The Eleventh Commandment, according to Rev. Anthony Evans, Director of the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is “Thou Shalt Have Relief From Outstanding Debt,” calling debt a sin. Evans’ dream, and the foremost mission of the NBCI, is for every single African-American to have a job, to have debt relief, and to save one year’s salary within seven years.
And he is making bold strides to bring that to reality. NBCI is a faith-based coalition incorporating 34,000 churches that comprise 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans.
In 2006, before the financial global crisis hit, Evans recognized a trend in home lending to African Americans: Clergy were coming to the coalition and complaining that an excessive number of members of the congregation were coming to the church, asking them to bless their home and requesting financial assistance. Evans and his team uncovered what appeared to be a scheme that required an internal investigation. Banks were allowing anyone who had any income whatsoever to buy a house.
Within two and a half years after the initial excitement, church members who were not regular parishioners were requesting assistance for their mortgages. And, even those who would regularly donate 10 percent to the church asked to borrow the equivalent of three months’ of mortgage payments.
Ministers were aware that something was amiss in Black, Latino, and poor families. However, because all church conversations were confidential, there was no mutual discussion among churches until the subprime mortgage financial crisis hit in 2007. When the enormity of the devastation was realized, churches began to recognize the interconnectedness of the pattern.
Source: Guardian Liberty Voice | Fern Remedi-Brown