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Demanding a just economy


Easter hope lives in meeting the needs of all

By Vernon S. Broyles III | Presbyterians Today

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. — Revelation 22:1–5

Protesters carrying sign that reads, "Abolish the billionaires! Save the children!"

Maria Oswalt/Unsplash

We live in a messed-up world. The strong still dominate the weak. The wealthy do whatever is necessary to protect their wealth. Those in positions of political power, regardless of their party, have been unwilling to support any major movement that would spread wealth — including the provision of adequate health care, affordable housing and education — in ways that are fair to all citizens.

The most prominent aspect of this is the struggle for significant increases in compensation for workers that would provide genuine living wages for those who toil at the bottom of the pyramid of wealth. Efforts to raise the minimum wage to what is truly a living wage bring outcries of “socialism” or “communism,” even though [any honest assessment] of what is required to live and raise a family on in the United States is far above the legal minimum wage.

And there is a reason for that. Classical definitions of “capitalism” usually describe three critical components — capital goods, natural resources and labor. For this kind of economic system to function properly, these components must be obtained at the lowest possible cost. Thus, it is perfectly logical for every enterprise that involves human labor to obtain that labor at the lowest possible financial cost.

When will we demand of our leaders an economic system that truly embodies God’s vision of hope — a system marked by justice and compassion for all? If it is not the church of Jesus Christ, the Risen One, that leads in the world of political action, then where will we turn for hope of a better life for all of God’s children?

In this season of Easter — of new life — let us cry out, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” Let us live and act as if that were true, and let us seek justice for all.

Vernon S. Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly.

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