27 October 2009

Where is Your God Now?

On my most recent bank failure Friday post, there was a small bank in Otsego, MN, Riverview Community Bank that was closed by regulators.

Well, it turns out that the story of this bank is just a bit weirder than your average bank failure.

Riverview Community Bank was run by a religious nutcase who attempted to foist his religious views on his employees:
Riverview Community Bank, an Otsego firm that attracted national media attention several years ago for espousing prayer in the workplace, has been shut down by state regulators.


Early in its life, Riverview had a reputation for mixing faith and finance. Chuck Ripka, one of the bank's founders, once told the Star Tribune that God spoke to him and said, "Chuck, if you pastor the bank, I'll take care of the bottom line." Ripka and his staff would pray with customers in the bank's Otsego branch and even at the drive-up window. In a 2004 New York Times story, Ripka said he occasionally slipped up and said, "Come on over to the church -- I mean the bank."
Of course, this makes his bank hostile to non-Christian, or for that matter, non-obnoxious Christian, and as a public accommodation it also makes it hostile to non-Christian, or for that matter, non-obnoxious Christian, customers.

Yes, a religious test on employment is illegal, and it's pretty clear that this guy made it clear that non-Christian, or for that matter, non-obnoxious Christian, people need not apply for jobs.

There is also the whole "Chasing the money changers from the temple," irony thing, but I'm not up on my Christian mythology enough to follow the finer points.

It is worth noting that the bank was the subject of consent enforcement actions in the year before its closing, and were instructed to stop paying dividends when they were always circling the drain.

There is a lesson in all this, though: If you believe that God is on your side, you are always wrong, but if you worry whether or not you are on God's side, you have a possibility of being right.

There is something deeply disturbing and deeply hypocritical about all these folks who seem to think that Christianity is nothing more than a path to wealth.


Old Pinko said...

I'm going to steal this and e-mail it to all my friends. (With attribution of course.)

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