By John Bougearel

I swear to [God], you can’t make this stuff up.

Bloomberg Journalists Simon Clark and Caroline Binham report on the latest audacities of banksters. They are now selling their poisonous belief’s to church communities, and it is being sanctioned by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, whom it appears they have bought off.

Barclay’s CEO John Varley, preaching from St. Martin-in-the-Field’s wooden lecturn, told the “packed pews” that “profit is not satanic.” Technically speaking, earned profits are not satanic. But the profits that Barclay’s earned this past year, that are derived from extortion, fraud, and other machinations, well those are downright sinister, if not satanic. Varley sees “no conflict between doing business in an ethical and responsible way and making money.” Technically speaking, Varley is right again, but note, he does not make any claim that the profits of the  banking system were derived from behaving in an ethical and responsible manner. Not surprisingly, Varley “didn’t convince everyone in the audience.”

Varley’s cognitive distortions peddled out the worn-out rationalization for ginormous bank executive pay of banks that failed last year: “If we fail to pay competitive rates, then talent will move to another employer.”  The talent that Varley is referencing is the same talent that got us into the financial crisis of 2008, and since policymakers are bent on restoring the flawed banking system as it was pre-crisis, this talent will be needed to create the next financial crisis. Noted.

Varclay is not the only bank executive running around London going to churches making sales pitches to various congregations. Goldman Sachs Intl adviser Brian Griffiths invoked Christianity to defend the banking system. Griffith’s message was that the banking system is just following the moral teachings of Jesus. (I kid you not!).  “The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest. We have to tolerate the inequality as as way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” How Griffith equivocates Jesus’ exhortation to love others with embracing inequality is beyond comprehending. And pushing inequality as  mechanism to achieving greater prosperity is a form of exploitation. Exploitation of others is mutually exclusive from the Christian Doctrine to love others as ourselves.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John there’s the story of the rich young man asking Jesus questions concerning the way of life which Jesus will guarantee as satisfying God. Griffiths must have missed this passage, even though it can be found in three of the four Gospels.  “Teacher, [said the rich man], what good deeds must I do, to have eternal life? Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven’…When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”  Matthew 19.16-22. Give to the poor Jesus says, and abolish inequality, don’t “tolerate” it, Mr. Griffiths. “And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19.23-24. I promise you this, Griffiths’ personal values and beliefs are not pleasing to God.

Bonuses in the “City” are expected to rise 50% to 6 billion pounds this year according to the Center for Economics and Business Research. We already know 2009 will be a banner year for bonuses to the richest. Many financial firms will be doling out record bonuses made only possible through taxpayer funded profits.

At least one person found these messages sacrilegious, Neil Jameson, exec director of London Citizens said, “It’s terrible to say things like that in a church. He should be condemned.” Indeed, Griffiths should. Griffith’s unorthodox utterances amount to no less than heresy, a crime for which you were burned at the stake. Be glad Queen Mary is not on the throne, and mind your forked tongue in the future, lest the citizens of the City take matters into their own hands one day.

And surprising, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres endorses these men as being “of high moral integrity.”

Chartres, the bishop of St. Paul’s, said he welcomed bankers to debate in church, even though Jesus had thrown money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem.

“The money changers were actually selling sacrifices,” Chartres said in an Oct. 27 interview in St. Paul’s. “It is the idea that you can buy off God.”

Let me suggest to the readers that the Bishop of London has exacted a substantial “tithing”  for the Church of England from these banksters, saying as he left the St. Paul interview that “They have a duty to be extravagantly generous, because to those to whom much has been given much will be required.”

Let me also suggest to the reader that these modern day money-changers have been preaching and selling is nothing but grave distortions of Christian values and beliefs. Their preachings are so left field as to be heretical and in a different era, they could be condemned at the stake.

What is so amazing is that these bankers are experiencing zero cognitive dissonance, you know, that uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two or more contradictory ideas simultaneously together, which in normal people might cause feelings of anxiety, shame, or guilt. Of course, when you think as Griffiths does, you reconcile matters by leaping over the chasms of inherent contradictions.

So, one must wonder as to the depths of their social pathologies. Remember that radical Islamists have found God too, If we are to believe both these bankers and and the radical Islamists, God is on both their sides. We should consider how closely aligned the pathologies of financial terrorists are with the pathologies of a radical Islamic terrorist? Maybe, the gov’t ought to divert funding from their war on terror to declaring and funding a war on financial terrorists.