Monday, December 6, 2010

Ukrainian Orthodox Bishop calls out the church on its silence about usury

The mailman brought a nice surprise in the form of a note from Bishop Paul Peter Jesep of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, along with a copy of the just-released Second Edition of his book, Credit Card Usury and the Christian Failure to Stop It.

I'm not through the book yet but I really liked this section on how responsible borrowing must be matched by responsible lending:

"There is also the flip side to the personal responsibility of using a credit card. There is the corporate responsibility by bankers not to exploit the working poor and middle class with credit card fees and interest rates that will make them a permanent revenue source. There is the responsibility by credit card companies not to develop business models with the intent to make individuals max out their credit cards.

There is the choice for collection agencies to treat all persons with respect, dignity and humanity. There is the choice in choosing a fair profit over greed and unjust gain. There is the choice for credit score bureaus to demand far more documentation, though not yet legally required, from credit card and collection agencies. There is the personal responsibility by self-described Christians employed as executives in the financial services industries to set policies that are just and equitable reflecting corporate responsibility."

The part of the book I've finished mainly establishes the social problem and the systemic issues involved in credit card usury. I'm looking forward to upcoming chapters in which the Bishop applies Christian spirituality and theology to the issue, and I will share more in coming days.


Anonymous said...

There's a bishop! Would that the Episcopal Church had bishops of the same quality.

Anonymous said...

It takes guts, lots of it, to speak out against what has become for many credit card enslavement. Sadly, that has happened with the help (or lack thereof) from Congress). Bishop Jesep's book should become the clarion call for standing up for what is right. Maybe the time has come again to throw the money changers (banks, card issuers, etc.) out. The 21st century "den of vipers" is looking and acting a lot like that first one, and they're much more powerful.

caheidelberger said...

First I had to look up the difference between autocephaly and autonomy. Learn something new every day!

I look forward to hearing more of what you learn from this book. It sounds like required reading for our legislators!