make that case. Generations of “walking the walk” ministering to the needs of the sick endows us with moral authority on the issue, a privilege hard-earned by those on the front lines of care and advocacy. So this Faith in Healthcare newsletter will lift up those inspiring examples of faith community service, and at the same time highlight our fast-developing opportunities to make an historic impact.
Sharing the Journey
Faith in Healthcare is edited by Fran Quigley, who directs the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and is an active member of multiple faith-based advocacy groups. His articles have been published in mainstream venues like the New York Times and in faith publications including Sojourners and America.
Please contact Fran, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your ideas for stories and news items.
In the end, this newsletter’s purpose is to bring us together as we travel our shared journey. Today, too many of our brothers and sisters are suffering. But we people of faith carry the prescription for their healing in our pockets.
Faith and Healthcare Notes
- Trade agreements matter for healthcare! NETWORK, a social justice advocacy organization founded by Catholic Sisters, is one of several faith organizations working to ensure access to medicines in the renegotiated NAFTA. In its current form, the new NAFTA expands pharmaceutical monopolies and will increase medicines prices. To learn more, check here
- Would you like to see Medicare for All explained in just three minutes? Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich does a nice job of doing just that it in this video.
- The Trump administration continues to approve state proposals to impose work requirements for persons on Medicaid, most recently in New Hampshire. For a faith community perspective on why work requirements are more about red tape than encouraging employment, and cause great harm as a result, see this commentary from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Do you have Faith in Healthcare story ideas, interview topics, or news items? Let us know at email@example.com