The Religious Left is alive and kicking!
The latest evidence? A group of pastors and priests have launched a national radio ad campaign calling on the government to ensure affordable health care for all.
The ads hit the airwaves today in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nebraska, and they’re set to continue airing on Christian and mainstream radio stations throughout the Memorial Day congressional recess.
The parties involved might not all self-identify as members of the Religious Left, but their rhetoric has distinct echoes of liberation theology’s call to attend to injustice and need in this world, rather than focus on the afterlife.
This morning Rev. Rayfield Burns of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist in Kansas City, Missouri, told reporters:
Jesus was concerned about more than just the souls of men and women — he was concerned about the whole man. We should be concerned, as well…. We don’t have to become victims of bad government. We don’t have to settle for emergency rooms as a means for taking care of our health care needs.
Gordon Brown of PICO said 586 clergy from 42 states and 38 different religious denominations have agreed to preach on health care in their congregations as part of this campaign. A number of imams are involved in the PICO network, which has also worked closely with the Union for Reform Judaism, he said, but this weekend’s ad campaign is Christian-focused.
It’s a bit frustrating how uncontroversial the radio ads are. The sponsoring coalition (composed of the PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life, Faithful America, Sojourners, Gamaliel Foundation, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good) has opted not to weigh in on specific policy debates about public vs. private insurance plans, instead issuing a very general call for “affordability.”
Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see pastors lending their charisma to the fight for universal health care, framing it as an urgent moral issue.