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Does the Bible Mandate Obama’s Minimum Wage Law?

Written by Gary North on March 24, 2014

The governor of Illinois recently said on national television that the minimum wage law should be passed by the legislature of Illinois because there is a fundamental principle involved. It goes back to the Bible, he says. The principle is this: if you work 40 hours a week, you should not have to live in poverty.



This is also the theological position of Rev. Jim Wallis, as he has stated explicitly. For more on Rev. Wallis’ economics, click here.

Let’s talk poverty. I don’t mean South Side Chicago poverty, which can be called flash mob cell phone poverty. I mean real poverty. At last report, approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live on an income of under two dollars a day. These people are clearly in poverty. What is the governor of Illinois going to do about this? What should he do? What does the Bible say he should do?

The correct answer is . . . nothing.

But the governor thinks the minimum wage law is based on a biblical principle. Dare he do nothing? Dare he just sit there and let people starve? So, will he now recommend that the legislatures of all those nations in whose jurisdictions people earn $2 a day pass a minimum-wage law of $10.65 an hour, which Illinois is about to do? Those people will go from $2 a day, or $80 a week, to $426 a week. Presto: no more poverty!

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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33 thoughts on “Does the Bible Mandate Obama’s Minimum Wage Law?

  1. Henry Ford once said "a man is worth Fifty dollars a day if he earns it"

  2. the Bible would say, a days pay for a days labor,and that would depend on the work that is being done,some jobs pay more than others,depending on the skill level required,a banker makes more money than a man who digs a ditch,a Nuclear scientist will make more than a cashier in a store,because of the skill level required,that is just common sense,many are being supported on welfare who produce nothing,that is not wrong for the short run until that person or persons and get on their feet but should be temporary only not permanent.

    • Rattlerjake says:

      Minimum wage is the equivalent of giving everyone a trophy just for entering the game. We are no longer paid on our productivity, but instead by the name of the job. Government "jobs" are nothing more than another system of welfare, because people are being paid tax dollars and excessive benefits but NO productivity.

  3. Cal Sibert says:

    Actually, what the Bible says on the subject is this.If you agree to work for someone for a preset wage,you should give a honest days work for it.It also says that,should the job provider hire others,and they make more than you,it is none of your business,it is an agreement that they have made,and the job provider can pay as he sees fit.
    So rather than whining,be thankful you have work,and that others do as well. If the job provider doesn't pay enough,go work for someone else,or negotiate.

    • Jeanne Stotler says:

      Apply this to US Gov't. workers, most do not put in even a 1/2 days work, even Obama does not put in a 40 hour week, and you cannot include his airplane rides as work, or time shooting hoops, or watching /playing basketball. I agree, if you have a job, do it well.
      Our forefathers in Jamestown and Plymouth had a system, no work, no food. All able bodied adults had jobs t do, even kids were taught to pull weeds, plant gardens, girls learned to sew, clean and cook, boys learned to hunt, that is how they survived

  4. Gov. Quinn, please tell us the chapter and verse.

    “If we ignore the laws that govern the interpretation of Scripture, we can make the Bible say anything you want it to say.”
    [From: Why The Ten Commandments Matter, pp. 102, 103, author Dr. D. James Kennedy]

    There are three basic laws:
    1.We examine the sentence or block of text to see if we understand what it is saying, in and of itself, without any outside explanation.

    2.We examine the passage in context to ensure that we do not pull a text out of context and make that a pretext for whatever we would like it to say.

    3.We examine the passage in light of the whole of Scripture – that is, in the broadest context of the whole Bible.

    • Virgil Hilts says:

      YEP. The three keys to proper understanding of the scriptures…all scripture may be understood in the verse, by the context, or it will have been used before.

  5. Tom Swonger says:

    I belive the BIBLE also says. if you don't work you don't eat.

    • Actually, in 2 Thess 3:10, St. Paul warns members of the Church against idleness, and tells them if they are not willing to work, they should not eat. Here's the portion of Scripture:

      6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

      13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
      2 Thess 3:6-15 (ESV)

    • I believe the BIBLE also says that you should help those in need.
      http://www.openbible.info/topics/helping_those_in

      There are literally DOZENS of verses to that effect. Not everyone who isn't working is lazy – some can't find a job or are physically unable to work. Cherry-picking your verses is just an excuse to continue in your selfishness.

      • Enginole says:

        Since the Bible is truth, all verses must support each other; none can contradict. Therefore, how does the dozens of verses that state to help those in need also fulfill "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat"?

        • Phillip the Bruce says:

          If he can't work, he should be helped. If he WON'T work, he is not in need, he is lazy.
          No contradiction.

    • Daviid in MA says:

      That is why the fields are left with some produce in them, to feed the poor.

  6. webeamericans says:

    Read Proverbs 6: 6-11. Also Christ Himself said "the poor you will always have with you".

  7. One thing that people do, including our elected officials, is to abuse God's Word. They believe that God's Word is authoritative, but they tend to take it out of context and give it their own meaning. They're right about one thing — God's Word is the final word. But woe to them who use God's Word for their own purposes. Here are five trustworthy sayings about the Word of God.

    •When we lift up the Word of God, God’s Word lifts us up.
    •The Word of God is for everyone; sadly, not everyone will accept His Word.
    •When we seek the truth, speak the truth, and live according to the truth of God’s Word, we will find ourselves in the center of God’s will.
    •God always keeps His Word; He wants us to keep His Word too.
    •God’s Word is forever True; and by His Word all will be judged.

  8. My apologies to Gov. Quinn. He said, "there's a principle as old as the Bible …" Still, I wish he would tell us exactly what that principle is and where we can find the original text. But mentioning the Bible to make his point is still an abuse. St. Paul wrote in his 2nd letter to Timothy:

    But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it.12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
    14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
    2 Tim 3:10-17 (NLT)

    Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus.18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
    19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”
    2 Tim 2:15-19 (NLT)

  9. jsbrodhead says:

    IT IS THE GOVERNMENT(s), which inflate the dollar, STEALING from the People.

    So, these idiots claim that the People should pay MORE FOR EVERYTHING, to make up for GOVERNMENT THEFT!

    I can not longer differentiate Marxists from their actions. I hate the actions, so I hate the Marxists!

  10. I would like to know where in the Bible it mentions a 40-hour work week? What is does say is: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11 The way I read this text is it is as much of a sin to work on th Sabbath (Saturday) as it is not to work the other 6 days, or a 72-hour work week (6×12).

  11. thrufaithalone says:

    All I know is that God does expect laborers to be treated justly. James 5: 1-4 makes it clear: "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth."
    The Old Testament has plenty to say about the issue too, but I will stop for now.

    • "All I know is that God does expect laborers to be treated justly."

      All I know is that people will lose their jobs if the minimum wage is artificially increased.

  12. Hansel und Gretel says:

    who cares what the jew bible says , what do the grimm fairy tales say about wages and labour.

  13. If, by “Bible”, you mean Christianity, the answer is no. Jesus didn’t command that Caesar mandate anything. He told the each individual to go and do as He commands. Christianity is difficult; so is liberty.

  14. "Let’s talk poverty. I don’t mean South Side Chicago poverty, which can be called flash mob cell phone poverty. I mean real poverty. At last report, approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live on an income of under two dollars a day. These people are clearly in poverty."

    Thank you, Gary, for clarifying the difference between American-style "poverty", and real poverty. Been there, seen that.

    BTW–$2/day is not $80/wk, but $12/wk (assuming they work six days). And I've seen lower wages than that. That would be about $50/mo. There are lots of people who would LOVE to be making $50 a month. My wife knew a housekeeper for the president of the country we were in who made about $13 a month. This guy (the Prez) had at least a half-dozen opulent homes scattered around the country, and probably hundreds of these $13/mo workers on his payroll.

  15. The Bible's comment that reflects most on the minimum wage is "Thou shalt not steal."

    By running the printing press day and night to "create" money, the Federal Reserve (with the full knowledge of Congress and the current president, whomever that might be at any given time) inflates the currency and steals the value of any wages that the laborer has. The situation of unrepentant and brazen thieves preaching to employers that they are abusing their employees by not paying them more when the employee's poverty is a direct result of their thievery is a scenario that sounds very much like the Bible.

  16. Too bad this guy never read the bible, just what his speech writers told him to say to his audience.
    Typical left wing propaganda, that merits 4 big "pinnochios" on the richter scale…
    I've heard similar Quotes used by the left, as though they knew the bible by heart….

    • David in MA says:

      All I remember reading in the Bible in regards to this, is (basically) If you want to eat ~~~ WORK!

  17. Jstarusa says:

    I thought the Democrats were against anything combining church and state? Why then is he using the bible to make a point? Oh I get it, only when it suits his problem at hand! Never mind!

  18. David in MA says:

    Did "we" forget the "separation of church and state" thingy?
    (This should bring some interesting responses)

    • "Separation of Church and State" is not in the Constitution! The founders wanted there to be moral people in the country in all walks of life, including politics.

      • David in MA says:

        I know that, but where there are those who always speak this garbage I thought I would see what crap they would come up with to justify applying it…

  19. I find it incredible that so many anti-Christian liberal democrats, are all of a sudden experts on the Bible.

    Ronald Reagan was quoted as saying "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so."

    There is a special place reserved in Hell for people who lead people astray by making up quotes from the Bible.

    Here are 2 that they use all the time:
    God helps those who help themselves. Not in the Bible!
    Money is the root of all evil. Misquoted. It's "The love of money is the root of all evil."

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