For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?
-Jeremiah 8:21-22 NRSV
In the midst of a global pandemic with a massive impact on the health and well-being of people throughout the world, President Trump proposes to suspend U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO). This is dangerous, immoral and wrong. Even though international institutions such as the WHO are not perfect, suspension of funding, proposed for 60-90 days while a review takes place, is irresponsible and ill-timed.
President Trump stated yesterday, “The WHO pushed China’s misinformation about the virus.” In fact, the WHO sounded the alarm early and offered test kits to the United States, which were refused.
“I am proud that our nation is the largest funder of the World Health Organization, one of the central institutions of the United Nations,” said Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. “Whatever improvements that can be made in WHO are worthy of consideration but right now, as the entire world is fighting the coronavirus, it is not the time to suspend our funding. That would be a disaster.”
“I call upon the President to take back his words and NOT cut our funding to the WHO,” stated Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, Governing Board Chair of the NCC. “We owe the world more than that – and our contributions to world health are a moral obligation we cannot walk away from.”
During this time of crisis, one that affects the entire world, we strongly urge the US government to do its part to responsibly support the institutions that work across borders for the health and safety of all people.