- Jeenah Moon/Reuters
- Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday said the Bible supports her proposal for a 15% federal cap on credit-card interest rates.
- “Usury – aka high interest – happens to be explicitly denounced in the Bible (& in many other religions),” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet.
- The Bible contains multiple verses condemning usury or charging interest on loans, and Pope Francis slammed the practice last year.
- The freshman Democrat also took jabs at conservatives who oppose abortion or LGBTQ rights on religious grounds.
- The Democratic lawmaker’s tweet on usury came amid a national debate over women’s health and reproductive rights as a number of states have recently passed extreme abortion laws.
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Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on Thursday suggested that the Bible backs up her proposal to impose a 15% federal cap on credit-card interest rates.
“Usury – aka high interest – happens to be explicitly denounced in the Bible (& in many other religions),” the freshman Democrat said in a tweet. “Looking forward to having the religious right uphold their principles + sign onto my bill. Unless of course they’re only invoking religion to punish women + queer people.”
Ocasio-Cortez is correct that the Bible contains multiple verses condemning usury and charging interest on loans. Deuteronomy 23:19, for example, says, “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.”
Correspondingly, Pope Francis in February 2018 vehemently condemned usury.
“Usury humiliates and kills,” the Pope said at the time. “Usury is a grave sin. It kills life, stomps on human dignity, promotes corruption, and sets up obstacles to the common good.”
Ocasio-Cortez introduced the plan to cap credit-card interest rates alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont last week, and a recent INSIDER poll found that an overwhelming number of Republicans (nearly 70%) and Democrats (73%) are in favor of the proposal.
The Democratic lawmaker’s tweet on usury also came amid a national debate over women’s health and reproductive rights as a number of states have recently passed extreme abortion laws.
As Ocasio-Cortez alluded, the ongoing and divisive discussion on abortion in the US has long been tied to religion.
On Wednesday, for example, Alabama’s governor invoked the state’s large Christian population as she signed the strictest abortion ban the country has seen since Roe v. Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
In signing the bill, Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said it “stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
Ocasio-Cortez touched on the religious motivations behind antiabortion legislation in a separate tweet on Thursday.
“Abortion bans aren’t just about controlling women’s bodies. They’re about controlling women’s sexuality. Owning women,” she said. “From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, US religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology.”
Nationally, only about 14% of Americans would support an abortion ban as extreme as the one Alabama’s new law calls for.