The lawyers say the legislation runs contrary to the forgiveness of debt and charity required by the Bible.
"As Christian attorneys, we strongly believe that it was never God's intention to create a society where indebtedness was a crime or a badge of dishonor," Christian members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys wrote in a letter sent Feb. 26 to hundreds of church leaders across the nation.
The lawyers note that in the Old Testament, God did not outlaw borrowing and lending, but provided that loans would become discharged every seven years.
In response, Grassley said Congress could not be bound by biblical mandates because "the Constitution does not provide for a theocracy."
"I can't listen to Christian lawyers because I would be imposing the Bible on a diverse population," Grassley said. "I'll bet those lawyers wouldn't want us to impose the principles of forgiving debt every seven years. If that were the law, nobody would loan them money."
Darn that pesky Bible! Wouldn't want religion to get in the way of corporate giants collecting 29.5% interest, now would we?
Update [2005-3-4 22:38:44 by pastordan]: Just to add to the fun: from a Voice of America commentary on faith-based pork:
However, the Reverend Gaddy thinks President Bush goes further than his predecessors. “He uses religious language to advance public policy. That shuts down the debate that is so important in a democracy by suggesting that if this position is one endorsed by religion itself, then this is an issue you should not question.”
The Reverend Gaddy warns this kind of rhetoric could lead to further entanglement of church and state, with injury to both. But the Reverend Land contends that a president's moral values -- often grounded in religious belief -- inevitably tie to his public policies. No doubt religious leaders like the Reverends Land and Gaddy will continue their debate as President Bush recently re-affirmed his commitment to the initiative, saying "faith can move mountains."