Wage Slaves for Jesus

by Charles Cherry

I’m not a fan of Jim Hightower, but the headline of one of his recent editorials caught my eye:

“Wage Slaves for Jesus”

Hightower begins his editorial with this statement:Chinese Assembly Workers

“If the poor are truly blessed, then God must be smiling on those Chinese workers forced to make crucifixes and other religious articles while toiling in deplorable sweatshop conditions.”

In the editorial, Hightower refers to a report by the National Labor Comittee called “Today Workers Bear the Cross: Crucifixes Made Under Horrific Sweatshop Conditions in China,” published in November of 2007. The report details the conditions in a sweatshop factory in China that produces, among other things, crucifixes that were being sold in the U.S. for $29.95 apiece. The workers making these items were being paid about .26 cents per hour, and were being forced to work extremely long hours in sweatshop conditions.

I have deplored the amount of “Jesus Junk” found in religious “book” stores for years. Most of these stores stock shelf after shelf with junk – plastic “Jesus” trinkets, “Jesus” jewelry, “Jesus” mints, “Jesus” wall plaques and pictures, “Jesus” t-shirts, “Jesus” everything-you-can-think-of-that-can-be-made-for-cheap-and-sold-for-a-high-profit. 99.9% of this junk comes from China, and it is my guess that most of it comes from sweatshop factories like the ones detailed on the above website.

The “Christian Retail Industry” rakes in about five billion a year – that’s BILLION with a “B.” I wonder how many of our Christian brothers and sisters could be fed, clothed and cared for with that five billion.

The next time you saunter into a “Christian” book store, and you are tempted to purchase that piece of Jesus Junk on the shelf, turn it over and look at the bottom. If it says “Made in China,” ask yourself if you really need another piece of Jesus Junk cluttering up your life. Even if it doesn’t say “Made in China,” ask yourself the same question. Then take the amount that you would have spent on the Jesus Junk and give it to an organization that feeds and clothes poverty stricken Christians in countries like Myanmar.