Below is a copy of the letter that I left behind. I tried to strike a chord with Rep. Schmidt's devout Catholicism.
Dear Rep. Schmidt:
Healthcare for all Americans is more than a political quarrel over formulas calculating premiums and deductibles – it is a deeply religious issue.
For Christians, as modern theologian Karl Barth suggests, general world history exists only in relation to the history of Jesus. The ethical implications of this are clear: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus’ reference, here, to the Jewish Shema reinforces the fact that reverence for God is intimately bound up with love of neighbor – the two are, in the strictest sense, inseparable, for humanity is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).
Hence, the question of Healthcare for all Americans strikes at the core of the Christian faith – I would go so far as to suggest: if Christianity fails to work in the worst of places it is unworthy of the best of places. How shall I serve my neighbor, as Paul insists, if my neighbor cannot serve herself? How shall I love my neighbor, if my neighbor is unable to access the basic treatment to maintain adequate mental and physical health? How shall I love God and love others, if I, myself, am suffering from debilitating disease?
Without the promise of good health, every other consideration in life disappears. Today, over 45 million Americans remain uninsured – drifting, helplessly, on the waves of medical uncertainty. No one should have to earn the right to a healthy life.
You have been tasked with the overwhelming burden of bending the long arc of the universe towards justice. Currently, both political parties find themselves embroiled in petty bickering over minor clauses that fuel unproductive ideological warfare. As a person of courageous faith, I ask humbly that you live up to the life and words of Jesus – that you offer each and every American the right and possibility to love God and love one another with heart, soul and mind – healthy, and intact.
Student, Harvard Divinity School
Most disconcerting was the fact that Fox News was blaring on the office television monitor. Shouldn't politicians be in the business of independent opinion-making?
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