In case you missed it, be sure to check out the following new and powerful letter to Gov. Cooper, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore that was put together by the North Carolina Council of Churches and signed by a diverse array of faith leaders from across the state.
The letter calls for state action on Medicaid expansion, public school funding, broadband access, and criminal justice reform and highlights the direct impact each of these issues bears to questions of racial equity.
Dear Governor Cooper, Representative Moore, and Senator Berger,
We write as denominational leaders of churches across North Carolina and as members of the North Carolina Council of Churches. Know that each of you are in our prayers daily, as are all elected officials with the responsibility of making our municipalities, state, and nation a place of “liberty and justice for all.”
The previous few months have shined a light on important matters for North Carolinians. We’d like to focus on just four: Medicaid expansion, public education funding, broadband access, and criminal justice reform.
Medicaid expansion: It baffles us that N.C. has not accepted the billions of federal dollars that could be flowing into our state, a state filled with citizens who pay their share of federal income taxes. These taxes are being used to fund the 90 percent federal match on Medicaid expansion enrollees for states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Not only does this forfeit money that Washington is trying to send back to North Carolinians who qualify for healthcare coverage under the law of the land, it also leaves nearly half a million of our neighbors without health care coverage. When we consider the positive ripple effect that coverage would have for their communities—dollars out to the clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, providers—it becomes more baffling to us. For people of faith, however, this goes far beyond the economic argument. It is a moral imperative to restore health whenever possible. The numerous stories found in our gospels show that healing does much more than make people well; healing restores people to community. When Jesus healed the 10 lepers they were so excited about returning to their friends and families that only one of them thought to return and thank Jesus first (Luke 17:11-19). Medicaid expansion can restore people to community by making them well again. Perhaps they will even thank you for it.
Public school funding: Across the centuries, education can nearly always trace its roots back to religion, but in this country, Thomas Jefferson had a new idea. He proposed tax supported general education for all citizens (1779). Ten years later, the first public college was founded in N.C., and remains among the best public universities in the nation. Along with faith communities, schools are an anchor institution in many of our towns and neighborhoods. Schools provide a social safety net for the children in these communities, but they cannot do it without resources and without respect.
We need to move from talking about teachers and discipline as the problem in our schools to talking about funding as the problem for our schools. Read more