Clergy activists’ “Love Ambush” a plea to expand access to health care

Clergy from across the state came together for a powerful Valentine’s “Love Ambush” Action & “Where’s the LOVE for health care?” interfaith prayer vigil

Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care, healthcare4every1, and allies in the movement for health care justice descended on the Capitol with a message for Governor Malloy (whose recent State of the State address made no mention of health care despite 2012 being the key year for states to put federal reform in place) “Don’t give all your LOVE to the insurance industry – save some for the the people!”

On Tuesday, February 14th the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care led a “Love Ambush” action & prayer vigil to remind state leaders that this is a crucial year for health care reform and the people of CT are relying on them to get it right. Frustrated by lack attention to the moral and economic crisis that is our broken health care system, the Faith leaders called on Governor Malloy and legislators to address the “Love Deficit” and “Share the Health” with all. They called for more to be done in 2012 to expand access to health care and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.

During a moving, impassioned  vigil outside the SustiNet Cabinet meeting numerous clergy took turns leading prayers. (See below for video of Rev. Victor Gomez’s prayer, interpreted from Spanish into English by Rev. Abraham Hernandez, and check out Rev. Josh Pawelek’s blog story about the action). Clad in red and carrying banners, flowers, streamers, and handmade posters and signs, the Fellowship departed the SustiNet Cabinet meeting and led a “bleeding hearts” procession to the Office of the Governor, where they delivered hundreds of “Valentines.”  These messages of love -many made by church youth groups- called on the governor to do more to address gross inequalities and disparities in health care.

“We are standing here today because we believe in love. We believe all God’s children deserve love. We call on Governor Malloy to remember those who are being shut out, discriminated against, and kept down by the health care system. We call on him to show love for the people of Connecticut; to use his tremendous power to bring healing to the people of Connecticut. Now is the time to for boldness,” said Interfaith Fellowship co-chair Pastor Abraham Hernandez.

Rev. Josh Pawelek called on the governor and SustiNet Cabinet to do more to ensure health care for all. “Any serious health reform plan needs to include a state-sponsored public health care option. Such an option would increase consumer choice and access, control -and even reduce- health care costs,” he said. “Our Valentine’s Day wish? Take the public health care option seriously. It matters to Connecticut’s residents. Show us the love, Gov.!”

“This isn’t just a matter of politics and economics. This is a matter of deeply-held, spiritually grounded, faith-based conviction. As people of faith we are called by the Holy power in our lives to love our neighbors. We are called to work for the health and well-being of our fellow human beings – to be compassionate and caring. We are called, therefore, to work for a just health care system in our state and in our nation,” Pawelek said.