It's fitting that at a Churchwide Assembly with the theme "For the Healing of the World," a social statement on health care — four years in development — should garner nearly unanimous support. The ELCA's eighth social statement was adopted 935-34.
Presenting Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor, Herbert Anderson, chair of the 20-member task force that wrote the statement, said: "Too many people today in this society continue to suffer and die due to the lack of adequate care." He noted that when the 1999 assembly authorized the study, U.S. health care was in crisis. "It's not abated," he added.
Rebecca Larson, executive director of the Division for Church in Society, which develops ELCA social statements, said: "It's our social statements that shape our public speech, that determine our approach to advocacy. They're foundational for how we live our public faith."
Caring for Health addresses four areas of health care: biblical and theological perspectives; issues of access and equity; the church and its affiliated institutions; and the role of congregational ministries.
The document defines health care as a "shared endeavor" in that it requires the commitment of all to the well-being of their neighbors and themselves. It calls all to work for change in a political, economic and cultural environment that is often more adversarial than cooperative. Read the statement at www.elca.org/dcs/healthcare_statement.html
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