scriptureimageMany faithful Texans wrestle with their faith traditions’ call to deal justly with poor people.  Many Texans prayerfully explore the connections between their faith and the details of loans, interest and other things that our modern economy demands.

All of the world’s religious traditions call us to treat each other fairly.  The call is especially clear for dealing with poor people:

Hebrew Scriptures:

•    “Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.” (Deuteronomy 24:14)

•    “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Christian Scriptures:

•    “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10)

•    “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Buddhism:

•    The Buddha said, “Do not earn your living by harming others.”

Islamic Scriptures:

•    “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion.” (an-Nahl 16:90)

Hindu Scriptures:

•    “Greed or miserliness can alone lead a mortal being by fast track to the gate of hell.”  (Bhagavadgita XVI 21)

Scripture and Charging Interest:   What our Faith Traditions Teach Us

Hebrew scriptures:

•    “If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.” (Exodus 22:25)

Islamic scriptures:

•    “And what you give in interest that it may increase on other people’s wealth, increases not with Allah (God).”  (Q’uran 30:39)

Christian scriptures:

•    In Luke 19, Jesus talks about interest belonging to God.

The Texas Catholic Conference has also taken on the issue of predatory lending. You can read their material including Catholic teachings here –http://www.txcatholic.org/documents/policypapers/LF-lending.pdf