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The Christian workplace

By David Hale - posted Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Where are the Christian values within workplaces? Although Jesus is not remembered mostly for his views on a living wage for his fellow carpenters and builders. It doesn't mean he did not have them.

Where are the values in a registered nurse being asked to do a double-shift, working more than 13 hours, excluding breaks? And what will be the value-based response by an employer, when tired, gives the wrong medication or crashes on the way home from work?

What about Christian values when it comes to wages? And not just how much is paid, but how fast they are paid. The Bible instructs us to pay workers daily. As you don't know how quickly they may need the money. If you do get paid now, it is probably not daily, and if they make an error paying you, it isn't always fixed in a day.


Are there any values linked to what is sold? A panelist on a recent episode of the US version of Meet the Press, pointed out how Americans are quite bothered by the history of slavery in their own county. They are, however, quite fine with buying products made by slaves today in other countries.

We certainly saw a lack of Christian values during COVID. When people bought as many products as they could for themselves, leaving shelves empty for others.

So, where are the Christian values? It could be that Jesus the Unionist is not as appealing as Jesus the Messiah. So, Christian values and work are not often associated together. And usually when we hear about Christian values at work, it just relates to some business not wanting to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. In fact, cases like that are before the US Supreme Court.

One could say that many businesses are not Christian, so that explains it. Yet, many businesspeople are at least nominally Christian in this country. And the example of the registered nurse doing a double, they were working for a religious healthcare provider.

We could argue that no one is making them do a double or making someone work for low pay. Yet, more than a hundred years ago that argument was not accepted.

Pope Leo XIII, writing in Rerum Novarum in 1891, pointed out that someone accepting bad conditions because they really needed the work, did not make it okay to provide those bad conditions. It was viewed as morally wrong, according to Catholic social teaching.


A theory is that we simply choose values, business or personal, that require very little of us. In fact, we are told that you don't even need religion. One just needs to be nice to people, and not kill them.

Yet, Christian values {and those of other faiths} ask much more from people than saying please, and thank you, and not being a serial killer.

The values are not simple, and they do require more from us. In business, they require much more than an employer, employee, and customer are probably willing to do.

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About the Author

David Hale is an Anglican University Lay Chaplain, staff worker for the Australian Student Christian Movement and a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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