Guilty as charged?

Today, I discovered that a full-time, female employee (under my watch) has been making extremely low pay at the same rate for the past ten years.

Here is the question I am now wrestling with:

Is sexually abusing a woman and financially abusing a woman the same in God’s eyes?



~ by Dave Smith on June 12, 2008.

10 Responses to “Guilty as charged?”

  1. Which is worse, to physically rape a woman, or to use the word rape to refer to something that has nothing at all to do with rape only for dramatic effect, and thereby minimize the tremendous emotional harm inflicted upon a woman by sexual assualt?

  2. Ahh man, that is even more thought provoking! I’m glad I didn’t use the word “rape!” :>)

    I don’t know. I have always appreciate Nirvana’s poetic & symbolic use of the word in their song, “Rape Me,” thinking it was well suited and justifiable.

    I wonder if Jesus would have ever said, “You have heard it is wrong to rape a women…but I tell you anyone who has taken advatnge of another for one’s selfish gain has committed rape?”

    Interesting point Rich…but I would say the correlation is the “abuse”…and how we can sometimes see one form of abuse worse than the other…and if all sins are equal (yes, some have more severe punishment and more drastic consequences), then maybe that is the legitimate connection?

    Love the pushback Rich!

    But I don’t know…it was a real honest question I have having, not at all seeking dramatic effect.

    Any others want to chime in? Would love your honest opinion and rebuking if needed (which I definitely need sometimes, trust me!)

  3. A) Your question illustrates you have probably never had to meet payroll, i.e., I doubt you have signed a paycheck. 2) In short, the answer to your question is, “No.”

  4. First, what’s a payroll? Second, I wonder where we draw the line then?

    I mean the real question I am Socratically trying to get at (using Christ-like hyperbole) is: Can you get to the point where you inadequately and unfairly pay someone to where it is sin?

    Maybe there is no such point?

    So, out with concern over child labor laws and “sweat shops” since all that these businesses are doing is seeking to “meet payroll?”

  5. So now the question is, “Can you get to the point where you inadequately and unfairly pay someone to where it is sin?” Sure. But that’s a different question than, “Is sexually abusing a woman and financially abusing a woman the same in God’s eyes?”

  6. Yea, I think it must have just been a poorly written question (obviously). The Socratic nature of the question was: 1) Is sexual abuse sin? Yes. 2) So if the sexual abuse of a woman is sin…can also the financial abuse of a woman be sin?

    Through that strict lens of simply “sin” we both acknowledge that God does see them the same. (right?)

    Now I guess it appears we are getting into the realm of harmartiology, begging the question, “Are some sins worse than others?”

    I guess “legally” we can say there is no difference (i.e. Rom 5:16, Gal 3:10)

    But when it comes to consequences, sure, there is a difference…and yes, God does have a strong displeasure for some sins over others. (i.e. James 3:1, Luke 12:48). So from that perspective, you are very right and I am very wrong.

    Good pushback Chip. Thanks. (in case you wondering…yes I really do work too while sitting here at my desk!)

  7. Okay, now that we’ve beaten Dave up for a poorly-worded question… Let’s indulge his original intent.

    1. If she has received no cost-of-living increase for 10 years, she should have quit. To have not done so is to admit that she was overpaid to begin with, or that she is not performing adequately.

    2. If she has received no cost-of-living increase for 10 years (can you tell I’m having a hard time believing that), then management is clearly sending the message, “We don’t want you here. Please resign so we don’t have to fire you.”

    If #2 is true, then management has some serious issues. They need to strap on some cajones and fire the maiden. If she isn’t worth a raise, then she isn’t worth keeping around. If someone is clearly underperforming to the degree that they don’t deserve a raise (for a decade!) then to keep them around is to demoralize and demotivate the entire staff.

    Keep in mind the rest of the staff doesn’t know she isn’t getting raises. But they must know she is under-performing, and yet she is never terminated. What kind of message does that send to the rest of the staff?

    And Chip, I feel your pain. Payroll can be a stressful time of the month. But I would skip my own paycheck before I’d let this kind of culture get established in the organization.

  8. What’s this payroll thing you guys keep talking about?

    Actually…she runs a ministry that isn’t a primary one, but one that is a value of ours at some level…and with that ministry, she does a VERY good job.

    She keeps doing it because she loves it. And that is great…and she hasn’t complained once about her pay. To her, it is truly an honor to just lead here. You don’t find that too often.

    At the same time, we have the value of “integrity” that we have to honor, which means paying our people fairly. Always a really tough balance within the church world, and one that I continue to struggle through.

    Thanks for your honest thoughts on this, knowing we are definitely not perfect here, but want to keep being more effective in how we honor God in ALL areas of our ministry.

  9. So, in the end, how much of a raise has the woman in question received now that this unjustice has been discovered, and was it retroactive 10 years?

  10. Not sure yet. We want to place it around the average salary marker for a position like this. There are organizations that tell us what the average salaries are for various positions based on church size, income, benefits, etc.

    For the past two years we have had some internal goals to boost staff towards an average range seeking alignment with our core value of INTEGRITY. (which means we have also had to make sure we are following integrity on the other side, sharpening our assessment process with goal development and reviews. We want too stewardship on all sides and interity lived out on both sides).

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