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Blaming the Church For the Financial Crisis

By: Steve Johnson

3/31/2009 - 12 Comments

When push comes to shove, someone will get the blame for this financial meltdown.

The financial crisis is putting a lot of pressure on the powers that be to take the blame or find someone else to blame. 

The political pressure is building as many in congress have already seen their approval ratings drop like a rock.   (Christopher Dodd is a prime example, who rating dropped from 70% to 40% - of course he started the entire sub-prime mortgage problem by creating the competitive advantages of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae)

The government, the media, the educational system and the entertainment industry are all looking for someone to blame – and they cannot blame Obama because they all voted for him.

Obama has already tried to put the blame on Capitalism and Wall Street, but he has not been able to get it to stick.

Searching for a Target

The search for a target to blame is clearly underway.  In the end, the best place to put the blame is always someone who has little public influence or power so that they cannot fight back and the general public will go along with it.

The Christian church is the perfect target.  Just today I read an article questioning the Churches questionable financial advice.  This article is not a direct attack on the church, but it is a step in that direction.

The article suggests that “religion was "invented" to provide relief for people during the dark ages and over time that has proven to be true to some extent.” and goes on to questions biblical teaching on financial matters, suggesting that people should see a financial professional rather than getting financial advice from a pastor.

Clearly the author has not studied the biblical teachings on financial matters when they said, "to say that if they had followed the "bible's teachings" we would not be in this mess - is to grossly oversimplify the situation."

There is a good case to be argued that ALL financial management and planning ideas are derived from biblical teachings since it is the oldest book with largest collection of financial teachings. That means that nothing that you read about financial planning is original. All financial planning ideas are derived from biblical teachings. In fact, the biblical teachings about money are so foundational that many of the leading personal financial blogs simply focus on them, like

The author also seems to have misread history when they said, "People were just as religious a few years ago as they are today, so why should we expect that scripture will solve the nation's financial problems?"

50 years ago, as many as 80% of American's studied their bibles and we had sound money with a currency backed by gold.  How do we expect our generation to understand personal finances, when the bible - which is the source of all financial matters - has been banned from schools?  

Then the author makes his own sales pitch by saying, "I don't see any religious texts mentioning the evils of financial derivatives, hedge fund managers or credit default swaps. To effectively deal with financial hardship, see a qualified professional or contact one of many state assistance agencies. Just don't expect a miracle to suddenly solve all your financial problems."

I think the primary issue is that the author sees the church as a threat to the jobs of personal financial planners. He doesn't like pastors teaching people about money, because that is the job of the personal financial planners.

But realize that most personal financial planners have lost their credibility when they didn't see the economic collapse coming because they failed to follow biblical teachings and focus on sound money, rather than gambling on hedge funds.  And to say that everyone else was doing it is not a good answer. 

Pastors teach from the original teachings on financial planning. The only point I see the author making is that some pastor will take advantage of this financial situation to grow their church. But I don't think that is going to be a viable model, as the money coming in will be decreasing while the needs are increasing. Many churches will likely be closing and the few pastors that find a way to help people with their personal finances will only serve to help the entire economy.

It makes little sense to attack the churches that are helping people to better their personal finances. But during an economic crisis the blame has to go somewhere and you cannot blame the politicians that you voted for.

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