Larry Farlow


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Should Payday Loans be Controlled by the Government?

According to a recent article in the Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is partnering with several other organizations to “target” payday loans. They see these loans as an abuse of the poor and want the federal government to “put an end to the predatory practices of payday lending.”

So what exactly does that mean? Do they want all businesses who provide short-term loans to be forcibly closed by the government? Do they want the federal government to fix prices for this type of loan? For all loans? Do they want the government to force these lenders to give preferential rates to people with certain incomes, regardless of credit history? Do they want government to force banks and other traditional lenders to provide loans to those who otherwise would not qualify (can you say sub-prime mortgage crisis)?

One of the problems with social justice crusades is that social justice is hard to define. What exactly is a “just” interest rate or a “just” price for a car or a loaf of bread? The Bible verses referenced in the BP article quote 0% when they reference interest, is that what they’re suggesting?

There’s also a fundamental misunderstanding of the free market and of economic principles behind this push. Interest is not a random number. Interest is a price. It is the price of money. Price is where the interests of the consumer and of the business intersect. General Motors cannot charge anything they want for a new Chevrolet. They can only charge what people are willing to pay. If they cannot make a Chevrolet for less than what the public is willing to pay for it, they will stop making Chevrolets. If these payday lenders are simply greedy predators out to make as much money as they can on the backs of the poor, why don’t they charge twice or three-times the rates they currently do? After all, they’d make more money that way.

Many a social justice crusader has tried to use government price fixing to help the poor. Unfortunately, when the price a business can charge is set below the market rate, the poor (and everyone else) soon find the store shelves empty. Try to buy a television or a roll of toilet paper in Caracas these days.

The truth is these lenders provide a service that is needed – otherwise they wouldn’t exist. One of the unintended consequences of forcing lenders in high risk markets to artificially lower their rates is that such lenders will soon disappear. Then the people who use their services to help make ends meet, instead of having a short term loan at a high interest rate, will have their car repossessed or their electricity cut off or be evicted from their homes. Thomas Sowell goes into this in more detail in an excellent article called “Predatory Journalism on Payday Loans and Price Controls.” Sowell says in part:

…demagoguery against “predatory” lending might well be called predatory journalism — taking advantage of other people’s ignorance of economics to score ideological points and promote still more expansion of government powers that limit the options of poor people especially, who have few options already.

It’s easy to demand that the government force businesses to assume additional risk in order to satisfy your sense of social justice. But, if you really believe payday loans are too expensive, start or invest in a company that provides such loans at 6% per annum. If that’s a workable business model, the meanies charging too much will soon be out of business through the invisible hand of the market rather than the iron fist of government.


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Leviticus 18 and Homosexual Practice

Leviticus 18 and Homosexual PracticeOne of the many passages in scripture dealing with sexual immorality is Leviticus 18. In this chapter, we have direct quotes from God on the subject as spoken to Moses. This is a mark of Leviticus in general. Throughout the book passage after passage begins “The LORD said to Moses…” For this and other reasons I believe Leviticus 18 is the strongest passage in the Bible that addresses the morality of homosexual practice – even though only one verse in the chapter mentions it.

The majority of the chapter is devoted to inappropriate heterosexual relationships.

Verse 6 says: “No one is to approach a close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.” Then, from verse 7 through 18, what is meant by “close relative” is fleshed out. Verses 19-20 highlight two additional circumstances where heterosexual sex is forbidden for the people of Israel.

Then in verse 22 we read: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

This one and only mention of homosexual behavior in an extended discussion of sexual immorality is significant. Up to this point, male / female intercourse is presented as the standard, otherwise why list exceptions? God is saying, do not practice male / female intercourse in these particular ways (the implication being, there are other, non-forbidden ways to engage in heterosexual sex). Notice also that a male audience is assumed for all the exceptions. Do not have sex with your sister, aunt, sister-in-law, etc. Notably, nowhere is sex with a brother, uncle or brother-in-law forbidden. Why? Because homosexual activity is sinful per se. There is no need to list exceptions because there are none. Verse 22 is a universal condemnation of all homosexual practice.

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Full stop. The biblical prohibition against homosexual practice is not just with regard to temple prostitution or non-committed relationships as is sometimes alleged. It is something God forbids in all circumstances.


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Becoming The Thing You (Supposedly) Hate

There are two excellent articles today showing that the proponents of same sex “marriage” have become the things they claim to hate.

In the first one, Doug Wilson shows it is the homosexual activists, rather than the supporters of religious liberty, who are really resurrecting Jim Crow.

In the second, Frank Turek shows that same sex “marriage,” not Christianity, is seeking to become the established religion of our culture using the power of the state to coerce belief and punish heresy.

Both are worth your time to read:

On Taking Your Chimp to the Beautician by Doug Wilson

Same-Sex “Marriage” is Becoming the Established Religion By Frank Turek


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Running Away From Reality

Running Away From RealityIn November 1942 one of Boston’s most popular nightspots, The Cocoanut Grove, caught fire while hosting upwards of a thousand people. To this day, The Cocoanut Grove fire is the deadliest nightclub fire in history with 492 people killed. Part of the reason for the high fatality rate was the lack of adequate fire exits. The main door from the street was a single revolving door. As panicked patrons fled the fire, the door became a deathtrap. Rushed by hundreds of people, it soon was jammed with a mass of bodies and stopped working. Firefighters had to dismantle the door to gain access. As a result of this fire, building codes were later changed to require that outward opening standard doors always flank revolving doors.

Many in our culture today are as afraid of reality as the Cocoanut Grove patrons were of the flames that night. They are looking for any exit they can find to prevent them having to deal with life as it really is. However, the revolving door to relativism is beginning to slow. The consequences of pretending things are other than they are are starting to stack up and jam the works.

Nowhere is this truer than in issues of gender and sexuality, especially in the increasingly bizarre world of the “transgendered.” We’re told with a straight face that some biologically male people are really female and vice versa (as an aside, don’t you love how progressives tout science in support of their ideology, except when science is inconvenient?). At first it was just that some men are really women and must “transition” to their true gender. Now we’ve moved on to the bizarro world of more than just two genders and gender being “fluid” and changing over time. So, you might be a man today and a woman tomorrow and then a man again next week, followed by some third gender the week after. When feelings trump biology there’s no end to the iterations of being that must be accommodated.

The trouble is, this nonsense is not sustainable. It soon begins to jam up the works of society proving an inconvenience even to its supporters. What, for example, do you do if you’re a left-wing feminist all women’s university and a man wants to join your ranks claiming, despite his XY chromosomes, he’s really a woman? Or how about when the same fellow wants to join the monthly meeting of the Down With the Patriarchy Club that is usually a male member free zone? It’s enough to give the president of the Gloria Steinem Fan Club a headache.

The most recent lunacy comes courtesy of the abortion lobby – no strangers themselves to pretending things are not what they really are. Worried about being exclusionary (you know, the unforgivable sin), activist Lauren Rankin thinks the abortion industry should stop promoting abortion using slogans like “the War on Women” or “Stand with Texas Women” because they exclude the men who have abortions. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. In the bizarro world of transsexuality, men can have abortions because, of course, when a woman says she’s a man, she is one, despite the ovaries and womb that have made possible the baby growing in her body that she now wants to murder. A baby presumably conceived when she had sex with someone whose body was able to produce sperm but who may or may not have been male. This is so bizarre that columnist Katha Pollitt, despite being both pro-abortion and pro-transgender inclusion, wrote a piece arguing against Rankin’s thesis. What’s interesting is that Pollitt almost could not bring herself to write something making the obvious point that only women have abortions. Because she has been so indoctrinated by the feelings equal reality crowd, she was worried she’d “hurt and disappoint” people by sharing the bleedin’ obvious with them:

That is why I’ve started this column many times over many months and put it aside. I tell myself I might be wrong—it’s happened before.

No, Katha, I’m pretty sure you’re not wrong, only women can have abortions because only women can get pregnant.

What should our reaction to this be? On the one hand, it could cause us to despair even more for our culture. But, on the other hand, it could be a sign of hope. One can only run from reality for so long. I can pretend gravity is merely a social construct while I’m between the tenth floor and the second floor of the building I just threw myself off of but after that it becomes a harder position to maintain. I think we’re in a similar situation with sex and gender. The further from the jumping off point we get the more bizarre the claims get and the more likely they are to be seen for what they are, just so much stuff and nonsense. When even those who are inclined to agree with the left can no longer support the outlandish claims of the gender and sexuality lobby, the size-challenged cisgender female has begun to sing.


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Islam & The West – A Much Needed History Lesson

History is more or less bunk. – Henry Ford

I’m not sure the context in which Mr. Ford uttered those words but if he were alive today it could easily be in response to the history taught regarding Islam and its interaction with the west. While the most recent historical bunk on this topic came from President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, it did not start with him. The president was only parroting what’s taught from coast to coast in secondary schools and universities – and has been for years.

Things like:

  • There is a moral equivalence between the Crusades and Islamic jihad throughout the years
  • There was a “golden age” of Islam, especially in Spain, where Muslims, Christians and Jews all lived in harmony
  • Islam preserved the knowledge of the classical world for future generations.

In the video below, Dr. Bill Warner debunks each of these, and more. It’s well worth the 45 minute investment to watch it. However, while I applaud his thoroughness in gathering and presenting the data to tell the story of Islam, I disagree with his premise as to why the true history of Islam is not taught in the west.

Warner says its out of fear that we water down the history of Islamic atrocities. That, like an abused spouse, the west has been so battered by Islam over the years that we view it through rose colored glasses as a self-defense mechanism. Frankly, I don’t buy that. The history of Islam is rewritten because doing so helps marginalize Christianity and minimize its importance in the founding and flourishing of western culture – something those in the ivory towers of academia are always keen to do.

Nevertheless, watch this video. You’ll learn some things about the history of Islam that may surprise you.


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Jesus Is The Line

Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:43-44

There are only two categories of people in the world – those whose father is God and those whose father is the Devil. While we are all created in the image of God, we are not all children of God. In John chapter 8, Jesus says it is belief in Him that separates the children of God from the children of the devil.
Jesus Line

Men want to substitute all kinds of things for Jesus. They want to make the line of demarcation between the ungodly and the godly good works or sincerity of belief or belonging to a particular religion or denomination. Jesus is clear, however, that we move from the left side of the line to the right side only through faith in Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6

The Bible says by nature we are on the left side of the line, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). But the good news is we don’t have to stay that way. By repenting of our sins, admitting there’s nothing we can do on our own to move from the left side to the right side, and placing our trust in Christ we can be saved.

Are you willing to abandon all effort to make yourself right with God and throw yourself on the mercy of Christ?


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Are You “Unclean?” Then Rejoice for He is Willing!

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on
his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” – Luke 5:12

Are You "Unclean?" The Rejoice for He is Willing!This simple statement, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” sums up the gospel. Often we concentrate on the first part of the verse concerning Jesus’ willingness and rejoice in that – as well we should! But there are two things to notice here. Not only is Christ willing to cleanse those who come to Him but those who come are always aware of their uncleanliness and their inability to do anything about it apart from Christ. This man knew he was unclean and knew he had no hope of dealing with that uncleanliness unless Christ did a miracle in his life.

The same is true for us. When we recognize our sin and our bankrupt state we need never fear rejection by Christ. He has come to call not the righteous but sinners (Luke 5:32) and He is always willing to cleanse and set free those broken over their sin.

Do you see your need for Christ? If not, pray that he will open your eyes to your true condition then throw yourself on his mercy, for He is willing.

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