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What do ELCA Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, and UCC-ers have in common?

Statements on their denominational books in support of raising the minimum wage.


The ELCA, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, and UCC might not all be on the same theological page (some are even a few awfully long chapters apart) but on this issue (and, frankly, many others close to the hearts of Progressives) they are virtually word-for-word, line-for-line in unison.  

Throw in some Quaker, Christian Reformed, and Jewish voices, and you get this pan-religious letter written to members of Congress just over a year ago, a letter which makes this case about the minimum wage: “Our common scriptures present a vision of shared responsibility, commanding that we care for the vulnerable among us and also endows the notion of work with an inherent dignity.”

Today is Labor Day, a day when we are mindful of those who work, of those who contribute to the well-being of this nation through their dedication to a job well done.  

This particular Labor Day is celebrated as five states (SD, NE, IL, AK, AR) fight to raise the minimum wage (some more minimally than others, but still, above what it has been).  

Class-generated fear-mongering about the effect on "job creators" is in full-swing.

In fact, however, these laborers--adults, 53% of whom work full time, 56% of whom are women--would increase their personal spending, reduce dependence on hitherto-necessary social programs such as SNAP, and reduce the costs of high-staff-turnover because of an increase in job loyalty.

It’s worth asking ourselves whether we mean what we say on this day.  Are we really honoring our laborers when we, mouths stuffed with Labor Day BBQs and beer, chat about how laughable the movements are to give these same laborers a living wage?

Fred Pratt Green wondered similar sorts of things.  

Pratt wrote For the Fruits of All Creation, a harvest hymn with words that lilt like the tune. The verse I have in mind today, though, is this one:

In the just reward of labour
God's will is done
In the help we give our neighbour
God's will is done
In our world-wide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing
In the harvests we are sharing
God's will is done.
Pratt wrote his hymns to speak to the intersecting point of faith and life.  

How much, he wondered, are we willing to act and not just pray/preach/sing about our faith?

“Well," people often say, "it was fine for Jesus, but it doesn’t work in real life.”

It’s typically said about, say, helping the poor, forgiving enemies, turning the other cheek, welcoming the stranger, healing the sick...and paying laborers their just due.

It’s a line that befuddles me.  

What is the point of believing in something if you don’t, well, believe in it?

Turns out, though, that our mainline denominations do believe, in theory and in practice.

Turns out that our mainline denominations are on the front lines, believing, praying, preaching, singing about our labor, and our laborers.

For they know that Pratt got it right:

In the just reward of labour
God's will is done
In the help we give our neighbour
God's will is done
In our world-wide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing
In the harvests we are sharing
God's will is done.
As a moral and civil duty on this Labor Day, and in honor of this Labor Day, and out of deep respect for our laborers, voters in SD, NE, IL, AK, and AR ought to commit to vote for their respective state’s ballot measures to raise minimum wage.

Voters who are also people of faith in SD, NE, IL, AK, and AR have one more reason: through your vote on behalf of the laborers, God's will is done.

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