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Call them the Religious Left - Let Justice Roll/Minimum Wage

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Thu 5 Oct, 2006 06:42 pm
Quote:
Pastors Push Living Wage as Election Issue

Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Tue Oct 3

Call them the Religious Left: Church leaders are seeking to rally ''values voters'' ahead of next month's elections in a nationwide crusade to raise the minimum wage.

The Let Justice Roll campaign, a congregation of some 80 religious and community organizations including the National Council of Churches USA, said in a statement it plans to hold hundreds of rallies, workshops, religious services, and prayer breakfasts across the country to urge state and federal officials and candidates to boost working families' fortunes.

So-called Living Wage Days events this month will seek to pass minimum wage ballot measures in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, and Ohio.

"A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it," said Rev. Paul Sherry, anti-poverty program coordinator at the National Council of Churches and former president of the United Church of Christ.

The issue appears to be gaining political traction. October's events come on the heels of state minimum wage increases in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Campaign members cited a recent poll that they said showed nine out of 10 Americans support a higher minimum wage. They added that they would lead efforts next year to pass state wage hikes in New Hampshire and Tennessee.

Congressional Democrats also are seeking to capitalize on the minimum wage among a raft of bread-and-butter issues they say the Republican-controlled legislature has neglected.

''We haven't had time to increase the minimum wage, to cut the cost of student loans for America's college students, to lower prescription drug prices, to roll back tax breaks for big oil," Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, was quoted as saying Friday before legislators broke for an intense period of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 7 midterm election.

To be sure, members of Let Justice Roll have voiced outrage at the meager earnings of millions of Americans at the bottom end of the labor market. But their campaign also seeks to present faith-based voters with an alternative to the Religious Right agenda.

''We've long seen scorecards from the Christian Coalition and others show how members of Congress vote on so-called social issues but not on help for the poor, which the Bible mandates hundreds of times,'' said Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches.

''Millions of values voters care about fair wages for the people who do some of the hardest, most important jobs in our society--from childcare teachers we entrust with our children to healthcare aides we entrust with our parents,'' Edgar said.

The federal minimum wage rose to $5.15 per hour in 1997 but has lost more than one fifth of its value since then, campaigners said. Today's minimum pay buys less than it did in 1950, they added.

At the federal level, the campaign wants Congress to raise the minimum wage to at least $7.25 per hour and to oppose measures that would weaken existing eligibility, tipped worker coverage, overtime and other labor protections, or link the minimum wage to tax cuts for the wealthy.

''Congressional leaders are holding the minimum wage hostage to a tax cut for wealthy heirs,'' said Johanna Chao Rittenburg, economic justice program manager at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

An estimated 14.9 million workers--11 percent of the work force--would benefit were the minimum hourly wage raised from $5.15 to $7.25 by 2008, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, DC-based think tank funded by business and labor philanthropies.

Of those workers, 6.6 million now earn less than $7.25 and would be directly affected by an increase. The additional 8.3 million workers earning slightly above the minimum also would benefit. That is because even though a raise is not legally mandated for workers earning a few more dollars than the proposed new minimum wage, many employers raise their pay anyway to preserve internal wage structures. This makes raising the minimum wage an important part of a broader strategy to end poverty, EPI researchers said.

Employers' groups and economists critical of proposed wage hikes have countered that such measures can condemn small businesses to insolvency but EPI researchers said there was no evidence that the 1997 wage gain had led to job losses.

State and municipal officials have commissioned their own studies even as they have enacted living wage measures.

In September, University of New Mexico researchers told members of the Santa Fe City Council that the municipality's two-year-old experiment with pay hikes had neither hit businesses with higher costs nor hurt low-skilled workers, contrary to employers' fears that higher wages would force businesses to cut jobs or relocate away from the city.

Council members commissioned the study after adopting a measure two years ago that required employers with more than 25 workers to pay $8.50 per hour, above the state and federal minimum of $5.15. Santa Fe raised its floor to $9.50 per hour in January and expects to raise it further, to $10.50, in 2008.

Whether the moves have provided significant succor to workers or the city's economy remained to be seen, the daily Santa Fe New Mexican quoted the researchers as saying.
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2006 08:29 pm
Re: Call them the Religious Left - Let Justice Roll/Minimum
nimh wrote:
Quote:
Pastors Push Living Wage as Election Issue

Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Tue Oct 3

Call them the Religious Left: Church leaders are seeking to rally ''values voters'' ahead of next month's elections in a nationwide crusade to raise the minimum wage.

The Let Justice Roll campaign, a congregation of some 80 religious and community organizations including the National Council of Churches USA, said in a statement it plans to hold hundreds of rallies, workshops, religious services, and prayer breakfasts across the country to urge state and federal officials and candidates to boost working families' fortunes.

So-called Living Wage Days events this month will seek to pass minimum wage ballot measures in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, and Ohio.

"A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it," said Rev. Paul Sherry, anti-poverty program coordinator at the National Council of Churches and former president of the United Church of Christ.

The issue appears to be gaining political traction. October's events come on the heels of state minimum wage increases in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Campaign members cited a recent poll that they said showed nine out of 10 Americans support a higher minimum wage. They added that they would lead efforts next year to pass state wage hikes in New Hampshire and Tennessee.

Congressional Democrats also are seeking to capitalize on the minimum wage among a raft of bread-and-butter issues they say the Republican-controlled legislature has neglected.

''We haven't had time to increase the minimum wage, to cut the cost of student loans for America's college students, to lower prescription drug prices, to roll back tax breaks for big oil," Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, was quoted as saying Friday before legislators broke for an intense period of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 7 midterm election.

To be sure, members of Let Justice Roll have voiced outrage at the meager earnings of millions of Americans at the bottom end of the labor market. But their campaign also seeks to present faith-based voters with an alternative to the Religious Right agenda.

''We've long seen scorecards from the Christian Coalition and others show how members of Congress vote on so-called social issues but not on help for the poor, which the Bible mandates hundreds of times,'' said Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches.

''Millions of values voters care about fair wages for the people who do some of the hardest, most important jobs in our society--from childcare teachers we entrust with our children to healthcare aides we entrust with our parents,'' Edgar said.

The federal minimum wage rose to $5.15 per hour in 1997 but has lost more than one fifth of its value since then, campaigners said. Today's minimum pay buys less than it did in 1950, they added.

At the federal level, the campaign wants Congress to raise the minimum wage to at least $7.25 per hour and to oppose measures that would weaken existing eligibility, tipped worker coverage, overtime and other labor protections, or link the minimum wage to tax cuts for the wealthy.

''Congressional leaders are holding the minimum wage hostage to a tax cut for wealthy heirs,'' said Johanna Chao Rittenburg, economic justice program manager at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

An estimated 14.9 million workers--11 percent of the work force--would benefit were the minimum hourly wage raised from $5.15 to $7.25 by 2008, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, DC-based think tank funded by business and labor philanthropies.

Of those workers, 6.6 million now earn less than $7.25 and would be directly affected by an increase. The additional 8.3 million workers earning slightly above the minimum also would benefit. That is because even though a raise is not legally mandated for workers earning a few more dollars than the proposed new minimum wage, many employers raise their pay anyway to preserve internal wage structures. This makes raising the minimum wage an important part of a broader strategy to end poverty, EPI researchers said.

Employers' groups and economists critical of proposed wage hikes have countered that such measures can condemn small businesses to insolvency but EPI researchers said there was no evidence that the 1997 wage gain had led to job losses.

State and municipal officials have commissioned their own studies even as they have enacted living wage measures.

In September, University of New Mexico researchers told members of the Santa Fe City Council that the municipality's two-year-old experiment with pay hikes had neither hit businesses with higher costs nor hurt low-skilled workers, contrary to employers' fears that higher wages would force businesses to cut jobs or relocate away from the city.

Council members commissioned the study after adopting a measure two years ago that required employers with more than 25 workers to pay $8.50 per hour, above the state and federal minimum of $5.15. Santa Fe raised its floor to $9.50 per hour in January and expects to raise it further, to $10.50, in 2008.

Whether the moves have provided significant succor to workers or the city's economy remained to be seen, the daily Santa Fe New Mexican quoted the researchers as saying.


I'm by no means a student of the Bible, so can someone who agrees with Rev. Bob Edgar point out to me where it calls for the state to impose laws concerning what an employer must pay his or her employees? I accept the argument that the Bible mandates hundreds of times that believers must help the poor and those less fortunate than themselves. Seems like a good thing to mandate too.

I would be more sympathetic towards Rev. Bob if he were laying out what he and his followers have personally and through their church done for the poor and challenged Christians on the right to compare what they have done.

I have no problem whatsoever with Rev Bob and his friends advancing a liberal agenda that they may have come to support through their faith and religion, but then I have no problem when conservative Christians do the same.

I'm not sure, though, why those who have a problem with it from the Right, would not have a problem with it from the Left. Perhaps they do.

It is, frankly, silly to suggest that Christians who support tax cuts are in effect supporting less help for the poor. First of all there is the argument that cutting taxes increases government revenues, but no need to debate economics. Make the reaching assumption that for every $1 in taxes not paid to the government, there is exactly $1 less of taxes going to the poor, it does not follow that being in favor of cutting taxes is being in favor of cutting help to the poor. If these people and organizations relied entirely upon the government to help the poor then with our reaching assumption we could argue that support for less taxes was in effect support for less help for the poor. Of course they don't advocate relying solely on the government to help the poor.

If liberal christians are allowed to let their political beliefs shape their religious ministry (and visa versa) --- and they should be --- then surely the same should be allowed for conservative christians. Tax dollars are not the only way to help the poor and it is a political, not religious belief that it is the best way. Having the government mandate a minimum wage is not the only way to help the poor, and it is political, not religious belief that holds that it is.

Being focused on helping the poor is by no means a bad thing, but neither is disagreeing on best to provide the help. Good for churches that tackle social as well as spiritual problems.

This article and those it quotes, however, seem a little bit too focused on a sort of competition with their conservative counterparts for my taste in piety. I don't have much doubt that their conservative counterparts would engage in the same practice if the Religious Left beat them to the Social Values pulpit, but so what? There seems to be a very active theme within the Left, that they've been nice guys too long and now need to dish out double of what they have taken. Aside from the fact that it is ludicrous, it just doesn't seem proper to have it evoked, even marginally, by pastors.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Oct, 2006 01:27 am
Is anybody looking into the tax exempt status of these groups that are heavily involved in political lobbying efforts?
0 Replies
 
rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Oct, 2006 09:18 am
Only if their lobbying for democrats.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 09:27 am
okie wrote:
Is anybody looking into the tax exempt status of these groups that are heavily involved in political lobbying efforts?

You mean all those evangelicals that have been rallying the vote for Bush? No, I think they're generally left at peace.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 10:27 am
The religious left definitely exists -- there were a lot of people who were both religious and activists in the lefty sense in Minneapolis, where I grew up. Happy to see them get some recognition.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 10:43 am
rabel22 wrote:
Only if their lobbying for democrats.


Lets be careful here and make the very important distinction of whether it involves individuals lobbying or a group lobbying.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 01:16 pm
Yes, distinctions are important. While we're at it, we should acknowledge the distinction of issues vs. candidates/parties.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 03:28 am
sozobe wrote:
The religious left definitely exists -- there were a lot of people who were both religious and activists in the lefty sense in Minneapolis, where I grew up. Happy to see them get some recognition.

Arguably, they were the ones who run the civil rights movement in the 1960s. I don't understand how they could ever lose the recognition they had back then.
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 05:54 pm
Nimh- The Hungarian preaching to the USA? LOL LOL LOL LOL

Why don't you take the large mote our of your eye, Nimn? You don't know a damn thing about what is really happening in the USA since you have never lived here and never participated in a real US political campaign.

You live in one of the most politically fu**ed up countries in Europe and you have the cojones to criticize what goes on in the richest most productive country in the world which is envied by all, mostly by pseudo-intellectuals like Nimh.

Our poorest people in the USA have indoor plumbing. Nimh. They don't have to go outdoors to defecate like they do in parts of Hungary.

Straighten out your own mess in Hungary first and then you will have the crediblity to critique the USA.

What a fraud you are!!
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 05:56 pm
You also don't know a damned thing about the Minimum Wage, Nimh.

If you have libraries in Hungary, check out the work of Dr. Thomas Sowell who has written extensively on the subject of the Minimum Wage.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 06:04 pm
Ah, Italgato / Bernard R / Marion comes back in a new guise. Got tired of your faux leftwing incarnation?

Renatus5 wrote:
Why don't you take the large mote our of your eye, Nimn? [..] You live in one of the most politically fu**ed up countries in Europe and you have the cojones to criticize what goes on in the richest most productive country [etc]

No mote in my eye - Hungarian politics is about the most f*cked up this side of Russia, and Dutch politics is only marginally better. No need to tell me, I know.

And you will, indeed, find my criticisms of affairs in those two homelands of mine in the threads I've started about them.

So your point is?

Renatus5 wrote:
Our poorest people in the USA have indoor plumbing. Nimh. They don't have to go outdoors to defecate like they do in parts of Hungary.

"Parts of Hungary"! Your incremental increase of insight has been noted.

Renatus5 wrote:
What a fraud you are!!

My, my, aren't we in a pissed-off mood tonight. Well, right back atcha, bustah.
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 06:10 pm
You answered everything but the critical question. Nimh. Living in a country like Hungary, wouldn't it be best to turn your expert attention to setting it straight first instead of critiquing the best country in the world?

You remind me of the guy who sits in the stands and boos the quarterback when he throws an interception-

He says--boo, boo, boo, you bum. Let's get a new quaterback.

Yet that guy's head would be torn off if he played on the field for more than thirty seconds.

Get it. Nimh? You have no crediblity as a critic if you come from such a screwed up country as Hungary!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 06:56 pm
Renatus5 wrote:
You answered everything but the critical question. Nimh. Living in a country like Hungary, wouldn't it be best to turn your expert attention to setting it straight first instead of critiquing the best country in the world?

Whats the either/or thing all about?

Why wouldnt a man be able to discuss events both in his own country and other countries?

You sure seem to do so.
0 Replies
 
MarionT
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 02:32 am
Let me give you a clue. Nimh. I don't give a damn about Europe. They are a bunch of ungrateful slobs who don't deserve being rescued from the Kaiser and Adolf Hitler at the cost of American blood. I ONLY COMMENT ON EUROPE BECAUSE MY COUNTRY IS BEING ATTACKED BY KNOW NOTHINGS LIKE YOU WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE. I WILL NEVER COMMENT ON EUROPE UNTIL SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT MY COUNTRY LIKE THE RIDICULOUS WALTER HINTELER WHO GETS MOST OF HIS INFORMATION FROM THE BIASED ENGLISH PAPER--THE GUARDIAN-

GET IT?

Now, I will never comment on Hungary or the Fourth Reich or the cowardly French unless people like you use left wing sources to comment on somethings you have NO FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT.

Why don't you argue with other Hungarians about the course your country should take?

Leave my country alone unless you are so envious of the USA that you cannot, like many "intellectuals" in Europe, bear to stop spitting at it.

If you ever had a balanced approach to the USA, I assure you that many on the right would have and could approach Europe in a much more friendly way. Try very hard and you may even be able to find some good things to say about the USA. I know you may then not be allowed into your Socialist drinking group for a couple of weeks because of your apostasy but try it--just once!!!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:55 am
MarionT wrote:
Let me give you a clue. Nimh. I don't give a damn about Europe. They are a bunch of ungrateful slobs who don't deserve being rescued from the Kaiser and Adolf Hitler at the cost of American blood. I ONLY COMMENT ON EUROPE BECAUSE MY COUNTRY IS BEING ATTACKED BY KNOW NOTHINGS LIKE YOU WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE. I WILL NEVER COMMENT ON EUROPE UNTIL SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT MY COUNTRY LIKE THE RIDICULOUS WALTER HINTELER WHO GETS MOST OF HIS INFORMATION FROM THE BIASED ENGLISH PAPER--THE GUARDIAN-

GET IT?

No, I dont get it. Why do you get so hysterical, screaming at people in caps, just because they express an opinion on something?

MarionT wrote:
Now, I will never comment on Hungary or the Fourth Reich or the cowardly French

Nonsense, you do so constantly, and unprovoked.

MarionT wrote:
Why don't you argue with other Hungarians about the course your country should take?

I do. I do that as well. Again, whats the either/or?

MarionT wrote:
Try very hard and you may even be able to find some good things to say about the USA. I know you may then not be allowed into your Socialist drinking group for a couple of weeks because of your apostasy but try it--just once!!!

I dont need to try very hard, I can think of many good things to say about the USA, especially its people rather than its government, and I have said them here too. To you, even.
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 02:09 pm
I will review the insulting remarks you continually make about the USA and I will post them. You know NOTHING about the USA. You don't live here. You have not lived here. All you know is what you read in the left wing journals. I don't mind if you politely critique policies made in the USA as they may affect Europe but I do mind when you think you are the expert on voting patterns in the USA when you know NOTHING about how voting patterns and more important, actual voting results come about. All you know is what you read in the left wing media.

As I said, I don't need to say a word about Europe unless my country is unfairly attacked by Envious European left wingers like you.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 02:50 pm
This is so weird to me. I mean, if someone from abroad has an interest in Holland I'm pleased. If he's got **** all upside down about the country I'll put him right of course. But I would never say that he shouldnt talk about it in the first place.
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 10:00 pm
You don't vote in our elections and are not materially affected by whagt happens in our country. Why don't you mind your own business. Don't you know its impolite to talk to a citizen of another country and piss on his floor? What is this compulsion you have to comment about a Senator from my own state-B. Obuma? You really know very little about him and what he does and what he stands for and what he has done in the city with which I am one thousand times more familiar with than you are.

If you had any courtesy or any decency you would ask the people who actully live in his state. But you are a typical European elitist. Like the decrepit Blotham who takes advantage of our hospitality while deprecating almost every aspect of his new found quarters, you show execrable manners. I have learned from the foreign eliteists how to be rude.

Mind your own business. Why don't you comment on the latest Paprika crop?
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 02:06 am
nimh wrote:

MarionT wrote:
Try very hard and you may even be able to find some good things to say about the USA. I know you may then not be allowed into your Socialist drinking group for a couple of weeks because of your apostasy but try it--just once!!!

I dont need to try very hard, I can think of many good things to say about the USA, especially its people rather than its government, and I have said them here too. To you, even.


nimh, my apologies for a fellow citizen. I think MarionT, or whoever, is sort of spiraling out of control.
0 Replies
 
 

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