Usury: Another Sin the Church Chooses to Ignore


Wow! Someone is finally talking about one of my pet peeves. cut throat banking policies that go against every biblical teaching about money lending. On the blog “Decompressing Faith” Erin and friends provide a righteous rant against a travesty that has gone unchallenged for much too long.

Here’s what Cindy had to say:


“Last Christmas i got busy and lost track of when i made debits relative to deposits. (very very unlike me- i usually update the account every day). when i went in to the bank to have them explain all the charges I couldn’t believe what they told me.

Not only did they do as the article said, manipulate the posting order of debits and credits to maximize the potential for overdrafts but, GET THIS, they charge the $37.50 when the initial red debit was received electronically (but not yet posted) and then when they officially posted the debit the next day, they charged the $37.50 again. I went through it 3 or 4 times to be sure i understood them correctly. 2 charges for the exact same overdraft. And somehow they had manipulated the loopholes to make that legal!

Then they thought they would be able to coerce me to take out a loan that would cover potential overdrafts in the future, although it was clear from our account that by that time we were in no danger at all of overdraft. I remember when the bank would just move some money from your savings to cover overdrafts. No more. That’s far too resonable and good for the consumer apparently”.

Sound familiar? And then there is the credit card side of this business, luring people into taking loans with low interest rates and then jacking up the rates and hitting them with late charges, charging over limit fees after they drop the credit line (using the magic “Credit Report” as an excuse for doing so). They ain’t got nothin’ on Don Corleone. (Of course some of their victim…er, customers are weak and lack the discipline to handle credit responsibly. But isn’t there a moral prerogative in place here as well? What would we say if liquor stores made it a point of handing out coupons at AA meetings?)


I’ve said this before; if Business chooses to be ‘all business’, driven solely by profit, refusing to regulate themselves (as many other professions do) then eventually their customers (otherwise known as citizens) will step in and take away some of their freedom. Of course, the bankers are not breaking any laws and apparently they are not drawing much attention to what they do. But what would you expect from a culture that has elevated Donald Trump to the position of business role model, entertainer and sage.


Why is it that there are so many damn sermons about sexual immorality but never have I heard one against financial immorality? Didn’t any of these preachers read Ezekiel in seminary? Why are we constantly picking on prostitutes, alcoholics, drug users and porn addicts when these predators in Prada get to run around guilt free? And I’ll bet most of them are flaming heterosexuals.


Is it because they can be found sitting in the front pews? Is it because they make boatloads of money and are known to fill the offering envelope every week? OK, I’ll buy that. Expedience wins. But what about all the other bank employees, stockholders and shareholders? Shouldn’t they be made to feel a little hot under the collar about where they work or invest? I once sat in a church pew next to a very pretty, yet very overweight, young lady. I remember sweating nervously while our well intentioned young (and very thin) pastor gave a scathing sermon on the sin of gluttony.


No wonder our churches hold such little credibility with today’s ‘un-churched’.

  1. #1 by karen on August 21, 2008 - 1:22 pm

    Whoa! Great post! I like your blog!

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