Lately I’ve been blogging about the disparity of wealth in the U.S. However, it’s a worldwide problem that had its best framing from an unusual source: Pope Francis. Since taking over from Pope Benedict, Francis has surprised many of us by speaking out in defense of poor and working people. This past Sunday, he put the problem in theological terms.
Speaking to unemployed miners in Sardina, the Pope put aside prepared remarks and spoke his heart. He said, “If there is no work, there is no dignity.” He challenged a world economic system that replaced God with an idol: money. The Pope then prayed to God to “give us work and teach us to fight for work.” Those words are powerful, especially in a world were workers are treated more and more as disposable commodities.
At what point is too much wealth too much and too much poverty too much? Pope Francis sees a world of haves and have not, and he is calling for change. May his voice – and his prayers – be heard.
We often think of Rev. Martin Luther King simply as a champion of civil rights and racial equality. In today’s Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reminds us that King’s struggle also focused economic justice and working people. She points out that 10% of working families today are living in poverty. King put the workers’ plight in these words: “If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it.”
King used the word we, a word often invoked in the president’s speech today. Let’s hope that this country can come together, and work together, to see that we all rise up – together.