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Thursday, December 25, 2008

EDITORIAL: Does God Want America To Bail Out the Big Three?

SUV's in Church: props used to beseech God for a bailoutOf all the states that are struggling as a result of the U.S. economic crisis, we know that Michigan is being hit the hardest. Our state economy is so dependent upon the automotive industry that the collapse of any of the “Big Three” automakers could mean the difference between prosperity and poverty for thousands of families. This would put a heavy burden on government to increase state-funded assistance, which would increase taxes and further penalize non-automotive workers and professionals who are already enduring hard economic times. So, it’s safe to say that many Michiganders of faith have been praying for a miracle.

One church took that to the next level.

You may have seen Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple of the Apostolic Faith in Detroit, Michigan on FOX News earlier this month. Bishop Ellis gained national attention by holding a prayer service for the Big Three with three hybrid SUV's on the altar (yes, the sanctuary at Greater Grace Temple is that big). The three sport utility vehicles were actually parked on the altar as ministers prayed for Congress to bail out Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. Bishop Ellis appeared on FOX News to share with the nation his rationale and perspective as a clergyman concerning the will of God in Michigan’s economic turmoil.



If this is the first time you have heard this story, I’m sure you are a bit shocked and possibly even conflicted about the question of appropriateness or rightness of such an event. Before I saw this story, I already had conflicting feelings about whether or not the Big Three should be bailed out by American tax dollars. While it would help keep friends and family from going under, it goes against everything I believe politically. After the story first aired on local news here, my stomach really started turning.

You see, until I got married and moved 150 miles west of Detroit in 2004, Bishop Ellis was my pastor.

My wedding, officiated by Bishop Charles H. Ellis IIIBishop Ellis married my husband and I, and we received our marriage counseling from him. I was an active member at Greater Grace when I was attending the church, and spoke to my pastor on a regular basis. It’s pretty safe to say that I know this man about as well as a layperson can know their leader. So, being respectful of his spiritual office and my knowledge of who he is as an individual, I had to take a long, hard look at whether or not the hand of God was at work against my conservative values, which, ironically enough, are rooted in Christian faith. My politics are different than that of my former bishop, but we are of the same faith; we love and serve the same God. Yet, my convictions leaned right while his leaned left. I had to ask myself a very serious question:

Does God want America to bail out the Big Three?

While you may not be a Christian, I think that we can find our answer in the video clip of Bishop Ellis’ interview. He basically conveyed that it is his job to represent the interests of the people before God. I know that it is also his job to convey the interests of God before the people. Godly logic says that while the Lord’s perfect will would involve everyone taking full responsibility for their own actions and suffering the consequences nobly, the mercy of God dictates that the level of suffering must be bearable in order to be effective. Michigan is being chastised, but it does not appear that God wants us to be destroyed. Grace would not be grace if it were deserved. While Republicans like myself can argue that the automakers deserve to go bankrupt, maybe God is giving Michigan ‘greater grace’ than what politics would call for.

Maybe God heard his people saying, “Lord, have mercy”, and he decided to grant their request.

As it stands now, it appears to be inevitable that General Motors and Chrysler will receive most of the funds that they are requesting. George Bush needs some brownie points before he leaves office, and it looks like this is going to be the issue he tries to use to get them. Politics as usual. However, no matter how you slice it and what you may or may not believe, I can say one thing for sure:

Apparently, my God really does answer prayer.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

This Is A “Fill In The Blanks” Financial Crisis. Now It’s Time To Fill In Your Blanks.

The Great BailoutIn the following article, we invite you to just fill in the blanks where you see parentheses. Fill in each blank with any old Bank and see what you get:

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Banks Have Their Backs Covered. Who’s Got Yours?

On [just pick a date], the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress agreed to give [Big Name Bank] 300 [Billions or Trillions, take your pick] Dollars in tax payer money, so [Big Name Bank] could buy [Bank About to Fail] for 1 Billion. For those who didn’t know, [Bank About to Fail], one of Wall Streets largest and best known investment bank was bankrupt. [Bank About to Fail] owed more debt than it had in value. Sounds familiar. Kinda' sounds like many people in Foreclosure. Actually, it also sounds like many homeowners not in foreclosure, who have a mortgage loan greater than the value of their home. Just like many ordinary people who have more debt than cash. But I digress. [Bank About to Fail] was in financial trouble because they were worth nothing on paper. So we heard in the news “[Bank About to Fail] must be saved.” Why? “Because if [Bank About to Fail] went under than the whole financial system could have fallen apart. “COULD HAVE”. The stock market “would have” plunged. Big investors “would have” lost lot’s of money. There “would have” been a world crises.

Now let’s think about their bailout logic, one more time. This is my take:

First: [Bank About to Fail] was about to file for bankruptcy because…THEY WERE REALLY BANKRUPT!!.

Second: The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress determined that if [Bank About to Fail] does fail we will have a World Wide Financial Crises.

Third: The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress “saves the day” by essentially GIVING [Big Name Bank] [Billions or Trillions, take your pick] of DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY so [Big Name Bank] could buy [Bank about to Fail] for 1 BILLION.

Fourth: The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, Congress, [Big Name Bank], [Bank About to Fail] and All the Kings Men shake hands, hug, pat each other on the back, exclaim “JOB WELL DONE” b/c the WORLD DID NOT DESCEND INTO FINANCIAL CHAOS.

Do you see what just happened? What does it mean?

No# 1 : There are certain people and businesses TOO IMPORTANT to let go Bankrupt even WHEN BANKRUPT.

No# 2 : The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress DO NOT NEED YOUR PERMISSION to give taxpayer money away to a BANKRUPT BUSINESS.

No# 3 : The Threat of a World Wide Financial Crises is a REALLY GOOD EXCUSE.

No# 4 : It doesn’t take a genius to figure out WHO GOT ALL THE MONEY.

No# 5 : The employees of [Bank about to Fail], who saw the value of their IRA’s or pensions drop because their [Bank about to Fail’s] stock tanked, WATCHED their MONEY they PAY IN TAXES given to…Well let’s say it WAS not given to them to SAVE THEIR IRA’s or PENSIONS.

Truth be told, it is entirely possible that had [Bank about to Fail] actually failed, there would have been a financial crises. It is equally true that if [Bank about to Fail] actually failed, there would NOT have been a financial crises. As is everything in life that could have been, WE WILL NEVER KNOW.

So the rules are made and when things get BAD there is only one Sheriff in town and that Sheriff has friends to protect.

This is history repeating itself over and over. DO FOR YOUR FRIENDS AS YOU WOULD DO FOR YOURSELF. There are those who claim that the bail out of [Bank about to Fail] created a “moral hazard” because [EVERY SINGLE BANK] will take even more risks and ask for even more bailouts because the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress will cover their behind.

And cover their behind they have. For the first time in history, the Federal Reserve allowed Wall Street Investment banks to borrow money from the Fed at a discount (window). For the first time in history, investment banks can become commercial banks. For the first time in history, the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress can hand out TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS of YOUR MONEY without telling YOU where it is going.

It doesn’t end there, the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US President, and Congress gave [Big Name Banks] Treasury Bills (your money) in exchange for [Big Name Banks] worthless collateralized paper. YOUR MONEY FOR BAD PAPER. The paper that consists of collateral debt obligations, sub-prime mortgage backed securities, alt-a mortgage backed securities, credit card backed securities, auto loan backed securities…and the BAD PAPER list goes on and on and on…..

It all boils down to one thing. When it all hits the fan, the BIG NAME BANKS’ Peoples get together, handle their business and do what is necessary to keep their stuff together.

The question for you is “Will Your Peoples Come together, When it starts to get BAD”. It’s time to fill in your blanks.

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