Northmead Assembly of God Church in Lusaka, Zambia, is just like any other megachurch in the world’s megacities. About 1,500 worshippers gather for each of the two Sunday worship services. The music is emotionally uplifting, and Bishop Joshua Banda’s roaring preaching barely keeps members of the audience in their seats. Frequent amens and hallelujahs compete with the preacher’s increasing excitement. In every way, this is a typical Pentecostal church with a good dose of American influence and African traditional religious fervors.
However, this Pentecostal church also operates the Circle of Hope AIDS clinic. More people come here for HIV testing than to most government-run clinics, according to Banda, a sure sign of trust in this shame-oriented culture.
In the early 1990s, Bishop Banda didn’t think AIDS was an issue for his congregation. He was busy with preaching and evangelizing. According to census data, in 1985 the number of people infected with HIV in Zambia was about 36,000. By 1990, that number had jumped to nearly 300,000, and within five years it had doubled again. The AIDS pandemic threatened Zambia’s future.
Soon Banda was hit hard by the realization that AIDS was in his church. He became particularly aware of the suffering of widow lay leaders, and he realized if Zambia lost its future generations, there would be no church or mission at all. He set about to drastically change the direction of Northmead’s ministry.
Banda mobilized his large congregation’s resources to address this threat. Northmead established an intentional “discipleship” track to provide ministry and training for HIV/AIDS patients, their families, and the whole church. Northmead’s approach was holistic, covering spiritual, social, communal, educational, and medical assistance.
By the grace of our God, you brought life to the earth;
As you healed those in need, you saw each person’s worth.
May we who proclaim you now answer your call
To bring hope and healing — and health care to all.
The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill is the most radical and most disruptive plan to reorder one-sixth of the U.S. economy, in no small part due to the rush to pass something, anything that would fulfill the 7-year Republican promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline this Saturday. On Oct. 1 a new fiscal year starts for the U.S. government, forcing the GOP to start over with the complex budget maneuvering that allows them to pass a bill with only 50 votes in the Senate rather than the 60 that are generally required.
Many on both sides of the aisle decried the Senate Republicans’ lack of transparency in drafting Obamacare replacement proposals — a move that could’ve passed without a single Democrat since it was included in the budget reconciliation process. Now, Republicans — including President Donald Trump — are blaming the loss on that very process.
I’m grateful for the 10 governors — Republican and Democrat — who wrote to senators asking them to reject the so-called “skinny repeal” because of how it would affect their residents.
I’m grateful for the thousands of you who heeded Sojourners’ call and contacted your member of Congress to voice your opposition to any bill that would hurt the poor with devastating cuts to Medicaid.
We’re made in the image
The Message expresses,
The Good News attests
That we’re formed out of sod,
That we’re made every one
For the third week in a row, clergy showed up on Capitol Hill to protest Senate action on health care.
As in past weeks, some were arrested. But on this Tuesday, the group ratcheted up the drama by marching to the Capitol, carrying a cardboard coffin and poster-sized death certificates for those who would lose health insurance.
Senate Republicans narrowly agreed on Tuesday to open debate on a bill to repeal Obamacare, but the party's seven-year effort to roll back Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law still faces significant hurdles.
President Donald Trump pleaded with Senate Republicans on Monday to "do the right thing" on health care and allow debate to begin on a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday on whether to begin debating a health care overhaul, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not specified which version of the bill the senators will vote on.
As people of faith who believe that concern for the health of our fellow children of God is mandated by our Savior Jesus (“I was sick and you took care of me” – Matthew 25:36) this is a time to give thanks to God. We are grateful that wisdom and compassion have, at least temporarily, triumphed over cynicism and greed.
In the United States, the latest setback delivered a major political blow to Trump, who has failed to win any major legislative initiative in the first six months of his presidency.
As Congress returns and as leaders of the Senate and House continue their desperate search for ways to pass their health and budget proposals, I have one simple question for those whose votes will decide these matters: Is this really why you came to Washington, to take health care from the sick and food from the hungry?
1. ICE Officers Instructed to Take Action Against All Undocumented Immigrants, Regardless of Criminal Histories
“Between February and May, the Trump administration arrested, on average, 108 undocumented immigrants a day with no criminal record, an uptick of some 150 percent from the same time period a year ago.”
2. Officials Say the Answer to Chicago’s Violence Is Jobs. But On What Scale?
WBEZ Chicago did the calculation. Here’s how much it would cost in the first year to employ the target group of more than 30,000 people.
3. Liberating Theology from the Intellectual One-Percenters
How can people who do not reside within academia gain access to the treasure trove of knowledge that is Christian theology?
I have spent the majority of my career working for Republican and conservative organizations. Trust me when I say this is not about political party. This is about public service and deeper than that, a heart issue of how we view “entitlements” in this country.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) officially resigned last week, and we should all rejoice in his decision to step down. Over the course of his eight years in Congress, Chaffetz has become everything citizens should be weary of: A politician who is paid $174,000 plus generous benefits, including a health care subsidy, complains about not having enough money, and proposes taxpayers cover more perks.
“This boils down to a choice, a fundamental choice and the choice is this: Do you take a trillion dollars and help the poor and vulnerable and the working class in this country and their health care, subsidized by the federal government, or do you take the trillions of dollars and return it to the wealthy in the country? That’s really the fundamental choice here.” I heard Matthew Dowd say that on This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday. I met Dowd recently. He is a former George W. Bush advisor, and told me he is a Catholic from my home town of Detroit. He is right. These are indeed about basic choices that are not just political but moral ones. It’s time to make some choices.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has decided to put off a planned vote on a health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act until after the July 4 recess, CNN reported on Tuesday. McConnell and other Republican leaders have been pressing to round up enough support for the healthcare legislation, but still appeared to be several votes short.
Editor's Note: On June 21, the day before Senate Republicans released the text of their health care plan, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) spoke at The Summit, Sojourners' annual gathering of faith and justice leaders, about the Christian call to recognize the inherent human dignity in those who would be most affected by drastic health care cuts. At the link is the full text of his remarks, as prepared for delivery.
At The Summit, Sojourners' annual gathering of leaders from across the country, attendees spent Friday morning calling their senators, demanding they vote against the bill — which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to push through next week, before the July 4 recess. Those gathered are calling on their constituents to do the same. Here's how.
Senate leaders on Thursday unveiled a draft of legislation to replace Obamacare, proposing to kill a tax on the wealthy that pays for it and reduce aid to the poor to cut costs.
A seven-year push by U.S. Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and kill the taxes it imposed on the wealthy will reach a critical juncture on Thursday when Senate Republican leaders unveil a draft bill they aim to put to a vote, possibly as early as next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants have worked in secret for weeks on the bill, which is expected to curb Obamacare's expanded Medicaid help for the poor and reshape subsidies to low-income people for private insurance.