Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fast Food Workers Strike.

Question for Unitarian Universalists:

I don't suppose that any of us were shocked to see a photo of Dana MacLean Greeley, the President of the newly formed UUA, among the many religious leaders at the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, DC.  After all, many religious leaders were there and the UUA had committed itself to support the Civil Rights Movement. 

The March, however, was for "Jobs and Freedom", and it made demands for such things as a minimum wage increase.  

Would it be thought appropriate for the current UUA President to take a public stand on increasing the minimum wage?  Well, of course.  President Morales has, and the UUA has done so in the past.  In fact, many UU's consider one of the essential functions of the UU President to be making high-minded and lofty statements about important things that local congregations cannot get to, because pledge campaigns and teacher recruitment have so seized our attention.

But what about local congregations and individual ministers?  Would it be considered appropriate for the minister in your congregation to make a forceful show of solidarity with the fast food workers striking today for a $15 living wage?  Or, is that a policy matter, unlike Marriage Equality, where UU ministers should not imply that our religion leads us to one side and not the other? 

Or should UU ministers be excused from taking a side on questions like minimum wages and the conditions of fast food workers, because those issues are just too distant from the lives of our congregants? 

Liberal Religion should be on the side of the poor.  Liberal Religion should be on the side of the workers.  Liberal Religion should be on the side of the working poor.  Liberal Religion should be on the side of the fast food workers and all the other low-wage, high-turnover, no benefits, multiple-part time job workers.  

2 comments:

Theresa Novak said...

We should just be "on the side" of the workers and of the poor. They are us and we need to welcome them into our churches with open arms and hearts. See my blog today http://wp.me/p3BiVX-4E

Clyde Grubbs said...

It took a few decades of bringing up economic justice issues but the Association has a level of acceptance. Dana was brought up Republican, like most Yankee Unitarians and didn't vote for a Democrat until LBJ (and behold the GOP nominee.)

We did not get a Economic Justice Resolution passed at GA until UFWOC gave us a civil rights connection, and the UUs for Economic Justice sent a lot speakers out to congregations. The AUA idea was philathrophy and moral uplift. So the idea that social justice, means empowering and empowered means organized is a new idea to "religious liberalism." But after some practice an idea seem normal, and normal is what is expected.