In a press conference on Friday with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Bishop of Vermont Tom Ely and other faith leaders throughout the state gathered for an income inequality press conference.
From Bishop Ely:
The people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont have called upon our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori to convene a nationwide interfaith coalition to provide moral leadership for the establishment of economic justice in our country. We have also adopted a statement on Economic Justice and Income Inequality prepared by our leadership Council (and available on our website). And, in a concrete effort to put our faith and conviction into action, our annual Convention urged all our congregations, as well as the bishop’s office, to pay all lay employees an hourly livable wage appropriate for the State of Vermont.
For me, the call to engage this challenge is grounded in the words Jesus used to summarize the commandments that informed his faith, as well as the great Hebrew prophets before him, and which is expressed this way in the Gospel according to Matthew: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)
Borrowing from the teaching of Archbishop Rowan Williams in his book Faith in the Marketplace, we are reminded that maintaining wealth at the cost of our neighbor’s disadvantage, or worse, is inhumane – what the other finds painful I should find painful too. True love of neighbor is the moral and ethical imperative that can lead us from greed to generosity, from economic disparity to economic justice.
For the full statement from Bishop Ely including video and information regarding the Diocese of Vermont’s 2013 resolution on economic justice and income inequality, please visit the diocesan website here.