I had read it before, but for some reason it struck me this time:
“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest” – Exodus 22:25
There it is, a clear Bible passage that says God’s people ought not collect interest on loans. It is not the only verse, there are many more.
It struck me this time because the Christian church in America continues to debate gay marriage. This is not a post about gay marriage, other than to ask, where are all the Christians claiming to take the Bible literally when it comes to speaking out against unjust lending practices? Where are the the posts on Facebook and Twitter calling for a return to the plain teaching of scripture in regards to the evils of the rich gaining interest on loans to the poor?
Christians can’t agree on much of anything. Could we perhaps find common ground by speaking out against the evils of the Payday Loan industry? The more I read about this, the clearer it becomes that the industry is evil.
A little while ago a soccer player in England, Papiss Cisse refused to wear his team’s jersey because one of their sponsors, Wonga, was a payday loan company preying on Cisse’s home country, Senegal. Wonga would make loans to poor people at interest rates as high as 5,800%. Cisse said his Muslim faith meant he could not support such a company on his jersey.
I hope more of us Christians would find the same principles in our faith.
A few years ago I learned of one such Christian organization, Grace Period in Pittsburgh, PA. Christians are known for being against gay marriage. Perhaps if more organizations like Grace Period rose up, we would be known for things more positive, like helping the victims of predatory loans.
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.