From the Minister, Fri Jul 6

The 2018 General Assembly (Jun 20-24) adopted three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness). Last week I summarized the first: "End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE." The full AIW is HERE.

This week, let me tell you about the second AIW: "Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons For Profit." It notes that "prisons for profit encourage longer terms of imprisonment and maximize profit by minimizing services and rehabilitation," and that many prisons "charge for necessary medical care using private, for-profit medical companies." Prisoners' limited ability to pay "perpetuates illness, debility, insurmountable debt, and chronic poverty. People in prisons are dying every day due to prohibitive medical cost." It is a "a system of oppression that perpetuates and further criminalizes poverty." The Supreme Court has declared these practices unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment (Estelle v. Gamble, 1976), and the practices violate the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners -- yet the practices continue.

The AIW "denounces the predatory practice of charging medical fees to people in prison," and calls on UUs to:
  • Contact Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to sign HB 5104, which is currently on his desk. This bill would end medical fees for people incarcerated in Illinois.
  • Contact Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and state legislators to demand an end to fee-for-service medical care in their states.
  • Publicly oppose the practices of Corizon Health, which profits from privatized health care in Kansas, Missouri, and in twenty other states, as well as Wexford Health, MHM Services Inc. and other companies that supply health care for local, state, and federal prisons and ICE detention facilities.
  • Get more deeply involved in direct service prison ministry through such actions as beginning or joining local prison ministry efforts within your congregation or community organization; networking with others engaged in prison ministry; leading worship or small group ministry within prisons; becoming a pen pal; and welcoming post-incarcerated persons into your congregation.
  • Continue to educate ourselves on the adverse impacts of prison privatization and the many injustices such as a) grossly disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, b) solitary confinement practices, c) prison-based gerrymandering, d) voter disenfranchisement and e) employment discrimination.
Read the full AIW HERE.

Yours in the faith we share,

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: Saving the Many Beings. Mallard appeared in the circle after a trip and asked, "The first of our vows is to save the many beings. You told us that the Sixth Ancestor said this means, 'You save them in your own mind.' Is that all there is to fulfilling this vow?" Raven said, "Completely fulfilled." Mallard said, "But what then?" Raven said, "Not just your skull." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 7

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