Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old congress woman from New York, is demanding that evangelical Christians start using the Bible correctly. The representative, who is for abortion-on-demand, gay marriage, and the redistribution of resources via theft, recently claimed that if Christians really understood the Bible they would get behind her new bill.
Ocasio-Cortez and her counterpart in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders, proposed a bill that would cap all loan interest rates at 15 percent. This would greatly affect credit card lenders in particular, who regularly loan at rates far higher. It would also affect pay-day lenders, who typically prey upon the poor and ignorant.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed that religious people only want to use the Bible to “punish women + queer people.” By this, we presume she means not letting women murder their children and not calling sodomy-based relationships, “marriage.”
Does Cortez have a point? Does the Bible forbid usury and should the religious right support her bill?
The answer is actually, “no.”
Old Covenant laws prevented the loaning of money at any interest rate whatsoever, at least to fellow Jewish brethren (Deuteronomy 22:5). They were, however, allowed to charge interest to foreigners (Deuteronomy 23:20).
The moral equivalent, therefore, is not to charge interest on loans made to family, close friends, or those within your network or community (like church). The idea is that if someone within our support network is in need, to loan them money interest free so as to help them, and not profit. However, loans with interest could be made for the sake of sheer business outside our support network, when charity wasn’t the purpose.
In many areas of urban blight, especially those with substantial ethnic minority communities, payday lenders, title loan companies, and pawn shops are the only forms of banking readily available to them. And while many of these businesses take advantage of the ill-informed and ignorant, in other cases they provide an essential emergency source of cash for those who have no other option.
As usual with Democratic policies, those most hurt by their utopian dreams to dismantle the Free Market will be the poor.