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United Rejects Religious Discrimination in Health Care

On January 18, 2018, the Trump Administration announced the creation of a “civil rights” division within the Department of Health and Human Services that would allow health workers to discriminate against patients and clients by refusing care on religious grounds. United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities declares this policy as sacrilegious, a perversion of civil rights, and un-American. We call for its immediate reversal.

United is a seminary that promotes ecumenical, interreligious, and intercultural caring in the tradition of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  In this parable, Jesus tells the lawyer that the path to salvation is exemplified by the Samaritan aiding the injured man on the road.  According to Luke 10:25-37, the Samaritan did not withhold care for any reason, even though religious and cultural differences may have existed.  We commit to teaching our chaplaincy students what Jesus taught the lawyer -- that empathy and compassion is a divine path and that religious discrimination against ailing and vulnerable people is sinful.

The Trump Administration, in calling religious discrimination against sick people a “civil right,” perverts the history of the evolution of personhood in the U.S., and twists the intentions of decades of civil rights activism, Constitutional amendments, and legislation.  We commit to teaching our chaplaincy students what Jesus taught about justice through his encounter with the polytheistic Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28.  In this passage, Jesus ultimately offered radical generosity to this woman and her daughter, despite their religious differences, because empathy and compassion, according to Jesus, supersedes laws intended to hurt people.

United calls on those who love life to resist dehumanization in all forms and especially in places of healing.  We ask you to join us in this call by advocating for, being present with, and offering care to those in need of health care.

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