IWJ Executive Director Kim Bobo sent the following letter to the Wall Street Journal, which has thus far not published it.
If you'd like to write your own response to Malanga's essay, go here and click RESPOND TO ARTICLE. Feel free to cross-post your response here (copying and pasting the same text) by clicking "comments" just below.
Steven Malanga’s “The Rise of the Religious Left” (October 16, 2007) ignores the depth of religious concern for and teaching about hunger and poverty. Ending poverty is a faith question — witness the thousands of congregations that provide food and shelter for poor people. The new emergence of a faith-led effort around raising wages, benefits and working conditions reflects the maturity and sophistication of the religious community’s fight against poverty. This is not a left-wing matter. This is a faith matter.
Although I greatly respect the philosophers mentioned in the article, Minister Rauschenbusch and Monsignor Ryan, most religious leaders are not involved because of them, but rather because of the reading and understanding of their own sacred texts and teachings and their concrete experiences with low-income families in their congregations.
The religious leaders I know do not “blindly refuse to acknowledge” academic research on rising wages, but rather understand that those who oppose raising wages and benefits for low-wage workers have historically trotted out studies to “prove” that we would all be better off accepting poverty-wage jobs. Over 80 percent of the American public, including most people of faith, supported raising the minimum wage.
Interfaith Worker Justice