John Varley Defends Bonuses: Profits Are "Not Satanic" Barclays CEO Tells London Church Crowd

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The CEO of Britian's second-largest bank became the second of that nation's banking figures to make the case for profits in the house of god, defending revenue as "not satanic."

According to Bloomberg, Barclays CEO John Varley spoke at London's Anglican St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church Tuesday night and defended profits and compensation to employees at financial firms. Varley went on to assert that Christianity is compatible with banking and bonuses.

Workers in the City, as London's financial district is known, will receive almost £6 billion ($9.9 billion) in bonuses this year, according to The Independent. The figure is up almost 50 percent from 2008.

In October, Brian Griffiths, an International advicer to Goldman Sachs told a panel at St. Paul's Cathedral in London that inequality helps us all, saying, "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all." Griffiths also used religion to justify his stance, saying, "The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest."

In 2008, Goldman Sachs paid out $4.82 billion in bonuses, awarding 953 employees at least $1 million each and 78 executives $5 million or more, according to The New York Times. This year, the firm's bonus pool has set aside at least $16.7 billion for compensation, which Goldman's CEO has defended.

Those staggering figures contribute to a income gap in the US that is the largest since the 1920s. Income inequality in the UK is at its highest since 1960.

On Sunday, Yale economist Robert Shiller warned that if the income gap in the US is not addressed, it could do major harm to the country and create a place that even rich people don't want to live in. The professor proposed a tax tied to the income gap.