Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Faith Leaders Urge President Trump to Keep Paris Climate Commitments

 May 9, 2017 
President Donald Trump 
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20500 

Dear Mr. President: 

As members of a coalition of diverse faith traditions, we are united across theological lines and called by our commitment to care for all of God’s creation and to stand with vulnerable communities, both across the world as well as right here in the United States. Included in our coalition are many faith organizations that provide direct accompaniment, technical support and post-disaster relief to frontline communities everywhere. These communities daily face the devastating impacts of dramatically changing weather patterns. Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest communities; our faith traditions compel us to bear prophetic witness to their suffering. 

It is in keeping with our deeply held religious values that we write to urge that the United States remains a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement and to fulfill our commitments under that agreement. 
As people of faith, we believe that we have a responsibility to be caretakers of Divine creation - to preserve our ecosystems for future generations and to ensure the human dignity and worth of all people. The ongoing climate crisis places a disproportionate burden on women and children, communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal nations both in the United States and globally. 

Weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and drought can create great instability for individuals, families, and entire nations. It can mean losing their livelihoods, incomes, homes and land. It can also lead to an increase in conflict, hunger, disease, displacement, and human trafficking. 
Many people in the United States live at or below the poverty line, including members of our own congregations. The Paris Agreement is a historic pact that will not only protect vulnerable populations, but benefit the United States’ economy and society. It will reduce carbon emissions, result in long-term energy savings, and foster growth and job creation in the emerging alternative energy market. Efforts to address climate change are, at their core, efforts to protect all of earth’s inhabitants, especially poor and vulnerable communities. 

There are also broad international consequences to exiting the Paris Agreement or failing to meet domestic reduction goals. If the United States withdraws from the agreement or halts all efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we will face diplomatic ramifications that could undercut cooperation on other global efforts that are in the interests of the United States. Exiting the agreement would send the message that the United States cannot be trusted as a leader and partner in global affairs. 

The need for global leadership could not be more urgent. We believe that the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing the environmental challenges which threaten our planet, our security, the health of our families, and the fate of communities throughout the world. 
For these reasons, we join together to urge you, as the President of the United States, to remain in the Paris Agreement and to meet our commitments in that agreement. The Paris Agreement will safeguard God’s creation, protect the vulnerable, address the impacts of climate change and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations. 


American Jewish World Service 
Coalition for the Environment and Jewish Life 
Columbian Center for Advocacy and Outreach 
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces 
Church World Service 
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 
Franciscan Action Network 
Friends Committee on National Legislation 
Interfaith Power & Light 
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns 
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office 
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd 
Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas' Institute Justice Team 
UUSC: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee 
Union for Reform Judaism 
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth 
Unitarian Universalist Association 
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action 

CC: The Honorable Rex Tillerson 
The Honorable Scott Pruitt 
The Honorable Wilbur Roos 
The Honorable Steve Mnuchin 
The Honorable Bob Corker 

The Honorable Ben Cardin 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Join a National Call In Day to Oppose the AHCA

Call 866-426-2631 to make your voice heard.

As introduced, the American Health Care Act would profoundly reduce coverage for millions of Americans—including many low-income and disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid—and increase out-of-pocket costs for the sickest and oldest among us. Recent changes to the AHCA are alarming; these changes include allowing states to waive the requirement for essential health benefits, which could deny patients the care and treatment they need to treat their conditions.

Another change allows states to waive protections against health status rating. Weakening these rules would enable insurers to charge higher prices to people with pre-existing conditions, possibly making insurance unaffordable for those who need it most.

States that waive health status rating protections would be required to set up a high risk sharing program, which may include a high-risk pool. Offering these risk sharing mechanisms as an alternative to affordable health insurance is not a viable option, particularly high-risk pools. Previous state high risk pools resulted in higher premiums, long waiting lists and inadequate coverage.

Weakening protections in favor of high-risk pools would also undermine the ban on discrimination based on health status. The individuals and families we represent cannot go back to a time when people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or forced to choose between purchasing basic necessities and affording their health care coverage. Given these factors, we oppose the latest draft of the AHCA. We urge Members of Congress to reject this legislation.

For more than 60 years, Presbyterian General Assemblies have been calling for reform of the U.S. health system, urging the establishment of a national medical plan that will ensure universal health coverage for all persons residing in the United States. In 1988, the Assembly wrote, “Jesus’ command to love our neighbor requires persons with plentiful health resources both to comprehend the condition of those persons without basic health care and to share the means to health.” In other words, it is our collective responsibility as a community, and as a nation, to make sure that all people have access to the means to good health – that is, access to quality, affordable, comprehensive health coverage. 

Join our National Call-In Day: Call your representative at 866-426-2631 make your voice heard and oppose the cruel new health care bill.

Sample Script:

As a Presbyterian, I urge Representative _____ to vote NO on the American Health Care Act.

1)    The Presbyterian Church has long viewed healthcare as a moral issue

2)    I am are especially concerned with the 880 billion in cuts to Medicaid contained in this bill. If this bill is passed an estimated thousands of people in this district will lose lifesaving Medicaid coverage.

4)    Restructuring Medicaid, a program that covers over 70 million people, and ending the Medicaid expansion will end affordable coverage for millions of low-income Americans – making it even harder for them to put food on the table each day.

I forcefully oppose the AHCA and strongly urge Representative _____ to vote against it.