'World News' Critical of Faith-Based Financial Adviser’s Debt Stance

Imagine someone going on the radio and using Scripture to give you advice on your finances. To ABC's "World News," following this advice involves "radical" action.

The February 3 "World News Sunday" featured the financial advice of Howard Dayton. Dayton incorporates the Bible into his advice and says it's Biblical to get out of debt as soon as possible. But "World News" anchor Dan Harris portrayed the followers of this advice as a fringe element.

"Dayton urges families to pay them [debts, including home mortgages] off as quickly as possible, even if it involves radical belt tightening - advice the Pruitt family is following," Harris said.

"When the money's gone, you know, we just wait for payday," Dayton follower Kristin Pruitt said. "Eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," her husband added.

But for many Americans with credit cards, waiting for payday isn't the norm, and ABC depicted those who do wait for payday as the radical ones.

"World News" told viewers debt wasn't a bad thing, as long as it is manageable.

"You can be financially responsible and still have a significant amount of debt," financial planner Lewis Altfest said. "As long as you can deal with it on a monthly basis, you're gonna be okay."

Though Dayton said you should pay down your debt, Harris clarified that he doesn't say being in debt is a sin. "No, it's not a sin," Dayton said, "but it's a principle of life that we should seek to get out of debt as quickly as we can."