The company Google bans online ads for things that “could explode and cause damage to nearby people or property.”
They also ban ads for “cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, and marijuana.”
In similar fashion, they ban ads offering “sexual acts in exchange for compensation.”
And thank goodness, they ban ads for accident photos and execution videos.
And now they are about to ban ads for payday loans.
On a web page explaining their policy for screening ads, they write that good ads connect people to useful products or services, but “unfortunately [some] ads are for fake or harmful products, or seek to mislead users about the businesses they represent.”
It’s this concern about misleading and harming customers that led the company to ban certain ads. People shouldn’t be enticed to buy things that explode, to use drugs, to buy sex, or order a new set of execution videos.
Nor should they be enticed to take out a payday loan.
And as of July 13, 2016 Google will also ban ads for payday lending. They won't advertise loans that are due in less that 60 days, or charge over 36% interest. Google said, “When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that.” They note that the change is designed to protect users from harmful products.
Wade Henderson, Google’s president and CEO said, “These companies have long used slick advertising and aggressive marketing to trap consumers into outrageously high interest loans - often those least able to afford it."
Congress knows that these are bad products. In 2006, with bipartisan support, they passed the Military Lending Act (MLA).
The Military Lending Act:
Like Google, Congress should seek limit access to these products and restrict their most harmful practices.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is poised to pass down regulations that would reign in the most egregious practices of predatory lenders. Though not as comprehensive as the Military Lending Act, these new regulations would be a very positive step in the right direction.
So trust the folks at Google, and those who passed the Military Lending Act. Don’t buy things that explode. Don’t use drugs or buy sex. And definitely don’t buy execution videos or do business with predatory lenders.
Voice your support for the soon to be announced CFPB regulations and don’t let Congress be bought by the huge conglomerates that own most payday lending centers.
In a previous post I provided a Biblical perspective on payday lending, a practice called usury and banned in the Old Testament. God said that he would crush those who oppress the poor and he told us to protect the poor from those who malign them.
At Central Christian Church we are committed to addressing issues of justice and standing with those in need. Jesus didn't put us in Springfield so that we could worship comfortably in a beautiful sanctuary. He put us in springfield so that give our most vulnerable neighbors a taste of heaven and a relationship with Jesus. Join us for worship at 10:30 Sunday Mornings. Join us in community service the rest of the week.
Okay, put down your whips. No need to flip over tables. There are ways to follow Jesus that are less drastic, and also less likely to land us in jail. The title of this post was to get your attention, to draw you attention to the issue of payday loan .
Payday lending may seem like an odd topic for a Sunday morning sermon but that’s where we found ourselves this past Sunday at my church in Springfield, Ohio (Its also why we are planning a Community Forum on Predatory Lending in Springfield on May 25). There are four reasons why we felt that this is an issue that Bible believing churches should be discussing.
Why should Christians actively seek to reform payday lending
First, it’s a Bible issue. The bible makes a strong case against sexual immorality. There are approximately 50 passages dealing with that topic. By contrast there are over 300 passages talking about the poor. This should cause us to be at least as concerned about the needs of the poor as we are about different forms of immorality. Here is a sample of the Biblical references to our duty to care for the poor:
Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.
Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need...
Some of you may say, That’s fine but does the Bible really care about interest rates?” Apparently it does:
Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.
Second, this is a Jesus issue. In the busiest, most important week of Jesus’ life, the week leading up to his crucifixion, he took time to confront people who gouging the poor by charging them exorbitant rates to purchases sacrificial animals, or to exchange their currency. By chasing those who were oppressing the poor out of the temple and disrupting their means of business he made a bold and costly statement about his priorities as the Messiah. His actions at the end of his life were consistent with the very first statement Jesus made following his temptation in the wilderness.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
o proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Third, real faith leads to action. James, the half brother of Jesus Christ and the Pastor of the first Church in Jerusalem made a reputation for himself as a defender for the poor. It didn’t go over well. James, who had the nickname, “Old Camel knees,” because of his consistent discipline of prayer, upset the powers that be by confronting the wealthy who were oppressing the poor in Jerusalem. They threw him from the top of the temple, and when he survived the fall they finished him off with clubs and stones. James’ life was committed to one central message, real faith leads to action. He went a step further; He said faith without action is dead
Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how pious we are or solely by the lack of sin in our lives. The spiritual maturity that Jesus sought was measure by action. Doing things that are consistent with his example and with the values of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Fourth, God tells us to seize the moment. Ephesians 5:16 tells us that we are to redeem opportunities to do good or to oppose evil because the times are evil.This is one of those times.
We are at a critical moment. Our opportunity to oppose a specific form of oppression will pass quickly. What we do in the next month or two can make a difference. It’s our chance to follow the example of Jesus Christ by standing up to an industry that is designed to oppress the poor, the payday and predatory loan industry.
Here are a few facts about this industry
"This blog is my way of connecting with people at Central and beyond to encourage them to make their space in the world more like Heaven."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog reflect my thoughts and opinions as an individual, not the formal positions of our church. Central includes people with a wide range of opinions on important issues like those addressed in my posts. It is also a place where we can discuss these issues with civility and grace.