Thursday, August 25, 2005

Read your Bible some more, George!

George W. Bush loves to go on and on about how about how the Bible is his source of morality, and how it's important for Biblical standards of morality to be protected by the government. That is, after all, why Bush says he pushed so hard for an amendment to the Constitution to keep gay people from getting married. It's puzzling, then, why George W. Bush hasn't pushed for other moral standards clearly spelled out in the Bible to be enacted in law. Let's take, for instance, usury: the lending of money at high rates. The Bible clearly states that usury is a major-league sin:

Leviticus 25: 35-36 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.

Ezekiel 18:5-8 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right... And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he sh all surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

Exodus 22: 25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.

Matthew 21: 12-13 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

In recent years, the United States has been beset by the proliferation of predatory lending operations that offer desperate people short-term "payday loans" to tide them over for a week or two, but that charge huge interest rates for the "favor."

Of course, George W. Bush being the upstanding Biblical man that he is, you'd think he'd be doing something to combat the sin of usury. But you'd be wrong. He's signed two proclamations declaring "National Consumer Protection Week," but those proclamations don't do anything but encourage Americans in words to be careful when they go about getting usurious loans. No new laws, no new bills, no executive orders, nothing. Outside of those two empty declarations naming a symbolic week, there's not even a single mention of "payday loan" operations in any speech, press conference or document coming from the White House.

Biblical sins that benefit rich corporations while crushing the lives of the dispossessed are not, apparently, George W. Bush's concern. The private acts of consenting adults must be regulated first.


1 comment:

Perdita said...

GOOD research and writing