The power of public opinion: Payne County Bank

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The power of public opinion: Payne County Bank

Sometimes as pro-lifers, we see abuses, frequently by government agencies, things that should never have happened, and we feel powerless to do anything about it.  Bad call, because we have power.

We have power.

Don’t think so?

Just consider the case of the Payne County Bank in Oklahoma.  According to the American Family Association, the Federal Reserve examiners came in December, as they do every four years, to make sure the banks were complying with the multitudinous financial regulations that banks must follow.

The federal regulators decided that “a Bible verse of the day,” crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say “Merry Christmas, God With Us” were inappropriate.  The Bible verse of the day on the bank’s Internet site also had to be taken down, along with Thomas Kinkade paintings hanging in the bank’s lobby.”

This clearly has nothing to do with the financial regulations for banks.  It was clearly outside the scope of anything a federal regulator should be allowed to do.  Nevertheless the bank had to do it.  The bank contacted its two US legislators and the Oklahoma Bankers Association to get clarification and reversal.

This is where the AFA came in.  On Friday, December 17, 2010, they sent a note out to their e-mail list asking that people send an e-mail to the Kansas City Federal Reserve president and other key executives.

Three days later, on the 20th, they sent another note out saying that “the Federal Reserve backed off its ban on Christmas buttons and Christian symbols by early Friday afternoon.  AFA received word late in the day that the issue has been permanently resolved in the bank’s favor.

Granted, this situation never should have arisen.  However, it did.  And situations like it will continue to happen.

In cases like these, when public opinion is brought to bear, the results can be swift.

We have the power.  We need to remember to use it.

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