Spiritual lessons from financial crisis?
President Obama, flanked by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner and Elizabeth Warren, announcing her appointment in 2010.
February 8th, 2011
07:38 PM ET

Spiritual lessons from financial crisis?

By Becky Brittain, CNN White House Producer

Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is turning to faith to figure out how to better protect consumers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hosted a roundtable on Tuesday with ministers, rabbis and other spiritual leaders to get their input on how the financial crisis has affected their congregations.

The group also included representatives from the Hindu American Seva Charities, National Hispanic Leadership Conference, Progressive National Baptist Convention and Sojourners, among others.

Elizabeth Warren, who last year was tapped by President Obama to oversee the creation of the bureau, said consumer protection is rooted in religious and moral traditions.

“The laws have changed, but the basic notion that lending should not be used as an instrument of advantage-taking is deeply embedded in our collective consciousness,” she wrote on the bureau’s blog prior to the meeting.

Warren said that many people who have fallen on hard times often turn to their church or synagogue for help. Tuesday's roundtable also looked at ways the CFPB can work with the faith community to assist those consumers who need help the most.

Obama's appointment of Warren, a former Methodist Sunday school teacher, was greeted with dismay by critics in the banking industry who worried she would target financial institutions unfairly.

In her post, Warren called the fight for the new bureau a David-versus-Goliath effort in which “in the end, American families triumphed.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Business • Economy • Interfaith issues

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Fallon Pago

    Useful to me. jfgoiprjg

    February 24, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  2. Nonimus

    Becky Brittain,

    "Obama's appointment of Warren, a former Methodist Sunday school teacher, "
    I'm not certain, but are you confusing Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law Professor, with Elizabeth K. Warren, the wife of Pastor Rick Warren.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  3. Nonimus

    "Elizabeth Warren... said consumer protection is rooted in religious and moral traditions."
    "...lending should not be used as an instrument of advantage-taking..."
    This sounds like a variation on the Moral Argument for the existence of god. If she is referring to the usury laws in Judaism, then those laws banned any interest in transactions between Jews, but allowed Jews to charge whatever interest they wanted to Gentiles. How is that moral?

    February 9, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  4. Reality

    Lets start off with Christian Economics 101 and Greed:

    The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added "healing" as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. No greed there.

    Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and "Gentilized" the good word to the "big buck" world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles probably forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

    Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them "free". Major greed on his part!!

    The Holy Roman "Empirers"/Popes/Kings/Queens/evangelicals/et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today's richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    February 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • GoodGrief

      Reality, GREED is the mother of ALL sin. Greed, like every sin, blinds the sinner.

      These greedy money changers should have been given 20-30 years on a rock pile for their dastardly selfish, self centered deeds. But, noooooooooooo, the prez bails them out ... and they continue on with their greed and gave themselves bonuses with our bailout money.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Huh?

      @ Reality

      God has something prepared for you. You will reap every blasphemus word you utter. You really really really have no idea what you are doing. Yes, there is something prepared for the likes of you....a reality check likened to no other...

      February 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Reality

      More 21st century reality:

      . origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.
      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      February 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  5. Anglican

    Ace. With respect, whether you like it or not, God is everywhere, not religion, but God. Peace

    February 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Q

      Not to speak for HAA and also with respect, it's not "God" in government that scares folks, it's the people who believe they know what "He" wants based on their preferred holy books and see no problem in trying to advance their sectarian faith positions utilizing government powers. That said, religious communities are as good a place as any to attempt to gauge the impact of the financial crisis. Still, there can be no interaction of government/politics and religion which doesn't sully both sides.

      February 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @ Q

      Well said...


      February 9, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Nonimus

      Mostly well put. Not sure that religious communities are "as good a place as any" though. Not representative.

      With respect, how do you tell the difference between God being everywhere and God being nowhere?

      February 9, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  6. HotAirAce

    Looks like more religion in government to me! Not good!

    February 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
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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.