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On Predatory Payday Lending

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that all persons are of inestimable worth regardless of their social, economic, or physical condition (Genesis 1:26); and

WHEREAS, God commanded humanity to be fruitful and multiply, taking just dominion of the earth in partnership with God (Genesis 1:26–31; 2:15); and

WHEREAS, The Fall has produced in human beings a selfishness that causes them to view others as objects to be exploited for personal gain rather than as individuals with whom to enjoy rich, mutually beneficial relationships (Genesis 3:7–19); and

WHEREAS, God is not opposed to profit (Matthew 25:14–30) but is opposed to those who take advantage of the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable (Exodus 22:21–24; Deuteronomy 24:10–22; Zechariah 7:8–14); and

WHEREAS, Payday lending is defined as the practice of lending small amounts of money, usually $350 or less, to individuals for two-week periods (i.e. until the next payday) potentially trapping borrowers in an endless cycle of two-week loans, often at an annual interest rate up to or exceeding 360 percent; and

WHEREAS, All such predatory behavior conflicts with God’s plan for human relationships (Exodus 22:25–27; Leviticus 19:35–36; 25:35–37; Nehemiah 5:1–13; Proverbs 11:1); and

WHEREAS, Predatory payday lending is a direct violation of the Love Commandment (Mark 12:20–31; Luke 10:25–37); and

WHEREAS, Predatory lending fails to respect the dignity of the person created in the image of God and interferes with human flourishing; and

WHEREAS, Individuals and businesses must be just in their dealings, operating with wisdom and care, if they are to be respected as valued contributors to society (Genesis 4:9; Amos 4–6; Colossians 3:23–24); and

WHEREAS, The Apostle Paul states that government’s task is to reward good and punish evil (Romans 13:1–7); and

WHEREAS, People may occasionally need emergency financial assistance; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, denounce the practice of predatory payday lending as contrary to God’s design for human relationships; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge churches, employers, and other concerned individuals to provide viable solutions for meeting short-term financial needs within their local communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches to provide financial stewardship classes and/or skills training for church members and members of the wider community; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on governing officials to investigate current payday lending abuses in their communities and institute just regulations and policies that terminate the practice of predatory payday lending; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we strongly admonish those who are engaged in the practice of predatory payday lending to consider the great damage they are causing in the lives of vulnerable people and to adopt a just lending model.