A Christmas meditation on workers’ rights

Stan Kimer[Editor’s note: Stan C. Kimer is a retired IBM executive and former President of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He now runs a firm which offers consulting services around diversity management and training, and talent/career development. This is the latest installment in a series of posts he is authoring for The Progressive Pulse on engaging the faith and business communities on the issue of workers’ rights. You can read his most recent previous installments by clicking here and here.]

We are now at the Advent Season, where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as Savior. During this special time, Christians proclaim the “Good News” that was shared about Jesus in the Biblical Scripture. Often verses are quoted on holiday cards sent to friends and family far and wide.

Let us mediate on one of the verses we often hear at this time about Jesus’ mission in coming to the earth. It’s Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…”

Are not people of faith who often talk about “Jesus being the reason for the season” then called to assist Christ in His proclaimed mission?

Who are the poor? More than likely many are single parent family heads working at near minimum wage with little or no benefits struggling to provide basic food, clothing and shelter for their families.

Who are the prisoners? Those entrapped in debt because they cannot seem to catch up, especially if they need to take an unpaid day off to care for a sick child, and may not therefore be able to pay that month’s electric bill.

Who are the blind? Maybe it is those of us of faith who are very well off and fail to live up to our responsibility to strongly advocate for laws and public policies that provide fair benefits for the most vulnerable.

And who are the oppressed? Those who are working so hard just to make ends meet, and then others scorn them or make them feel “less than” because they accepted a small amount of public assistance or have to live on welfare.

As we celebrate this Christmas season and go into the New Year of 2016, perhaps we and our faith communities should resolve to take some action to advocate more strongly for the poor, the prisoners and the oppressed. Be on the look out for ideas and materials from North Carolina Families Care. Perhaps click on their “get involved” link and sign up to volunteer and / or receive updates.

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[Editor’s note: Stan C. Kimer is a retired ...

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