(CNN) -- Religious groups in favor of health care reform have launched a national campaign to offset the loud opposition to President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's health care system, organizers announced.
Health care reform opponents have confronted lawmakers at town halls, including this one in Tampa, Florida.
"This is as much a crisis of faith as it is a crisis of health care," said the Rev. John Hay Jr., an Indianapolis, Indiana, evangelical leader.
"We just believe there is a better way."
He and others spoke in a telephone news conference Monday announcing the campaign.
"As a pastor, I believe access to health care is a profoundly moral issue," said the Rev. Stevie Wakes of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
The campaign, called "40 days for Health Reform," includes a national television advertisement, a "sermon weekend," prayer meetings and a nationwide call-in with Obama on August 19, organizers said.
Prayer meetings emphasizing health care as a moral issue were taking place Tuesday in 45 cities across 18 states, organizers said. They expected about 4,000 people to participate.
"Healing and health are fundamental religious issues," said the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, one of the sponsors of the campaign along with PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life, Faithful America and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
Wallis stressed that participants in the campaign are not going to weigh in on particular policy questions. "It isn't political in a partisan way," he said. "This is a fundamental moral issue. ... You're going to hear the moral drumbeat of the faith community."
Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who also spoke on the conference call, said the current system "doesn't work for everyone."
Other groups, such as the Christian Coalition of America and the Family Research Council, are strongly opposed to Democratic proposals to overhaul the health care system, saying, among other things, that they would lead to government-funded abortion.
"We don't want abortion to enter this debate and sabotage health care reform," Wallis said. He noted the legislation now being discussed on Capitol Hill is far from a final version.
Opponents of health care reform proposals have confronted U.S. lawmakers at town hall meetings in recent days, drawing heavy media attention with their boisterous protests.
All About Health Care Policy • Health Care Issues • Health Care Costs