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Has the tough economy got you down? Things could be worse — you could be wasting lots of money on religion.

CNN profiles a Jewish family, a Muslim family, and a Christian family who lead faith-based lives beyond their means.

Collectively they spend thousands of extra dollars on kosher food, sharia-compliant mortgages, enormous families, “divinity school” tuition, faith-affirming private schools, synagogue-proximate houses, church memberships, contributions to terrorist organizations, panhandlers, tithing, charity, tzedakah, and zakaat. They’re not saving for retirement, for hajj, for emergencies, or for the coming economic collapse, based on the beliefs that god wants them to be poor, that Allah hates it when you invest in the stock market, or that if something happens to the primary wage-earner “There is no way the community will let me be unmarried for more than two years.”

The financial planners offer some unimaginative ways to save money at the margin, like “consolidate your loans” and “with 5 kids you probably need more life insurance” and “find a money market account that calls its interest payments ‘profit sharing’ in order not to offend Mohammed” and “don’t buy that big house you can’t afford, because possibly Jesus won’t provide!”

Since I am not certified as a financial planner, I will just point out that my advice “Your Religion Is False” would save each of these families thousands of dollars a year. In fact, this might be a great marketing strategy for my book. Does anyone have Suze Orman’s number?

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Wondering what sort of business opportunities are recession-proof? Strike televangelism from your list:

To make ends meet, religious broadcasters are tightening their belts and going back to basics. That means sticking with time-tested formulas, postponing innovations and counting on loyal (largely senior) audiences to keep donating even when it hurts.

Coincidentally, these are most of the same things that Detroit is trying. Hi-yo!

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