Thursday, January 20, 2011

Health Care and Gun Control: Some Source Material from the Rabbinical Assembly

Health Care and Gun Control are in the news this week, the former because Congress voted on Wed. to repeal the plan passed last year and the latter in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.

In the interest of generating light rather than heat, I present here all the pertinent statements that have come from the Rabbinical Assembly on these topics, without editorial comment. The purpose is not to join a debate, but to explore what Judaism has to teach us. No doubt there are contrasting and nuanced views, but this material can help you to understand the basics. As the sages used to say, "Tze U'lemad," "Go and learn."

Health Care

The Rabbinical Assembly has articulated its position over the past several decades for accessible and affordable health care for Americans.

In 1998, the Committee for Jewish Law amd Standards passed a teshvua (responsum) entitled, "Responsibilities for the Provisions of Health Care," by Elliot Dorff and Aaron Mackler, outlining our halakhic responsibilities for health care in our community.

In 2008, the RA passed a resolution affirming support for affordable and accessible health care.

Last spring, the US Congress passed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act". Yesterday, the US House of Representatives, voted to enact H.R. 2, entitled, "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act", a measure to repeal the health care law.

Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, said there are no plans to introduce this into the Senate and repeal would require a vote of both Houses. President Obama also indicated that he will veto any such measure if passed. As a member of the Faithful Healthcare Reform Coalition, the RA has signed onto this letter which also articulates the vision statement of the Coalition. The RA stands for accessible and affordable health care for all Americans.

Gun Control

As a member of Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence coalition, a diverse coalition of national faith organizations united to confront America's gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire, the R.A. supports the bill that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced into the House earlier this week to ban high capacity ammunition like the one used in the Tucson shootings. In 1995, the Rabbinical Assembly went on record in support of gun control by passing a resolutiuon and reaffirmed its support with the Coalition this past fall. You can read an extensive selection of material from the Reform Movement's Religious Action Center on this topic here.

No comments: