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Clergy: God is on the side of union workers

Published: Thu, September 1, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Marc Kovac



A group of clergy opposed to Senate Bill 5 is calling for civility in the coming Issue 2 campaign.

But We Believe Ohio also made it clear during a press conference at a church near the Statehouse on Wednesday that they believe God is on the side of union workers, and Republican-backed changes to the state’s collective bargaining law should be defeated.

“We believe there is an unjust and growing gap between the rich and the poor and a daily disintegration of the middle class in America,” said the Rev. Tim Ahrens, pastor of First Congregational Church of Columbus.

“We also believe that organized initiatives are under way here in Ohio and in many states to further destroy labor and organized workers, and we believe this is wrong.”

Wednesday’s press event included a confessional litany, with participants responding in unison, “Restore us.”

Representatives of Christian, Jewish and Islamic communities read passages from their respective sacred texts. They also urged people of faith to use the Labor Day holiday this weekend to talk about labor issues.

But the bulk of the press conference focused on members’ opposition to Senate Bill 5, including a call for both sides of the issue to sit down and work out their differences — after voters defeat the issue in November.

“When Issue 2 is voted down and Senate Bill 5 is successfully and officially repealed, We Believe Ohio urges that a bipartisan committee of state legislators be formed to sit down at a table with representatives of public employees and negotiate what’s in the best interest of the state and in the best interest of the public employees,” said Rev. Eric Brown, from Woodland Christian Church in Columbus.

In a written response after the event, Jason Mauk, spokesman for the Building a Better Ohio, the pro-Senate Bill 5 campaign, said, “There’s nothing more compassionate than helping our hard-working government employees keep their jobs, while reducing the cost of government on Ohio families.”

He added, “These pastors help families everyday who’ve been hard-hit by this economy. Our local communities are laying off good police officers, firefighters, teachers and other government employees because, like too many families, they’re struggling to pay the bills. Taxpayers are constantly being badgered for higher taxes to sustain the growing cost of government, and Ohioans are now shouldering one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. We can keep the failed policies of the past, or we can embrace some very reasonable reforms that will move Ohio in a new direction.”


1lee(544 comments)posted 4 years ago

I don't think God was in a union.

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2AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 4 years ago

Sure He was. A union of three.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

“We believe there is an unjust and growing gap between the rich and the poor and a daily disintegration of the middle class in America,”

The heavy taxation of the working class to satisfy union appetites of government workers is not helping the middle class one iota .

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4palefoot(35 comments)posted 4 years ago

God should not be brought into a debate like this and I resent "religious" people giving the impression that if you support SB5 you are going against His will.
Politics don't belong in the church.

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years ago

Maybe God lied to these guys?

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6grand4dad(209 comments)posted 4 years ago

Stan stated "The heavy taxation of the working class to satisfy union appetites of government workers is not helping the middle class one iota ". Answer me this, is the low or zero taxation of the billionaires and corporations helping the middle class and if so, how??? And don't tell me job creation because we all know that's not happening.

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7LeoFibanacci(19 comments)posted 4 years ago

grand4dad, the top 10% of earners pay over 70% of the federal taxes. How much more would you want them to pay, 100%?

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8kensgirl(840 comments)posted 4 years ago

This country was built on unions due to poor working conditions and unfair wages. SB 5 is giving all the power back to the govt. and God knows where the money saved will go to. I'm sure it won't be put in the collection plate!

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9faith(200 comments)posted 4 years ago

Jesus was a union carpenter. Unions have fought for workers rights and have achieved many over the last 100 years. This is a good thing. If the GOP has their way it will be 1776 all over again.

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10redvert(2173 comments)posted 4 years ago

"Jesus was a union carpenter" What local did he belong to? Did he pay his dues in Gold, Frankincense or Mir?

Some of this stuff is downright comical!!!

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11NoBS(2269 comments)posted 4 years ago

Leo - there was a time when the obscenely rich paid 90%. But don't forget - those are the same people who can buy themselves some loopholes and tax shelters. They don't/didn't actually pay anywhere near that.

Yes, there is an increasing gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" and the middle class is under attack and being eroded by those who fancy themselves to be above the rules that govern the regular people.

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12Peregrine(47 comments)posted 4 years ago

Are you sure that Jesus wasn't and independent contractor and businessman? He was in the family business which he learned from His father.

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13Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

grand4dad :

Repealing SB5 is all about taxing the middle class to satisfy the appetite of unionized government workers . The poor pay no taxes and there aren't enough millionaires to satisfy their appetite . Soon the middle class will be the poor and government workers will be the rich trying to get richer . Democratic millionaires will remain untouched and the outspoken conservatives will continue to be targeteted . Unwilling victims are not tolerated now nor will they be in the future .



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14maeby12(9 comments)posted 4 years ago

Any intelligent person reading these comments understands how critical it is that we keep and recruit decent educators in this area. Jesus was in a union...the rich pay 90% of the taxes??? And Stan, you are living proof that the so called conservative right has been successful in turning the ignorant masses against the middle class.

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15ConservativeDude(36 comments)posted 4 years ago

When Reverand Ahrens stepped from behind the pulpit into the political arena he is fair game for criticism. In my church the Minister is a uniter, not a divider.

This man is speaking for God when he says...God is on the side of Union members. What gives him that right to judge in God's name.

Certainly, there are Non-Union members in his Congregation. It seems the Minister has turned against his Non-Union parishioners. My guess is his collection plate will be alot lighter next Sunday. Ahrens can't have it both ways.

Issue 2 is really a taxpayer rescue plan. Taxpayers are tapped out. Govorner Kasich is working to get government in line with what taxpayers can afford.

This Minister, instead of picking winners and losers, like the Obama Adinistration, should be the uniter. If he wants to get involved, his role could be to promote education for his parishioners. Make sure they have educational material for both sides of the issue. That is good for the community.

Creating larger more expensive government is not what is best for the community. Taxpayers need to protect their wallets. Taxpayers have very few occasions to control where their tax money goes. Voting YES for Issue 2 will save the taxpayers money.

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16maeby12(9 comments)posted 4 years ago

Conservative Dude, the taxpayer will never see any savings of any kind from any plan. Like I said, the right have somehow convinced the lower segments of society to turn on the middle class. If you can't achieve a decent living, it must be your neighbors fault because he's in a union. Certainly has nothing to do with the wealthy and all their tax avoidance schemes, some of which are laws at this point. If you want to bring down a society, attack education first. Turn people into idiots and then turn them against any remaing intelligent people. Looks like it's working here in Y-Town.

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17taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 4 years ago

ConservativeDude- good post. You make some very good points.

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18Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

maeby12 :

If I indeed was one of the ignorant masses I would with gusto be cheering for increased taxation and the repeal of SB5 . You I take it are one of the oppressed government workers who are seeking enrichment at a time of austerity . Your bitterness is proof that unwilling victims will meet the wrath of the elite unionized government workers .

SB5 is all about the working middle class being able to keep their position . The repeal of SB5 is all about uncontrolled largesse .



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19DOLE2(595 comments)posted 4 years ago

What if the Apostles went on strike?

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20kensgirl(840 comments)posted 4 years ago

. We'd have to be politically correct to fill their shoes this time though. One Muslim, one Chinese, one Black ,one Eskimo, one transgender, one gay male, one gay female, someone sitting on death row (poor fella), one wayward priest (he didn't mean it), an alcoholic/druggie, a Jew of course if they let him in....and oh yes our own Jimbo. Poor man never harmed a soul. Except a whole town. Jesus are you listening? I said Jesus are you listening? Testing 1.. 2

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21Silence_Dogood(1514 comments)posted 4 years ago

Hitler believed that God was on his side.
The KKK believed that God was on their side.
The Confederacy believed that God was on their side.
Gadhafi believes that God is on his side.
The 911 terrorists believed that God was on their side.
And now the Unions believe that God is on their side.

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22Silence_Dogood(1514 comments)posted 4 years ago


The great Bob Dylan wrote a song in 1963, it was about those that believed that God was "on their side". It is a great song, and the music fans of this generation should give it a listen and hear a great musician perform a great song from a bygone era.

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23redvert(2173 comments)posted 4 years ago

"What if the Apostles went on strike?"
Would they go on strike before or after the last supper? Probably after!!!

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24oldmillspice(160 comments)posted 4 years ago

This is exactly what turns me off on organized religion ! Just how in the hell do these so called religious zealots know just what God is thinking ? They do not even know if God exists.Do they have a crystal ball with a direct line to Him/her/it ? If that were the case God would also say , Ye shall cease with the garbage spewing from thy mouth! God help us all !

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25peacelover(812 comments)posted 4 years ago

Always amusing when right wingers say that religion shouldn't be mixed with politics. I thought that was their whole platform. "This nation was founded on Christian principles," etc.

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26Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years ago

I see Stan the Stupid and hate everybody F&E are still here .
You would think the Vindy would kick them off . OH will they let PRO / USA! back on .

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