IRD PRESS RELEASE
The Institute on Religion and Democracy
April 9, 2014
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
“Some Religious Left officials insist any compromise on a lower wage would be unfaithful.”
-Mark Tooley, IRD President
Washington, DC–As the U.S. Senate considers legislation to raise the minimum wage, Religious Left groups including the lobby offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) have advocated an increased wage level, with the Director for Public Witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) J. Herbert Nelson stating that it is “a moral imperative” to raise the rate. Nelson and others point to a proposed policy that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“Do scriptural prohibitions against taking advantage of workers and for paying them on time translate to a biblical requirement of a $10.10 per hour minimum wage? Some Religious Left officials insist any compromise on a lower wage would be unfaithful.
“The generation and distribution of wealth are both important. If an economy doesn’t generate more or sustain wealth, then it has a shrinking pie for all. Factors such as the ability of laborers to find jobs can be a more urgent priority than an increased wage.
“Faithful Christians can have different opinions on a minimum wage, but to insist that God’s will is for a $10.10 minimum wage is an excessive claim without clear biblical warrant.
“Christians can also be concerned about a Big Government welfare and regulatory state attempting to artificially increase wages, which some argue forces employers to reduce jobs and increase prices.
“Christianity does have essential, core teachings, but the details of minimum wage are not among them. And it’s doubtful that Christianity’s authentic core teachings seriously factor in the lobby work of EPPN or the PCUSA.”