…. While the financial fallout of the mortgage meltdown has been well documented, the moral dimensions have not been widely discussed, religion experts say. ….
.. many homebuyers may have acted immorally by living beyond their means and that borrowers are required to try to make good on their debts…..
…… Lenders who preyed on low-income minorities for high-interest mortgages came up with «a slick way to make money and to really enslave people,» ..
…There is a biblical prohibition on charging interest on loans — the making money by lending money — although today most Jews AND (!?) Christians view the charging of some interest as acceptable. In Christianity, Martin Luther in the 1500s and other Protestant reformers played a big role in liberalizing views on the charging of interest.
In Islamic finance, there is an official prohibition on interest-based borrowing and lending. That has helped investment funds that adhere to Islamic principles to largely avoid the subprime meltdown because they do not hold traditional banking stocks.
The subprime crisis is likely interpreted differently across the spectrum of Muslim thought, said John Voll, a professor of Islamic history at Georgetown University. He said some conservative Muslims might argue that the mess shows that an «interest-based system is not only immoral but doesn’t work.»
In the Bible, there is also mention of loan forgiveness, something particularly timely as the government has brokered a plan with mortgage lenders to give relief to struggling homeowners who took out adjustable rate subprime loans that are set to go up sharply.
In biblical times «every seventh year, you were supposed to forgive any money that hasn’t been repaid to you,» said Moore, the financial adviser, referring to a passage in Deuteronomy.
There is also a biblical concept of the Jubilee year, in which every 50 years all property should be returned to its original owners. The idea, he said, is to give those who have struggled a fresh start and not be bound forever by their debts….
Who has got the money and who is going to pay the bill ? That is the question.