- Founded in 2009 to advocate on behalf of socialized medicine
- States that “the moral message offered by every American faith tradition” includes “affordable, accessible, inclusive and accountable health care coverage for all”
On April 2, 2009, leaders from a number of leftwing faith-based networks and national chaplaincy organizations convened in Washington, DC to receive a policy briefing from Senator Edward Kennedy’s Chief Advisor on Health Reform. Moreover, they brainstormed about “how religious groups could align to support comprehensive health care reform in a prophetic way.” Out of that meeting, the We Believe Together – Health Care for All (WBT) movement was born. Its purpose was to advocate on behalf of a system of government-run, taxpayer-funded, socialized medicine. According to WBT, “the moral message offered by every American faith tradition” includes “affordable, accessible, inclusive and accountable health care coverage for all.”
During the two months after WBT’s formation, nearly 40 national religious organizations signed on as sponsors of the coalition. These included: the American Association of Pastoral Counselors; the American Muslim Health Professionals; the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education; the Association of Professional Chaplains; B’nai B’rith International; the Buddhist Peace Fellowship; Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; Catholics United; the Center for Community Change; the Center for Immigrant Healthcare Justice; the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; the Disciples Justice Action Network; the Episcopal Church of America; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Faithful Reform in Healthcare; the Gamaliel Foundation; the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church; the HealthCare Chaplaincy; the Hindu Temple Society of North America; the Home Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention; Interfaith Worker Justice; the Islamic Medical Association of North America; the Islamic Society of North America; the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; the National Association of Jewish Chaplains; the National Council of Jewish Women; NETWORK – A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; the Network of Spiritual Progressives; the PICO National Network; the Presbyterian Church (USA); Presbyterian Senior Services; the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; the RESULTS Faith in Action Project; the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; School of the Americas Watch; Sojourners Magazine; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Michael Lerner‘s Tikkun Magazine; the Union for Reform Judaism; the United Church of Christ; the Vesper Society; and Women of Reform Judaism.
WBT adopted, as its statement of principles, a document titled “A Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care,” which was circulated among the religious left in the form of a petition, a copy of which ultimately would be delivered to every member of Congress. This document included the following elements, which essentially amount to principles of socialist redistributionism expressed in the language of Christian charity:
- Inclusive: “In the bonds of our human family, we are created to be equal. We are guided by a divine will to treat each person with dignity and to live together as an inclusive community. Affirming our commitment to the common good, we acknowledge our enduring responsibility to care for one another. As we recognize that society is whole only when we care for the most vulnerable among us, we are led to discern the human right to health care and wholeness. Therefore, we are called to act with compassion by sharing our abundant health care resources with everyone.”
- Affordable: “[W]e understand our responsibility to use our health care resources effectively, to administer them efficiently, and to distribute them with equity.”
- Accessible: “All persons should have access to health services that provide necessary care and contribute to wellness.… We must work together to identify and overcome all barriers to and disparities in such care.”
- Accountable: “Our health care system must be accountable, offering a quality, equitable and sustainable means of keeping us healthy as individuals and as a community.”
To promote its agenda on a mass scale, WBT organized a June 24, 2009 Interfaith Service of Witness and Prayer for Health Care Reform to be held in Washington DC, with smaller, echo events to be held in various locations across the United States. The featured speakers at the DC event included:
- Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.: Forbes is President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation of New York and Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church, where he served as a full-time senior minister from 1989 to 2007. He formerly hosted an Air America Radio show titled _The Time is Now. _In December 2003 he was featured on Bill Moyers’ program Speaking to Power, where, according to WBT, “he [Forbes] shared his prophetic principles.” In 2004 Forbes keynoted most of the “Let Justice Roll” tour sponsored by the National Council of Churches of Christ. In August 2004 he addressed the Democratic National Convention.
- Rabbi David Saperstein: Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
- Dr. Sayyid Syeed, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America.