Jesus And The Minimum Wage

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(Jesus ponders the U.S. minimum wage).

What Would Jesus Do? 

This question asked by Christians today serves as a convenient tool for us to live justly and righteously in our relationship with God and humanity. 

I often wonder why we need to ask ourselves this question. For all of his moral and ethical teachings in the Beatitudes, the parables, and his instructions to his disciples, Jesus gave just one criterion for judging the righteousness of our lives: “Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.� (Matthew 25: 45-46). 

It is not religious practice, memorization of scripture, or faithful attendance to church by which our lives are judged; it is simply, “as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.� (Matthew 25: 40). It is whether we have tried to exemplify the biblical notion of justice (Mishpat) and righteousness (Sadiqah). 

It is whether we have tried to relieve the plight of the poor and those who have been stripped of their basic democratic freedoms such as the right to vote; whether we have tried to transform this war-torn world into a world free from oppression and exploitation; whether we have tried to change a global economic system that devalues work and workers and striven to build a health care system for all; whether we have tried to fight for the rights of children, the disabled, and those who are genetically .1% different from us and held our political leaders accountable for how they set public policy. 

It is whether we have tried to strengthen the voice of the voiceless and stand in solidarity with those who are suffering.  On November 7 a different set of moral values was expressed at the polls: “A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.� 

Working with a wide range of partners, Let Justice Roll, a fast-growing nonpartisan partnership of more than 80 faith and community groups, organized and mobilized the progressive religious community, along with the working poor, to vote and do something, in six states, that Congress has failed to do, nationally, in nine years — raise the minimum wage.

“Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an overflowing stream.� (Amos 5:24) served as the vision of the campaign to raise the minimum wage in anticipation of the day when nothing less than a living wage would be the national standard for just compensation for work.

In Arizona the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.75 an hour. In Colorado the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour. In Missouri the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.50 an hour. In Montana the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour. 

In Nevada the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour.  In Ohio the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour. Let justice roll.

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