Many still struggle with payday loans

Payday loans are often easier to obtain than traditional loans. Lenders either do not perform a credit check or have fewer restrictions to qualify. The Durham, N.C.-based Center for Responsible Lending estimates 12 million people get trapped in debt every year because of high interest.

COMMENTARY: Freedom in God’s economy

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) This year's Holy Week pilgrimage will have unusual irony, for the centralized institutions that took control of the Christian message and tried to rule the world now find themselves under assault by the same decentralizing and freedom-seeking that Jesus expressed. By Tom Ehrich.

Food pantry’s prayers violate federal rules

Tim Evans |

SEYMOUR, Ind. (RNS) After a court ruled that prayers at a food pantry violate federal guidelines, a food pantry here is faced with a Solomon-like choice: Stop the prayers or give up truckloads of free food provided through the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program. By Tim Evans.

Report says church giving on the rebound

Annalisa Musarra |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Churches may have suffered financially for the past three years due to the recession, but the fourth annual “State of the Plate” found strong evidence of a rebound in 2011. By Annalisa Musarra.

The Donald trumps The Bible on financial advice

Annalisa Musarra |

WASHINGTON (RNS) When it comes to financial advice in these tough economic times, more Americans today would rather take advice from business mogul Donald Trump than from the Bible, according to a new survey. By Annalisa Musarra.

Nonprofit groups oppose Obama’s change in charitable deductions

Annalisa Musarra |

WASHINGTON (RNS) For the fourth year in a row, President Obama is proposing lower tax deductions for the wealthy on donations to churches and other nonprofit organizations. And for the fourth year in a row, nonprofit groups say the change would lead to a dramatic drop in charitable giving. By Annalisa Musarra.

Yes, Mormons tithe, but most others don’t

Bruce Nolan |

(RNS) Across the religious landscape, tithing is often preached but rarely realized.  Research into church donations shows a wide range of giving, with Mormons among the most generous relative to income, conservative Christians next, followed by mainline Protestants and Catholics last. By Bruce Nolan.