How Old Are You? What about Age Discrimination?
Do you remember the line that President Reagan used in his debate against Vice- President Walter Mondale? (Remember there were critics on the other side that thought he was too old) “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” Ronald Reagan quipped when asked if, at 73, he is too old to be President.
I am not going to exploit my opponents older age! I hope not!
Here is what Bloomberg said on October 26, 2015.
Age discrimination is pervasive in the U.S., despite laws that prohibit it.
And the older you are, the more discrimination you face, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research study. Older women have it particularly tough. Baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011, and each day about 10,000 more hit that age that has historically been associated with retirement. These days, though, many are opting to search for jobs to bolster their incomes, which can be a long slog. One reason is something that is not often discussed because it’s illegal: discrimination. Three economists—David Neumark and Ian Burn of the University of California at Irvine and Patrick Button of
Tulane University—designed a field experiment to try to document how widespread discrimination is, particularly among workers nearing retirement age.
Using more than 40,000 job applications, they responded to job ads with similar fictional resumes for workers purported to be ages 29-31, 49-51 and 64-66. The study looked at a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Whether the jobs were for administrative, sales, security positions or janitors, the rates of callbacks—either by telephone or by email—were much higher for the younger workers than the older ones.
Discrimination, rather than lack of skills, may help to explain why older workers have longer periods of unemployment duration. Long periods of unemployment—six months or longer—have been one of the lasting problems in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession, the biggest downturn since the 1930s.
What’s more, the bias worsens when gender is considered. “We find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women,” the economists wrote, citing data on callbacks for sales jobs. “There is evidence of stronger age discrimination for women than for men in sales.”
HOW OLD ARE YOU …AND HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE TO WORK HERE?
A friend of mine was working for an organization. His position was that of a Team Leader of a group of Representatives for the organization. Three years after he was employed for that position he had a new boss. Right after his boss took over he called him in his office. After some small talk, he asked my friend a two-fold question that went like this. “How old are you and how long do you want to continue to work here?” My friend said, I am 68 years old and would like to work for about five more years. He said by the boss’s facial expression you could tell that he wasn’t overjoyed by his reply to the question.
Let me say that it is against the law for a supervisor to ask a person about their age. A boss that uses that tactic in the business world should be confronted and disciplined for asking that kind of question. My friend could feel tension and eventually quit three years later. One man who worked for the same organization sat in two meetings where it was suggested that they needed to look for much younger people when vacancies came up. It has been said that age discrimination in the market place is wide spread.
In the past decades, I have had several pastor friends that had their resumes before pastor selection teams and were not considered because of their age. These were men in their 50’s and early 60’s. They would get a form letter that said that they did not fit their church profile. These men had been educated and experienced and successful. In other word’s Apostle Peter and Paul would have a tough time getting a call from many of the churches today. An interim pastor was asking a leader of a Pastorless Church what his thoughts about the search for a new pastor. (The church in the last couple of decades had gone from 200 to 50) The leader said we need to get a pastor who is 35, married and has two children. The interim responded, “Well your last pastor was here 32 years and he retired at 67. He said if my math is right then he was 35 when he came here, he was married and had children and look at where the church is now. Young men can pastor a church effectively but older pastors can also. My father’s last pastorate was one of his most effective. The Westlake Baptist Church called my Dad, who was at that time was 59 years old. His ministry that he had there was very effective and they had some of their best days while he was their pastor. Dad pastored that church until he was almost 70 years old.
My brother, Grady Jr. at 64 years, old was hired Baptist Missionary Association of America as their Executive Director. He served in that position until he was 71. While he was there they strengthened their world-wide mission effort. At 65 years, old, my brother, James was hired by Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary as Professor of Preaching. He served in that position until he was almost 75. Today, he is 80 and lives in the Philippines where he has a missionary ministry.
One of my dear friends in Beaumont, Texas is Ora Beth Keene is 92. She started playing Racket Ball at age 72 and played it till she was over 80. She traveled several states competing in tournaments all over the United States. She won a good number of trophies and tournaments. She finally gave it up because of all traveling.
Can you imagine this scenario: “Moses, how old are you?” Moses says, “I am 80.” “Moses I think you are too old to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt.”
“Noah, how old are you?” Noah, “I am 120.” “Noah I just think you are too old to build an ark.”
Abraham and Sarah, you are too old to have a child. But they did.
John, you are in your 90’s. You are too old to write the Gospel of John; The Letters of John and the Book of Revelation.
Do you think God likes Age Discrimination? We say, “Remember the Alamo!” The Bible tells us to Remember Elisha.
“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.” 2 Kings 2:23-24
As a young 27-year-old pastor, I attended the afternoon session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In that session, they had past officers of the BGCT come and give a testimony and share with the large gathering. One of them was a Fred Swank, a retired pastor of Sagamore Hills Baptist Church of Fort Worth. Fred had pastored that church for 42 years old. He was a beloved pastor and preacher who had a lot of wisdom and whit about him. When Fred came to the microphone he said something like I have always wanted to sing at one of these conventions. He then started to sing the following words from the song, “The Longer I Serve Him the Sweeter He Grows.”
“Since I started for the Kingdom,
Since my life He controls,
Since I gave my heart to Jesus,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him, more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
Ev’ry need He is supplying,
Plenteous grace He bestows;
Ev’ry day my way gets brighter,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.” (The Longer I Serve Him
Words and music by William J. Gaither
When Fred Swank was though singing, there was not a dry eye in the crowd. There was great respect for the aged faithful pastor.
Noah and Moses; Elijah and Elisha; Peter and Paul; The Aged John the Apostle and my Dad who pastored for 50 years would say all say, “The Longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.”