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The Resistance Prays

January 5, 2019
By Bill Mefford

Today's Top Story

Trump has said that the shutdown could last months or even years. In a rambling press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday he even suggested that the 800,000 federal government workers supported him and were willing to go “months or even years” without a paycheck. 

But CNN has begun to share how completely out of touch Trump is with the impact of this shutdown on the lives of people who work for the government as well as those who benefit from government services. 

Scripture 

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages.
-Jeremiah 22:13

The Harm of the Shutdown

Before this verse from the prophet Jeremiah which he delivers to King Shallum, the Lord also says through Jeremiah, “Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.” (v.3)

In the political intrigue of who will “win or lose” the media, and certainly, Donald Trump, forgets the real losers of this unnecessary shutdown. CNN reports that more than 7 million low income moms might not have access to nutritional assistance through the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. Native American tribes will be affected as the Bureau of Indian Affairs is part of the shutdown. Trash is piling up in parks and national monuments and immigration judges are being furloughed which means that the cases they decide will be delayed until in 2020 with the already backed up docket. Those who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are in real danger of not receiving any benefits and for people who receive renters assistance, those funds have just about run out.  

But none of these stories seem to have an impact on Trump or the Administration. It's not all that surprising in a historical context since Trump's treatment of workers has long been characterized by disrespect and mistreatment. 

The Washington Post, in September of 2018, listed a number of ways that this administration has negatively impacted workers even in the short time span of a couple of years. Here are some of them:

  • Canceled a modest 2.1 percent pay increase for federal government workers.
  • Abandoned an Obama administration effort to increase overtime pay for workers.
  • Revoked an Obama-era order requiring companies with large federal contracts to disclose past labor-law violations.
  • Killed a rule requiring companies to keep multiyear records of workplace injuries.
  • Rolled back the “fiduciary rule,” which required investment advisers to do what is in their clients’ best interests, potentially threatening workers’ retirement savings.
  • Appointed anti-labor representatives to the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Supported so-called right-to-work laws that make it harder for unions to organize.
  • Tried (and failed) to change “tip pooling” rules to allow employers to seize a portion of workers’ tips.
  • Took a sledgehammer to a spate of rules protecting workers from exposure to dangerous chemicals.
  • Urged the Supreme Court to allow employers to bar employees from banding together to sue over mistreatment.
  • Appointed a long list of judges eager to enhance the privileges of corporations and restrict the rights of workers.
  • Removed oversight of for-profit “universities,” making it easier for them to scam students into accumulating huge debt with empty promises of employment.
  • Supported lawsuits whose goal is to destroy public employee unions.
  • Tried to take health coverage away from millions of Americans.

Advocating for the rights of workers is what began many denomination’s current structural emphases on justice-oriented ministries. It is in our DNA. We must defend the right of federal government workers who are now in danger of losing months or even years of pay, according to the President's own words, while he demands his idiotic, ineffective, and racist wall.  Each day the evident disdain Trump has for workers grows more and more apparent.

Act
Call your members of Congress – your Representative and BOTH of your Senators and urge them to NOT pay for the wall and pass legislation to re-open the government. Congress is the legislative body and controls the purse strings, stop letting the President hold our nation hostage to his tyrannical whims.

The Capitol Hill switchboard is 202-224-2131. 
Pray
The Prayer of St. Joseph for Workers

Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow, you supported Jesus and Mary, and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.

Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance, for God and for those whom God has given me to support. Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them, that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all.

Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith, so that I shall recognize in it my share in God’s own creative activity and in Christ’s work of our redemption, and so take pride in it.

When it is pleasant and productive, remind me to give thanks to God for it. And when it is burdensome, teach me to offer it to God, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the world.
 
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