Faith Leaders from across NH call on Senator Judd Gregg
to support discussion and a final vote on Healthcare Reform
Concord, NH- Fifteen New Hampshire religious leaders met this morning with Senator Judd Gregg’s staff to express concern about his Saturday vote against allowing open discussion on healthcare reform and to ask that he not participate further in vote-blocking strategies in the coming weeks.
“It is because of our belief that all human life is sacred we are morally compelled to work for equal and universal access to health care, and thus to encourage our elected leaders to discuss and vote on critically needed healthcare reform openly and without obstruction,” stated the Reverend Susan Langle, pastor of the Trinity Episcopal Church of Claremont.
The fifteen rabbis, priests and pastors that attended the Monday morning meeting represented ten faith traditions. They presented Senator Gregg’s Staff with a letter from 30 faith leaders representing 17 towns and cities from across the state. The group of faith leaders traveled from Charlestown, Claremont, Keene, Hanover, Nashua, Goffstown, Meriden, Manchester, Claremont, Madbury, Dover, Lebanon, Hopkinton, Exeter, Londonderry, New London and Concord.
Signatories of the letter included faith leaders from The Methodist Church, The United Church of Christ, The Congregational Church, The Episcopal Church, The Unitarian Universalist Church, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, The First Baptist Church, the Religious Society of Friends and a Roman Catholic Chaplain.
The clergy ended the meeting by requesting that Senator Gregg send them a written response to their concerns. The clergy said that vote-blocking strategies such as filibusters and votes against ending debate stand in the way of the democratic process.
After the meeting the Reverend John Gregory Davis, pastor of the Meriden Congregational United Church of Christ, stated, “Members of our churches and synagogues and families in the communities we serve are going without needed medical care and medicine, and are facing the loss of their homes and economic security.”
“We call on Senator Gregg to support open discussion on healthcare reform and to not participate further in any vote-blocking strategies that will continue to put our communities and families at risk,” he added.
Senator Gregg’s staff assured the group that the Senator would not change his position and that he would get back to the group on whether or not the Senator would continue to block a final vote on healthcare reform.
A letter from the clergy to Senator Gregg follows.
Letter to Senator Gregg from NH Faith Leaders
November 23rd, 2009
Dear Senator Judd Gregg,
We are leaders in religious communities across the state of New Hampshire: rabbis, priests and pastors. While we represent diverse communities, our religious faith and moral values compel us to advocate for health care reform.
As religious leaders, we affirm that all human life is sacred. We affirm our moral obligation to provide for the basic needs of all people, including food, clothing, shelter, legal protection and medical care. We affirm the equal, just and impartial treatment of all people.
We have heard from the employed and unemployed alike who are burdened by the present failing state of health care in our nation. As religious leaders, we recognize that we are all morally bound to work for equal access to health care. We encourage our elected leaders to discuss and vote on this important case openly and without obstruction.
Therefore, we respectfully express our deep concern about your vote to prevent open discussion on healthcare reform in the United States Senate, on Saturday, November 21st. We ask you to give us your assurance that you will not participate further in any filibuster or vote-blocking strategy concerning healthcare reform. We ask that you allow open debate and a vote on healthcare reform in the United States Senate.
Rev. Jane Thickstun
Keene Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. John Blackadar
Concord United Methodist Church
Rev. Susan Grant Rosen
Charlestown Congregational Church
Rev. Guy Collins
Hanover St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Rev. Gwen Purushotham
Nashua Main Street United Methodist Church
Rev. Jason Wells
Concord Grace Episcopal Church
Rabbi Richard Klein
Concord Temple Beth Jacob
Rev. John Gregory Davis
Meriden Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev. Bill Exner
Goffstown Episcopal Church
Rev. We Chang
Manchester First United Methodist Church
Rev. Mark Ferrin
Keene First Baptist Church
Rev. Susan Langle
Claremont Trinity Episcopal Church
Rev. Norman MacLeod
Keene St. James Episcopal Church
Rev. Marthe Dyner
Charlestown St. Luke Episcopal Church and
West Claremont Union Episcopal Church
Rev. Maren Tirabassi
Madbury Union Congregational
United Church of Christ
Rev. Gordon Ellis
Keene United Church of Christ
Rabbi Larry Karol
Dover Temple Israel
Rev. Susan Garrity
Dover St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Rev. Mark Monson Alley
Dover St. John's Methodist Church
Rev. Yong Kim
Nashua Arlington Street
United Methodist Church
Rev. David Robins
Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church
Rabbi Jon Spira-Savett
Nashua Temple Beth Abraham
Dr. Julian Olivier
Chaplain, Dover Wentworth Douglass Hospital
Rev. Louise Bastille
Lebanon First Congregational Church
Rev. Gordon Crouch
Hopkinton United Church of Christ
Rev. Kendra Ford
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter
Rev. Cynthia Batten
United Church of Christ, Londonderry
Rev. Les Norman
United Church of Christ, New London
Religious Society of Friends, Keene