There has always been a strong relationship between the church and labor. The church teaches us to help feed the needed, pay your workers well, and not to fall victim to vanity and greed.
Here are just a few of the hundreds of examples in the Bible:
“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.”
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
1 Timothy 6:10
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
The teachings of the Bible are simple, help and love your fellow man, and you will be blessed.
Social justice is the bedrock of the labor movement. Fighting for equal pay for equal work regardless of skin color, gender, or sexual preference. Fighting to ensure that everyone earns an honest wage for the work they do. In short, standing together to help all mankind.
So why are conservatives freaking out over the Pope addressing a joint session of Congress?
There is no denying that the political right believes they own the monopoly on religion. They preach the gospel and claim to be good Christians. The problem is that many of their party’s priorities do not fall in line what the Bible teaches and Pope Francis has been speaking out against the foundations of the Republican Party.
Pope Francis says greed ruins society.
“The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil.” An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”
— Pope Francis.
Recently the Pope has come out and said the church should forgive women who had abortions, in support of LBGT rights, that women should be paid equally, and even went as far to say that the church should pay taxes like everyone else.
“If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
– Pope Francis.
“Why should it be taken for granted that women must earn less than men? The disparity is pure scandal. The witness of the social dignity of marriage shall become persuasive, precisely by this way: the way of witness that attracts.”
— Pope Francis.
Many are looking forward to the Pope’s arrival including Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.
“Pope Francis’ arrival is a watershed moment for working people in the United States and an opportunity for every American, regardless of faith, to reexamine the values that drive us as a country. His message of inclusion, economic justice, and social progress transcends party and represents the best of humanity,” said Trumka.
“Working people stand with Pope Francis and look forward to welcoming him to the United States, as he puts forward an agenda that lifts spirits and wages,” added Trumka.
So again I will ask, why does the Pope’s visits scare conservatives? Because he is bringing a message of social progress, that is unheard of on the political right. He is also empowering many of the leaders in the church to speak out against the oppressive right wing policies.
Recently the Archbishop of Chicago spoke out against Right To Work and the demonizing of workers. “I have come today to tell Chicago workers the Catholic Church is with you,” said Archbishop Cupich. “You put your faith into action… You are Catholic social teaching at work.”
“History has shown that we’re better off when the rights of workers (are) protected,” said Cupich.
It is good to finally see organized religion using their immense power and influence to effect positive change in the world.
Be sure to check out this great collection of progressive quotes from Pope Francis at Addicting Info.
Below is the entire speech from Archbishop Cupich. If you have not seen it, you should check it out.