STAMFORD – Armed with adorations and candlelight, more than 500 people of faith gathered in front of Independent U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s condo Sunday night to show their disgust with his recent vow to support a Republican filibuster on health care legislation.
Lieberman has threatened to obstruct health care reform if the legislation contains a public health insurance option, words some local clergy and politicans refuse to accept.
“In reforming this system we need to make health care as universally available as possible,” said Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy.
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs of Congregation Beth El in West Hartford, said health care is a right, not a privilege, said Lieberman’s stance is “unconscionable.”
The demonstration, organized by the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care, began at Stamford High School (Lieberman’s alma mater), where participants of all different faiths from across the state hand wrote prayers they wanted the senator to read, and, with candles, marched to his condominium across the street.
Before progressing to Lieberman’s home, Rabbi Ron Fish, of Congregation Beth El in Norwalk, explained why he was so outraged by Lieberman.
“I feel passionately about the subject of health care,” he said. “I’ve avoided entering too closely into the conversation because I fear that when we clergy speak in political terms, we quite often do a disservice to politics and religion. But when Senator Lieberman spoke about his conscience impelling him to stop even a vote on this…crucial instance of hope, my conscience could not allow me to be silent.”
Fish then read a letter to the crowd that has been signed by 60 members of the Concerned Clergy of Connecticut.
Fish said in his letter that no matter which sacred text one reads, people of all creeds can agree on one thing – that caring for the sick is God’s commandment, and that health care shouldn’t bring a family to financial ruin.
Once the mass congregated outside Lieberman’s home, clergy took turns praying into a megaphone that the senator would have a change of heart. Residents of the Hayes House, where Lieberman resides, stood on their patios to watch the vigil, including one woman who joined in by holding a candle toward the crowd.
“We come today demanding there be justice. Let justice rain down like an unstoppable stream; health care for black, for white, health care for Latino, health care for all,” prayed Rev. Scott Marks, of New Growth Praise Center in New Haven.
After the prayers, clergy submitted the basketful of handwritten prayers to a resident of the complex, who accepted them on Lieberman’s behalf.
As the crowd, which blocked Strawberry Avenue for more than 30 minutes, departed, they chanted, “We’ll be back, we’ll be back.”
Pastor Abraham Hernandez, co-chair of the interfaith fellowship, said he’s hopeful that the demonstration sent a message. “We hope that by praying here tonight Senator Lieberman will hear the desperate need for quality, affordable health care and that he will not turn his back on the people who want him to provide a public option.”
*Read more about this story on CT News Junkie.
Do you think health care is a right, or a privilege? Leave a comment below.