What Would Jesus Do with Bankers?

Anthony Freda/Daniel Zollinger

What Would Jesus – Or the Rabbis of Old – Do?

Preface:  If you are an atheist and believe that religion is crazy, please remember that some 85% of the American population identifies itself as Christian and millions more identify themselves as Jewish.  Very few Americans are atheists … and the majority don’t trust atheists.  Therefore, knowing a few bible verses might be helpful for atheists speaking to people of faith.

The head of Goldman Sachs said he’s doing “God’s work” with his banking activities.

The head of Barclays also told his congregation that banking as practiced by his company was not antithetical to Christian principles.

Are they right? Is big banking as practiced by the giant banks in harmony with Christian principles?

Do Justice

Initially, the Bible does not counsel us to ignore the breaking of laws by the the powerful.

In fact, the Bible mentions justice over 200 times — more than just about any other topic. The Bible asks us to do justice and to stand up to ANYONE — including the rich or powerful — who do injustice or oppress the people.

Indeed, one of the first things God asks of us is to do justice:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

While many churches and synagogues have become obsessed with other issues, many have arguably ignored this most important of God’s demands of us. As pointed out by a leading Christian ministry, which rescues underage girls trapped as sex slaves in third world countries:

In Scripture there is a constant call to seek justice. Jesus got upset at the Pharisees because they neglected the weightier matters of the law, which He defined as justice and the love of God . . . Isaiah 58 complains about the fact that while the people of God are praying and praying and praying, they are not doing anything about the injustice.

Should Christians just pray for justice and leave the rest to God?

That’s not what the Bible asks us to do. Instead, Hebrews 11:33 tells us that we are God’s hands for dispensing justice, and God uses us to “administer justice.”

We have to “walk our talk” and put our prayers into action.

God demands that we do everything in our power to act as “God’s hands” in bringing justice. And as Saint Augustine reminds us, “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.”


The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene. (Isaiah 59:15-16)

This is the only place in the Bible where the word “appalled” is used for the way God feels — in other words, the only thing which we know God is appalled by is if people are not doing justice.

There are hundreds of other references to justice in the Bible, including:

  • Blessed are they who maintain justice . . . . (Psalm 106:3)
  • This is what the LORD says: Maintain justice and do what is right . . . . (Isiah 56:1)
  • This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. (Jeremiah 22:3,13-17)
  • Follow justice and justice alone. (Deuteronomy 16:19, 20)
  • For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice . . . . (Job 11:5,7)
  • Learn to do right! Seek justice . . . . (Isaiah 1:17)

So if the powerful players in the giant banks broke the laws, they must be held to account.

Fraud and Manipulation of Money

The big banks have engaged in systemic, continuous ongoing criminal fraud.

Allowing the banks to commit crime with impunity is not what Jesus would do.  What would Jesus do?  Turn over the tables of the money-changers. (economists agree.)

Moreover, the giant banks manipulate currency through the use of schemes such as manipulating interest rates (gaming interest rates in different regions – Libor, Eurobor, etc. – can in turn drive their currencies up or down),  high frequency trading and artificially suppressing gold prices (which artificially inflates the value of fiat money) .

As Ron Paul notes, the Bible forbids altering the quality of money (which, at the time and place, was entirely in the form of coins):

Even the Bible is clear that altering the quality of money is an immoral act. We are instructed to follow the rules of “just weights and measures.” “You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin” (Leviticus 19:35-36). “Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and a false balance is not good” (Proverbs 20:23). The general principle can be summed as “You shall not steal.”

Proverbs 11:1 also provides:

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.

So to the extent that the giant banks have engaged in any dishonest acts or the manipulation of currencies, they are violating scripture.

Oppression of the Poor

Finally, the Bible condemns oppression of the poor for the benefit of the affluent:

He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want. (Proverbs 22:16)

To the extent that the giant banks have oppressed the poor to increase their riches, they are violating scripture.

Due to their looting, inequality is now worse in American than in  Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, most Latin American banana republics  … and ancient Rome.

Postscript: Not all bankers are bad people. For example, many bankers at smaller banks and credit unions are good people who are trying to help their communities.  Each must be judged by his own acts.

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  • glennf


  • gozounlimited

    I think Jesus would say …. that humans are now evolving and understanding their true connection to the universe and as a species are in fact all one conciousness with everything all at the same time. WE ARE ALL ONE!……THE INFINITE CONCIOUSNESS OF ONENESS……. The Oneness – We Are All One! … see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxwG8RxQ5Zc&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL5CEC8EF8D545E2F6
    Alan Watts – you are god in the dance of life …. see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX8D0yU0pMc&feature=fvwrel

    You are a manifestation of the Divine ….. Alan Watts on Jesus ….. see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-NaaKE1xtw&feature=related
    Einstein: Everything is ONE!

    “We have been all wrong!
    What we have called matter is energy,
    Whose vibration has been lowered
    As to be perceptible to the senses.”
    -Albert Einstein

    see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvppCGk7ycA&feature=related
    You Are Love ☼ Love is Everywhere …… see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-8Tv3YWxRM&feature=related

    “Beloved, let us love one another, for love cometh of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. .. [and] he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (First Epistle of John 3: 7-16)

    We are God, God is Love – Neale Donald Walsch (1/9) … see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEM6wgAEXiQ&feature=related

    • I think Jesus would say that God is God. We are not god and from looking at the news and just being out in public there is very little love, and very little oneness. We are not one. I myself consider myself a unique individual. I don’t have the kind of love that Jesus speaks of in the Bible. I have yet to meet many that do have that kind of love.
      To consider myself as god would be blasphemous and would bring the curse of the real and true living god on myself. I figure i have done enough to cause my life to be cursed without adding that to it.
      I agree with the article, Jesus would be rampaging through their Board and meeting rooms tipping over tables chairs and crying for the many that they (the bankers) have destroyed just out of lust for power and greed.
      I also agree with the article that not all bankers are bad. It is the ones who are controlling the largest amounts that are destroying the very foundations of our society.

  • DL.

    I suspect much of the lack of justice-seeking by church-going Christians today is that so many have a Pharisaic understanding of Romans 13, which states that we must obey “authorities” (and since these authorities are often controlled by banksters) such that if the IRS told you to pay up in order to bailout the banks, Romans 13 would oblige us to do so (under color of law–most Christians don’t realize the IRS is nothing more than the enforcement wing of the PRIVATELY OWNED Federal Reserve). Just like if Obama told a person to jump off a thousand foot cliff they’d have to because of his authority. It is this what I call “Romans 13 abuse” that keeps some Christians from seeking justice.

    • Scott Kuehne

      You failed to mention that most churches are in debt to a banker. This would be the primary reason (in my mind at least) you hear so little about usury and the like from the pulpit. In fact a few years ago I heard someone defending it on a “Christian” radio station a few years back, it made my blood boil. In the book of proverbs it is written “the debtor is servant to the lender” so taken in broader context it is fair to say most of America (including it’s churches) serve the money lenders.

  • EVmarc

    from 2004 where would Jesus bank?
    Catherine Austin Fitts, Solari

  • Rudy

    “Preface: If you are an atheist and believe that religion is crazy, please remember that some 85% of the American population identifies itself as Christian and millions more identify themselves as Jewish. Very few Americans are atheists … and the majority don’t trust atheists.”

    Why the need to add this last bit? The majority can fuck off.

  • Rudy

    It’s a shame. I was amused by the illustration and was even thinking of sending it to my liberal evangelical brother. But no, those of you who don’t trust atheists can fuck off with your ungrounded beliefs.

    And I didn’t arrive at this point from reading the “new atheists.” I arrived at this point from growing up in a parsonage and having to think about these things seriously at an early age.

  • Rudy

    Paul, in his divinely inspired foresight, apparently didn’t see a day when Christians might have some say in their governments. Maybe that’s because he thought the end of the world was imminent, like the religious nut Jesus, before him.

  • Rudy

    Nice work gratuitously trolling atheists though, WashingtonsBlog.

  • steven andresen

    This was said,

    “…Very few Americans are atheists … and the majority don’t trust atheists…”

    Why are there so few atheists? There may be more atheists than there are people willing to admit they are. What is it with these people?

    I suspect that there are few atheists and huge majorities of Christians and other religious types because of what the generally accepted understanding of what it means to be religious, Christian, and atheist. The big difference between atheists and the religious is that there’s a moral difference. Supposedly, people who are Christian, or religious in general, have a morality whereas atheists do not.

    So, if you want to have your children grow up to know the difference between right and wrong, and not end up in prison somewhere, the accepted thought is that you have to send them to church. When they are in a church they learn general principles of right and wrong so that when they are out and about in the world, they don’t commit crimes, get into drugs, steal when nobody is looking, engage in prostitution, and so forth.

    It is presumed, I believe, by the majority, that atheists have no moral code and hence it is likely that they will commit crimes, get into drugs, etc, etc.

    Let’s say this p[resumption is not true. Let’s say that having a religion or being an atheist has nothing to do with morality. Still, the overwhelming opinion by the majority is that this is true. So, you would be setting yourself up for social ostracism if one admitted to being an atheist, and not a religious believer, because the prejudice is that such people are criminally minded, but just not yet convicted.

    This is why you cannot admit to atheism as a political candidate and why some candidates feign being religious.

    One of the reasons that you can’t get a straight story about justice from religions like Christianity is that the relationship between Christianity, or any religion, and morality is so murky.

  • David Ellis

    Very Humble-abily.

  • sandfly

    as far as not trusting atheists — of course not- they cant even trust the same denomination down the street !

  • Bruce

    Cut ’em Off at the BILL$ !

  • Joe Hill

    Hello fellow atheists, non-believers, and infidels,
    If you want to have a bit of harmless fun, suggest to a Christian (especially a fundamentalist) that Jesus was a Commie and watch them turn purple with indignation. I mean, it’s so obvious that he was, what with sharing the fishes and loaves with the crowd, performing miracles for free, kicking out the money-changers, asking his disciples to give up all their belongings, and everyone in the group looking out for everyone else. This is all stuff that Ayn Rand absolutely loathed.

    Although today’s preachers try to tell us that Jesus was only concerned about getting into Heaven, I’m not so sure. Jesus’ fellow countrymen certainly thought that Jesus’ job was to help them revolt against the Romans. I believe Jesus was a revolutionary, and Christians should try to follow his example, instead of mostly distorting his message for their own ends, and ignoring what he said about how to treat each other.

    I’ve never understood why people need to have all that complicated doctrine that just plain makes no sense, all that stuff about there being only one god, but one-and-only is somehow three-in-one, and Jesus is the ‘Son of God’ at the same time that Jesus IS God. And the creation story, and heaven and hell and The Devil and so on. I don’t know how we got here, or what happens after I’m dead, and I don’t need to know, ’cause I can’t do anything about any of that anyhow!

    But I can do something about how I treat myself, and other people, and the earth that I live on today. That’s a big enough chore right there, without worrying about all that other stuff. But Hey! If all that doctrine helps you get through the day, I’m not going to make fun of it or you. Just don’t try to impose it on me, or judge me for it, which Jesus also said Don’t Do. (“Worry about the beam in your own eye, not the speck in someone else’s eye”) That will make me ugly right quick.

    Now if Jesus were to take those banker criminals out to the desert for a 40 day fast, they just might come with an adjusted attitude…

  • Ed Lawrence

    This is a vital column. I read it carefully and reflectively. This blog is in general veritas and truth-to-power, and I regret not attending to its tone and style over recent years. I believe this is changing for me.


  • Wondering

    Interesting but i disagree with the last statment. I would rather be poor in America thn be poor in Eygpt,Tunisis,Yemen.

    • Amelioration

      It just said that the inequality was worse – the division between rich and poor is greater in America than in these places.

      To be honest, if someone is without food, clothing, and shelter, it doesn’t really matter which country they’re in.

  • The gifts that God has given to each of us are… Life and the ability to choose right or wrong. If you live simply and do what is right in your mind/heart and follow the laws of God & man you cannot fail!

  • While not an atheist myself, I found the preface a bit condescending towards them. It’s been my experience that most atheists already know quite a few bible verses already, and often more than the average person of (professed) faith does.

    • Thou Shalt Not Covet

      It was not condescending towards atheists, it was condescending towards Christians. The author is saying to simply learn a couple of verses to put the simpletons in their place.

  • josh

    Jesus was a Jew so he would of been a fantastic banker.

  • joshua bartlett

    Christianity is bank doctrine What no one seems to mention which brings this whole subject home is the
    role christian text has played in helping this money scam thrive.
    That’s why Jesus “paid all debts.” The last book in the bible is
    basically a red carpet for the New World Order. The Garden Of Eden is a
    metaphor for planet earth and everyone in it and “SIN” is really debt.
    And “You were born in sin”. Which is true today if your parents used
    banks. Because an Apple is food and u buy food with money.

  • brett whittaker

    I am currently suing a large bank in Fiji for in excess of $7 million. As a committed christian I have taken this action as plaintiff because of the blatant lies,gross greed and simple evil that this particular bank operates under. The legal process is not over. It started in 2007 and today it is Aug 2013. The ex deputy General Manger of the bank has been criminally charged for perjury and further charges hopefully will be laid. I am fighting with only the breathe of God, my money has run out I am at the bottom of the barrel. My wife and have a ministry that looks after the very poor. I believe everything that this article says. If I cannot fight in the strength of Christ and on his word and defend and stand for the rights of the poor against the evil of a bank, If Christ’s Justice does not prevail then really what hope does 90% of the worlds population have. I am in the fight of my life and I am sooo over it. But I can tell you first hand the banks believe they are above the law and beyond the reach of the law, both God and Man. I have seen first hand how bank mangers blatantly lie on affidavits. I have secretly taped their conversations as they discuss there plans.. It is like a movie (horror at that). End of the day I fight the good fight. Psalm 64 is my headline of hope. God will move at some point. My other other sincere belief through first hand experience over many years is when you reach out and touch and properly help the poor, you move the heart of God. You can discuss the grey and white of theology and it interpretations. The truth is when you are poor and you have no options, you need a king like Jesus. It is simple, he saves at all levels

  • diogenes

    The postscript to this article says “Not all bankers are bad people. For example, many bankers at smaller banks and credit unions are good people who are trying to help their communities.” This may be so, but banking as practiced today is a fraudulent and predatory activity by nature and to the core and anyone practicing it, whatever their motives or opinions or intentions is nevertheless operating a fraudulent predatory systems whose results are inevitably fraudulent, predatory, harmful and evil. These “good people” need to learn that they are doing evil and STOP IT.

  • sandra

    Author left out the plethora of verses condemning Usury (Banking) and Covetousness (Tax code), enumeration (Birth Registration). Christ also condemns Corban (or SS). He came to set men free. Too bad no one has the courage to run the bankers out since.