News Archives

'Health care for all,' agency executive preaches

3/3/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.

NOTE: This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #113. A head-and-shoulders photograph of the Rev. Jackson Day is available.

A UMNS Report By Jane DuBose* By Jane DuBose*

How often do you hear a sermon on health care? Probably rarely, but congregants at Trinity United Methodist Church in Frederick, Md., heard one of the denomination's executives preach on that issue last November.

Trinity's guest preacher was the Rev. Jackson Day, program director for health and wholeness with the denomination's Board of Church and Society. The board, with offices in Washington, is the church's social action and advocacy agency.

"I don't think you would find a lot of churches doing that, but we operate a counseling center," says the Rev. Harold B. Wright, Trinity's pastor, who asked Day to preach. "We understand that the body, mind and spirit need to be in synch. That's part of our awareness of church and society.

"We understand health care issues are issues for us as people in the church to be dealing with."

Day reminded his listeners that the United Methodist Church regards health care as a right for all people.

"Our Social Principles and resolutions say a number of things about health care, but beneath them all is one common thread: health care for all," he said. "The United Methodist Church states clearly to the Congress and the world, 'Health care is a right.' It should be available universally, and the only entity that can make it available to all persons universally, and be fair in collecting the funds to provide health care to all, is government. But can we deal with that 'G' word?"

Day went on to tell his listeners how they could get around their suspicion of the "G" word.

Other excerpts from his sermon:

"If health care is a right, it is a positive right, because for all of us to have health care protection, each of us will need to give something up in the form of taxes. This is the essence of the arguments for and against. The United Methodist Church says it is a right. Our society says health care is a commodity, like fancy shoes or a kitchen appliance - buy it if you can afford it; otherwise, do without.

"Many of the expensive contradictions in our health care system reflect our society's conflict between our materialistic, consumerist minds, and our God-inspired, faith-based hearts. When God made us, God made us to bear one another's burdens."

Day's complete sermon can be found at

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*DuBose is a free-lance writer residing in Nashville, Tenn.

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