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What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey is also an evangelical Christian.
November 30th, 2013
09:59 AM ET

What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN 

(CNN)– Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too.

Host of a nationally syndicated radio program and author of multiple best-selling books, Ramsey targets evangelical Christians with what he calls a “biblical” approach to financial planning, one that focuses primarily on the elimination of consumer debt. His for-profit Financial Peace University is billed as “a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways."

Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical.

Take, for example, a recent article by Tim Corley posted to Ramsey’s website. Entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day,” the article presents some dubious statistics comparing the habits of the rich with the habits of the poor, including:

“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”

“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”

“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”

One need not be a student of logic to observe that Corley and Ramsey have confused correlation with causation here by suggesting that these habits make people rich or poor.

For example, a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership. Or perhaps she has to work two jobs to earn a living wage, which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.

A poor family may eat more junk food, not because they are lazy and undisciplined, but because they live in an economically disadvantaged, urban setting where health food stores are not as available: a so-called “food desert.”

Critics were swift to point out these discrepancies and among the critics were some of Ramsey’s fellow evangelical Christians who also noted that, though the book of Proverbs certainly heralds success as a common return on faithful labor, nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed that "under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all."

And far from having contempt for the poor, Jesus surrounded himself with the needy and challenged the excesses of the rich. “Blessed are you who are poor,” he said, “for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," Jesus famously said, "than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

It’s hard for the wealthy to flourish in the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated because the economy of that kingdom runs so contrary to the economies of the world. It rewards the peacemakers over the powerful, the humble over the proud, the kind over the cruel, and those who hunger to do the right thing over those whose wealth has convinced them they already are.

Ramsey responded to the pushback with an addendum to the original post calling his critics “ignorant” and “immature” and instructing them to “grow up.”

“This list simply says your choices cause results,” he said, again committing the false cause fallacy. “You reap what you sow.”

The list, he said, applies only to people living in “first world” countries, where Ramsey believes economic injustices are essentially nonexistent. While the poor in developing countries are so as a result of external circumstances beyond their control, the poor in the United States have no one to blame but themselves.

“If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable in the discussion you can personally control is YOU,” Ramsey says. “You can make better choices and have better results.”

America, he argues, has prospered as a direct result of its “understanding and application of biblical truths” which have led to “life-changing industry, inventions and a standard of living never known before on this planet.”

“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.”

For Christians, Ramsey’s perceived “direct correlation” between faith and wealth should be more troubling than his other confused correlations, for it flirts with what Christians refer to as the prosperity gospel, the teaching that God rewards faithfulness with wealth.

Ramsey’s particular brand of prosperity gospel elevates the American dream as God’s reward for America’s faithfulness, the spoils of which are readily available to anyone who works hard enough to receive them.

But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles), so we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor. (The Roman Empire was wealthy, too, after all.)

It also glosses over the reality that economic injustice is not, in fact, limited to the developing world but plagues our own country as well.

When medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States, there are systemic injustices at work.

When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work.

When approximately 1% of Americans hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, there are systemic injustices at work.

When the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for the past 50 years, there are systemic injustices at work.

And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways.

The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around.

People are poor for a lot of reasons, and choice is certainly a factor, but categorically blaming poverty on lack of faith or lack of initiative is not only uninformed, it’s unbiblical.

God does not divide the world into the deserving rich and the undeserving poor. In fact, the brother of Jesus wrote that God has “chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5).

God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.

And that’s good news.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Business • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Leaders • Money & Faith • Opinion

soundoff (2,299 Responses)
  1. Former poor girl

    The article referenced is indeed about making choices, not attributing poverty to lack of faith. To claim such is a stretch. Dave does not endorse the prosperity gospel. He also doesn't indicate that wealthy people are more Christian-some may be more faithful than others with their resources, but not a more faithful Christian.

    I have been poor, I have been the 17 year old working almost full time in high school so my electric bill could be paid while my mom worked 2 jobs. I finally got my ticket to a better life, but my choices made me a single mom at 19 while I was set to go to college. I "grew up" & had to make tough choices. I lived in a "food dessert," but like many poor people, I still made it to the grocery store and bought lentils, frozen veggies, and rice because no matter how poor and "carb-starved" I was, someone taught me that my health was one of my greatest assets.

    I made terrible choices with my money, but thankfully there are resources like Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard who teach practical wise to be wise with whatever you have–however small it may be.

    Stop making excuses for poor people or creating animosity where there is none. This only creates bitterness & clouds a ministry that effectively teaches men to fish.

    I am now a mom of 3 and college graduate because I believed that escaping poverty was possible with enough sacrifice. My family technically live at the poverty line since I left my good paying job to stay at home with our kids, but we put our faith in Christ to provide our resources-knowing we are only stewards as God teaches.

    You don't have to agree, but I don't believe this article paints an accurate picture of Dave Ramsey's ministry/business. As he professes, he is simply a man who learned a lesson through bad choices causing his bankruptcy & hopes to help others avoid the traps of debt and consumerism while growing faithfully in who God calls them to be.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  2. David/Ohio

    Ramsey should read the Book of James. Hey Dave. It's in the New Testament. It was written by Jesus' half-brother. It would refute your view of money, the rich, and the poor.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  3. Stephen Campisi

    An intelligently written commentary, but flawed by its naive acceptance of some of these so-called "facts" about poverty. For example, why would anyone old enough to have dependents still be working a minimum wage job, when even "burger flippers" get the chance to move into management after a short time of proving themselves? Why have children if you're not married and can't provide for them? I worked during high school, and I had to travel for nearly an hour by subway to get there and to my job. I began working as an adult in a minimum wage job and was given a raise after just a few weeks, once they saw that I was a reliable worker. I would have to ask whether the author group up poor or middle class. Having grown up quite poor but raised with good values, I have found it humorous and a little sad to hear the "well-to-do's" like the author speak so sincerely about poverty that they have never felt directly, but only seen from a distance. Perhaps that's why their heartstrings tug for "the poor" and why they group every poor person together. These liberal do-gooders are quick to criticize those who hold everyone to the same standard and have hope and encouragement for everyone, regardless of where they started out on the economic ladder. That's because they have a quiet but profound contempt for those who choose not to help themselves, but would rather play the race card and the victim card all their lives. Everyone gets a chance in this country, even a poor, inner-city boy like me whose single mom raised him with a work ethic and a respect for education. There's nobody who can't move forward (or backward) based on their efforts.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • vinster76

      well said, Stephen Campisi, well said.... But we all need to remember that as long as there are folks like Sharpton et al, who love to play the race card and blame the white and rich, there will always be suckers willing to lend them their ear......

      November 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Brian

        It is by "lending an ear" that we learn all sides to an issue. If you only "lend an ear" to some, you will only get part of the story. I think it is important to listen to everyone's perspective.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Dano

    Rachel. You got it wrong from the very beginning. He doesn't tell people how to get rich. He DOES tell people how to be smart and responsible with their money by making wiser decisions thus get out of debt.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  5. vinster76

    tough times make or break people. We have had substantial prosperity in this nation for many generations, despite fluctuating times. We are a fat, lazy, indulgent, self-centered people, just waiting for the next party, or the next video game, sports event, reality show, etc......My wife is an RN, has been for decades. The biggest topic of conversation at the front desk isn't about how healthy we are becoming, it is the rise in BMI during the ensuing decades. When Big Momma comes in at age 50, with about 325 pounds hanging off her, all the family can do is yell at the nurses to spare no medical procedure, wait on Big Momma hand and foot, yet sneak her in some KFC or Big Mac after the nurse leaves the room.....Let 'em flatline......

    November 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • doobzz

      Well, aren't you a swell human being!

      November 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  6. jonhill7

    Rachel makes some fair points, and Lord knows I am not a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but I think the more important message here is that we are all responsible for our own situation – not all equally at fault, but all equally responsible. I would rather that Rachel focused less on offering excuses for being poor and more on this important lesson.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  7. vinster76

    so much of her remarks imply people are helpless.....Life is so much about choice. If you use food stamps to buy booze and nachos instead of carrots and fruit juice is a choice. The fact that black unemployment is so high, and almost always has been high, isn't due to the fact that so many of them would just flip burgers if they had a chance, right??? Yeah sure.....Receiving Christ is not about being helpless, it is also a choice.....If I choose to eat 1,000 calories a day in junk, rather than an apple and some nuts, and don't walk up and down the stairs, or around the block for exercise, that is NO ONE's fault but mine......The liberal mindset always wants to help you with the money of others, cause they think you are helpless, and they ALWAYS know best....The HNIC at 1600 Penna. Ave is the chief architect of this mindset

    November 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Sara

      Re you arguing that by random coincidence an entire ethnic group chooses to be more lazy than another? I hope I am misunderstanding your post.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • vinster76

        Sara: you may interpret my post in any manner you choose....I want to know why the HNIC comes to power five years ago and he has let black people in the dust?????????? WHy is that????? And stupidly, they voted for him again a couple years ago.....amazing!!!

        November 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • huh?

          Sounds like you have a real problem with the HNIC.... go put on your white sheet and pillow and burn a cross for Jesus and his blessings on the white people

          November 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Sara

          And, once again you make a sweeping assumption about a whole group of people, this time all, coincidentally, stupid. You really might want to take some time to examine your beliefs about individual belief and motivation, because you're not thinking very coherently.

          November 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      HNIC? I don't recognize that collection of letters.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • vinster76

        HNIC = Head Neg_r_o in Charge

        November 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Did you ever refer to previous presidents as Head White Dude In Charge?

          November 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bob

      If memory serves me correctly Michelle Obama is at the forefront of a sustained campaign of healthy eating, and your HNIC comments outs you as having the ill informed, racist viewpoints shared by millions of rednecks.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • doobzz

      Okay, now I get it. You're just another idiot racist. You probably base it on the bible, too.

      November 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  8. iFact

    As atheism has grown in this country, so has the poverty level.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • SkepticAl

      Video games have gotten better as atheism has been on the rise. That is good enough for me.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like someone missed the point about correlation and causation.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Dale

      We are actually far better off than any previous generation, in health and economic measures. And that coincides with increasing atheism in the population.

      Ain't facts a beotch...

      November 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • iFacts

        No. Obesity, cancer and heart disease are on the rise. The middle class is eroding and there are more people living below the poverty line today than at any other point in modern American history.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • doobzz

          I'm sure that it's the obese, tobacco-addicted, breeding like rabbits atheists who are at fault. LOL!

          November 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • deegeejay

          "doobzz
          I'm sure that it's the obese, tobacco-addicted, breeding like rabbits atheists who are at fault. LOL!"

          nope – inner city dwellers

          December 1, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • Dale L.

        I just changed my screen name to Dale L. to distinguish myself from your "far better off" comment. "Facts" that you tout are not so at all, because the pure income numbers contradict that. And "Health" is far worse off. Rising costs, already higher per capita than any other First world economy, and increasing portion of our income. I think you're living in a world that passed 40 years ago.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Sara

      "As atheism has grown in this country, so has the poverty level."

      LOL, murder, violent crime and teen pregnancy all down in the last 50 years, life expectancy and atheism up. What were you saying?

      November 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
      • iFacts

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/24/violent-crime-rising-in-united-states/3180309/

        November 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • iFacts

        http://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/teen-pregnancy-rates-rise-for-the-first-time-since-1988

        November 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • iFacts

        US life expectancy, compared to other nations, is low. Mainly due to homicides.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Sara

        iFacts,

        One years rise since 1988? LOL...try looking at the actual data:

        http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/LongDescriptors.htm

        November 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        See https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrendsState08.pdf – teen pregnancy (and abortion) is in decline according to them.

        November 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bryan

      Don't EVER say anything bad about atheism on here. Atheism is wonderful and flawless.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Larry Sanders

        Bryan, masturbating to Sara Palin is wonderful and flawless. Atheism, however, is rational and lucid.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          If you can maintain an erection while thinking of Sarah P, you must be a believer, or suffer from some other form of mental illness.

          November 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • deegeejay

      and hate

      December 1, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  9. EU nation

    If you want to get rich, build a Megachurch...

    November 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Larry Sanders

      EU nation, excellent comment. L.Ron Hubbard would approve of that message.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  10. Serge Storms

    Ramsey is correct that any one individual can better themselves in America. But there are not enough high-paying jobs for everyone. And, we need people to do the dirty work for the rest of us. If a garbage man listens to audio books and betters himself into another job, we'll still need to hire another garbage man.

    November 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • IndianaHoosier

      A garbage man can get himself out of debt. He can do all the things that Ramsey advocates – pay off his home, fund his retirement, etc. Not everyone will get rich, but everyone can better be in a better financial position tomorrow than they are today.

      November 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  11. CL

    Although some of the commenters seemed to miss this, the author did not slam Dave Ramsey. She simply pointed out the very real concept that she lucidly summed up with a quote from Ecclesiastes chapter 9 (read 9:10-11).

    November 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  12. Buck Short

    The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of these two opposing views. No doubt people who are rich likely have the time and resources to eat better and exercise (in a gym or not in a gym) but my guess is that they are probably better educated about those healthy choices as well. That education has also more than likely contributed to their financial success.

    But I would also bet that some (certainly not all) of the folks who are poor have ended up that way due to lazy habits or just lack of desire and motivation. Everybody is different (rich or poor) and to pit one extreme against the other doesn't take into account all the educational, cultural, individual, genetic, and family influence factors. Plus it does very little to address the problem – the answer to which I believe rests mostly in education.

    I think this kind of all or nothing extreme dialog is a big problem... not just on this issue but in politics, religion, and our general social condition. The truth and the solution to most disagreements usually sits somewhere near the middle – and is best served with a little knowledge!

    Which brings us back to education.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Brian

      I too think education is the fundamental building block for a better life. However, I think it is important to realize the different perspective of the young person from a poverty stricken environment, and the young person from a more privileged environment. Put them in the same educational system, and you are most likely going to see the poverty student drop out quickly. Not for lack of intellect, and not because the education offered wasn't the same, but the student from the poverty environment doesn't have the tools to adapt. Understanding on the part of the educational system needs to be different for the student who comes to the education environment with no previous foundation of "how to learn". They may come to the education system with 3 strikes against them before they even attempt to adapt to a lifestyle other students have been comfortable with for sometime.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  13. John

    Seems to me he is saying stop being suckered and invest in someone else willing to be... didn't the money changers in the temple do this?

    November 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Chris

    i love the incredible expression of thought and creativity shown here. at the end of the day, being created in God's very image, means you have intelligence, thought, creativity, etc – all created equal, perfect, He called good... Just a bunch of people He loves discussing, pondering, wondering... Don't ever forget that He loves you, yes, each one of you – even the atheists.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • doobzz

      Gee, thanks for the backhanded "compliment". And I wasn't made in your god's image. I don't randomly murder people who say or do something I don't like.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Larry Sanders

        doobz, the reason that you don't murder people is thanks to Zeus. The one, true God.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • doobzz

          I disagree. It's the FSM.

          R'amen!

          November 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  15. Sara

    This is pretty standard human behavior not at all unique to Christians. People want to believe they are deserving of what they have, and more. Most humans believe they are smarter, more attractive and more talented than average, and maintaining the illusion that these, coupled with being more moral, makes them deserving of wealth frees people of guilt and the responsibility to help others.

    On top of this need to see oneself as deserving of good, humans generally tend to view misfortune as deserved. In part this frees people from guilt, but studies also indicate that people even rather quickly come to view accident and assault victims as deserving of their misfortune, likely to convince themselves that they are safe.

    90% of the people reading this won't believe these things affect them, and 90% of the rest will push this out of their mind within days. Most humans really can't hack the reality in which they are in no way "deserving" of anything they have. The illusions are part of what evolved to keep us motivated.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • James Vaughn

      I couldn't agree more Sarah. Very nicely put, you're dead on.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  16. some_guy24

    she stated this pretty incorrectly but the idea is sound and nemerous studies have been concluded in this. poor families eat bad because it is cheaper to do so, not neccessarily because they live in areas where they cant get it. yes there are exceptions and anyone can say they can get some bananas for 25 cents, but generally people want to be full, and like carbs and meats in their meals. so this is where the poor start eating bad. they go far the dollar menus and the hamburger helpers and 5 dollar pizzas, etc

    November 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  17. Rev Mike Murdock

    If you want to get rich, you have to plant your seed.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Oh, stop

      Keep it in your pants, Rev.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • doobzz

      Yeah, but use a condom.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • Larry Sanders

        Doobz, Did Jesus use a condom? I think not!!!

        November 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • doobzz

          Hey-O!!

          November 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  18. Roscoe

    The playing field is not always even, but what Dave says holds true. Some people will have to work harder for what they want, but non the less it is attainable. If you are poor and dont have a gym membership...that sucks but thats not the only way for one to get fit. To act as if this is the case is another example of how the article author and every day Americans make excuses for why they dont have what they want. Live in a food desert...then you need to travel further for healthy food. This also sucks, but it is clearly worth the extra work. To not do so is that person's CHOICE. Just as Dave says.

    Ultimately correlation and/or causation are irrelevant as every American rich or poor has options at their disposal and choices to make. A person can make excuses to justify their actions or can make the correct choice regardless of what they have to go through to do it. And to some, slamming 300+ calories of junk food is the correct choice. Its their life so be it. As long as they dont cry about being over weight. That is their choice. Just as Dave says.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Sara

      I have several injuries and get enough exercise by using very specific equipment at a gym...for which I pay a $50/month membership. Because of my injuries I could not walk, hike, play sports, dance or any of the things you are probably thinking of. I have thought about this often, and it would be virtually impossible for a poor person with my medical status to get exercise without this kind of gym membership. I am not going to delude myself that people all around me aren't totally scre.wed by the injustice of our society.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  19. R.W.

    These libs are just knocking Dave because he is a successful Christian!!! Period. If you like your investments you can keep your investments. Period. If you like your financial adviser you, you can keep you adviser. Period.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Oh, stop

      With your partisan BS, doltus erectus.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • R.W.

        I think we just exhausted your latin....hahaha. Brilliant.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Oh, stop

          Touched on the truth, did I?
          And who is "we"? Got a mouse in your pocket?

          November 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Larry Sanders

          R.W., I think that you exhausted your brain, many years ago.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • R.W.

        Facts are facts Mr. Latin !! CNN has made it their job to downplay every negative thing that this liberal administration has done and they continue to degrade and downplay Christians as irrelevant. How is this "fair"? Libs are all about "fairness" right?? The fact is that the insanity of Liberal ideology is that is undermines the very thing that it supposedly is trying to do. For example, you do not help the poor by giving them more free handouts. You help them become productive and contributing citizens through education and training. This is so fundamentally obvious and yet the libs wanna create more welfare programs.....soooo stupid!!!

        November 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I guess all those articles highlighting all the good thinks Pope-A-Dope is allegedly doing are only visible to non-christians. . .

          November 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Oh, stop

          You are a partisan hack. Whatssa matter, Fox won't allow comments? You have touched upon the most popular talking points by the GOTP.

          Did you know, for instance, that every GOP President EXPANDED the gov't? Look it up, dolt us erectus, and stop getting your news from Drudge.

          "Starve!" Your plan.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • R.W.

          Mr Hot-Air, first of all, the majority of the criticism is aimed at Evangelicals. Secondly, the only reason that CNN is covering this Pope stuff is because that he is being viewed as "more liberal" on social issues and they will (of course) blow that up for the world to see. This fits their agenda quite nicely....The funny thing is that the Pope is NOT endorsing a liberal view he is simply attempting to shift the focus off of the political shenanigans and back to the mission of the church. He is trying to course-correct Christians back to the fundamentals. His statements have been grossly mischaracterized.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • R.W.

          Mr Latin, I don't need to look up tired old Latin that I learned way back in grad school. I would rather shoot my face. I don't need Latin to sound smart. I came over to CNN because unlike most libs I watch all the news channels instead of self-indoctrinating with my favorite lib-TV shows. BTW, GET AN FREAKING JOB!!! is my plan....duh

          November 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Larry Sanders

          R.W., please go back to your Sara Palin newsletter.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • Mike F

          R.W...you are so correct. The country started out based in faith in God. And became very successful because of it. We've definitely had our share of embarrassing moments. But what separates us from most of the rest of the world is that we have, for the most part, tried to do better. Something that most of the current dictatorships and socialist countries around the world can never boast about.

          I am not religious by nature but I do believe in what most religions teach...treat your neighbor well, live a good life, don't steal, help others less fortunate, etc. Whether they are quoted from religious scripture or a fortune cookie, there's nothing wrong with those principles. But in the last 50+ years, as more liberal thinking takes hold, those values are under assault every day. Now our president and his followers would like to put in place as many government hand-outs (sorry, 'programs') as is possible. Not to help people, but to make them further dependent on the 'system'. That's not helping people, that's slavery minus the chains. Many people (Christians and non-Christians alike, atheists and zealots alike) spend much of their time actually 'helping' people rather than tossing money at them. Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the country's ills. So it ultimately is not a political issue, it's a moral issue.

          Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime, give a man a fish and you'll have his vote.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          R.W., I just scanned one month of articles and don't see any *I* would classify as being critical of evangelicals as a group. I did see two articles about some old goat of a preacher but they seemed to be kind to him, not derisive. Please indicate which articles you feel CNN published with the intention of being derisive to evangelicals, or any other cult.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Larry Sanders

        On, stop, in your case it's probably a gerbil, not a mouse.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • R.W.

          Really Sanders? is this all you got to contribute to this conversation? Actually, keep going....you're saving me time.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • John

      Yes, because Jesus preached about gaining financial wealth, didn't he? He wanted people to make as much money as possible, didn't he? Isn't that what he told the rich guy who wanted to join him? Get more money and you can be part of my group. Isn't that what he said? Or did he say something about giving it all up? The irony of so many money-grubbing wealthy people pretending to be followers of Jesus is... just... sad.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Roscoe

        You very clearly show your ignorance of the bible and of Mr. Ramsey. Jesus often told men to give up their money as back then they lived in a class system. The rich and the poor did not mingle, were not friends and had nothing in common. At that time money was an obstacle for people trying to help the needy, do good and live a selfless life. For these reasons Jesus encouraged men to leave that life behind.

        Our world is different. Much of what Jesus said still holds true, but the defined separation of rich and poor had lessened and there is much less of a stigma between the two now. A kind heart will always help the needy better than a fat wallet, but a kind heart and a fat wallet will help even more. And I say its better for godly men to control wealth then non godly men to control wealth.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • doobzz

          " And I say its better for godly men to control wealth then non godly men to control wealth."

          Why? Belief in a deity is not a requirement for helping others.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • R.W.

          Good words Roscoe. I agree. Its better to have Godly people wealthy than Godless people controlling the money. Scripture does not say that you have to be poor....this is a terrible idea. This idea that Christians are supposed to be poor is just an attempt to keep Christians small and insignificant in the marketplace.

          November 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • doobzz

      Standard junior high school girl's response – UR JESS JELLUS!!

      November 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Sara

      There are plenty of atheist libertarians who are every bit this stupid. It has nothing to do with his religion, just his natural human self-centeredness.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Larry Sanders

        Sara, if you supplement your thinking with the Stone Age lunacy of religious belief, then is about religion.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • Sara

          And if you supplement it by reading Ayn Rand it's equally about atheism. But all of those are just window dressing for human self-centeredness, which you can fancy up an infinite number of ways snazzy enough to fool 95% of humans.

          November 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • R.W.

          Larry...you truly are a genius....its astonishing.

          November 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Larry Sanders

      R.W., if you had a brain, you could keep your brain. Period.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • R.W.

        Nice piggy-backing off my comment LARRY!! Your UN-originality is gross.

        November 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  20. Ric

    I disagree with this statement: "When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work." There is no systematic injustice when people choose not to get a high school or higher education.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Oh, stop

      I know at least 15 people with college degrees working at Walmart, so your assumption is untrue. They work at places that have employ enemy available. For ever 1 job in their field opening up, there were like 500 applicants. Are they supposed to starve while waiting to get hired?
      You know that Walmart is the largest private employer, right? People make do with what jobs are available. The so called "job creators" are not creating any jobs.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • QuesCity

        Most Wal-Mart employees receive government aid (Wal-Mart teaches them how)... so basically we the people are paying and Wal-Mart profits.

        November 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Oh, stop

          Oh, I know that...and the first people to complain about that are people like Ric and R.W.

          After all, corporations are people, too. 🙄

          November 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • KG

      Ignoring for a moment the fact that many people in minimum-wage jobs have high-school and higher educations – Are you saying that you are okay with having an entire class of people who work (hard!) all week long, all year long to make your life easier and yet are not able to put a decent amount of food on the table for their kids or go to the doctor when they are sick?? Are you saying that there is a class of labor that you deem unworthy of the meager reward of being able to sustain a life?? I really hope that's not how you actually feel or how you actually see other human beings – but that is what you're saying.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Claugh

      To suggest that minimum wage jobs are only taken by those with no high school or college education is ignorant. Wake up! There are people with doctoral degrees unemployed and trying to find work beyond minimal wage work.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • doobzz

      It's pretty arrogant to assume that everyone has the same educational and economic opportunities.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There is a huge economic and social inequity between the bosses and the people who actually do the work. Degrees don't matter when that inequity exists. Perhaps this is good capitalism, but it's really bad for an economy as a whole. The middle class is being drained and it has nothing to do with degrees and education.

      November 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.