Monday, October 26, 2009

LV Religious Leaders to Conduct Health Care Hearing Today

Top leaders of the Lehigh Valley’s religious community will conduct a public hearing on weaknesses in our health care system today at 4 PM, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 2540 Center Street, Bethlehem. Nine Lehigh Valley residents who have had tragic experiences will tell their stories, followed by a panel of medical professionals with their own explanations about the need for reform.

Taking testimony will be the Right Reverend Paul Marshall, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, the Reverend Samuel Zeiser, Bishop of the Northeast Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Reverend David Bennett, President, Moravian Church Eastern District, the Reverend Steven Shusett, Teaching Presbyter, Lehigh Presbytery, Presbyterian Church USA, the Reverend Alan Miller, Conference Minister, Pennsylvania Northeast Conference, United Church of Christ, and Rabbi Jonathan Gerard, representing the region’s Jewish community.

The moral imperative to take care of the sick has largely been overlooked in the current debate surrounding health care reform. Following the testimony, these religious leaders will issue statements, speaking from their theological and moral authority as leaders of their respective faith traditions.

The event is being organized by Health Care for America Now, a broad national coalition of organizations that are working to promote quality, affordable health care for all Americans.  HCAN Lehigh Valley is a local chapter of the group.

36 comments:

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

I am curious whether any Catholic representatives were invited to this event.

Catholics who are seeking guidance on this matter should consult PA Catholic Conference:

http://www.pacatholic.org/wp-content/uploads/healthcarereform2009rev.pdf

Bernie O'Hare said...

Charlie, I would like to see a priest in on this, too.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church supports reform efforts but opposes taxpayer-funded abortions. Some dioceses have announced they will close hospitals, rather than be forced to offer abortions.

Anonymous said...

The law on Federal funding of abortions is proposed to be unchanged. It is already prohibited.

Individual insurance plans will be able to decide whether or not to cover the procedure. Individual hospitals will continue to be able to decide whether to offer the procedure.

Anonymous said...

Correct anon 4:19, The Health Insurance propaganda is coming up with all this crap that is just not true.

Hospitals still can make their own decisions on procedures such as abortions or heart transplants for christs sake.

When called onit the status quo crowd says, "yes but it will be the next step".

Bottom line, time to make a "Bullshit", call.

not so casual observer said...

It is very nice for the clergy to discuss and propose that everyone in this country deserves to have full health care. It would indeed be shocking if that were not thier stance. However, we must also look at their opinions with a bit harder eye. By virtue of their cloth, they live on the largess of others,pay no taxes and in fact, are charities in thier own right. That is going to make a person a little more idealistic than pragmatic. They also have a tendency to not look too deeply into the nuts and bolts of the issues at hand. In their charitable minds they do not deal with restricting care to the elderly, infirmed and severly disabled, facing such a choice would not be possible for them, and yet, the proposed "reforms" all include those contingencies.

Rather than being sanctimonious cheerleaders for the plan, they would be better served to pray for those who will be harmed by it.

Anonymous said...

I go to church seeking salvation for my soul not advice on government health care options. The church leaders should be careful to give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s and leave politics to the professionals. In the meantime, if they (church leaders) want to have input they should continue to aid the poor through their own means; in this effort, they have my full support.


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

They should pray for the Insurance Companieis that are denying care to sick and infirm who have been paying premiums for years.

The Village Idoti said...

I do not want this to appear to be a personal attack. I am dismayed but what the not so casual observer wrote.

"I suppose," you aren't very well informed on the efforts of the Catholic Church and their regard to life. A simple inquiry to the U.S.C.C.B.'s (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) (www.usccb.org) website demonstrates to quite the contrary of what you have presented.



And Mr. Armstrong,

Maybe I should pose this question to you:

Should the Government care about life and the quality of it? Why then should the Church (Universal or otherwise), not care about life and the quality of it?




I have seen this issue of health care debated by many priests and a few bishops. I have read much on this regard. I have seen priests argue that health care is not an unalienable right and shouldn't be provided universally across the board. And I have seen some priests argue that we all should have health care that is affordable but not in a socialist form.

I think both arguments have valid points. They are the same points that some of you argue. And especially, I don't think ANYBODY wants Socialist or Communism.




If you don't think that I pay taxes; I wish I lived in your world. I have to pay taxes just like you. I may not have a great amount of money coming in or wealth. And yes, some things are tax exempt for clerics, but I do and most clerics pay taxes. We are supported by the dues of our members. If our members do not give towards their own Church, we feel it as well as their own Church. Because I don't gain as much money as some of you or I don't pay as much taxes as some of you, how does that diminish my value, imput, and ability to take advantages of rights given onto me as a citizen of this Country?

Sarah Silverman made a valid point about The Church selling some of its treasures to aid the poor. Good point. But does she notice how much charity is given to the poor from The Catholic Church? If the Catholic Church, FOR ONE DAY, stopped its aid; do you have any idea how many COUNTRIES wouldn't have food for the day? She is making money off of her astute observations in this matter at the expense of belittling The Catholic Church. But I pose this question to her: Is she donating any of her money or time to help the poor?

Lastly, we will all be better served, as a community of human beings, if we pull our resources together. We should ALL pray, together, for a fruitful solution to this problem.

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

I love that I live in a country where religion is routinely attacked - after being founded by religious nuts in leaky boats looking to escape religious persecution.

God help us.

Bernie O'Hare said...

How dare you bring up God! :-)

Anonymous said...

Finally the churches are paying attention to the people that are dying and suffering because of our insurance industry...It's so good not to hear about gay marriage. I guess gay marriage is only a concern when we have jobs and we're not denied healthcare.

not so casual observer said...

Village,

I was not chastizing the churches nor the clergy. I am speaking of the psychological niche that our clergy are a part of. THey Do great wprk and I have alot of respect for and will always help the churches, much more efficient than the government for helping people in need.

What I am saying is that hat often the lifestyle and environment make them more likely to not see the expense and down side of some of these "reforms" designed to help the "less fortunate" They are not looking at it wth an account's eye they are looking at it with a philanthropisit's eye. THe two are very different and very necessary, but when it comes to anyhting that rasises my taxes, I will take the accountant every time.

Anonymous said...

I already explained why I believe the churchs should avoid politics but perhaps I can make it plainer. The Democrats forcing government run health care on this nation is not the church's business.

Scott Armstrong

The Village Idoti said...

Mr. Armstrong,

Allow me to make myself more clear, life and the quality of life is very much a Church issue. If you think that life is not a Christian or Church issue/value; then we can agree to disagree.

Respecting God given life, obviously, relates directly to God. Anything short of that, are not respecting any of the Church's Divine teachings or magisterium.

not so casual observer,

Are you claiming that the Church is not fiscally responsible? I still don't get your point. Are you saying that the Church makes decisions not in respect to financial matters.

Do you think that you are the only one that pays taxes? Maybe you should live one day in the life of a cleric. See how much joy that it will bring you from the "reality" side of things. Don't you see that Churches are closing - particularly for financial reasons?

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Alex,

What are you writing? Are you answering my post?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Just for the fun of it(and to prove a point) why don’t we all imagine for a moment “LV Religious leaders” holding “hearings” to discuss conservative government reform ideas. I wonder if those supporting the health care hearings would be hypocritical and condemn similar hearings to discuss the merits individual liberty, small government and the broad based benefits of tax reductions.

Scott Armstrong

The Village Idoti said...

Mr. Armstrong,

Allow me to make myself more clear, life and the quality of life is very much a Church issue. If you think that life is not a Christian or Church issue/value; then we can agree to disagree.

Respecting God given life, obviously, relates directly to God. Anything short of that, are not respecting any of the Church's Divine teachings or magisterium.

Life and the respect of life, especially through health-care is the nature of the business of The Church

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

The Village Idoti said...

We are not writing about the same thing. We are apples and orages apart. Our interests do not cross one or another's paths. I think that we are on two seperate topics. I am sorry if I misunderstood you.

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Alex,

“Life and the quality of life is very much a Church issue”.
You seem to have taken on the mantel as spokesperson for the “church”.
Religious people and institutions have and remain benevolent. I put my share in the collection plate for just that cause. When “religious leaders” hold a “hearing” to discuss the political issue of government health care they involve themselves in the temporal. If the church wants to be more involved in heath care they should continue and expand the noble mission of their many private hospitals and health related outreach programs. Involving themselves in the politics of nationalizing the nations private health care system makes their action political rather than benevolent. That is the problem.

Scott Armstrong

The Village Idoti said...

But we live in the temporal world. It affects us just the same.

When I wear my clericals, I am judged by people, including yourself, as a spokes-person for the Church. From what I gather, I think that I am the only one on this blog that is a cleric. So hopefully, I don't make you feel threatened when I speak as a person from the Universal/Catholic Church's viewpoint.

Anyway, not far from here, in Maryland, pro-choice people are picketing and demonstrating in front of Catholic hospitals. Their concerns are that the Catholic Church need to have nurses that are trained in the procedures of assisting in abortions. How does one react? Government - yes or no - is pursuing their positions onto the Church. Church and state seperation? In health related matters, it seems not.

I assume then, you are for the death penalty, aborting fetuses, and euthanizing the sick and elderly. Just to name a few of the many hot topics of healthcare. That doesn't even consider embroyos for women to become pregnant, stem cell research versus adult stem cells, or many of the issues that lie ahead in our modern world of technology.

These are all health issues that are in the political spectrum. Do we as "spokesperson"(s) for The Church remain silent on these issues? The entire Church has a very useful role to pool it resources to inform and make suggestions in the political venue.

I am glad that you give to your Church. If that is some sort of slap in my face, suggesting me to shut up; you have succeeded.

Like I have written before, we agree to disagree. And I apologize, for the shortness and lack of a formally drafted or a better thought out responses. I have been reading the blogs during my breaks between classes.

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

The Village Idoti said...

Lastly,

"Religious people and institutions have and remain benevolent."

Jesus didn't live this type of life. He spoke against the tyranny.

He was a threat to them and their politics.

This is why his way crucified.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

The Village Idoti said...

"Allow me to make myself more clear, life and the quality of life is very much a Church issue."


If the church wants to hold a hearing about how THEY will provide health coverage, by all means I am for that.

If the church wants to cheerlead for the government to take what I have earned (to provide for my family) and instead force me to give it to provide for others who don't have the same level of personal responsibility, then the church can go to hell.

Perhaps it would be best if the Church provided health coverage for all of its MEMBERS. This would be a win-win since it would help boost the number of people joining churches.

Of course, I guess it's always easier to support something you want when someone else will be footing the bill.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the panel also include nine Lehigh Valley residents who have received outstanding care and have had their lives saved or improved because of the high quality of health care we have in this country?

Would a little balance from these churches be too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Health Care for America NOW the front group for the DNC?

These churches should realize the damage they do to themselves when they allow themselves to be used for political purposes.

Perhaps they are looking for a government grant down the road.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Health Care for America NOW the front group for the DNC?


The steering committee includes ACORN, SEIU, MoveOn.org, etc. I guess that settles that.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

Peace be with you but don’t expect me to take kindly to any “church” or “religious leaders” that advocates or endorses government run national health care. That is, in my opinion beyond the bounds of religious outreach and the mission of the church. Enter the political world and expect to be handled like the rest of us who have venture into that area. Don’t expect the collar to protect you from the criticism that is sure to come from those who disagree with any political positions you have publicly staked out. I for one treat all progressives equally and won‘t hesitate to criticize the public political opinions and/or actions of progressive clergy.

Scott Armstrong

The Village Idoti said...

Thank you Mr. Armstrong. But I for once have never hid behind my collar. I was a public servant for many years and quite active in the political arena.

When I wear the collar, most people, such as the anonymous blogger of 4:02 PM, treat clerics will ill respect. I have had to wipe spit off of my face on several ocassions, in D.C. alone. When wearing the collar, there is nowhere to hide. If you want to take a shot at the message, that's fine. If you want to take a shot because I am a cleric or at the one who delivers the message - FOUL!

We can agree to disagree, without get personal or offended.

But again I apologize. I apologize because I am not effectively communicating my point. You all seem to be missing the point.

No one is advocating socialism. We are asking the insurance companies, specifically through the government, for affordable health care for all.

Now maybe I am naive. Maybe I don't understand economices. But how does that hurt your pocket? How does that advocate government run health care?

I presume your problems and concerns should be brought to the attention of the insurance companies.

And lastly maybe, I should ask you, and not specifically directing it to you, Mr. Armstrong; but what is the mission of the Church? This is probably a rheotorically question.

But if you see the Church is meddling in an affair that is no concern's of the Church; why do you go to Church? Maybe you should reflect inwardly on what it means to be a Christian.

If you have no love or concern for your fellow man, why bother going to Church? Grace builds upon nature. But you have got to want to change. It needs you to work with it. God is great, but he can't force you to do anything. (Free will.) If you can't see that life is a key point, if not THE key point to the Church - then you either need to work harder at being a Christian or you are better off staying home.

And again, you are entitled to your opinions and how you may want to treat others that disagree with you, but by my appearance and the vocation that I freely chose; I treat you with kindness and respect, no matter what the circumstances may entail.

Peace be with you, ~~Alex Joseph

Anonymous said...

The Village Idoti said...

When I wear the collar, most people, such as the anonymous blogger of 4:02 PM, treat clerics will ill respect.


Alex -

Anon 4:02 here.

There was no ill respect in my post. Merely a statement that I don't want my or anyone else's church helping the government to confiscate more of my money.

If the mission of any church is to provide health care for all, then please do so. If it's such a great deal for all of us, then why not let the churches in question demonstrate that first? Just don't force me to jump on board.

Every American (man, woman and child) is already enslaved by hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt - their share of the TRILLIONS our government has amassed. Now the government wants to add more to that number with health care. Then more for cap and trade, etc.

I would think that we could all unite against the forced slavery that our government is inflicting on us.

Anonymous said...

"...then the church can go to hell."

"Anon 4:02 here.

There was no ill respect in my post. Merely a statement that I don't want my or anyone else's church helping the government to confiscate more of my money."

Lying is a sin?

Anonymous said...

Alex,

You wrote,

“No one is advocating socialism. We are asking the insurance companies, specifically through the government, for affordable health care for all.”

Why is it the duty of private business, insurance companies, to provide health care for all? Since when is that their responsibility?

Keep in mind, every time you invite the government to solve a problem you empower it with greater authority, in fact you are creating a tyrant, perhaps a benevolent tyrant but a tyrant none the less. Then also consider that often it is the case that the only thing worse than the original problem is the government solution. The Republicans have always stood ready to provide health care for those who can’t provide it for themselves, and come up with solutions for people with portability problems like pre-existing conditions. The Democrats however are doubtless seeking one size fits all solutions that would in time create a government run single payer plan. Conservatives believe this will lead to a denial of individual liberty, the right to choose one own health care.
Perhaps you see the government as a vehicle for positive change, conversely conservatives believe in the general goodness of individual people to do the right by their fellow man and see government as a bureaucratic overseer.

Now this question from you.

“And lastly maybe, I should ask you, and not specifically directing it to you, Mr. Armstrong; but what is the mission of the Church?”

I have already written that the mission of the church is the salvation of souls. Acts of charity can be demonstrations of faith and goodness. Involving the church in legislation that empowers the government to intrude on the rights of private industry and the individual seems to me to be well outside these bounds. This is something you should understand and come to terms with. You and other well meaning “church leaders” would be well served to separate your legislative activities from your clerical life.

Scott Armstrong

The Village Idoti said...

"...Perhaps you see the government as a vehicle for positive change, conversely conservatives believe in the general goodness of individual people to do the right by their fellow man and see government as a bureaucratic overseer."

The government initiated this overhaul of healthcare. These issues have been an ongoing topics of discussion in the Catholic Church. (www.usccb.org) Where else do you suggest the Church to petition its causes?

Instead, you suggest to keep its focus on the salvation of souls.

How do you attribute the salvation of souls?

(As according to Webster's New International Dictionary - Third Edition)

Salvation: the saving of man from the power and effects of sin. His deliverance from the condition of spiritual isolation and estrangement to a reconciled relationship of the community of God and fellow men. The preservation especially from destruction, disintergration, or failure: final deliverance from especially from dangers, difficulties, or deficiencies. The source, cause, or means of preservation.

Preserving life, is not merely an act of charity. It is one of the main focuses of the Church. Life is given onto us by God in his likeness. Any act to desecrate the body or life, is in fact sinful. Life is precious. Anything short of respecting life and its qualities are violating the sanctity of the immense gift that bonds us together with God. This something that the Church should not and cannot stand silent on. This is the backbone of our Christian religion. LIFE.

I get it now! The Church is okay, if it just works within the Church. It is not okay, when it tries to wield its influence in schools, governments, or any other place outside of the Church. Jesus preached everywhere. He sent out his disciples to the corners of the their world to evangelize. He told them to greet people by saying, "Peace be with you!" If that peace did not rest within those people, he told them to shake the dirt and dust off their feet and leave that city.

He didn't tell them, not to preach to this person or not to that entity. He instructed them to preach to all.

This form of religion is not advantageous to the one who likes to rest on their laurels and be satisfied with what they have. In doing so, not only do they hurt their fellow man, but they hurt themselves.

As revealed to all, God does not look upon the harm or sin that you did not cause. God looks at the resources he gave onto you and what good you accomplished with them. By sitting on your hands, you commit no crimes, but you create no good, either.

"...This is something you should understand and come to terms with..."

This is where we disagree. I am sorry you feel in such a way. I respect your opinion and will continue on with this cause.

Please pray for me, I will be praying for you.

Peace be with you, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Wow! Alex, as a Christian I suggest you go to the New Testament rather than the dictionary for a definition of salvation. This explains a lot.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Alex,

Upon some reflection I want to let you know that I respect your desire to do good. Clearly you have chosen a vocation that provides a real opportunity to help people. Be careful with the power your moral authority provides.
The real question in life often is how best do we help and serve others. This is clearly ground for sincere reflection and prayer. God bless you for your efforts.

Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...

And may God bless Charles Dertinger.

Anonymous said...

Did Dertinger sneeze?