As has become so popular in the past several years, Democrat politicians with only a nodding acquaintance with Christianity have decided that it is a killer argument if they can throw a little Scripture out there and convince the Religious Right (to the extent that there ever was or still is such a creature) that not does the rando progressive pol understand the Bible, the Religious Right is a bunch of hypocrites for not going along with whatever policy the politician is proposing.
Last night it was the turn of Pete Buttigieg, who his fanbois like to call “Mayor Pete,” to lecture everyone on the immorality of not raising the minimum wage.
This is so much bigger than a trade fight. This is about a moment when the economy is changing before our eyes. There are people in economy who go through more jobs in a week than my parents went through in the lifetime. It’s why I’ve proposed we allow gig workers to unionize, because a gig is a job and a worker is a worker. We have to respond to these changes and, in addition to confronting tech, in addition to supporting workers by doubling unionization as I propose to do — some of this is low tech, too. Like the minimum wage is just too low. And so-called conservative Christian senators right now in the Senate are blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage, when scripture says, ‘Whoever oppresses the poor taunts their maker.’
There several different issues here. From the policy standpoint, there is zero evidence that raising the minimum wage actually helps alleviate poverty. A CBO study published in early July indicated that the $15 minimum wage would lift some 1.3 million people out of poverty while forcing an equal number from the work force. Left out of this study is its effect on job creation and the long term impact of preventing young workers, especially that 50% who doesn’t go to college or who gets a degree in gender studies, from getting an entry level job. Why $15 and not $25 or $50 an hour is another question the proponents of this stupidity refuse to answer. If, as they allege contrary to all evidence, there will only be minimal job losses, then we might as well swing for the fences and raise everyone’s income to “above average” (yes, there is a joke in there).
Policy aside, let’s look at the theology. Supposing the CBO is correct, which is the more just outcome, 1.3 million workers who are better off or 2.6 million workers with the dignity of a job and not living a life of dependency? While it might be more righteous for me to pay my workers more (more than what, I don’t know), it is certainly not moral for people who do not have any skin in the game to tell other people how to spend their own money. Not to mention the proof text that Buttigieg uses doesn’t even vaguely mean what he thinks it does. The word “oppress” has never been interpreted to mean “failure to pay as much money as Pete Buttigieg things you should so he can score cheap points among the stupidest of his fans.” Oppress has historically been interpreted to mean to treat severely by imposing hardships…such as high taxes and requirements for labor…upon them and by depriving them of a civic voice and education. The Proverb quoted by Buttigieg is virtually identical to the language in Exodus 2:23 which serves to put that word in context. The minimum wage law is not that. More to the point, absolutely no one is being forced to work for the minimum wage. My son works part time at Roy Rogers. He gets paid more than minimum wage. People make choices that end up forcing them into minimum wage jobs. If they don’t like a minimum wage job they are free to try to find another or improve their skills so they qualify for a better job. Personally, I’d like to see someone respond to Buttigeig with the Parable of the Workers (Matthew 20:1-15) but focusing on the punchline:
Did you not agree with me on one denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Do I not have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
But the real point of this is that I find Buttigeig’s ersatz and situational Christianity nauseating and offensive. Here we have a man who is living an grotesquely immoral life. He is in a relationship that is in direct contradiction to the words of Christ:
“Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.”
One would think that a guy living a lifestyle that advertises he is, with some unknown frequency (we can be thankful there is no video), committing one of the four sins the Bible says call to heaven for vengeance, might be a little more circumspect about public concern over someone else’s soul and salvation. Perhaps a dose of “remove the log from your own eye,” or “physician heal thyself” might be in order.
If you are in a homosexual “marriage” you sort of lose the ability to criticize just about anyone over their public policy preferences. When you are living a life in public rebellion against God, you really don’t have the right to call anyone out on much of anything by using Scripture as the basis to attack them.