As thanksgiving and Christmas approach, our thoughts often turn to the less fortunate, people who are Poor and hungry, who do not share the blessings of prosperity in our society. In response we collect food or help out in a local feeding program so these disadvantaged people can have a decent meal or holiday gifts for their children.
These acts of individual charity offer important help, but do not address the causes of poverty in American society. Marcus Borg points out that God’s compassion calls for systemic change in a country where the rich and powerful have such an overwhelming percent of total wealth and income. (The bottom 80% of Americans own only 7% of our nation’s wealth, and the trend is worsening.) As Christians we should work to bring about a more just society, “distributive justice,” a term Borg uses, here on earth.
The First Churches Peace and Justice Committee is offering an opportunity to help bring real change in the lives of the poor. We will have petitions to put on the ballot for 2014 a raise in the state minimum Wage from $8.00 to $10.50 and require employers to provide their workers five days of sick leave a year. There is also a petition asking the state to provide more jobs in place of spending two billion dollars to build new prisons. One cannot support a family on $8.00 an hour. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, does not pay most of their employees much above the minimum wage. As a consequence, the federal government spends $1.2 billion to help feed the families of Walmart employees. Yet the four Walmart heirs have as much wealth as 125 million Americans.
Help bring more justice to our society. Please sign these petitions in Lyman Hall and help circulate in the community. Thank you for your consideration and assistance.