My name is Jim Rigby. I minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church here in Austin. I used to believe that clergy shouldn’t speak at political events, but now I know that politcs is just how we treat one another, so we have a duty to speak out publicly when others are treated unfairly. As Cornel West put it, “justice is just what love looks like in public.”
Most of us would agree that it is wrong to rob a person at gun point but, for many, it is perfectly acceptable for businesses to regularly rob the poor in the form of wage theft.
In my religious tradition, there is a principle known as “jubilee” that says it is wrong to get rich by impoverishing another.In the biblical tradition, the obscenely rich were not seen as role models but as rather pathetic figures- hoarders- sort of like bag ladies with golden shopping carts
In our day, corporate profits have never been higher; but wages are stagnant or in decline. The principle of jubilee would not call that success, but wage theft.
3/5 of the new jobs created replacing middle income jobs lost in the recession, are now low wage jobs. The principle of jubilee would not call that a recovery, but wage theft.
2/3rds of public benefits are going to working families underpaid by their employers. The jubilee principle would not call that welfare, but wage theft.
Politics is not something we should avoid in polite conversations. We cannot avoid the topic of economic justice because politics is just how we treat each other. We are responsible for treating each other fairly. I hope you will join the fight for a livable wage for fast food workers. If it is wrong to rob an individual at gun point, it is also wrong to rob a hard working employee through wage theft. Please join the fight for a liveable wage for all of Austin’s hard working people.