I saw this in last month's Christian Century magazine. It has really made me consider the church's hand in the economic crisis. I've always been skeptical of the prosperity gospel, and it's interesting to consider how it might have affected the economic state of many families.
"The prosperity gospel, which promises that material prosperity will come to the faithful, may have contributed to the economic crisis, says Hanna Rosin (Atlantic, December). Sermons on the hope of divine blessing have encouraged people to take financial risks, like signing on to subprime mortgages and tapping out their credit cards. In some instances, banks preyed on poor people through the church: pastors invited loan officers to speak at wealth-building seminars, and in exchange the banks would give $350 to the church for each mortgage taken out. Foreclosure hot spots in the country are also areas where the prosperity gospel is popular: in the Sunbelt and in poor urban and exurban middle-class neighborhoods."