Robbing workers

You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. Leviticus 19:13 NRSV

You shall not defraud your fellow. You shall not commit robbery. The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning. Leviticus 19:13 JPS

Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. Leviticus 19:13 NIV

It’s not a matter of translation. Not paying a day laborer at the end of her work day is unjust; it robs her and her family of their livelihood. It robs her of her dignity as a worker.

I do not know federal employment law. It may be legal to force government workers to work without pay or without knowing if or when they would receive accumulated backpay. It may be legal, but it is utterly unjust.

Holding workers and their families hostage in a political fight may also be legal.

I struggle to find words for the moral rage I carry in my innards over the apparent ease with which the President has repeatedly refused to end this government shutdown.

I am waiting for the leaders of what’s left of the labor unions in this country to call us to the streets.

I am grateful I get to walk in the company of Isaiah, with faith in the God of justice.

Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us;
we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness;
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope like the blind along a wall…
Isaiah 59:9-10 NRSV