If there ever was a time for Protestant leaders to publicly take a stand against the cruel, vicious, and unchristian behavior of another leader in their midst, it is now. There is irrefutable proof that “finance guru” Dave Ramsey is nothing more than an arrogant bully who has built a personality-cult empire that abuses employees.
Veteran religion reporter, Bob Smietana, published this story on Religion News Service. If you doubt this claim or lack time to read my article, please skip ahead to the vitriolic email sent by Ramsey Solutions to Smietana. There is NO EXCUSE for a supposedly Christian organization (some report it was written by Ramsey himself) to send such a denigrating, mocking, and cruel email to a reporter. Moreover, Ramsey employees were encouraged to harass reporter Smietana in the email, for daring to publish this report. According to Baptist News Global, some employees did just that.
If you read this email, you will be left in NO DOUBT regarding Dave Ramsey’s arrogance, selfishness, and hostility towards anyone who disagrees with him. I should not be surprised, but I haven’t seen a single social media post from any of my male, Protestant friends on social media regarding Ramsey. The only one’s I have seen are from progressive Protestants on Twitter whom I follow for precisely this reason…they have the courage and moral compass to call out abuse such as Ramsey’s.
On January 15, Religion News Service published a well-researched article about the abusive treatment of employees at the $42 million dollar Ramsey Solutions headquarters in Franklin, TN. According to the report:
"Ramsey’s intolerance for dissent has created what former employees call a cultlike environment, where leaders proclaim their love for staff and then fire people at a moment’s notice.
Ramsey Solutions, former employees and their spouses say, is run more like a church than a business. A review of court documents, company emails and recordings of staff meetings backs up these sources’ claims that company leaders attempt to exert control over employees’ personal lives."
Why would they refer to it as a cult-like environment? To give you a taste, just a few of the incidents include:
Spousal interviews are required for employment at Ramsey Solutions. This indicates that Ramsey views himself as a spiritual authority over employees, to ensure their entire family’s morality. This is extraordinarily invasive and a huge red flag. According to Ramsey’s site,
“When hiring someone, you are employing more than just the person… “You’re taking on the whole family. And when they are married to someone who is domineering, unstable or simply full of drama, you’ll end up with a team member who can’t be creative, productive or excellent.”
A Facebook post by Heather Fulk, the wife of a Ramsey employee, resulted in his termination. A co-worker’s wife had seen Heather’s post on Facebook and taken a screen shot which was sent to Ramsey Solutions. Heather posted about her concern of all 900 employees being forced back to work in the office during the global COVID-19 pandemic despite most of them being able to perform their work from home. This was a serious concern to her as she has asthma. Since Ramsey Solutions reopened on May 4, they’ve had at least 100 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
In mid-May 2020, an employee made an anonymous report to OSHA saying that the company wasn’t doing enough to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So whoever you are, you moron, you did absolutely no good, except piss me off,” he told staff. “You are not welcome here if you are willing to do stuff like that. If you are really scared and you really think that leadership is trying to kill you … please, we love you. Just leave. We really don’t want you here.”
There is gender inequality regarding the company’s standard of conduct. Ramsey Solutions fired Ms. Caitlin O’Connor who requested accommodations under the Family Leave and Medical Leave Act because she was 12 weeks pregnant. O’Connor was fired because she was unmarried and had sex outside of marriage.
Ramsey Solutions employee, Chris Hogan, who was in charge of Ramsey’s book tour, was credibly accused of infidelity by his wife, Melissa Hogan. Ramsey declined to fire him and eventually blamed his wife for her lack of faith. As reported by RNS who spoke with Melissa:
“In essence, as part of that process, we were to waive confidentiality with our therapists in order for them to report to Ramsey Solutions’ leaders,” she said in her email. “I now recognize that to be unhealthy, controlling, spiritually manipulative, and deeply wounding.”
According to emails obtained by RNS, the leadership at Ramsey offered to pay for marriage counseling, with “regular and full reports” from the counselor to Ramsey leadership. Dave also asked two of his colleagues to work with the pastor and elders at the church the Hogans attended to get reports on the couple. When Melissa Hogan disagreed with parts of the Ramsey restoration plan, she was told that she “lacked hope for her marriage’s future” and lacked faith in the company’s wisdom. She was eventually barred from her husband’s book tour.
Recently I had a discussion with a dear friend, who has been my greatest spiritual mentor over the past decade. Paraphrasing…she asked aren't these stories of abuse by Protestant religious leaders in the minority of the overall church/parachurch world. I told her that I used to think that. Now, I believe the patriarchy, entitlement, and utter lack of accountability in the Protestant world of male leaders has resulted in the majority of them sharing these beliefs and behaving corruptly if given the opportunity. If you disagree, I ask you why the Protestant men in your life do not speak out and actively advocate against the abuses committed by Protestant leaders such as Dave Ramsey, Carl Lentz, John MacArthur, and Ravi Zacharias? Have they ever once championed the cause of a woman or girl abused by pastor, church member, or institution? Have they ever once included women in a discussion and plan to create greater respect and gender equality in their church or religious institution? The only one I can name is Boz Tchividjian. If you know of others, please send me their names and affiliations. I’d love to create a list of champions! I believe the below quote perfectly describes the vast majority of Protestant men…unwilling to take a stand or absorb a financial or social standing loss to achieve greater dignity and respect for all of humanity.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke