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Rev. William Barber II, Interfaith Clergy Gather with Coffins, Urge Senate to Vote “No” on Health Care Bill


July 27, 2017


Michelle Nealy, (202) 735-7123, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org

Greg Williams, (443) 854-1405, gwilliams@faithinpubliclife.org

Rev. William Barber II, Interfaith Clergy Gather with Coffins, Urge Senate to Vote “No” on Health Care Repeal

Washington, DC —  Interfaith clergy rallied outside the U.S. Capitol today with coffins to symbolize those who could die because of immoral health care repeal bills currently under consideration in the Senate.

These diverse clergy are also now holding a silent protest inside the Senate Gallery to be the “eyes of God” watching Senators choose whether to take health insurance away from millions of Americans.

This action follows the arrest of 31 courageous clergy, doctors and impacted persons who yelled, “Kill the bill, don’t kill us,” in the Senate Gallery during Tuesday’s procedural vote on health care repeal.

The following statements are from clergy leaders of today’s actions. You can watch a livestream here.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President and Senior Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach; Architect of the “Moral Mondays” Movement; Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church:

“Jesus believed in universal health care – everywhere he went he healed everyone. In Jeremiah 22 it says: ‘tell the leaders to attend to matters of justice … and stop murdering people.’ We stand on solid theological and biblical ground that we are supposed to tell leaders to do what is right. And what is being done to try to undo health care is a sin. It is wrong. It is mean.”

Pastor James Brigman, who walked from North Carolina to the Capitol to stand for his daughter Lauren Faith and for all children with special healthcare needs:

“We’re called as Christians – we are all called and given by God the commandment to love one another. It has no religious preferences: it has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican. This is about children, it’s about people.”

Rabbi Alana Suskin, Americans for Peace Now:

“Two days ago, I was arrested in the Senate Gallery, together with dozens of other people: clergy of all faiths, physicians, grieving mothers, and many more American citizens. I was in the Senate Gallery that day because, as a rabbi and as a Jew, I am obligated to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I came to the Senate to tell them that it is a moral and religious obligation for our society to care for the sick. Today, once again, speaking with one voice, we implore Senators to oppose any efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Director, Ecumenical Poverty Initiative:

“The Senate’s determination to vote on various versions of a mystery health care bill is irresponsible, haphazard, reckless, unjust and just plain wrong. It amounts to moral malpractice and the most dangerous kind of political posturing — the kind that is willing to risk other people’s lives for the sake of their own selfish ambition. We strongly urge Senators to vote NO on any health care bill that jeopardizes the lives of millions of Americans simply to claim a win. People’s lives are worth more than this, and we expect the Senate to offer the American people, God’s people, more than this.”  

Rev. Alyssa Aldape, Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC:

“We oppose this bill because we take seriously Scripture’s calls to love our neighbor as ourself and to provide healing and justice for all God’s children – especially those who are marginalized and oppressed. All of God’s children deserve health coverage. Not just rich children – all of God’s children. Not just able bodied children – all of God’s children. I want Congress to know that as they repeal health care they repeal the opportunity of life for the poor, the sick, the hungry.”


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