The Common Good

Health Care and Bipartisanship in the Balance

Sojomail - February 25, 2010



QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The American people and the governing class have accepted that war has become a permanent condition. Protracted war has become a widely accepted part of our politics.

- Andrew Bacevich, retired Army Col. (and now history professor at Boston University) whose son was killed in Iraq in 2007, on how eight years of war have affected American foreign policy. (Source: The Washington Post)

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" - our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail

Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

Health Care and Bipartisanship in the Balance

Get a free trial issue of Sojourners Get a free issue of Sojourners
Donate to Support Sojourners
Donate to support
Sojourners

Yesterday, the Senate passed a jobs bill by a 70-28 vote, showing that even in today’s polarized political climate, bipartisan solutions to the major problems facing the country are still possible.

Today, President Obama hosts a summit on health-care reform with the bipartisan Congressional leadership. Can we hope for the same result? The indications are, probably not. While there are real ideological and policy differences, the bottom line, as some commentators have noted, is that the president and Democrats want a bill to pass, and Republicans don’t.

In the Senate bill that is the basis of the president’s proposal, Democrats have made major concessions. Any semblance of a public option has disappeared, and extended coverage is through private insurance companies. Rather than offering universal coverage, the bill would extend health insurance to 31 million more people; however, 15 million would still not be covered, including undocumented immigrants. Even so, Republican senators maintained their stone wall of opposition, with none voting for the bill.

Democrats could make further compromises -- reform of the malpractice system, for example -- that go against their special interests. But without a guarantee that this would result in Republican votes, there is no incentive to do so. With the mid-term elections approaching, the political reality is that not passing any health-care bill benefits Republicans.

It’s simply the latest example of our badly broken political system. What will win the next election is more important than what policy changes will benefit the country and most Americans.

As the health-care debate enters this final state, Sojourners and I joined with 25 other religious leaders and 57 national organizations in signing a letter delivered to the president and Congress, and an ad in several newspapers read widely on Capitol Hill. In the open letter, we said:

We write to you at this critical juncture to urge you to complete the task at hand on behalf of the millions who are left out and left behind in our current health-care system ... We know that no comprehensive health-care reform bill will be perfect. (Indeed, if any piece of legislation ever fulfills our full vision, our vision is far too small.) However, we also know -- as providers and consumers of services and care -- that inaction at this critical moment is no way forward ... Let us not delay health-care justice any longer. This is your moment for political courage, vision, leadership, and faith. We urge you to take heart and move meaningful health-care reform forward.

In the next days, we must be clear on this one simple message. Inaction on health care is not an option; too many lives depend on it.

+Take action to demand health-care reform today

E-mail E-mail this article to friends
Facebook Share this article on Facebook
Comment Comment on this article on the God's Politics Blog


INSIDE SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

Immigration Reform

As we move forward into a period of legislative debate about comprehensive immigration reform, let us remember that we are, first and foremost, talking about people whose lives will be profoundly impacted by changes to our immigration system. Read our collection of essays on the need for immigration reform, and watch this video of a family struggling with the prospective deportation of their son John to a country he’s never known.

100225-facing-deportation-video



BUILDING A MOVEMENT

March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith

On March 21, join with people from faith communities across the country in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Be a witness for a just and humane immigration system by coming to Washington, D.C. for March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith.

The U.S. immigration system is broken: families are separated, immigrants are racially profiled, legal entry is backlogged -- the symptoms are many. It’s time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform!

Check out our Web site and sign up to get involved!



ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Afghanistan: War is Still Hell
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

As the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan nears 1,000, and as civilian casualties continue to mount during the latest offensive, it's hard to know how to offer fresh commentary on the war in Afghanistan. And yet we can't remain silent.
+ Click to continue

If the Tea Party Movement were consistent, it would tackle defense spending.
by Bryan Farrell

I won't argue that excessive government spending isn't a legitimate gripe, but to mainly attack social programs and not the defense budget is rather inconsistent. A recent article by the vice president of the CATO Institute, of all things, pointed out this flaw...
+ Click to continue

Change Your Pew, Change Your Perspective
by Genikwa Williams

Do you have a favorite spot to sit in church? Are you upset when you can't sit in "your" seat? I encourage you to break that tradition. It may seem like a simple thing, but I've discovered that it's often the simple things that lead to my most profound moments of growth as a person -- as a Christian.
+ Click to continue

Six Principles for How to Handle Critics
by Eugene Cho

Everyone needs feedback and critics. They humble us, sharpen us, and occasionally, rebuke us ... and sometimes, give us a good laugh.
+ Click to continue

Health-Care Polls, Good Will, and the Golden Rule
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

In advance of President Obama's health-care reform summit, for example, at least one Republican Congress member is saying that the American people oppose the president's health-care reform proposal. He is correct. A recent Rasmussen poll reports that 56% of its respondents strongly oppose President Obama's health-care reform. However, what the Congress member does not say is that in polls where the respondents are told what the elements of the bill are, they approve of the various elements, and support for the bill goes up.
+ Click to continue

Haiti: Rebuilding in the Midst of New Earthquake Scares
by John Engle

I'm just posting this after a huge earthquake scare. Our house shook again like crazy about at about 1:26 a.m. Tuesday, screams came from our neighborhood, sirens went off in Port au Prince ... ugh.
+ Click to continue

Professional Women and Impostor Syndrome
by Julie Clawson

I knew I was dreaming when Michelle Obama sat down across from me. I was wearing a formal dress sitting on one of the tall bar stools at our local pub, in the quiet back corner near the dartboard.
+ Click to continue

Healing Presence
by Lynne Hybels

During the past two years, I've traveled internationally quite extensively, focused on issues related to extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, and war. I met many heroes, men, and women serving sacrificially on behalf of people who are suffering. I was inspired by these heroes, but undone and drained by the amount of suffering I saw. As 2009 came to a close, I knew I had to take a break from the pain.
+ Click to continue

Christian Heroes in Black History
by Edward Gilbreath

As far as African American history books go, Heroes in Black History is unique. First of all, it was written by a white couple whose passion for their subject matter leaps off the page. Second, the book places the spiritual lives of its subjects front and center and shows how vital their Christian faith was to their historic accomplishments.
+ Click to continue

Palestinian Christians, Israeli Allies, and Nonviolent Resistance
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

National Catholic Reporter has an important article about the Kairos Palestine Document endorsed last month by the leaders of 13 Christian communities in the Palestinian territories. The article raises several key realities that subvert common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict...
+ Click to continue

Is Christianity a Straitjacket?
by Kathy Khang

I'm much better at telling another Christian about what I believe than I am at sharing about my faith with someone outside of my faith. I have often forgotten how to live out the love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy God poured out on me. Dare I say we have forgotten?
+ Click to continue

A Profound Choice for Israel and the World's Jews
by Jeremy Ben-Ami

This week's spat between the Ministry and our delegation deepens concerns about the increasing inability of some in Israel and in the U.S. to distinguish between criticism of or disagreement with Israeli policy and outright hostility to the state itself.
+ Click to continue

So Dang Jesus-y: Sara Miles' Jesus Freak
by Becky Garrison

In Mark Oestreicher's review of Sara Miles' latest book Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead he describes Sara as one of those rare people who would make conservatives nervous because of her liberalism, and make liberals nervous because she's so dang Jesus-y.
+ Click to continue

Biden vs. Cheney on Afghanistan, the Unpopularity of Lamentation, and Shutter Island
by Gareth Higgins

The current vice president had the opportunity to set out a genuine alternative to the "war-first, don't-even-ask-the-questions-later" policies that Cheney had pursued; but regrettably, Biden did not. Instead, he actually seemed to play a game of "who has killed the most terrorists?" citing the current "success rates" against the Taliban.
+ Click to continue

African Lent
by LaVonne Neff

Here's an idea for Lent that will do more good than giving up desserts: Read a book about contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It's not a penance, though it can hurt. And seeing how much of the rest of the world lives sure does put a lot of my minor irritations and even major problems in perspective.
+ Click to continue

J Street: Pro-Peace = Pro-Israel
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Thankfully, there are strong, clear Jewish voices in the U.S. and Israel that are offering their own courageous criticisms of policies that are counterproductive for the true peace and security of Israel. One such voice is Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, a relatively new progressive Jewish organization that describes itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement."
+ Click to continue

War is Still Not the Answer -- Even with Better Rules
by Duane Shank

I continue to believe, as Walter Wink wrote, that "Perhaps both just-war theorists and advocates of non-violence can find common ground for attempting to restrain bellicosity in the phrase violence-reduction criteria." One of those criteria is certainly the protection of civilians, and in that light, the change from Fallujah to Marja is a welcome one.
+ Click to continue

The Pope vs. Climate Change Deniers
by John Gehring

While some lawmakers and ideologues blithely challenge the world's leading scientists, along with a growing number of military leaders concerned about this issue as a global security risk, they also part company with the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI.
+ Click to continue

Joseph Stack's Suicidal Terrorism: The Definition of Insanity
by Elizabeth Palmberg

I had thought we'd all agreed that flying airplanes into buildings full of office workers was not a legitimate form of protest, but the Wall Street Journal's headline about Joseph Stack calls him a "tax protester." This rhetorical fig leaf can't cover over one of the many very bad things about terrorism: it makes bad scripts, like flying planes into buildings, prominent in public consciousness, and thus more available to be chosen by unbalanced individuals such as Mr. Stack.
+ Click to continue

Interview with Brian McLaren About 'A New Kind of Christianity' (Part 2)
by Melvin Bray

I'm inviting people to spend some time letting that possibility sink in enough to disturb the assumptions we have inherited about the future. If people can't fathom a future in which God wins over every heart, I don't think I can help them much. I'm concerned about helping people who can't accept that God would destroy good things, including the precious image of God which I believe lies at the heart of all people.
+ Click to continue

Green Jobs and the Pink-Collar Ghetto
by Elizabeth Palmberg

This pink-collar ghetto is no way to build a solid economic future for our families and our country, as the good folks at the Women's Economic Security Campaign, a project of the Women's Funding Network, are pointing out.
+ Click to continue

All Are Equally Called to 'Servant Leadership'
by Mimi Haddad

How many of us feel uneasy when we are told that men, rather than women, are called to be "servant leaders?" Perhaps we are confused by this notion -- that men alone are to be "servant leaders" -- because it contains an important truth though it carries that truth only part of the way.
+ Click to continue

Beyond Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards
by LaToya Brown

As we acknowledge the 34th anniversary of Black History Month, let us not forget why the commemoration was created. Let us continue to move toward a time when all those who contributed to the foundation of this country and world will not be seen as merely bystanders, but as contributors and influential people.
+ Click to continue

Sadness and Hope in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement
by César Baldelomar

Debates about immigration policies and reform continue to rage. Consequently, op-ed pieces, books, and reports on this contentious topic appear daily. These materials focus mostly on the legal and ethical battles surrounding raids on immigrant work places and homes, as well as the treatment of immigrants while in custody and during deportation.
+ Click to continue

Don't Give Anything Up for Lent -- Give Yourself
by Eugene Cho

I don't want to knock those who give stuff up. In fact, I commend you. But I want to know why. In what way does the self-denial of whatever make you more mindful of Christ and His Way? For me, I don't want to think of it as a giving up but rather a season of more deeply 'giving in' or 'giving to'?
+ Click to continue

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail - the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:

Faith leaders pray for immigration reform
The Miami Herald
"Allowing the current status of America's broken immigration system to continue is morally unacceptable, economically unsustainable and politically unconscionable. People of faith want immigration reform enacted into law this year,'' says the Rev. Jennifer Kottler, director of policy and advocacy at Washington, D.C.-based Sojourners, part of a national coalition that launched a reform campaign last week. +Click to continue


The economy’s immoral and people are angry, but then what?
Religion News Service
“We know that something has gone wrong when Donald Trump, the TV reality show `The Apprentice,’ is offered as a cultural role model for a new generation of business leaders,” Wallis writes. Wallis criticizes outrageous executive bonuses and calls for more regulation of the banking industry, but he includes “20 moral exercises” that individuals can take to reset their personal compasses. +Click to continue


How the GFC will change us
CathNews.com

Jim Wallis says the economic crisis is also a values crisis
The Stanford Daily

The Conversation: New Values For A New Economy
KUOW

Finding a New Moral Compass
Fuller SEMI

Bestselling author says ethics, values at stake in current economy
9NEWS.com

Faith Leaders Weigh In Ahead of Health Summit
The Christian Post

This world needs 'Red Letter Christians'
Canadian Christianity

Religion can keep kids from crime
Winnipeg Free Press

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.




Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!






Maryknoll Sisters: Making God's Love Visible. For years, Maryknoll Sisters have worked tirelessly in Third World countries serving the poor and helping those in need. They feed the hungry, educate children of the poor, comfort the sick, and more.

Faith and Finances: Christians and the Economic Crisis. Sojourners’ new discussion guide gives a faithful perspective on money, power, and stewardship. Great for Sunday school classes, small groups, sermon preparation. Download now.

Stickers! Magnets! Buttons! Show your stuff with pithy statements from Sojourners. Order yours today.

Scared of being ‘left behind’? What does Revelation really teach us? Explore this question with Sojourners’ four-part study guide, Christians and the Apocalypse. Use it this Sunday with your small group - available online. Click here.

Wisdom for your commute: Download audio talks by Shane Claiborne, Brian McLaren, Lucy Winkett, and more. Shop the SojoStore.






Click Here!

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net | Advertising: advertising@sojo.net | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.