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Posted on Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 9:08 a.m.

Faith, justice and Wisconsin workers

By Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice

The director of Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Chuck Warpehoski, spoke at Saturday's "We Are Wisconsin" rally in Lansing. Here are his remarks.

My name is Chuck Warpehoski. I’m an interterfaith organizer. Some people would have us believe that the only religious voices on faith issues are conservative voices. I’m here to tell you that’s not true.

All the faith traditions talk about caring for the poor. Of course, the best way to do that is to give them good-paying jobs, and that’s what unions are for.

The Torah, the Jewish scripture, teaches that every seven years all debts should be forgiven. You don’t have to be Jewish to realize that this teaching might have a lesson for us as we face the foreclosure crisis.

The Torah also teaches, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” You don’t have to be religious to realize that this teaching is a challenge to a budget proposal that raises taxes on poor families while cutting taxes on businesses.

In Christianity, Jesus asked his followers, “Who of you, if a child asked for bread, would give him a stone?” The point is that we should care for our children and give them what they need. And you don’t have to be Christian to realize that this teaching says something about a budget that cuts funding to our schools.

Jesus also told his followers, “Those who are not against us are for us.” That sounds to me a bit like solidarity.

Teachers, are you with us?

Students, are you with us?

Labor, are you with us?

Michigan, are you with us?



Wed, Mar 2, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

Didnt know that in order to be a true Christian, i had to submit to the will of the Union movement. And thus be forced to submit to the will of the Democratic Party.


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

This is not just about the poor, it is also about dragging down the middle-class and undoing a hundred years of social improvements. It is completely un-American to deny collective bargaining rights. You meet at the table and negotiate for what's right. Otherwise, we have totalitarianism, which is not Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." -Abraham Lincoln "If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men and women have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men and women to capitalize their labor." -Frank Lloyd Wright

Chris Blackstone

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

Simply giving schools more money doesn't necessarily mean that we're necessarily giving children what they need. What they need is a good education featuring instruction from innovative and motivated teachers. No amount of money can ensure that and since per pupil spending in the US is significantly greater than other countries something's gotta change. And yes, I will agree with you that the Bible and Torah are replete with calls to care for the poor (read Tim Keller's Generous Justice for an excellent treatment of this) but people can have sincere disagreements on how to do this. I for one do not believe it is the responsibility, or the place, of the government to produce the programs and systems that employ people. The govt needs policies that encourage private companies to innovate and private individuals to create businesses and organizations that better society while also providing employment opportunities for others. Here's something else to think about, 1 Timothy 5:8, in the New Testament of the Bible, says "if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." This is in a passage about providing for widows and the less fortunate. This verse means that if you do not take care of your family, by either not workinh or not doing your job well, then you are dishonoring them. I believe this is absolutely applicable to the state representatives in Wisconsin who have intentially not fulfilled their job responsibilities. Most people don't have the option to escape to another state simply when their job becomes difficult.


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

The democrats that have left the state are doing it out of necessity. Given no option, no negotiation, no compromise, take it or leave it attitude from the governor and republicans, they have done what they think is best for their relatives. As union have agreed to each concession why the need to outlaw collective bargaining? Because of ideology, not fiscal responsibility.