Yesterday I joined with several local clergy to lobby our legislators on behalf of the 150,000 children in Missouri living without health care coverage.
We came prepared with our "Testimony to our Legislators," signed by seven of us from the Jefferson City Clergy for Justice (and yes, I realize I'm not a member of the clergy. They let me play because I like justice and am in seminary.).
It starts by saying: "As people of faith, we believe that Missouri's budget is a moral document which should reflect our deepest values: compassion and justice. Compassion and justice — the core values of each of our faith traditions and of our state, whose Seal and Capitol declare: 'let the welfare of the people be the supreme law."
We appealed because we've seen that food pantries can't find enough food to meet the growing needs and because hospital emergency rooms are loosing millions in charity care; because we believe that regardless of where one falls on the political divide, that children ALWAYS deserve the best -- and that includes having access to a doctor when they are sick.
We asked that our legislators translate compassionate concern into fair and equitable public policy -- and outlined s few specific ways they could accomplish that.
And I must admit that overall, it was a frustrating experience. I left feeling talked at rather than listened to. Our representative is a dedicated Catholic who says he prays before "pushing the button."
And yet, I was left with the impression that the Capitol steps were more important than the 10 people who die each week due to lack of health care coverage.
We let our legislators know that we are praying for them as they make decisions. And we assured them that we will be back.
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