In a bid to caution many mainstream Americans (including Christian ones) from going at each other’s throats on health care, the Kansas Area Bishop for the United Methodist Church felt called to circulate the following statement asking peoples to not use nor misuse the issue of “Health Care” and recent legislation to perpetuate a greater cultural divide.
The Bishop, Scott Jones, emphasized in a church circular that the church has been unified on the matter of health care actually being a human right for a long long time–for centuries–althought, the Church had made this specifically clear in 1999.
Read the full statement circulated in churches last weekend (below).
Kansas Area Bishop Scott Jones released the following statement March 22, 2010 regarding the United Methodist Church’s role in the passage of health care reform over the weekend. Please feel free to share these remarks.
Bishop Scott Jones’ statement:
The United Methodist Church has had a concern for health care for more than 250 years. We have founded medical clinics, hospitals and medical schools. We have delivered health care to the poor. We have a long history of advocating for public health practices such as reducing use of tobacco and alcohol. We believe that God seeks the best for all people, including their health.
Many current health care issues are complicated, and yet we have a consistent position seeking care for all. The Social Principles urges all persons to pursue a healthy lifestyle. It also says that “Health care is a basic human right” and “We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.” In 2008 the General Conference adopted Resolution 3201 “Health Care for All in the United States”
Based on this resolution, the General Board of Church and Society worked for health care reform without endorsing any particular bill. I believe that the General Board worked for the principles contained in our church’s teaching.
Many faithful and loyal United Methodists disagree with this particular legislation. While believing that health care for all is important, they think there are better ways of achieving that important goal than the ones contained in this legislation. Some of our United Methodist members of Congress voted against this legislation while others voted for it. It is quite appropriate that we have a diversity of opinion about the best ways to achieve a better society for all God’s children. Two related issues are important here.
One should remember that George W. Bush, George McGovern, Robert Dole and Hillary Clinton have all been faithful United Methodist Christians who served their country in the political arena. At various times, different parts of our church have been angry with different ones of these persons, but I am proud to serve a church that includes such great leaders as these.
Second, we are people of the extreme center who should resist polarizing and demonizing influences in our culture. We should be talking about issues faithfully and carefully with mutual respect for those who disagree with us. God expects us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and the way we carry out our political activities should reflect that kind of love for all.