Martin Luther: Payday Lenders Second to Satan as Enemies of Human Dignity

I don’t like church, but I do like Lutherans. And Lutherans don’t like payday lenders… or at least they shouldn’t, says Lutheran theologian Anna Madsen. The pastor-blogger finds that Martin Luther deemed usurers the worst scum on earth:

…according to Carter Lindberg, Luther “exhorted pastors to condemn usury as stealing and murder, and to refuse absolution and the sacrament to usurers unless they repent.” (“Luther on Poverty” in Harvesting Martin Luther’s Reflections on Theology, Ethics, and the Church, ed. Timothy J. Wengert, [Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 2004], 148).

Yikesies.

Pastors, get your exhorting on: Luther loathed the act of exacting interest (especially on the poor) so much that he excommunicated usurers until they turned themselves around.  (Not as in the Hokey Pokey, but as in the the Latin word “con-versio”, “to repent,” which means, literally, to turn oneself around.)

Luther, never one to mince words (for a cheap cackle, take a look at the Luther Insult Generator [Insult Me Again!]) claimed that “after the devil there is no greater human enemy on earth” than an usurer [Anna Madsen, “Illusory Usury: A Religious Rejection of Payday Lending,” OMG Center for Theological Conversation, 2015.08.18].

Madsen finds that Luther would not have fallen for payday lender Chuck Brennan’s pretensions to charity or payday lender Rod Aycox’s promises to help civic causes. Luther said usurer’s money is the spoils of theft:

It is so easy to find a little excuse to light the devil’s path… “I intend to accumulate my money in order then to endow Masses and services or to give alms for the support of the poor….” How skillfully Sir Greed can dress up to look like a pious man if that seems to be what the occasion requires, while he is actually a double scoundrel and a liar… You cannot show off how magnificent and proud you are, and then say that you have done it for God’s sake and for the honor of the church and that you intend to pay for it with benefices and services. This would be as if someone pried open your house door and your treasure chest and took what he found, and then said that he intended to give part of it as alms. Oh, what a precious offering that would be! Here is the rule: If you want to give something to God, give from what is your own.  He says (Is. 61:8): “I hate the offering that comes from robbery.”  [Luther’s Works 21:183; in Madsen, 2015.08.18]

If Lisa Furlong takes offense at her fake 18%-rate-cap petition being called a decoy petition, how must she feel about Luther’s assessment that the payday lenders pulling her strings are lying devils?

Lest the Catholics in our audience feel left out, Madsen cites Pope Francis’s denunciation of usury as “a dramatic social ill“:

When a family has nothing to eat, because it has to make payments to usurers, this is not Christian, it is not human! This dramatic scourge in our society harms the inviolable dignity of the human person [Pope Francis, quoted in “Usury: An Affront to Dignity,” News.va, 2014.01.29]

Luther and the Pope on the same page—that’s a sure sign the 36%-rate-cap petitioners are right, and the fake 18%-rate-cap thugs and other tools of the payday lenders are going to hell… or at least electoral defeat in 2016.


51 Responses to Martin Luther: Payday Lenders Second to Satan as Enemies of Human Dignity

  1. happy camper

    But who are the borrowers? Do we really understand enough of their demographic? I’m not condoning high rates or the industry, but I know many people regardless of income who are always in debt. A quick search didn’t bring up much except this counter-intuitive study (if accurate), so in the name of devil’s advocate:

    “A common stereotype is that payday loan consumers are poor, uneducated and mostly African American. Our data suggest otherwise:

    Most online payday loan consumers are gainfully employed with a middle-class income or better. Over half of them went to college and about 10% went as far as grad school. Most are Caucasian. Women outnumber men by two to one. Over half have kids in the household under 17 years of age. About one in five payday loan consumers are over 50 years old.”

    If is possible way too many people are just terribly irresponsible?

    http://www.online-payday-loans.org/articles/demographics-december-2010/

  2. Steve Hickey

    Call the synod office and tell them to join our coalition. ELCA has been a strong coalition member in our states.

  3. Don Coyote

    Martin Luther against usury? Knock me over with a feather! No surprise considering Luther was a virulent anti-semite who attacked Jews for their money lending practices.

    “Look at those who lend wine, wheat, money, or whatever, to their neighbors, then oppress them with annual interest rates that are higher than the sum of money borrowed. These are the Jewish little tricks”

  4. happy camper

    And furthermore, what ever happened to Waste Not, Want Not? A few minutes ago before going to Dollar General to buy eggs, milk, and oatmeal I had to brush my teeth. The container was almost out so I had to cut it open to get the last of it out. BTY milk at Dollar General has been reduced to $2.65 a gallon. Sadly I think we either learn thrift as children or other money habits. Don’t you think it’s always been this way? Either you have financial restraint or you don’t. Something tells me a lot of you are thrifty liberals, so why shouldn’t we expect this of everyone? Why should I worry about people who won’t squeeze the tube?

  5. Don apparently feels that Luther was an anti-semite, so Luther (and, by extension, all Lutherans?) is disqualified from commenting on any issue. Are you telling us, Don, that the Biblical critique of usury is also anti-Semitic and hence invalid?

    Let’s try this, Don: we could say that falsely accusing Jews of eating babies was really vile… but that would not change the fact that kidnapping eating babies is itself evil. So get to the point, Don: is usury evil?

  6. Hap, the feds have imposed a 36% rate cap on loans to military members. Do we err in coddling our soldiers with such protections when they should be tough enough to be responsible with their own borrowing?

    Everybody ought to be responsible enough to spend no more than they can afford, to carry and store their own guns, to drive a reasonable speed, to dispose of their waste appropriately, and to not get hooked on drugs. Yet we still pass laws governing those activities and many more to protect individuals and the general welfare from individual irresponsibility. Can we get past this notion that some deserve to get screwed and stop the people who choose to make a living by screwing others?

  7. Don Coyote

    It’s rather ironic that although Martin Luther railed against usury, it was a loan of a “usurer”, Johann Fust, that enabled Johann Gutenberg to develop his movable type printing press. The invention of the printing press enabled Martin Luther to have his “Ninety-Five Thesis”, in which he would argue against the sale of indulgences, printed in quantites allowing the Reformation to spread rapidly across Europe.

    Paradoxically while the Gutenberg press is known for a number of Bibles printed, the money maker for Gutenberg was the printing of thousands of indulgences for all of the Church’s lost sheep.

  8. Whatever the demographics, Happy, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds those borrowers roll over or renew four out of five payday loans. Colorado found that in 2011, a majority of payday borrowers were under age 40, were slightly more often women, notably more often single, and probably (61%) made less than $30K a year.

  9. happy camper

    OK. The one thing I accept of the industry argument is if high rate lending is too regulated (allowed rates too low), then those very high risk borrowers that can’t get legal loans will still create a demand and the neighborhood loan shark will reappear. We have to remember, if there’s a demand for something, someone will supply that demand regardless of how unseemly.

    I know the mantra against Republicans is they blame the victim as I seem to have done, but the whole idea of being thrifty in our country is gone. It’s not cool to be thrifty. It’s cool to have something new. I’m talking about mass consumption and our need to have it right now way of life. Those are Earth Haters. Most of our country is now built on it.

    So I think it’s fair to ask just who are the borrowers? The real data. What percentage of them could live within their means? How many have chosen to have too many children, buy too many cars, rack up their credit card debt etc?

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2009/05/waste-not-want-not

  10. happy camper

    As Mother Jones points out the bigger problem is probably expanding population. If we were a hunting tribe in 1600 there was a segment that would gorge themselves, then others that thought ahead, made better tools and figured out a way to store some of the kill. Well fast forward and now to gorge is to own 5 houses, 10 Mercedes Benz or whatever. Throw in the paradox of thrift that without mass consumption our economy would shrink to nothing. We’re not gonna change people. For sure not in a “free” capitalist society. If someone can make money the last barrel of oil will get pumped out of the ground, but as soon as it’s more cost effective we’ll switch to nuclear and probably blow up the earth or most of it. That’s our way. I know it sounds a tad negative but we have to face reality. Better to party like it’s 1999. That’s what people do. With all your good notions you’ll never stop gluttony and greed. Have a happy day! Maybe it’s not that bad, but pretty much.

  11. Bill Fleming

    Happy Camper, in your spare time, consider giving this review a once-over: http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/08/six-arguments-for-the-elimination-of-capitalism/

    Then if your interest is sufficiently piqued, pick up one of Mander’s other books, like, oh say… “In the Absence of the Sacred” and read it carefully and thoughtfully.

    Just a little wake-up call brother. :-)

  12. You know how I can tell Happy Camper’s Dollar General story is false? He didn’t buy toothpaste.

  13. Roger Cornelius

    Rors,

    I caught that too. Now he will have to make another trip to Dollar General using more time and gas for his car, doesn’t sound very thrifty to me.

    To be truly thrifty, you not only use money well, you use your time well. You have to plan ahead.

    For instance, when I open a can of coffee, I will buy another the next time I go to the grocery store. I guess you can’t do that with toothpaste.

  14. happy camper

    Better to get Jason’s Powersmile direct from Amazon. It’s free of sodium lauryl sulfate, a very harsh chemical in all the cheap toothpaste that causes cancer sores. That is no joke. Sadly even the dentists don’t know this though hygienists often do. Just use a drop but you’ve got to cut your tube if you really want to be a cheapskate money saver and not rely on the government or take out an expensive loan.

  15. happy camper

    Oops, canker, not cancer.

  16. Cory quotes Anna Madsen quoting Martin Luther:
    >“This would be as if someone pried open your house door and your treasure chest and took what he found, and then said that he intended to give part of it as alms. Oh, what a precious offering that would be! Here is the rule: If you want to give something to God, give from what is your own.”

    That’s also the traditional libertarian Protestant argument against government-run social programs and other government handouts, including taxpayer-financed support for Israel.

    Speaking of Israel, Luther gradually outgrew his youthful tendency to stereotype Jews.

    Great post, Cory, regardless of whether I agree with all of your conclusions.

  17. Great post and love the references to historic Lutherans. The abusive usury must die.

    Unfortunately modern Lutherans have more interest in dividing, founding new sub-denominations – as if they alone hold the truth of a religion written hundreds of years after Christ passed and translated “this many times” in “this many languages”. I cashed out of Lutherans when they cashed out of doing unto others, and became more interested in dogma than doctrine, and less interested in practicing what they preach. The church, particularly Lutherans, ought be the SJW (social justice warriors) – but that’s not a “safe” role for the modern dogmatic “true believers”.

  18. mike from iowa

    And I don’t buy coffee because I don’t drink coffee or keep any for any company that may show up. I don’t buy liquor. Or soda. Or caviar or this or that and the other things. Tap water it is or nothing. Take your pick. Ramen noodles-yummy.

  19. happy camper

    Fast forward and we have Thrivent for Lutherans. I think anybody can join now as long as you know a Lutheran. Do you know a Lutheran? Is it really any different from Fidelity or Vanguard? Like I’m sure the stock market and Wall Street are out to save the world. Hate to be so jaded but that’s what I see.

    “In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod forbade its members to join fraternal societies because these required initiation rites and secret oaths. Life insurance was also frowned upon in some quarters because Martin Luther had written against similar enterprises in his day, the practice could be considered a form of usury, and it reflected a distrust in God.[5]

    Operating through its local chapters nationwide, Thrivent Financial and its subsidiaries offer financial products and services including life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, disability income insurance, credit union products and more.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrivent_Financial

  20. So Cory posts some quotes from Martin Luther inveighing against usury, and suddenly a couple of commenters grab their blunderbusses and start blasting indiscriminately at all Lutherans, because . . . why exactly? I’m not quite understanding the guilt by association or the random, inconsistent attacks.

    However, I’m starting to see why Donald Trump is so popular with a certain set of people. Just attack anything that moves if it isn’t on your “team.”

  21. who are these jokers-camper, coyote ect? the blog is infested with an orchestrated paid misdirection campaign.

    furlong has given ONE interview,and that one was with PP?

    right

  22. happy camper

    There’s a point to be made here. Usury meant you do not charge interest. That’s the history, but they gave up on that and sanctioned their fraternal organization to be a usury and offer financial products. That’s called hypocrisy, but no matter I guess cause the real bad boys are the payday, predatory lenders? So who gets to decide what’s reasonable? Lutherans actually selling all sorts of financial products is reasonable? What interest rates do they charge? The same as a bank? When everyone’s mutual funds went down in 02 and 08 did members get their money back? Give me a break. Their own organizations are about money.

  23. we won’t be hearing from happy camper until tomorrow at 8 a.m. as he is likely on the clock. paid shill wasting time with drivel.

  24. Deb Geelsdottir

    This is excellent timing Cory. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a story today about churches and payday loans.

    There is a coalition of more than 100 congregations in MN. It’s named ISAIAH, and I can’t remember what the letters stand for. My congregation is a member. ISAIAH is ecumenical to the hilt. Evangelicals and liberal Protestants are all members. This quote from a member (Lutheran) tells you about what they do:

    “As clergy we preach that we all one body – interconnected and interdependent,” said Bishop Ann Svennungsen, ELCA Minneapolis Synod. “When one part of the body suffers, so do the others. We must create a Minnesota where everyone is free to live; free to work; free to feel safe; free to participate in our democracy and take care of their loved ones.” http://isaiahmn.org

    “The burden caused by payday loans is creating a crisis for children and families in our communities, hurting especially those who are most vulnerable,” the Rev. Billy Russell, president of the organization, said in a statement.

    Russell said it’s an industry that creates “considerable profits for those who design these predatory products.”

    MN has tried before to rein in the payday loan sharks. Here is why that effort was unsuccessful:

    “Previous efforts were met with stiff resistance by payday lenders, including Payday America, the largest such lender, which spent more than $300,000 last year at the Capitol to kill a package of proposed changes.”

    Are there Pawn America/Payday America sharks in SD? I suspect their dirty hands in the attacks on Hildebrand’s business. $300k might go farther in SD than MN. MN, via ISAIAH and other groups, are planning on another effort against the payday sharks next session in January.

    The Strib story is here:
    http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-religious-leaders-to-campaign-for-payday-lending-reform/322175811/

  25. Deb Geelsdottir

    Rachel is my client. She has a representative payee who manages her Social Security Disability income. Rachel is a little person, 3’8″ tall, and lower IQ. She works as much as she can, and her small paycheck is hers to use as she wishes. Her biweekly check is usually less than $100. Rachel does not have a bank account because she doesn’t really understand how it works. She cashes her paycheck at payday types of places.

    For those unscrupulous places, Rachel wears a bullseye. She’s been roundly cheated/taken-immoral-but-legal-advantage-of a time or two. She’s learned to cash her check and get out of there.

    Rachel is a prime example of the vulnerable people such shameless people mistreat.

  26. Mr. Fleming, I know that your post was directed to happy camper, but alas, he is not working so he cannot respond. I did read the article and found it very interesting. I have believed for sometime that capitalism can only exist if someone or something looses otherwise, it goes stagnant. One of the main reasons Tehran John pushes this war with Iran bit is for that reason, war is good for the rich.

    Payday loans are much like war, they do little to benefit society while metaphorically killing and maiming all that are touched by those loans. They are the cluster bombs of capitalism.

  27. Ms. Geelsdottir, height has nothing to do with the ability to be smart when entering into contracts.

  28. happy camper

    So let’s get this straight. The Lutheran Church, purveyor of mass delusion collects money in that endeavor, while sanctioning their own money lender against their original doctrine, wants to influence and restrict a legitimate business because their rates are too high? At least the payday lenders are providing something real. Tithing has got to be the biggest shake down on the planet. Ten percent is a pretty good rate of return for make believe. How more absurd can you get? And they don’t have to pay taxes!

  29. In my previous comment on this post (2015-08-19 at 15:22), I wrote:
    >“Speaking of Israel, Luther gradually outgrew his youthful tendency to stereotype Jews.”

    That was a mistake on my part. A few months ago I mapped Luther’s most controversial statements about Jews onto a timeline in an attempt to determine whether they coincided with what I regard as the prime of his theological and political life. I was pleased to find that they didn’t, but the reason I gave above is incorrect.

    The statements under discussion were actually made near the end of Luther’s life, when he was tormented by a variety of severe illnesses that may have affected his mental health:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther#Final_years_and_death

    I realized my error a few minutes after I commented, but I didn’t have time to come back and correct it until now. Sorry to have misled anyone.

  30. The following quotes are from Luther’s 1523 essay That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew.

    “If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian. They have dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs rather than human beings; they have done little else than deride them and seize their property. When they baptize them they show them nothing of Christian doctrine or life, but only subject them to popishness and mockery…

    “If the apostles, who also were Jews, had dealt with us Gentiles as we Gentiles deal with the Jews, there would never have been a Christian among the Gentiles … When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are…

    “If we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealings with them not by papal law but by the law of Christian love. We must receive them cordially, and permit them to trade and work with us, that they may have occasion and opportunity to associate with us, hear our Christian teaching, and witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either.”

    Luther apparently turned hostile toward the Jews around 1536:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_antisemitism

  31. sorry jerry, but i am working on a hunch about happy, the turkey. :)

  32. You can’t get this quality on that lower level blog from another political party.

  33. happy camper

    So on one hand we have churches that sell ever-lasting life (biggest fraud in history) and collect boat loads of money. They give some of it back to the community and we non-believers say we’ll at least they do some good. Now they’ve ganged together as Deb describes to tell the payday lenders who also give something back to the community that the amount of money they collect isn’t fair. Really? I see too many similarities.

    Maybe it’s time for non-believers to stop being so invisible. A year or two ago Cory wrote a post that challenged agnostics as being a cop-out that stand for nothing and hide behind a more acceptable label. At the time I felt we should all be respectful of the cultural backgrounds shaped by religion we are all a part, but isn’t there a point when watching the fraud is just too much?

  34. Shakespeare wrote “the Merchant of Venice” in the 1590’s or so. To this day it’s probably the best history lesson (aside from being one of the great moral lessons of all time) of the complex relationship in Renaissance Europe between the Jewish moneylenders and the nobility. In medieval Europe, the Christian ban on usury meant little as there was nothing much to buy and credit wasn’t a big deal. As the age of empire began and ambitious rulers needed credit to equip their armies of expansion and their lavish lifestyles, the Jewish monopoly on credit became a hinderance to their plans. The Hapsburgs, especially, weren’t shy about defining the boundaries of the faith to meet their practical needs.

  35. Martin Luther is dead and gone. The Payday lenders are very much alive and sucking the marrow from society in such a way that they enslave marks to their needs. The mental health issues that the loan sharks put upon the taxpayers alone should be enough of a catalyst to make them lower their interest rates. 18% is still pretty steep.

  36. Deb Geelsdottir

    Grudz, Rachel’s height is not her only issue. Her IQ below 90 is another. Few people have a clue of how disabling very short arms and legs are. The little people on tv have lots of money, hence modifications to their surroundings to deal with that problem. They are average or better intelligence and they have lots of help.

    Rachel has none of those things. She can’t use the oven because she nearly has to crawl in to get food in and out. The last time she tried that, 2 years ago, she ended up in the hospital for 3 days with burns.

    Happy, you are right about some churches, and completely wrong about others. There are also differences within denominations. This is an old discussion on this blog, but most of it happened prior to your commenting. Two things:

    1. Christianity in general and churches individually have done terrible things, some of which continue to happen. There is no excuse for that.

    2. Christianity in general and churches individually have done wonderful things, making positive benefit to humanity.

    Both these things are true. One does not override the other.

    I feel very strongly that what the churches are doing to limit the destructive effects of excessive interest rates is a very good thing.

    (BTW, I’ve never attended a Lutheran Church that demanded a tithe.)

  37. bearcreekbat

    Deb, I just want to express my appreciation to you and others who work with disabled folks like Rachel to help them navigate and survive in this complex world. You are the bright lights of an often dimly lit world – Thanks!

  38. Deb Geelsdottir

    That’s very kind of you BCB. Thank you.

    Most of the time I enjoy my work. My clients are great teachers! I’ve learned so much about how other people see the world. There are tremendous differences, even among people who seem similar. There truly is no one standard experience that all others should be measured by. That’s an old fantasy that’s difficult to let go of.

  39. Leslie, Happy is not a paid shill. Back off on the unfounded insults. Deal with the issues instead of making stuff up about people you don’t know.

  40. John, on denominational division, it sounds like you haven’t been hanging out with enough ELCA Lutherans. I’d recommend you drop by an ELCA church… but hey, that’s my wife’s job… and Deb’s ! :-)

  41. Deb Geelsdottir

    John, I somehow missed your comment, “modern Lutherans have more interest in dividing, founding new sub-denominations.”

    There are many instances where I agree completely. I find that subdividing frustrating too. I’ve never been fond of all that doctrinal crapola and have difficulty finding the relevance in it. There are other who feel it is of vital importance. I think that predilection has more to do with determining who’s in and who’s out. Thankfully, it’s not up to any human being to make that decision.

    I’m also not a “Luther said” type. Some of my colleagues can quote him more accurately and quantitatively than the Bible. I feel he had many wonderful things to say, and he was anti-semetic. In thE latter he was dead wrong and the ELCA has stated such publicly several times.

  42. ELCA is like the ALEC. They are both cults and have young women as vice presidents.

  43. happy camper

    How would Martin Luther feel about Thrivent? That’s a valid question if you’re trying to use him to fight the payday lenders. They dropped the requirement to be a Lutheran in 2014 but you must still be Christian to join. As part of their application process one must attest to believing in the Apostles’ Creed to be a member of their financial services firm. They’re proud their CEO is only paid 1.54 million a year. They rank 325th on the Fortune 500 list with $90.4 billion in assets under management. They “changed their brand” to allow more Christians in to the organization as membership in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America went down. “We feel like we’re being called to serve more people,” said Dick Moeller, chairman of the board. Give me a break.

    They make loans, sell investments, operate credit unions as a non-profit but only let Christians join. It’s hard to believe it’s legal to discriminate this way and looks more like tax evasion. If the payday lenders end up getting better regulated fine, but let’s not kid ourselves that this sanctioned group from the Lutheran Church isn’t all about making too while using religion to help do that.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/thrivent-financial-is-no-longer-for-lutherans-only/2014/03/28/2b47102e-b6ae-11e3-9eb3-c254bdb4414d_story.html

  44. Thrivent! Oh ho! Luther’d love them; after all, they helped bankroll that awesome Luther biopic in 2003.

    Does the fact that Lutherans don’t observe a strict ban on usury completely void Luther’s argument that usury is bad? Does the fact that Thrivent deals with interest-bearing investments and pays a CEO over a million dollars change the harm done by the rank usury of payday lenders?

  45. Come on, Grudz, now you’re just trying to provoke us with absurdity. The ELCA is substantively nothing like ALEC. The ELCA has no overarching scheme to co-opt state legislatures into anti-regulatory corporate welfare payers. The ELCA is far more open and honest.

  46. happy camper

    Oh Cory, I’m just trying to point out Lutherans are slimy too. Not most of them and they don’t charge 1,000% interest but they take advantage of the trust from church fellowship to sell overpriced financial products. I guess that’s not as wrong, or maybe it’s even more so considering they’re using church relationships to do so. Informed Lutherans know this group of supposed do-gooders doesn’t really have your best interests at heart. Martin Luther seemed very aware that money is a corrupting force so I doubt he would be pleased salespeople are using his church to enrich themselves: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21124

  47. Oh Cory, how does your wife, the very sweet, and very awesome REV Erin Heidelberger feel about you ‘not liking church’

  48. happy camper

    Hey Doc, not everything is our business.

  49. Deb Geelsdottir

    I don’t really know much about what Thrivent does. I’m pretty sure that recently the CEO’s salary was 6 figures, not 7. Cory, is your info current? Maybe you’re referring to total compensation.

    Through Thrivent’s evolution, people in the pews have expressed varying degrees of consternation. Part of that was uneasiness with change, and another has been concern about “Love of money is the root of evil.”

    HC is right, “Lutherans are slimy too. Not most of them . . . ” I have nothing else to say about that, except – I have my own share of personal sliminess, and I had it before I became Lutheran. If there is a Lutheran magic wand to make an individual’s slime disappear, I never found it.

  50. Hey, DR, what Happy said! :-) My wife should not be an issue here on the blog, just as I should not be an issue in her workplace.

    But I welcome you to conduct your own poll of Lutherans, DR: come to church on Sunday and ask them during coffee what they think of Luther’s statements on usury and their applicability to today’s payday lenders.

  51. mike from iowa

    Deb-join the wingnut Blamosexuals club and blame libs for your sins. (snark)