Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Immoral Debt

Many times the Supreme Court has ruled that CC interest being charged is :

“excessive, iniquitous, unconscionable and exorbitant, hence, contrary to morals (”contra bonos mores”), if not against the law”

Since there is no longer a “Usury Law” to speak of, lenders and creditors are generally free to stipulate the interest rates to be imposed on debts. As a rule, the interest rate agreed by the creditor and the debtor is binding upon them. This rule, however, is not absolute but sadly, the court can only intervene if this issue is raised before them.

What about the Bible's view on this issue?

The bank responsible for these unconscionable lending practices takes refuge under religiously-mandated self-sacrifice to atone for the sin of borrowing unwisely. But lending money under this situation has in fact incurred the ire of the Prophets :

Ezekiel 18:13
“Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.”

The debtor therefore who entered into such a one-sided arrangement in good faith need not feel that his inability to meet the agreement violates his duty as a Christian.

God has even given debtors a breathing space:

Deuteronomy 15:1-2
At the end of every seven-year period you shall have a relaxation of debts, which shall be observed as follows: Every creditor shall relax his claim on what he has loaned his neighbor; he must not press his neighbor, his kinsman, because a relaxation in honor of the LORD has been proclaimed“

He also frowns upon these oppressor-lenders:

Mt 18:21-35
‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’

And in anger his Lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Now, isn’t it comforting that even the Lord is on our side?

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