I think there may be a rich vein to be tapped here for business journalists. Riley alludes to something like this, but he doesn’t have evidence:

A decade ago, this pursuit was equated—not for unfounded reasons—with upward social mobility by the black churchgoing community, which was alternately feeding off and fostering entrepreneurship and mutual patronage that bound congregants together. In the lead-up to subprime lending, black church members served fellow believers as mortgage brokers and real estate agents, trying to apportion heavenly goods. In the end, it was a cruel double whammy: To save face and friendships, many ex-subprime celebrants, now jaded victims, wouldn’t admit to being flimflammed by either predatory lenders or faulty interpretations of biblical teachings.

Okay, but give us an example. Thing is, I doubt it would be that difficult to report this kind of thing out. As Riley does note, some Prosperity Gospel preachers have gotten into real estate, and it hasn’t worked out too well for some of their buyers, who in many cases are their followers, too:

Prosperity’s impact in Kirbyjon Caldwell’s Corinthian Pointe, a south Houston community the city labeled “affordable,” on the other hand, is clearer: According to the Houston Association of Realtors and RealtyTrac listings, more than 30 of its 454 homes currently face foreclosure.

Sounds like a story to me.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.