Study Finds Link Between Christian Right and Payday Lenders

A study co-authored by a University of Florida Law Professor finds a correlation between pay day lenders (who often charge interest rates above 400%) and states with a high degree of Christian fundamentalist political power. One of the authors, Christopher Peterson, said,

“A generation ago, populist Christian leaders were among the most aggressive opponents of usurious lending. But today many Christian leaders take large campaign contributions from the credit industry and no longer support the Biblical injunction against usury in public life” link

So what, really, does it mean. Well correlations do not indicate a cause and effect relationship but it should be noted that the correlation of pay day lenders to Christian conservative power is stronger than that between pay day lenders and populations living below the poverty line. Individual states do make their own laws concerning usury and are responsible for setting limits on lending rates.

Peterson also said this,

“The natural hypothesis would be to assume that given Biblical condemnation of usury there would be aggressive regulation and less demand for payday loans in these states, but ironically, the numbers show the opposite is true. It’s sad that states with a pious and honorable religious heritage now disproportionately host predatory lenders.”

The study further found the most concentrated areas of pay day lenders was in the South and the Mormon West.

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