On today’s episode of “Wallbuilders Live” the topic of discussion was whether churches ought to be allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices. Not surprisingly, David Barton argued that they should and, as is his tendency, explained that there is nothing wrong with discrimination because even Jesus says the government is not supposed to be involved in this issue anyway:
Now discrimination today is always a bad word a hundred percent of the time, but it simply means making a choice between or making a difference between. And discrimination means I am going to discriminate and say I can tell a difference between a Christian and a non-Christian and therefore I only want Christians working on my church staff. I can tell the difference between someone who says they’re homosexual and someone who says they’re straight. A secular organization has a tough time discriminating, but a church needs to have the right to discriminate.
This is a biblical issue because Jesus has an entire parable in Matthew 20: 1-15 where he talks about a landowner who had a vineyard who went out to hire folks to work in his vineyard. And as he hired them he make a contract with them that said you’ll work for this much or whatever and throughout the day he hired people and he made individual contracts with them and at the end of the day when he is paying them all off, the guy who got hired first said “wait a minute, that’s not fair” and [the landowner] said “time out, we had a contract, didn’t we? You agreed to work for a certain wage … you should have gone down the street and found somebody else to work for that would have paid you different, but you agreed to work for that wage.” And Jesus makes a great statement in Matthew 20: 15 where he says “don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?”
Now that’s a great statement and that’s a statement Jesus teaches to show the inviolability of contracts between employers and employees. That’s why the government is not supposed to get involved in this stuff anyway. Government shouldn’t be involved in employment contracts period.
As we have noted several times before, Barton frequently cites this passage in the Book of Matthew to justify right-wing economic policies like the elimination of the minimum wage even though it is actually a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven in which Jesus is explaining that no matter how late in one’s life one comes to Christ, the heavenly reward will be the same.
But Barton is using it to justify blatant discrimination in hiring process even among secular businesses.
As we noted when Jay Richards made this same argument in his book “Money, Greed and God,” by this logic it is entirely biblical for a business owner to refuse to hire women or to pay his white males employees more than all other employees or to engage in any other sort of employment discrimination because Jesus teaches that they have a right to do what they please with their money and the government has no right to interfere with the process in any manner whatsoever.