Tag Archives: Human Rights

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton: Woe to those who make unjust laws

Destroying unions hurts the least among usgumbleton

“We firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers for organizing.”

My brother bishops and I wrote that more than a quarter-century ago in our 1986 letter Economic Justice for All. Regrettably, it rings true still today.

The right-to-work legislation that was passed by the House and the Senate in Michigan just this month is designed to break unions. It is designed to prevent workers from organizing. And we must oppose it as firmly as we did during the 1980s.

As Catholics, we believe that if the dignity of work is to remain protected, then the basic rights of workers must be protected – fair wages, freedom from discrimination and the right to organize and join unions. We believe in justice. We believe in the common good.

Right-to-work laws go against everything we believe.

Economists tell us that right-to-work laws devastate economic justice. They lower wages for all workers. They lessen benefits for all workers. They increase poverty for all people.

Workers tell us that these laws decrease cooperation, collaboration, love and solidarity.

This legislation should not just offend Catholics, but all Christians and members of all faith traditions. At the core of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all great religions are the values of dignity and respect, values from which economic justice and the right to organize can never be separated.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s Presbyterian tradition “affirms the rights of labor organization and collective bargaining as minimum demands of justice.” Similar statements have been made by the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to name but a few.

However, we do not need statements from on high to understand what we know to be true on the ground. Right-to-work laws do not help the least among us. Rather, they profit those who already hold more power and wealth than is their fair share. They foster extreme inequality, inequality that can only lead to extreme disparities and extreme division.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet proclaims, “Woe to those who make unjust laws.” Indeed, woe to those in the Michigan state Legislature who voted in favor of these laws. Woe to Gov. Snyder, whose pen is at the ready to sign these bills.

Just as Catholic bishops united in 1986 to speak against organized efforts to break unions, it is now time for Michigan citizens of all faiths to unite against an unjust law, passed in great haste, which will do great damage to our state. Each of us must take responsibility for speaking out and taking action to prevent a terrible injustice from occurring in Michigan.

Written by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

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Dear Friends –
Please Circulate Widely this strong message from Bishop Gumbleton, which Pax Christi Michigan solidly endorses, in opposition to the “Right to Work” law which was sped through the Michigan State Congress and signed by Gov. Snyder on December on 11, 2013.   Besides being the product of a lame duck congress going rogue with its power – adding language that prohibits it from EVER being challenged or reversed, this decision goes against all Catholic Social Teaching which supports the Common Good and has upheld the rights of workers to organize since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum dated May 15, 1891. For complete text of the encyclical, See http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html.  The take-over by the 1% goes on – legislating for continued escalation of a growing class of poor.  God save us from ourselves. Amen.
LET YOUR VOICES CONTINUE TO RESOUND SO THAT ONE DAY WE MAY RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS AND OUR HUMANENESS IN WORKING FOR THE COMMON GOOD.
In solidarity,
Joan Tirak
Coordinator – Pax Christi Michigan

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MICHIGAN INTERFAITH COALITION FOR PALESTINE

Friends –

The Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Palestine is requesting that communities of faith and goodwill designate the week of March 27 to April 2 as a time of prayer, meditation and reflection for a just peace in the Holy Land.

This week has been chosen because it includes Land Day, March 30. This day is an occasion on which Palestinians celebrate the life-sustaining gifts of the earth and mourn the loss of their livelihood and freedom of movement as a result of occupation. Most importantly, it is a day on which Palestinians invite people around the world to join them in working for peace with justice in the Holy Land.

Please ask for prayer, meditation and reflection for:

 People living under occupation, especially Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza who are seeing their homes seized and/or destroyed, their lands confiscated, and their mobility limited by walls and checkpoints placed inside Palestinian territory.

 Palestinians who are engaged in the nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and human dignity, along with their Israeli and international counterparts.

 Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the search for a just and peaceful end to this 44-year occupation and the violence it has wrought.

 Our own elected officials, that they may be imbued with wisdom, courage and integrity as they make decisions that impact the future of Israel/ Palestine.

Thank you for joining with us and the people of the Holy Land in seeking peace and justice. May all who thirst drink from the ever-flowing stream.

~ The Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Palestine ~

  • Rev. Rani Abdulmasih …. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA),Southeast Michigan Synod
  • Jill Baker …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Diane Cooper …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Larry Cooper …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Rev. Jack Eggleston….. ELCA, Southeast Michigan Synod
  • David Sinclair Gallagher ………….. United Church of Christ (UCC) Social Justice
  • Rev. Terry Gallagher …. UCC Social Justice; CMEP Coordinator; Sacred Conversation – Detroit
  • George Garcia …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Rev. Fred Harms ….. ELC in Jordan and the Holy Land Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan Synod
  • Carol Hylkema …. Middle East Work Group of the Social Justice and Peacemaking Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Detroit (PCUSA)
  • George Khoury …. Friends of Sabeel – North America, Detroit ChapterToni Mann …. Middle East Work Group of the Social Justice and Peacemaking Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Detroit (PCUSA)
  • Hasan Newash …. Palestine Cultural Office – Detroit
  • Donna Matteis …. ELCJHL Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan
  • Terri Montgomery …. Detroit Peace Center
  • Kim Redigan ….. Pax Christi – Michigan
  • Dave Upmeyer …. ELCJHL Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan

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