The South Dakota Legislature failed to move a bill that would have capped the interest rate on short term "payday" loans.
Some of these loans, marketed heavily on TV and radio in the state, carry actual interest of 400% (no typo, that's four hundred percent).
With all the things that churches pray, work and fight over, there was little if any Christian noise about this issue. But God is pretty loud about it:
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
He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head. Ezekiel 18:13
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. Luke 6:34
Yes, I know. We live in an economy where all of us borrow and just about everything runs on credit. But for a long time the Church stood against "usury." For some time, this meant any kind of lending at interest - later, this was interpreted to be "excessive interest."
Even with the later, more permissive definition, what's going on here in SD offends God.
I've already contacted some other Christian leaders and hope to bring this issue back for public attention. Please pray that this wicked practice will be curbed in South Dakota.
I have personally seen some of these payday loans and 400% interest is low compared to what I saw. They are very sneaky and quote APM instead of APR when it comes to the interest. Of course, 40% APM(monthly) equals 480% APR! The people I have sat with didn't understand this difference. These companies are deliberately misleading our citizens and our state government is more than willing to allow it. Nobody needs this kind of "service". As far as the Church helping, I believe it has 2 problems-first, it doesn't understand this issue-and second, it has lately chose to disregard so much of the Bible already that to now quote scripture would be seen by most as totally hypocritical. The lesson in this as far as I'm concerned is that it is total folly to expect either the government or our Church to protect us-we must take care of ourselves. Both of these entities have repeatedly shown us that they have agendas-and our well being is not one of them. MB
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