A labor rights group alleged Tuesday that crucifixes sold in religious gift shops in the U.S. are produced under "horrific" conditions in a Chinese factory with more than 15-hour work days and inadequate food.
"It's a throwback to the worst of the garment sweatshops 10, 20 years ago," said Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee.
Kernaghan held a news conference in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral to call attention to conditions at a factory in Dongguan, a southern Chinese city near Hong Kong, where he said crosses sold at the historic church and elsewhere are made.
Spokespeople for St. Patrick's and another New York landmark, the Episcopal Trinity Church at Wall Street, said the churches had removed dozens of crucifixes from their shops while they investigate the claims.
"I don't think they have a clue where these crucifixes were made _ in horrific work
conditions," Kernaghan said.
Kernaghan said the factory's mostly young, female employees work from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week and are paid 26 cents an hour with no sick days or vacation. Workers live in filthy dormitories and are fed a watery "slop."
I'm not a religious person, but I have a passing familiarity with the teachings of Jesus. I can't see how he would condone this form of worship.