Religious leaders call on Congress to lead response to global pandemic
Right now, the commandments to love your neighbor and care for the sick mean protecting each other from COVID-19 with masks, vaccines and facts.
But since no Christian, church, or nonprofit organization can solve a global problem through individual action alone, these core beliefs also lead us to call on Congress and the President to use reconciliation. budget to fund vaccines for the rest of the world – a measure that will help our American neighbors as well as the world’s poor.
As reported on Friday, the Biden administration’s plan to purchase millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine for global distribution is certainly an important step in the fight against COVID-19, but more action is needed to prevent the formation of new variants. Democrats on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by the Senator. Patty murrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn Murray Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who back the .5T spending plan Support budget resolution to ensure essential investment in child care Senate Democrats are trying to defuse the GOP PLUS budget drama (D-Wash.), Must take the lead.
In mid-June, vaccination rates skyrocketed, cases fell and Americans got a tantalizing taste of post-pandemic life. This was, of course, tragically short-lived thanks to the delta variant. The new mutation has spread faster than we thought possible thanks to deadly anti-vaccine misinformation, loosened security measures and premature victory rounds from reckless lawmakers like Govs. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDemocrats look at vaccination mandates before midterm The California dream has not come true for Republicans. Florida landlord requires proof of tenant vaccination PLUS (R-Fla.) And Greg AbbottGreg AbbottFaith leaders call on Congress to lead global pandemic response (R-Texas).
As a result of this inaction, more than 1,000 Americans are still dying every day, and our children are hospitalized with COVID-19 in record rate. Racial and income disparities also persist. The delta variant harms everyone, but no one more than poor and marginalized communities.
Delta has laid bare what health experts have warned against for months: A global pandemic requires a global response, a single Congress can initiate, contain and ultimately eradicate the virus. Whatever measures we take at home, a lack of vaccines in low income countries will always allow new deadly variants to form, to cross seas and to ravage our own shores, businesses and families.
There is a shortage of vaccines overseas, concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. More than half of all American adults over 18 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, yet in South America and Asia, this figure is barely a third. In Africa, where 1.3 billion people live, less than 6 percent of adults are even partially vaccinated.
Worse yet, this scarcity is largely artificial, born of bureaucratic bureaucracy, outside of corporate interests, and a lack of urgency by countries blessed with plenty. It is true that President BidenJoe BidenSunday Shows Sneak Peek: Coronavirus Dominates As Country Battles Delta Variant Has President Biden instituted a vaccine mandate for only half of the country’s teachers? Democrats look at vaccine mandates ahead of midterm MORE has pledged to donate hundreds of millions of doses of US vaccines, a laudable and important milestone – and yet that amount is only a fraction of the world’s needs.
Fortunately, the United States does not have to give up more of its own vaccines to help the world. That’s where Murray and the HELP committee come in. Whatever it takes to increase the production and distribution of the 8 billion global vaccines that experts say we need $ 34 billion, a drop in the ocean compared to what we have already spent to fight the pandemic.
Failure to tackle the global spread of COVID-19 variants in this way would not only be an economic or public health failure, but also a moral failure. Communities of all faiths are implored by our scriptures and traditions to care for the sick and vulnerable, to love their neighbor, and to honor and respect all of God’s creations.
As Christians in particular, we follow a healer savior who has spent his life dwelling with the poor, who has never turned his back on any disease, and who has commanded us to love each other as he loved. Of Pope FrancisPape Francis The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by National Industries for the Blind – What do Manchin and Sinema want? Pope Francis defies vaccine skeptics Pope on Biden Communion debate: Bishops shouldn’t ‘condemn’ MORE in Franklin Graham, religious leaders of almost every tradition have spoken out in favor of vaccines.
Yet there is only one Jesus. The rest of us cannot heal the sick or prevent disease by simply blowing the wind of God on the virus and declaring it destroyed. What we can do is ask the HELP committee to include $ 34 billion in funding in the budget reconciliation bill to dramatically speed up production of COVID-19 vaccines for global distribution.
This is exactly what members of Faithful America, the grassroots Christian organization I work for, do by sending over 8,000 messages to committee members and Biden urging the adoption of this life-saving measure.
Faithful America’s request echoes similar messages from Partners in Health, Oxfam, Public Citizen and dozens of prominent deans and professors at schools of public health. It is an urgent request grounded in science, but also rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and his teachings of love and the common good.
Reverend Nathan Empsall is Executive Director of Faithful America, as well as an Episcopal Priest. He holds a master’s degree in environmental management and a master’s degree in divinity from Yale University.