“It’s the economy, stupid!”
Poll after poll shows that American voters’ top priorities for our government to address are economic issues such as unemployment and job creation.
America’s concern over unemployment makes perfect sense. For one thing, a country obviously cannot achieve its full potential while suffering from high unemployment. For those of us who are American citizens, we should definitely be concerned about unemployment. Those of us who are American citizens and Christians have an even greater incentive to want to see job creation spurred – while the Bible reminds us that we are not of the world (and are in fact strangers and foreigners here), it also tells us in Jeremiah 29:7 to “seek the peace and prosperity” of the place in which we live (emphasis mine). And on a personal note, as a recent college graduate, I can attest to the fact that knowing you’re graduating during a time of relatively high unemployment is stressful!
The importance of work is ingrained into our American psyche – as well as our Christian identity. Consider that the quote “He who will not work shall not eat,” one of John Smith’s rules for the early American settlement of Jamestown, is actually derived from 2 Thessalonians 3:10. While this scripture is a warning against laziness – not an indictment of those who are locked out of the labor force despite trying to gain entry – the fact remains that unemployment, especially in America, the land of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” carries a certain stigma with it. Thus, besides the overall, macro-level economic impact of having high unemployment, unemployment can cause spiritual, social, and emotional suffering for those undergoing it . Sojourners‘ film The Line illustrates this point beautifully and heartbreakingly.
Clearly, American Christians have both a civic and spiritual duty to care about issues of unemployment and job creation in this country. That’s why yesterday’s report by the center-right American Action Network on the impact of immigration reform on job creation strengthened my desire to see immigration reform pass soon. According to this report, immigration reform would create an incredible 6 million jobs over the next decade – 14,000 of which would be in my area! (That’s enough to provide jobs for every Wheaton College grad – which is located just down the street from me – for the next 20 years!)
Check out the American Action Network’s tool below: how many jobs would be created in your area?
Daniel Watts graduated from Wheaton College in August 2012 and is the G92 Coordinator.
Please note that the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of everyone associated with G92 or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.