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ESTHER, a WISDOM affiliate aims to stop predatory payday lending

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WISDOM Religious Leaders Call on the State of Wisconsin to Rid our State of Predatory Lending

As an organization of people of varied faith traditions, WISDOM believes that the regulation of lending practices in Wisconsin is a moral imperative. All of our faith traditions have a core belief that it is wrong for anyone to profit from the desperation of the most poor and needy on our midst. For example, the prophet Isaiah (3: 13-15) says:
The LORD arises to contend,
         And stands to judge the people.
 The LORD enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people,
         ‘It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
         The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
    ‘What do you mean by crushing My people
         And grinding the face of the poor?’
         Declares the Lord GOD of hosts.
The Predatory Loan industry, often charging in excess of 500% interest on loans to the most economically disadvantaged among us, is clearly guilty of usury. Our own experience has shown us countless examples of needy people – often members of our religious communities – who have thought they were getting short-term help for a specific need, only to find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of interest payments and rollovers, until they have lost everything. 
We believe that it is imperative for the state of Wisconsin to enact serious regulation, which will cap interest rates, limit rollovers, and ensure that individuals will not be crushed by interest and unpayable debt. This is a political and economic issue, to be sure. But, it is a clear moral and religious issue – one that is addressed directly by the Sacred Scriptures and teachings of every one of our religious traditions.
No amount of lobbyists or campaign contributions can erase the clear moral and ethical imperative to protect the needy from the unscrupulous. 
WISDOM is comprised of 10 local congregation-based organizations around the state of Wisconsin. It includes more than 140 congregations, and 17 different religious traditions. WISDOM gathers diverse people to build stronger and more just communities.


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