Friday, April 25, 2014

The Progressive/Religious Alliance

4/25/2014—Back on April 9, 2014, the Post-Gazette carried a story about Reverend Jack O’Malley receiving the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Citizen of the Year Award. The award “cited his half-century of activism on behalf of unions and laborers”.

Here are some of the highlights of the story. “His work has ranged from hosting California farm workers, who were seeking nationwide support for better working conditions in the 1960s and 1970s, to efforts over the decades on behalf of steel and other blue-collar workers. More recently, Father O'Malley was arrested for trespassing in February along with other clergy in a protest outside UPMC offices, calling for better pay and conditions for the health care giant's workers.

Father O'Malley's aim is ‘to put the gospel into action,’ he said. ‘People are working two jobs without health benefits, and they can't even see their children" because they often get home after the children have gone to bed.’”

O’Malley is a Catholic Priest here on the Northside. Undoubtedly he opposes abortion and gay marriage. But he clearly wants to talk about and put his efforts into matters of social and economic justice. For that matter, Pope Francis wants to talk about and emphasize matters of social and economic justice. The Catholic Church is ready to be an ally on behalf of the bottom 20%, or even the bottom 99%.

Secularists have got to stop throwing away the opportunity for collaborative work out of an anti-religion bias. The AFL-CIO has done so.

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