Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, February 25, 2008

And Jesus Said: “Gouge Thy Neighbor”

It might seem to you that Evangelicals — the same people who go apeshit over abortion and the “Homosexual Agenda” — have been strangely silent about the cheating and gouging done by corporations. And you would be right.

This article, along with the accompanying map, shows a strong correlation (by state) between payday lenders — and other legalized loansharks — and the percentage of Evangelicals and Mormons who live in that state. Basically, the more lily-white and Jesus-spouting the population is, the more tolerant they are of those money-changers that their idol drove from the temple.

This map also gives new meaning to the term Red State. The deeper the shade of red, the more payday lenders the state has per 10,000 residents. Utah and a whole slew of southern Bible Belt states are the reddest in terms of payday lenders and Biblehumpers.

The one exception to this trend is Nevada. They have a lot of payday lenders, but at least for them it’s consistent with their freewheeling anything-goes attitudes. And Nevada still has a lower ratio of payday lenders than those Family Values states in the south.

Now, the same Holy Book that (supposedly) screams about homosexuals, abortion and premarital sex also has a few things to say about usury:

“If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.”

“If he has exacted usury Or taken increase — Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.”

Check out the link; there's a whole screenload of passages about usury (hint: none of them are in favor of it).

Funny how the Holier-Than-Thou brigade has “forgotten” about these Biblical passages. But hey, at least they have Values.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous rockync said...

I live in North Carolina and although I consider myself spiritual but not attached to any organized religion, I am glad to see that my state, which has a pretty good sized evangelical base, also has strict usuary laws and does not allow most predatory practices.

February 25, 2008 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: That's good to know. According to that map, it's mostly the inland southern states that have the slackest usury laws. With the exception of South Carolina, the Atlantic coast states have stricter laws.

February 25, 2008 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Superb post!

“Funny how the Holier-Than-Thou brigade has ‘forgotten’ about these Biblical passages. But hey, at least they have Values.”

The hypocrisy of the Christian Right is stunning. Never mind that our country is bankrupt, and its people are getting raped by big business and big Republican Government (funny irony isn’t it? How Republicans are for less government, yet insist on so much government).

My best friend Shelley and I rail about Christian/Republican hypocrisy all the time. She was a devout Catholic for almost 40 years until the invasion of Iraq. Her contention: True Christians would not and could not be pro-war and pro-killing. The church disagreed. She left. And she’s a better person for it; and perhaps the kindest, most wonderful, gentle, loving person I’ve ever met. Pretty Christian for a non-Christian, eh?

Wondering if you could link my political blog (http://dumbassesingovernment.blogspot.com) instead of my personal blog.

February 25, 2008 at 6:07 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

And, I'll tell you what else the slacker southern states have in common; slack laws on gambling and topless bars and pornographic venues. I'm no prude and I could care less about what floats their boat, but imagine having these predator loan sharks preying on those with gambling or sex issues. You drive through parts of South Carolina and you shake your head at the poverty and neglect. And that goes for many of the other Southern states without decent usury laws. Without some checks and balances, you know the poorest and least educated are going to suffer the most.

February 25, 2008 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: Thanks. Sure, I'll link up to Dumbasses in Government.

I'm glad Shelley left the Catholic Church. There's too much hypocrisy there (that's probably true for all churches). These people go ballistic over somebody's personal life choices and then they're dead silent when Big Business gouges millions of people. Go figure.

Rockync: I didn't know that either, about slack gambling/topless bar laws. I do remember that Mississippi has a lot of casinos; I was in Vicksburg, Gulfport and Biloxi about 7 years ago. But other than that, I've always just figured the south was generally prudish about stuff like that. I've traveled through most of the southern states a few times but not enough to get familiar with the laws or culture.

We definitely need stricter laws against loansharks. I'm sure bankers can still make a decent profit without gouging their customers.

February 25, 2008 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

What a "priceless" article! How terrible for the people who are suffering financial setbacks - sort of like being raped twice! You'd think that being followers of Jesus they would lobbying to stop the outsourcing of American jobs to to create new ones. Its part of caring about one's neighbors. But no, to Evangelicals and Mormons it is an opportunity to circle and prey on the victims.

When you go back in history some of the folks with the same beliefs used slave labor and fought a war so they would not have to work in their own fields.

February 25, 2008 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

KWW: Yup, it's pretty bad how bankers and loansharks can screw people over while they're quoting Jesus. But like you said, this has been going on all through history. Wars, slavery, oppression -- all in the name of God and Jesus.

February 25, 2008 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

I'll tell you where else you see a lot of those places: here in San Diego where there are a ton of Navy and Marine people.
They get taken by these fucks.
These operations are some of the worst "businesses" I have ever seen.
Truly awful.

February 25, 2008 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I'm not a religious person but the few religious people I know believe that God (although I think it's their ministers) told them to hate black people, homosexuals, women who have abortions and others who do not live according to their lifestyle. Who cares that the guy next to me is ripping me off, as long as no homosexual is getting married, I'm content with the illegal acts occuring in my neighborhood.

O and I started blogging. So i don't have to sign anonymous anymore. Lemme know what you think of my blog?


February 25, 2008 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike: I believe it. I was stationed in Southern California when I was in the Navy a long time ago. Not San Diego, but our ship pulled in there occasionally. It seemed like every other business in downtown San Diego had the sole purpose of ripping off military personnel. The Navy lifers didn't seem to have any problem with it. If you used any sort of illegal drugs you were the lowest thing in the universe, but if you got taken by some sleazoid hustler that preys on sailors -- hey, no biggie.

Jo: I've known religious people of all kinds. Some are bigots with IQs lower than their shoe sizes, and some are compassionate and actually believe the parts of the Bible that talk about helping and caring. But there sure are a lot of them who think as long as you aren't gay and haven't gotten an abortion, you can do anything you want and God will approve.

I tried to find your blog but all that came up was the Blogger Profile menu. I'll keep checking.

February 26, 2008 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

One thing that's only tangentially related was a recent poll on ESPN.com about what is the most important criteria for drafting a football player. Across the board, in all areas of the US, it was actual game performance. As you looked towards the west and northeast, intelligence ranked higher than character. In the south, it was the reverse.

That's not a slag on the smarts of southerners - there are a LOT of dumbass northerners, I deal with them every day, but yes, your accent makes this Yankee laugh, sorry - but the fact that the nebulous concept of "character" has been so burned into the psyche of the religious fucks above all else. It's all lip service, and we end up with crap like this because we're a giant Peyton Place.

February 26, 2008 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Jonatta said...

it's www.trollsnotallowed.blogspot.com

do you know how i can make my name a link to my page?


February 26, 2008 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Ahh, yes...Values. That catch-all term for "do what we say, and not what we do."

February 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Oh, one more thing:

Rockync: I am a former Atlanta exotic dancer (now a college professor--talk about a change in work, heh-heh!), and can speak some truth to your comment. Atlanta is a weird place to work in the sex industry. While larger metro areas may have half a dozen strip clubs, and most of them BYOB, or topless-only with alcohol, Atlanta has almost THREE DOZEN strip joints, full nude and full alcohol. And--get this!--we're smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt!

The same Good Chreeestians who try to get strip clubs closed down are the very same ones who patronize the places. The City of Atlanta gives a LOT of lip service to "cleaning up the clubs," which means hitting dancers with a $350 PER CLUB license fee, harassment by police officers in and out of the clubs, and so on. However, there is just as much dick-sucking going on now as there was before the Gold Club scandal happened...and the Good Chreestian city councilmen are benefitting from both the dick-sucking and the outrageously high license fees.

Sorry about the rant, Tom and Rockync--that's a subject on which I can tell people a LOT about how weird it is to work in the industry period, and particularly in Atlanta. (Although I hear Houston dancers make great money...)

February 26, 2008 at 8:26 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Great minds, sir. It does indeed that in Jesusistan, the meek are anything but blessed.

February 26, 2008 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: True, those nebulous concepts like "values" and "character" -- it's impossible to define, and I don't even know if the people who use these terms even know what they mean. There are several cartoons going around the internet that show 2 people arguing about Bush. The 1st guy keeps naming immoral things Bush has done -- invading a country that didn't attack us, desecrating the environment, allowing millions of people to be exploited. The 2nd guy agrees with each one of these statements, but in the last frame he says "yeah, but Bush has values."

Jo: I'm not very computer literate, but I think this should help -- Go to the Blogger Dashboard. Click where it says Edit Profile. Under "Identity" there's a field for Display Name. Whatever name you choose, it should link to your blog when you leave comments at other blogs.

I hope I understood your question. But I notice at your blog, each post ends with "posted by Jo at ____" So I'd think that if you're logged in to Blogger, any comments you leave would automatically be linked to your Display Name and URL.

Hope this helps. Otherwise, I guess the Blogger Help menu, or asking other bloggers who are more knowledgeable then me (of which there are millions).

Miss Kitty: Yup, that's pretty much what "values" means; rules for somebody else to live by.

Interesting "values" and double standards in Atlanta (everywhere I guess). I just read something on MSNBC about a DA in Houston who's resigning. He was a Biblethumping moralist, and it turns out he was having affairs and totally stacking the deck whichever way he wanted for the cases he prosecuted. But he has Values, so it's OK.

February 26, 2008 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: Damn, you beat me to it. I check your blog pretty frequently but I guess I missed that post. Those Jesusistanis -- do what they say, not what they do.

February 26, 2008 at 11:59 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Understandable. When the hypocrisy flies at the speed of a Concorde towards you 24/7, things will get dropped here and there.

The Jesusistanis do a lot of stuff. Every blogger in the leftysphere could devote him or herself to pointing out the hypocrisy, mental illness, and criminality of Jesusistan, and we'd all get at least 5 distinct posts daily.

February 26, 2008 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: Very true. There's just too much shit to write about; it's hard to keep up with it all.

February 26, 2008 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

It's good to have your input, Miss Kitty. I have no problem with strip clubs, etc. but you're right there is a lot of hypocrisy involved along with corruption. And isn't it interesting the pawn shops and payday check cashing places that proliferate in places where all that is going on.

February 27, 2008 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous (comment not published)-- Sorry, your comment wasn't published because:

1. It was too longwinded and pointless; and

2. You have to have an IQ this high to comment on this blog.

March 6, 2008 at 12:10 AM  

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