KeepHealthCare.ORG – Local religious talk about the responsibility of health care in the U.S. | Local
At a time when health insurance is difficult to get and medical costs keep rising, area religious leaders gathered at Sinai Synagogue for a panel Sunday afternoon to discuss health care.
“Health care is an important issue and the discussion has become totally toxic,” said Elliot Rosen, a member of Sinai Synagogue, who arranged a panel.
“I was really thinking we need to reinitiate the discussion for health care in this country and from my experience in working as a scientist that writes grants and proposals, the first place you start with a proposal is what are your goals and objectives…I thought it would be valuable, since we all play lip service to religious traditions, to have leaders from different traditions and see what our faith informs them on the issue. Is everybody entitled to health care?”
The panel consisting of Pastor Rick Jackson, Olivet AME Church; Imam Mohammad Sirajuddin, Islamic Society of Michiana; Rabbi Michael Friedland, Sinai Synagogue; Father Fidelis Olokunboro, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, and the Rev. James Miller, Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, all came to the same consensus that people have a responsibility as individuals to keep themselves healthy and as a community to make sure that everyone has equal access to health care.
“What I thought was interesting was that both the claim that people have a personal responsibility for their own health, which was stated pretty emphatically by everybody, plus the community has a responsibility to provide environments and mechanisms that people can have health care,” Rosen said. “So it’s not only an individual responsibility for one’s own health, but in collections of individuals in their communities in terms of making sure that people can get access to health care.”
During the forum, Jackson spoke on the value of life.
“We only get one on this earth,” he said. “If we don’t hold it in high regard, especially when it comes to our neighbor or at least being in a place where someone is taking care of them, watching out for them, then we have lost our compassion for one another and the value of life starts to diminish.”
As the forum ended, Miller, who earlier stated his delegation passed a call for universal health care several years ago, encouraged people to become politically active.
“We live in an environment politically where health care is being taken away from some individuals that had it available to them before,” he says. “And as people of faith, we ought to be politically involved and our voice should be heard to speak up for access to health care. It’s more than theology. Our theology, if it means anything, has to impact its society and the politics that exist in the world today.”