God, the Right-Wing (and Left-Wing) Extremist


4 sins cry out to heaven. Left and Right hear only two.

Fourth, “injustice to the wage earner” cries out to heaven.

For this one the Catechism quotes Deuteronomy 24:14-15: “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.”

That sounds uncomfortably close to the situation in the United States where we “welcome” into the country an immigrant class that will work for lower pay. Immigrants are 13 percent of the U.S. population but make up huge proportions of our housecleaners (45 percent), taxi drivers and chauffeurs (37 percent); meat processors (37 percent) and grounds workers (35 percent) according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

The Catechism also quotes the Letter of St. James 5:4: “Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord.” It is hard to read those words and not think about America’s underclass of migrant farm workers.

Does it bother you that our lifestyle is made possible by an underpaid lower class? It bothers God too.

The list is a wake-up call to both conservatives and liberals in America.

When it comes to these very issues, we often look at each other in bewilderment, wondering how the other can tolerate the sin that makes us cringe and be so passionate about the lesser evil that we have learned to live with.

It turns out that God agrees — except that he doesn’t tolerate any of these sins. They cry out to heaven. Their cry should reach our hearts too.


Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

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