About two weeks ago, President Obama signed his first bill into law. That bill had to deal with a woman that wasn’t paid the same rate as those around her and she sued for discrimination. She found out, secretly, that she was getting paid less, and now, President Obama says she can sue and get some compensation.
What I find interesting is that the Bible has something exactly dealing with this circumstance. In Matthew 20 Jesus tells a parable about a householder that goes out and hires people to work in his vineyard. He does it at different times during the day—needing more people throughout.
When it’s time to get paid, the following thing happens:
And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
That last verse is the key. The employer made a deal with the workers for a certain pay. They all had contracts and they all agreed to it. And the householder’s question is the employer’s question—why do you deserve more money when you agreed to the amount that you were hired for?
Change the people in this story to be of different sex, religion, race, etc.—it doesn’t matter. If you make a deal with someone to be employed for a certain amount, you don’t deserve more than that simply because someone else made more. You can lobby to get more while you’re there, but we should not be enabling envy.
It’s just wrong.