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By The Skanner News
Published: 05 July 2006

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon is asking volunteers from churches across the state to help gather petition signatures for two health care ballot initiatives for the November election.
The two initiatives would make health care a constitutional right and prescription drugs more widely available. Both initiatives are seeking the qualified number of signatures before the July 7 deadline.
"Many Christians believe that care of mind, body and soul is an essential part of their faith," said Phillip Kennedy-Wong, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon public policy director. "The number of Oregonians without health insurance has risen to over 615,000 in the past four years. Over 100,000 are children."
The board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon hopes that church members' involvement in the two initiatives will help focus attention on the health care crisis in Oregon. The religious community in Massachusetts played a key role in getting its universal health care legislation passed into law this year.
"Many just think of hospitals and social service agencies when discussing the faith community's role in health care," said David Leslie, the organization's executive director. "But the faith community also has an important moral voice to compel people to act in ways that benefit the whole of society."
The Organization will collect petition forms from church volunteers and send them to each initiative's campaigns.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon is a statewide association of 16 Christian denominations including Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies working together to improve the lives of Oregonians through community ministry programs, ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, environmental ministry and public policy advocacy.

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