Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants -- and hence, victims -- of the current financial crisis? That's what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity's central promise -- that God will "make a way" for poor people to enjoy the better things in life -- had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe "God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house." The results, he says, "were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers."Yet another case of religious trust being exploited to victimize those who have it.
(Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)