Wake Up Wal-Mart brings its "faith-based" campaign to improve Wal-Mart practices to LR and dozens of other cities today. Here, there will be a candelight prayer vigil at the Wal-Mart on Base Line Road at 6 p.m.
The campaign includes a TV ad by a Kentucky Baptist pastor who says in an op-ed on the website, in part:
Everyone wants lower prices, but not at the expense of neighbors who work for Wal-Mart, or people around the world who make their products. Our purchasing choices are the crucial link in granting companies like Wal-Mart our tacit permission and our financial support to continue practices that exploit the young, the vulnerable, and the working poor.
There are two sides to the Wal-Mart debate, of course. Google "Wal-Mart defense" and you'll find plenty of opinions about how Wal-Mart is good for workers and for our country. Wal-Mart has a major marketing initiative, backed by millions of dollars and a staff of 70, to convince consumers that it is a benevolent corporation. Their arguments remind me of the lawyer reacting to Jesus' instruction to love your neighbor, "But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, `And who is my neighbor?'"
On the other side is a vast collection of data from workers, consumer watch organizations, and investigations that reveals a pattern of exploiting workers in order to cut costs and hike profits.