Bankruptcy and Religion- is Bankruptcy Moral?
We have had many recent clients in our Manhattan offices raise concerns over bankruptcy on moral grounds. They clearly need serious debt relief and a fresh start to their finances but they delay filing because they believe bankruptcy is immoral. The idea of forgiveness of debt is actually embedded in the Old Testament and very compatible with the principles of modern bankruptcy law. A consumer’s right to a fresh start and to be forgiven from debt is supported by over 2000 years of religious tradition.
Warnings against greed and the dangers of money can be found in numerous stories and passages in the bible. Deuteronomy even makes reference to the “Lord’s Release” in which people are forgiven from their debt’s every 7 years. Sound familiar? Even in biblical times we understood that debt trouble will inevitably lead to family hardship, mistreatment and oppression, and that the right thing to do as a society is to give people some periodic relief from their debt.
Surviving the toxic debt troubles we face in New York City today is much tougher and more complicated than the debt problems of the past. Modern creditors have refined their ability to put us into more debt than has ever been seen in human history. Compounding interest rates, hidden credit card fees, and ridiculous termination penalties are examples of the modern inventions designed to keep us in perpetual need of credit. The debt financing lifestyle we have created in America is more immoral than the concepts of debt forgiveness reflected in modern bankruptcy law.
Most Americans are less than one month from bankruptcy if a financial crisis hits. Many good people have needed bankruptcy protection. With a fresh start they went on to do great things and to help others, as opposed to living a life of indentured servitude. Many religious leaders have needed bankruptcy protection, and many churches too have seen it better to file bankruptcy than to close the doors to their parish.
The biggest objection to bankruptcy we hear on religious grounds is that it is simply wrong not to pay your bills. If you are underwater on you debt but have religious reservations about not paying your creditors realize that Chapter 13 can allow you to repay 100% of your debt to your creditors. The 100% Chapter 13 repayment plan can give you the best of both worlds by getting the creditors off your back immediately so you can have some time to get things together to repay your debt in full. The interest, fees, and penalties will cease so you can stop the bleeding and deal with the debt at hand. You don’t have to repay all your creditors in full necessarily in a Chapter 13, but the option is available and it can lessen the personal impact and the stigma of your filing bankruptcy.
If you have questions about how a 100% Chapter 13 repayment plan works and if it could be right for you please contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free consultation. We are of the strong opinion that bankruptcy is not only a legal practice, but also a perfectly moral practice that is in line with notions of kindness and forgiveness found in most religions. With that being said we understand that some people have very strongly held religious beliefs that may not be entirely compatible with all aspects of bankruptcy in New York City. We just want to help you get the debt relief you deserve and are here to advise you on your legal rights and to protect you from your toxic debt troubles while respecting your religious needs in the process.
This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading this article no attorney-client privilege has been created.