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Churches pray for health reform, differ on details

Jeff Diamant / Star-Ledger

From the pulpits and through public statements, religious leaders have been weighing in on various elements of what they say is a crucial moral issue. Catholic bishops in New Jersey, in letters to the state's members of Congress, have lobbied against possible inclusion of abortion coverage in any federal health care plan, a possibility Obama dismissed in his prime-time speech Wednesday. The Episcopal Church USA passed a resolution favoring a single-payer system, while some Catholic bishops in the Midwest have publicly opposed any massive government effort.

Episcopal Bishop Mark Beckwith, of Newark, is planning to press for coverage of everyone, regardless of ability to pay, in Washington this week. And some rabbis are considering the subject for sermons during the Jewish High Holidays, which begin Friday night.