The Religious Right Deems Unions Sinful

It was not enough to prevent a major electoral upset (pending a recount) in Wisconsin this week, but the religious right seems to be stepping up its anti-union game in Wisconsin and elsewhere, according to Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones.

The right-wing Family Research Council (FRC), which was declared a hate group last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center, waded into a highly contentious Wisconsin Supreme Court election last week that was largely seen as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting Budget Repair Bill, airing radio ads throughout the state through a new PAC: Faith, Family, and Freedom.

You may remember the FRC from the highly-scientific study they released that found that  “homosexuals serving in the army are three times more likely than heterosexuals to commit sexual assaults,” or their recent classy attempt to turn Apple’s decision to pull a “gay cure” app into a fundraising opportunity, or their support of “ex-gay therapy,” or any number of public activities that might qualify an organization to be deemed a hate group.

Harkinson digs into some of the organization’s recent bizarre anti-union rhetoric that melds a love for God and a hatred of attempts to reduce economic inequality. Quoting recent FRC lecturer Mark Caleb Smith, he writes, “‘Government-imposed social justice is unjust,’ Smith concluded, adding that Christians who support that notion are heretical and un-American.”

Harkinson also quotes a tweet by FRC president Tony Perkins (who Campus Progress has previously profiled), who directly links social conservatism with an anti-union, pro-business agenda: “Pro-family voters should celebrate WI victory b/c public & private sector union bosses have marched lock-step w/liberal social agenda.”

Outside the FRC, Harkinson cites a Christian Coalition manual that states, “Christians have a responsibility to submit to the authority of their employers, since they are designated as part of God’s plan for the exercise of authority on the earth by man.”

The rise of a brand of Christian fundamentalism that explicitly ties collective bargaining to eternal salvation is pretty scary stuff. But recent years have seen increasing numbers of the faithful that preach the opposite: There is an increasing number of religious people, Christian and otherwise, organizing in support of unions and working people, in Wisconsin and beyond.

Interfaith Worker Justice, for example, is a national network of religious folks who not only actively support labor campaigns but also lead the fight for them. It was not labor unions but IWJ that led the charge to make of “wage theft” into a national issue that eventually saw the passage of a number of wage theft prevention laws in states around the country. They have created or affiliated with dozens of workers’ centers and have organized car washers.

Religious leaders made clear their willingness to be arrested in civil disobedience actions in Wisconsin, and led ecumenical services in the occupied capitol’s rotunda one Sunday morning. Progressive unions like UNITE HERE and SEIU have taken a page from Caesar Chavez and other labor struggles of years past by making religious leaders central parts of their union organizing drives.

So if you’re a bit bummed out by the news that there are folks in this grand ol’ country of ours that think God considers the estate tax a sin and Jesus told parables teaching against minimum wage laws, take heart. The labor battles in this country are, indeed, increasingly becoming holy wars. But religious foot soldiers don’t always see an anti-worker agenda as part of God’s plan.

This post was originally published by Campus Progress.


Related Stories:

Family Research Council Writing Health Care Opinions

Media Research Council: J. Crew Wants Your Kid To Be Transgendered

Family Research Council a Hate Group


Photo of Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president (middle): courtesy of freddthompson via flickr
written by Micah Uetricht, a staff writer for Campus Progress


lyn L.
l L6 years ago

We are not in the judeo-christian world of yester-year. we are in America, that is suppose to be a democracy that gives us rights as citizens. We have come along way with a long way to go. This is neither paradise or heaven. We need good sense to navigate this world. Love is the chief thing, with that comes a package deal. Love can get you in trouble and love can rescue you. I am not going to lose myself in this obey your boss thing. They bring this up cause where they want to lead the gullible is into mind control and brainless. Instead of teaching how to use your brain, they render a person thoughtless and helpless and at their beck and call, in the name of God. Love would want to make sure people are treated right and fairly and are not abused. But since they themselves have abusing in mind,they as a stand in god misrepresents God. One day they will have to give an account of themselves.everyone else better protect yourselves and learn bible for yourselves, cause they will strangle you for what you don't know. Just remember everything christian ain't. it makes sense to fulfil an agreement of employment but principle is key. We have osha issues and all kinds of issues on jobs. Even when you do your part does not mean one will be treated fairly. Most people who tout that verse about an employer, something is really wrong with their values system. As we can see as things are playing themselves out.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

These people are truly evil for sure. They tout the Bible and traditional values, yet want to feed the likes of the Pharaohs and Caesars...

The FRC is a cult that is just as ridiculous as the Westbourough Baptist Church with Fred Phelps running the whole religious circus...

They don't really stand for Jesus, I don't think they even trust God to be Him. They're here to spread the hate amongst those simple minds who want to buy into myths and stereotypes of people who are different.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

What would Jesus say?

Today, he would be crucified as a Communist!

John B.
John B6 years ago

What is the difference between a union and FRC?

In a union you can think other thoughts but you can't voice them without being shunned. In the FRC one isn't allowed to even think other thoughts. But then, why would one unless they had been possessed by Satan

John B.
John B6 years ago

Shouldn't it be called the Religious Wrong?

I am against unions but I'm more against these nuts from the FRC. They make the concept of a union appear to be the most democratic, freedom loving concept going.

James B.
Jay B6 years ago

The religious fanatics on the right are a UNION of people who can't figure out how to repent their own sins. That's why they hate everybody else. They are a miserable lot, so they want to make everybody else miserable too.

Richard P.
Anonymous XX6 years ago

What is a religious organization but a UNION of people sharing a common belief?

Deanne P.
Deanne Perry6 years ago

Strange. I don't understand Americans, especially American Christians. I am an Australian Christian and I am a member of a union and believe they are for the most part a positive influence in the world.

lyn L.
l L6 years ago

Just because there are decent minded christians, doesn't dismiss what these right wing religious fanatics are doing and that is recognizing who the culprits are. We live in america, not a third world. What is advertized or what we are brainwashed to believe in, is rights and citizenship. We are not any private religions authority. So yes unions are needed and a good thing. I don't care what any religious right says. After all, while they pretend to be seen as the moral majority, they are so flawed and because of their flaws and contradictions, I have no honor for them from me. They are liars and murderers and accessories to murder.

Thomas Lee B.
Thomas Lee B6 years ago

"Christians have a responsibility to submit to the authority of their employers, since they are designated as part of God's plan for the exercise of authority on Earth by man." Lyn F., this has gone on much longer than 35 years. For centuries the same crock of crap was used to "justify" the "divine right of kings." How do these antigovernment types like that association? And yes, Dianna M., that's where the Inquisition came from too.

In Minnesota we have an organization like Interfaith Worker Justice called Isaiah, after the great prophet. If you read his book you'll find he wasn't real big on leader worship either.

"The unco' guid," as Robert Burns called them, can chant about God all they want. But when we get right down to facts we find they are made of the same stuff as the rest of us, and just as subject to sin and folly.