Will Your Church Be a Pioneer for Economic Change?

As Christians, we tell our kids to be kind to other kids. We tell our kids to neither steal nor cheat.

While I am a Christian in America that has been teaching these godly principals to my daughters for years, I am finding that I am profiting from a system that is doing just that.

What if we, as American Christians, find that we are a part of a system that bullies millions of people worldwide, stealing from them their very livelihood so that we may live in more luxury? What if we find that we are as well off as we are because of other people’s bullying? You may never have stolen another persons lunch as a kid. But, what if someone else routinely stole a lunch from a smaller kid, and then shared that kids lunch with you? If you knew of this action, would you be guilty by association? If you had a suspicion that this was going on but never looked into it, but kept accepting the lunch, (It was a really good lunch), would you be part of the problem?

America had slaves to help them produce. Now, corporations are pulling their production left and right from the United States to other countries where they can pay workers sometimes 1/10 of 1% of the profits they make since there are very low standards of work conditions and wages in other countries, while these same companies are making sometimes billions of dollars for their CEO’s and share holders. As consumers, we feel amazed at the low prices we pay and go home thinking we hit gold when in fact it is stolen property. As factories go overseas, Americans lose jobs. Those families who still have jobs sometimes have to have two full time jobs to support a family. Those who were unable to go to college often work 60 – 80 hour weeks and still get no health coverage for their family, no benefits and no paid time off. The Republicans and democrats argue over how much money we should give to the poor. I believe God would say. “Why don’t you pay an honest wage to your laborer and an honest price for your purchases so that a laborer can support a family on his/her own, drastically cutting down on the number of poor in the country?

When we buy items which are made in other countries and do not concern ourselves with the working conditions of the laborers or if they are receiving enough money to stay even above poverty, we are being complacent. If I had been sharing a lunch with someone who stole it from another kid for years and did not know it, I may be guilty by association. If I was told this was happening, knew it was a possibility but never looked into it, I would be more responsible than the first scenario. If, however, I became aware of that fact that I was eating a stolen lunch and made no effort to either stop eating that lunch or put a stop to the stealing, I would then be held partially responsible for the damages done to the person who lost their lunch.

American Christians have buying power. We also have a voice. We presently have more power than any country on the planet. We can start making a difference. To not try is now complacency as we start to see the truth.

Will your church be a pioneer in a Christian effort to end economic exploitation once and for all?

Write to me with your ideas.

Keep posted.

Learn more from sources such as the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

Learn how you can support organizations that provide living wages and good working conditions such as Alta Gracia Apparel.

Start providing Equal Exchange Coffee during your church’s coffee hour.

Buy your church’s T-Shirts for functions from organizations like Madres Solteras, one of the very few factories in Central America that has a living wage and fair working conditions.

Either help start a factory/company that is fair trade or support companies that are currently documented by reliable sources to be fair trade.

Network to find other ways to help those who labor for our purchases.

There are small steps you can take now. If the church of Jesus pulls together, we can be a strong force towards ending a tremendous evil. However, if the church supports such evils while continuing to benefit from the profits, without taking any steps towards the right direction, our witness will become less effective. Even small steps in the right direction are important. Complacency is a very dangerous thing. Pray about what God is calling your church to do, even if it is one small step forward.

Blessings and Love to you,

Your Fellow Believer in Jesus Christ

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