Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Faith Leaders Call For Defeat Of House Bill 1319


We oppose Indiana House Bill 1319, which opens doors for lending practices that are unjust and which take unfair advantage of people in desperate circumstances. Together, we call on the Indiana senate to reject this bill and find ways to establish more just legislation that protects the poor and vulnerable among us.


Across our religious traditions, we believe that economic life is intended to be a means through which God’s purposes of security and flourishing for all people and creation are to be served. When this does not occur, the church cannot remain silent. We are called to address injustice and to seek changes in economic life in light of the biblically-grounded imperative of a sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all.


Indiana House Bill 1319, which, among other things, allows for annual interest rates on some loans of 222%, violates our common commitment to justice and protecting those most vulnerable. Rates of more than 72% are considered felony loansharking in current Indiana law. Sometimes called “payday loans,” such loans would make it likely that a person who borrows up to $1500 to cover utilities or other day-to-day expenses (as is the case for most folks who seek such loans) will be required to pay thousands more in interest than the amount of the original short-term loan. Those who use payday loans are often lower income persons and families whose paychecks are just short of covering the month’s expenses and quickly become entrapped in a web of interest and debt.


Lending practices that, intentionally or unintentionally, take unfair advantage of one’s desperate circumstances are unjust. Taking advantage of the financial distress of vulnerable people and communities has a long history. Unscrupulous and exploitative banking has existed from the usury condemned in the Bible. The State’s purpose and duty is to protect and facilitate the common good. The weakest members of society should be helped to defend themselves against usury.


We appeal to conscience and what is just and right. Taking advantage of someone and exploiting them is wrong. Although it may be legal, it does not remove one’s obligation to do what is just. Extending the payday lending practice does not benefit the person, and it is contrary to providing for the common good, to helping persons and our society flourish. We ask the legislature to defeat this bill.

Rev. Chad R. Abbott, Designated Conference Minister

Indiana-Kentucky Conference, United Church of Christ


The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop

Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis 


Move Rev. Timothy L. Doherty, Bishop

Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana


Rev. Kevin Scott Fleming, Pastor

First Presbyterian Church, Evansville


Rev. Soozi Whitten Ford, Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of Indiana & Kentucky


Rev. Joan C. Friesen, Executive Minister

American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis


Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop

Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA


Rev. Dr. Todd A. Gile, Pastor

Evansville Trinity United Methodist Church 


Dr. Mohammad Hussain

Islamic Society of Evansville


Most Rev. Donald J. Hying, Bishop

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary


Gary A. Mazo, Rabbi

Temple Adath B’nai Israel, Evansville


Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend


Most Rev. Joseph M. Siegel, Bishop

Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville


Rev. Richard L. Spleth, Regional Minister

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana


Rev. Veltri Taylor, Pastor

First Ebenezer Baptist Church Evansville


Rev. Taylor Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter

Whitewater Valley Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)


Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, Archbishop

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis


The Rev. Dr. Julius C. Trimble, Bishop

Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church