Faith Leaders Arrested in Senate Building in Opposition to the “Better Care Reconciliation Act”
Washington, DC -- As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prepares to release new health care legislation, a prominent group of faith leaders were arrested today in the Russell Senate Office Building in protest of the sinful and immoral “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” Among the 11 arrested were Reverend Dr. William Barber, Reverend Jennifer Butler, Reverend Traci Blackmon, Reverend Erica Williams and Reverend Robin Tanner.
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President and Senior Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach; Architect of the “Moral Mondays” Movement:
“Taking health care from millions of Americans is not conservative policy but political violence. This proposed tax break for the richest Americans is the most extreme theft from poor and working people since labor of enslaved Africans was stolen to build this country. My Lord turned over the tables when poor people were being exploited in the public square of his day. I have no choice but to nonviolently resist a deconstruction of health care that I know will kill thousands of my neighbors. McConnell has the power to lock us up and he may have the votes to deconstruct the ACA. But I refuse to concede that the richest nation in the history of the world cannot guarantee all of its members access to health care.”
Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life:
“While the Senate debates this immoral bill, I feel God’s call to act. I can’t bring myself to call the bill a health care bill at all. It is a death bill. It robs from the poor to give to those who already have luxuries beyond our imagination. Isaiah 3 asks the question the Lord is having us ask of our Senators today: what do you mean by crushing my people? Well, Senator McConnell? What do you mean by crushing God’s people?”
Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ:
“Any health care reform that denies access to health care coverage for an additional 22 million of the most vulnerable citizens among us is wickedness. Any health care coverage that provides less for the least than it does for the most is wickedness. Any legislation that punishes poverty for the sake of greed is wickedness. We are not here to stand for or against any political party. We are not here to play partisan games with any human life. We are here to stand against the wickedness of this legislation. We are here to decry injustice. We are here to cry aloud for the poor. We are here to remind us of our humanity.”
Todd Parry, kidney transplant recipient:
The Affordable Care Act has guaranteed that I will never be discriminated against because of my disease, but I’m worried about what might happen if some of those protections suddenly go away. Transplants are expensive. And if we return to the days of caps, I’m worried that I would quickly hit one the next time my kidney starts to fail. If Congress strips out financial protections, I could go broke, work the rest of my life without retiring or lose my housing. My journey has been extremely challenging, but it will be harder going forward if Congress rolls back consumer protections. I’d invite any lawmaker to walk a mile in my shoes and see what it’s really like to struggle with a chronic condition.
Maureen Murphy, stroke survivor:
If the Senate passes this health care bill, not only will I lose my access to health care but thanks to the latest version they’re considering, I may not ever be able to get insurance again because I have a pre-existing condition. And I can assure you the consequences for me are quite dire. The American people are not stupid and they are also not callous nor heartless, but most of all, they are not foolish. I just hope the Senate Republicans listen to the people who elected them, not to their leadership, and do the right thing for their neighbors, their friends and most importantly their constituents. For many people, like me, this is about life and death. This is not a joke, this is not a game.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:
“Jewish tradition teaches that all people are endowed by the Holy One with dignity and worth. That is why we fight for affordable health care and why we demand that the Senate protect Medicaid and the nearly 75 million people it serves, primarily low-income Americans, people with disabilities, the elderly, children, and those who need long-term care. The Better Care Reconciliation Act is beyond repair; slight modifications do not stop it from being an unacceptable assault on our country’s most vulnerable communities.”