Jim Wallis Responds to President Obama’s Speech on Health Care Reform
September 9, 2009
Jim Wallis Responds to President Obama's Speech on Health Care Reform
WASHINGTON, DC - September 9th, 2009 - Rev. Jim Wallis, progressive evangelical leader and president of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States, issued the following statement on President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on Health care reform:
Rev. Jim Wallis Statement:
In his speech this evening, President Barack Obama made the commitments that a broad coalition in the faith community had asked for - reform as a moral issue, affordable coverage for all, and no federal funding of abortion.
First, the faith community has asked the President to make "the moral case” for health care reform; not just the policy arguments - and tonight he couldn't have been clearer about the moral imperative for fixing a broken system. Quoting a letter from Ted Kennedy stating that health care "is above all a moral issue” the President made the case that our response to this challenge involves "fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."
Second, we have told the White House that the faith community will accept nothing less than accessible, affordable and secure coverage for everyone. Tonight, he said that he "will not back down” until that goal is achieved--and neither will we. He rejected the incremental approaches that will again postpone bringing in everyone to America's health care system and making sure it is working for all of us - and so will we.
Third, we have told the President that we needed to hear a clear commitment that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” and that "federal conscience laws will remain in place.” He gave that public commitment tonight. As the President said, "While there remain some significant details to be ironed out,” his commitment to these principles means we can now work together to make sure that they are consistently and diligently applied to any final health care legislation.
Now it is the job of the faith community and every concerned American to make sure the final bill reflects all these moral principles. And the faith community will continue to be vigilant to ensure that each one is bravely followed throughout the process of achieving health care legislation. The President has now set the stage for finally achieving real solutions to health care reform by defining the deeper moral issues at stake and clarifying the policy debate. We will now be calling on our members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, many of them members of our congregations, to support these moral commitments and to make sure, as they "iron out the details,” that each one is firmly upheld.
Wallis is a leading figure at the crossroads of religion and politics in America today serving as a public theologian, internationally renowned speaker and preacher, and faith-based activist.
Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, and www.GodsPolitics.com.