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Nebraska Clergy Tell Ben Nelson: Back The Health Bill

(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Religious leaders from Sen. Ben Nelson's home state of Nebraska -- including leaders from the United Methodist Church, to which he belongs -- are urging the senator to give up his opposition to the Democrats' health care bill and vote to move it forward.

Nelson is possibly the only Democrat holding up a vote on the bill. He said this week he cannot support the bill primarily because of its abortion language; Nelson was slow to announce his outright opposition because he was waiting to hear anti-abortion rights groups' assessments of the bill.

Now a group of more than two dozen clergy and faith leaders have signed a letter to Nelson, asking him to support the compromise abortion language proposed by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.).

"We believe such a compromise is necessary to avoid an impasse that could threaten the future of one of our nation's most important legislative and moral priorities," they write. The signatories include Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Jewish leaders.

Three of the clergy calling for passage of the health care bill penned an op-ed in the Omaha World-Herald, writing that "providing universal health care access is a moral and spiritual imperative... We turn to U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, knowing he stands with us as a person of faith."

Meanwhile, the United Methodist Church, to which Nelson belongs, sent an e-mail to its Nebraska members asking them urge Nelson to vote for the bill. The e-mail includes a script for members to use in a fax or phone call to the senator which says, "As a fellow United Methodist, I'd like you to know that our denomination's position is that health care is a basic human right."

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