Prior to the vote on the health care bill on March 21st, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an inaccurate comment in her closing speech when she implied that the United Methodist Church endorsed the bill that was before the House of Representatives. As district lay leader, I do not speak for the church, but would like to clarify the position of the United Methodist Church on health care.
Within the church, health care has been a major topic of conversation for several years. Bishop James Dorff of the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church said, "Christians and United Methodists will always be concerned about health care. We shall be concerned about availability, affordability, and quality. The Biblical witness requires no less. The conversation occurs regarding the specifics in addressing these concerns." That is to say that we regard health care as an important topic to be discussed, but as to HOW these issues are remedied is up for debate.
As further evidence that the United Methodist Church has not taken a position on the bill, only the General Conference speaks for the church. The General conference has not met since May 2008. And, since the bill before the House was not in existence at that time, it would have been impossible for the church to endorse the bill. The conference did, however, endorse health care reform, in general, through resolution 3201 in the 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline. United Methodists are engaged in the debate, and will probably always disagree on the particular path to implementation. But, we should all agree on the goals.
Let me end this by again quoting Bishop Dorff, "As we move forward, I pray that our discourse will be reasonable, thoughtful, Christ-like, and faithful. May we be respectful of those with whom we disagree. May we not allow our disagreements to overshadow our goals. May we not allow a mistaken inference to deter us from seeking together the abundant life God wills for us all."