A national group of Christian lawyers is appealing to church leaders to join them in lobbying against the bankruptcy reform bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.
The lawyers say the legislation runs contrary to the forgiveness of debt and charity required by the Bible.
"As Christian attorneys, we strongly believe that it was never God's intention to create a society where indebtedness was a crime or a badge of dishonor," Christian members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys wrote in a letter sent Feb. 26 to hundreds of church leaders across the nation.
The bill, which is receiving Senate debate, would make it harder for most people to receive full debt cancellation under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy laws. More people would have to repay at least part of their debt, based on income.
The lawyers note that in the Old Testament, God did not outlaw borrowing and lending, but provided that loans would become discharged every seven years.
In response, Grassley said Congress could not be bound by biblical mandates because "the Constitution does not provide for a theocracy."
"I can't listen to Christian lawyers because I would be imposing the Bible on a diverse population," Grassley said. "I'll bet those lawyers wouldn't want us to impose the principles of forgiving debt every seven years. If that were the law, nobody would loan them money." (My emphasis)
(Hat tip to pastordan at dKos.)
I'm thinking that we on the left need to remind Mr. Grassley of that highlighted quote. Frequently. Let's take a gander at Mr. Grassley's voting record, shall we? He's voted "no" on adding sexual orientation to the definition of what constitutes a hate crime (in fact, he's done it twice). He's voted "no" on prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. He voted "yes" on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. He waffled on last year's Hate Amendment, but eventually voted for cloture (i.e., to close off debate on the amendment, which was subsequently withdrawn when the cloture motion failed; given his comments elsewhere (PDF link), we can only presume that he would have voted for the amendment if it had ever come up, though he didn't have the guts to sign on as a co-sponsor). Given that Grassley self-identifies as a Baptist, it's not hard to imagine why he's voted as he's done on anything having to do with gay rights.
But while I've been unable to find a single comment Grassley's ever made in public on the subject (I looked in both Lexis/Nexis and the Congressional Record: he never even spoke in the debate on DOMA, at least that I was able to discover), we now have it from his own lips that the Constitution precludes us from turning the United States into precisely the kind of theocracy for which the right-wankers (Grassley included) have been campaigning for lo, these many years.
So here's what I suggest we do. Every time Grassley (or anybody else on the right) makes a careless comment about how America is a "Christian" nation, was founded by "Christians," is run on "Christian" principles; any time any of them proposes any legislation on gay rights, abortion, welfare, faith-based anything, the Ten Commandments, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance--you name it--we bombard them with reminders about the quote I've highlighted above. Because I'm sick unto death of hearing these pompous gits whine about how nobody respects their faith, how we have to protect our great "Christian" traditions in this country, yada, yada, yada. Yet give them a chance to actually put one or two of those Christian traditions into practice, and we find out who really pwns the anarcho-conservacons--and it ain't Jesus Christ. It's Mammon.
(Cross-posted from Musing's musings.)