Matt Bernico is a labor activist and writes on topics pertaining to religion, social justice, and worker activism. You can hear more from Matt on his weekly podcast, The Magnificast.

Posts By This Author

The Christian Radical Who Believed Creation Care Meant Sabotaging A Pipeline

by Matt Bernico 08-30-2023

A protest sign is planted along the pipeline route during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in St. Anthony, N.D., U.S. Nov. 11, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Stephanie Keith.

On the night of the 2016 presidential election, Jessica Reznicek, a Catholic Worker and water defender, began her “peaceful direct action campaign” against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Along with activist Ruby Montoya, they burned five pieces of heavy machinery in Buena Vista County, Iowa. From there, armed with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch, Reznicek went on to other pipeline construction sites and pierced through the empty steel valves, sabotaged electrical units, and burned other heavy equipment. In a 2017 statement, Reznicek wrote, “We acted for our children and the world that they are inheriting is unfit.”

Following her actions, Reznicek was arrested. She pled guilty to one count of “conspiracy to damage an energy facility,” but in the months following her court date, prosecutors persuaded the judge to add additional charges labeling her a “domestic terrorist.”

Orcas Invite Christians into a ‘Cosmic Democracy’

by Matt Bernico 06-26-2023

Image of orca whales in water. Credit: Nitesh Jain via Unsplash.

The situation is dire but U.S. climate policy is not changing. While lawmakers in the U.S. are stuck at tax credits for electric vehicles, a sixth mass extinction event is already here. Electric vehicles and small-scale conservation efforts can’t fix this.

There are two problems at hand: First, there is a material problem. Humans, especially humans in the richest nations, are producing and consuming too much, which not only contributes to pollution, but also increases emissions and causes a never-ending sprawl of unsustainable land use. This ultimately displaces animals from their habitats. The second problem is a spiritual problem: Humans have become so alienated from other nonhuman species that they no longer recognize themselves as a part of creation. Instead, humans view themselves as above it.

The Chicago Evangelist Who Held a Gospel Revival To Stop a Strike

by Matt Bernico 04-28-2023

HAYMARKET SQUARE POINT OF ANARCHIST RIOT, MAY, 1886 from the guide book “Picturesque Chicago and guide to the world’s fair” published in 1893 Publisher Lennox Pub. Co. Image via Alamy.

Historian Timothy E.W. Gloege explains in his book Guaranteed Pure that before the events of Haymarket, Christian evangelist Dwight L. Moody conspired with local capitalists such as Cyrus McCormick Jr., one of the managing partners of International Harvester Company, to thwart the 1886 strike altogether. Within the story of the Haymarket affair, we can find a number of political tensions that are still within Christianity today. One major tension still animating Christian discourse is this: What happens when Christians side with the wealthy instead of the poor and working class?

Jewish Leaders Are Fighting the Christofascism of Anti-Trans Legislation

by Matt Bernico 03-06-2023

A person holds a rainbow flag during the 2022 NYC Pride parade in Manhattan, New York City, N.Y., June 26, 2022. Image credit: Reuters/Jeenah Moon.

The current discourse around right-wing politics and religion has been focused on the phrase “Christian nationalism.” Christian nationalism is a catchall for a variety of beliefs that generally claim the U.S. is founded upon Christian ideas and that the country’s current laws ought to reflect those beliefs. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.-Ga.) is perhaps one of the most well known politicians in the U.S. who identifies as a Christian nationalist, but, according to a survey done by Pew Research, “Eight-in-ten White evangelical Protestants (81 percent) say the country’s founders intended it to be a Christian nation.” Christian nationalism, as a term, is fine but imprecise. What we’re seeing from lawmakers, like those in Missouri but also in other states, too, is more properly defined as “Christofascism.”

Loving Thy Neighbor Vs. Upgrading Your iPhone

by Matt Bernico 01-17-2023

An artisanal miner works at a cobalt mine-pit in Tulwizembe, Katanga province, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 25, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Kenny Katombe.

Christians need better analytical tools that can help us parse out the systems of global exploitation. These systems keep us from loving our neighbors from every nation, which is a central emphasis of the gospel. For example, investigating who is producing the products we buy and under what labor conditions they work can show us where our neighbors are hurting and how we’re implicated.

A Christian Case for Climate Reparations

by Matt Bernico 10-17-2022
A woman sits on a bench under a makeshift shelter made of sticks and a quilt. Behind the shelter, floodwaters stretch to the horizon.

A flood victim takes refuge along a road in a makeshift tent on August 29, following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Mehar, Pakistan. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro


The causes of the flooding in Pakistan and climate-fueled catastrophes around the world are a direct result of the out-of-control consumption and production patterns of the global North — the nations in the northern hemisphere that share similar social and political distinctions like market-based economies.

Christians, It’s Time To Make Wage Thieves Weep

by Matt Bernico 08-19-2022

Cartoon of hands reaching for cash. Credit: Igor Sarozhkov / Alamy via Reuters.

Overall, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it’s estimated that employers steal around $15 billion in wages from workers’ paychecks each year. However, an important caveat here is that $15 billion is only what is reported. Wage theft is likely even more widespread, with many cases going unreported.

‘Creation Care’ Isn’t Enough. We Need Degrowth.

by Matt Bernico 07-28-2022

100 percent compostable Green recyclable coffee cups made with no plastic. Via Alamy.

Amid the avalanche of rogue supreme court decisions that have come out in the past few months, there’s one that has slid under the radar: West Virginia v. EPA.

I Paid Off My Loans. As a Christian, I Still Hope Biden Forgives Yours

by Matt Bernico 05-03-2022

People stand in a cage surrounded by signs with slogans that protest student debts. Image credit Reuters.

During my time in college and graduate school, I accumulated something like $50,000 in debt. So, you’d imagine I would be particularly excited about the prospect of Biden forgiving some of my debt. But I already paid off my student loans! Does that mean I rue others getting theirs forgiven? No! I am happy that other people may receive debt forgiveness even if it doesn’t apply to me.

Recent Union Wins Mean It’s Time for More Organized Religion

by Matt Bernico 04-06-2022

Amazon worker wearing a shirt that reads "Amazon Labor Union." Photo credit to Brendan McDermid. Image via Reuters. 

Corporations, politicians, and other monied interests are often trying to find ways to derail organizing. The failed Amazon union drive back in April 2021 is certainly a notable example of this. Yet as labor scholar and activist Jane McAlevey points out, it’s also true that the reason the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union failed in Bessmer, Ala., was because they didn’t organize and incorporate support from local faith communities. McAlevey writes, “The media often played up the faith-based aspect of the campaign, with key staff of the effort being faith leaders or people of faith themselves. But there was a near-total absence of Bessemer or local Birmingham faith organizations on the endorsement list of the campaign.”

Wage Against the Machine

by Matt Bernico 05-17-2021
Employers say there’s a ‘labor shortage.’ The Bible says workers deserve fair wages.

A McDonald's sign in in Tiegard, Ore., on May 4, 2021. Photo: Tada Images /

Rather than reflecting the truth of the motivations of both workers and employers, the "labor shortage" conversation is a tactic to adjust public perception and create the political will big corporations need to capture cheap labor –– it's propaganda at its most straightforward.

Christian Colleges Should Interact With World, Not Oppose It

by Matt Bernico 01-13-2020

Bob Jones University sign at entrance on Wade Hampton Boulevard, Greenville, S.C. Sept. 2007. Wikimedia Commons

Denny Burk, a professor at Boyce College, expressed an old strategy of Christian colleges to defend 'orthodoxy.'