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Interfaith Efforts to Promote Good Health and Access to Health Care
Ensuring Access to Health Care for AllEnsuring access to health care for all is one of the many ways in which ISNA works to protect dignity and equal rights for all people. In 2009, ISNA issued a position paper in support of health care reform and facilitated the participation of Muslim health professionals in the debate. In 2012, ISNA joined with other religious organizations and coalitions like Faithful Reform in Health Care to call for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In the past, ISNA served as a National Interfaith Advisory Board Member of Cover the Uninsured, an 8-year campaign that elevated the issue of the uninsured on the national agenda. Cover the Insured yielded victories such as the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2009, providing more than 8 million American children with health insurance.
Working to Reduce Smoking NationwideThe Islamic Society of North America works together with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and multiple religious organizations in Faith United Against Tobacco, an initiative to mobilize the faith community to support proven solutions to reduce smoking. Religious leaders have long played a critical role in addressing the nation’s social challenges, especially in protecting children and other vulnerable people. Helping to reduce tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, is a natural extension of these efforts. The faith community can be a powerful force in protecting our children and reducing the terrible toll of tobacco. Activities undertaken by faith leaders include the following:
- In March of 2010, Faith United Against Tobacco participated in Kick Butts Day, a national day of youth standing up and speaking out against Big Tobacco.
- In 2009, Faith United Against Tobacco helped engage local and state faith leaders to support tobacco tax increases and were successful in 15 states. Higher prices on tobacco products means less kids will start using them and more adults will seek to quit.
- On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act. For years, Faith United Against Tobacco worked with public health partners to make the case for tobacco regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. Several national faith leaders were able to attend the signing to see the historic legislation signed into law.
- Between January and March 2009, national, state and local faith leaders stood united in calling on the United States Congress to pass life-saving legislation to authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. More than 25 national denominations generated hundreds of phone calls and letters, submitted op-eds, and held press conferences across the country.
- In January 2008, more than 20 national faith leaders sent letters to governors in all 50 statesurging them to support increases in state funding for comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- In August 2006, more than 20 national faith leaders sent letters to all candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives urging them to support legislation authorizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products.
- In August 2006, prominent faith leaders from the United Methodist Church and the Seventh-day Adventists sent a letter on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco to the National Conference of State Legislators strongly urging that states fully fund tobacco prevention programs.
- On Kick Butts Day, April 5, 2006, a diverse coalition of faith leaders, including the United Methodists and the Southern Baptists, called upon Congress to support legislation authorizing the FDA to regulate tobacco products.