Christian finance expert Dave Ramsey sued for religious discrimination

"A former Ramsey employee says his religious beliefs teach him to trust science and protect his family. That allegedly put him in conflict with his COVID-skeptic boss." - RNS

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Bert Perry's picture

I'll let the lawyers decide, along with a jury I guess, about whether it's actionable or not, but I can say that I don't have much polite to say about not letting employees work from home during an epidemic when they can, and having multimillion-dollar fits over face masks.  

The part about not letting employees work from home almost seems like a confession by Ramsey that he doesn't think he can trust them if he's not able to look over their shoulders.  From other things I've read about his business, like the apparent fact that he's not exactly paying great wages, that doesn't totally surprise me. 

I greatly appreciate some of the things Ramsey's added to the practice of financial counsel--he seems to "get" the psychology of finances better than most others for starters--but in some regards, the man seems to be getting a bit too big for his britches.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

To me, his flippant attitude around the virus and his derogatory attitude toward those who have a concern is terrible.  I get that there are people who are less concerned and more concerned.  But his response to these situations, as well as name calling really diminish the level of respect towards him.

I will also say that while some of his proposed steps are biblical, the core of his effort around Ramsey Solutions is a bit troubling from a Biblical perspective.

"for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." - Luke 12:15

Mark_Smith's picture

dgszweda wrote:

To me, his flippant attitude around the virus and his derogatory attitude toward those who have a concern is terrible.  I get that there are people who are less concerned and more concerned.  But his response to these situations, as well as name calling really diminish the level of respect towards him.

I will also say that while some of his proposed steps are biblical, the core of his effort around Ramsey Solutions is a bit troubling from a Biblical perspective.

And worse, if you have a $300,000 mortgage but no other debt you are wise. If you have a much more modest house but other debt (school loans, maybe credit cards) you are bad...

"for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." - Luke 12:15

I agree. One attitude I've seen increasing over the years is that being out of debt is better than moral rightness. I've seen church goers focus on debt like they've NEVER focused on living holy, and godly, and reading their bible, etc...

And worse, the hypocritical attitude that if you have a large mortgage, say $300,000 (where I live at least) but no other debt, you are wise. But if you have a much smaller home but other debt (school loan, maybe some credit card debt) you are a fool and untrustworthy...

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I've seen church goers focus on debt like they've NEVER focused on living holy, and godly, and reading their bible, etc...

He resonates with a slice of society that struggles with debt and spending.  In some cases that slice is bigger than others.  For those people, getting out of debt is important.  For many others carrying debt is not a big issue.  Paying cash or getting out of debt is neither a noble pinnacle to achieve or a sin, in and of themselves.  He focuses a lot on "if you get out of debt you have control".  I am not aligned to that mentality.  I am also opposed to generational wealth accumulation, which is a key cornerstone of his ministry.  "Change your family tree".  I am sorry, my kids are going to learn to make their own way in life.  They do not get my nice house, nice cars or money in my accounts.  Our accumulation of possessions and money in order to feel secure and to pass down from generation to generation is not really a principle that I see capture in Scripture.  I know at the root that is not what his getting at, when he is trying to help the family who makes $35K a year and has $70K in credit card debt.  But that is the eventual road he is leading them down.  

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:
The part about not letting employees work from home almost seems like a confession by Ramsey that he doesn't think he can trust them if he's not able to look over their shoulders.

While it could be that, it doesn't have to be the case.  I work for a large microchip firm, and since June, we have been 100% back in the office.  There are a few (very few) exceptions given for health reasons, but none that I'm aware of over worry or religious reasons.  We're expected to be at work, and it's not about a flippant reaction to the virus or worrying that we can't do our jobs remotely.

dgszweda wrote:
To me, his flippant attitude around the virus and his derogatory attitude toward those who have a concern is terrible.

I'm mostly with you on this.  I refuse to worry much about the virus either (I'm like the guy in the recent Atlantic article: Where I Live, No One Cares About COVID), but being derogatory toward those who do is (IMHO) not the Christian way to handle disagreements on this.  While I think it's reasonable to not be worried much about COVID, trying to act as if the virus is made up, etc., and ridiculing others are just signs of him acting like a jerk.

Dave Barnhart

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

Our accumulation of possessions and money in order to feel secure and to pass down from generation to generation is not really a principle that I see capture in Scripture. 

Like in most areas, scripture presents a balance on this:

Proverbs 13:22 - "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous."

That verse would seem to indicate that leaving an inheritance that extends to grandchildren is a good goal, but it must be tempered with all the other scriptures on the love of money and "accumulation of possessions."

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

Dave, no doubt that it "doesn't have to be the case" regarding Ramsey and not trusting his employees, but one "tell" that makes me lean to that conclusion is how vehement he's been about the matter.  There are people who quietly but firmly say "the smooth operation of the firm requires you be here", and there are others who make a big fuss of it.  My experience is that the latter group doesn't have a lot of trust with their employees.

Regarding leaving an inheritance, let's define "inheritance."  Back in Bible times, it was land and perhaps a bit of money and other resources, really one's profession of agriculture.  Now if I make sure my children and grandchildren have the educational opportunities to pursue their professions, and perhaps a little capital to get started in their trade, I think I've effectively done the same thing for them, no?  Really, in light of what Stanley and Danko found in "The Millionaire Next Door", I'd argue it's far more valuable than an inheritance of mere money.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

Dave, no doubt that it "doesn't have to be the case" regarding Ramsey and not trusting his employees, but one "tell" that makes me lean to that conclusion is how vehement he's been about the matter.  There are people who quietly but firmly say "the smooth operation of the firm requires you be here", and there are others who make a big fuss of it.  My experience is that the latter group doesn't have a lot of trust with their employees.

You might certainly be right.  I just don't have enough inside information on Ramsey and his organization to say one way or the other.  I do know that many businesses are wanting their employees in the office, and at least in the cases I've seen, it's not because the employees aren't trusted.

Quote:
Regarding leaving an inheritance, let's define "inheritance."  Back in Bible times, it was land and perhaps a bit of money and other resources, really one's profession of agriculture.  Now if I make sure my children and grandchildren have the educational opportunities to pursue their professions, and perhaps a little capital to get started in their trade, I think I've effectively done the same thing for them, no?  Really, in light of what Stanley and Danko found in "The Millionaire Next Door", I'd argue it's far more valuable than an inheritance of mere money.

Certainly many of the references to inheritance in the OT refer to land, so I don't really disagree with what you are saying.  Regarding today's situation, if I were really wealthy (not a problem I'm worried about), I wouldn't leave the entire amount to my children.  As you say, they'd have educational opportunities (actually, already had since they are adults) and enough money to live on at the beginning without being tempted to make bad choices to get the money they need to be able to get started in life.  In my case, mine are already launched.  If it becomes necessary (and I believe in the direction they want to go), I might help finance my grandchildren's education as well (don't have any yet, so that's a ways off).

Given the historical relative wealth of Americans today, I figure most of us can meet the inheritance goal without becoming Ramsey disciples, at least if we are wise with our resources.  However, I want to be sure, given what I see in the Bible, that I don't saddle my descendants with debt or leave them with nothing at all.

I originally was thinking along the lines of calling my children's education their inheritance, and then using my money (hopefully for wise causes) up by the end of my life rather than leaving any.  The Proverbs passage caused me to rethink that a bit.

Dave Barnhart

dgszweda's picture

dcbii wrote:

The Proverbs passage caused me to rethink that a bit.

The Proverbs passage is what Dave Ramsey uses to guide a big chunk of his ministry.  A few things I would be cautious of.  Most cults rally around a verse at the exclusion of all else.  I am not saying Dave doesn't look at other verses, nor am I saying everything he does is unbiblical.  But I am always cautious of developing and entire paradigm that goes beyond the scope of a verse, all rooted in a single verse.  Second, I think, that we need to put Proverbs into context, just as we do with other Proverbs passages.

Bert Perry's picture

My take is that the big gap in Ramsey's ministry is the gift of contentment and the avoidance of covetousness.  He's at least talking about this now, but about five years back, I did a search on his ministry, and I didn't even find the word "covet" there.  Might have missed something, but it said something to me.  They've fixed this, but at the end of the day, clients are still hearing about Dave's Jaguar by the grace of God.

End result is that his program does great at helping people go to "rice and beans time" and eliminate debt rapidly, but when it comes to the maintenance phase, they're a lot like most diet plans--they don't prepare people to be content with less, and hence they're often setting people up to end up back in debt, IMO.

I will be glad to be proven wrong, of course, but that's my take.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

Ramsey doesn't have a ministry. He has a multi-million dollar business that includes a radio program, books, conferences and, yes, programs for churches. But it is no ministry. Its a business. $$$$.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

The Proverbs passage is what Dave Ramsey uses to guide a big chunk of his ministry.  A few things I would be cautious of.  Most cults rally around a verse at the exclusion of all else.  I am not saying Dave doesn't look at other verses, nor am I saying everything he does is unbiblical.  But I am always cautious of developing and entire paradigm that goes beyond the scope of a verse, all rooted in a single verse.  Second, I think, that we need to put Proverbs into context, just as we do with other Proverbs passages.

I didn't know he used that verse, but I probably should have guessed.  I've never heard Ramsey speak, used a course from him, etc., even though I've heard his name/business mentioned.

As you will note in my posts in this thread, I mentioned that that verse had to be considered with the other verses on money/greed/etc. in the Bible.  I completely agree that verses must be in context, the actual words used well-understood, and that a single verse doesn't stand alone against the rest of scripture.  However, the fact that it is there, also means it can't be ignored, and that was my point in quoting it.

Dave Barnhart