There’s now an easy solution for all student debtors who are locked into a lifetime of debt with ever-increasing interest: Become a Christian and move to Indiana. Hallelujah!
Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” makes it the 20th state to pass legislation that could potentially allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers while claiming it is their right to do so for “religious freedom” reasons. Naturally, this has sparked a national backlash and boycott effort.
In the midst of mounting backlash, Indiana governor Mike Pence recently failed to answer six yes-or-no questions as to whether or not the law he signed would discriminate against LGBT citizens. To his credit, Pence has stated that he would support legislation to be introduced soon which would clarify that the RFRA protections wouldn’t be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.
But this law actually has a silver lining for student debtors in desperate circumstances – the law’s vague wording leaves a lot of wiggle room for anyone willing to challenge their student debt in court based on “religious freedom” reasons. Here’s the meat and potatoes of Indiana’s maligned new RFRA law:
“A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
The Indiana law is simply the latest version of a federal law signed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, which states:
“Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
So how does this apply to student debt? In the Bible, there are multiple verses that condemn usury – the practice of lending money at high interest rates. In the Book of Exodus, shortly after God issued the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites, God strictly commanded his people not to commit usury.