If you had to choose between paying your mortgage and tithing to your religious organization, which would you do? I’ve recently had first hand experience with people who are facing this crisis, and the dilemma is a mixture of deeply rooted religious belief, morality, and fiscal responsibility.
Tithing Or Mortgage?
If you tithe 10% of your income, and your ARM resets, how do you come up with the money to pay the mortgage? If the last option is to possibly cut tithing, many people are choosing to do just walk away instead. What makes this interesting is that if the mortgage could otherwise be afforded, where does the lines of ethics, faith, and responsibility converge?
Keep this in mind: I recently saw a case where a certain large lender refused to do a loan mod because they saw that the owner was paying a monthly tithe. Because the owner could afford to tithe, the bank decided that he could easily decide to pay the mortgage instead, and refused to modify an ARM that was getting ready to reset. The question becomes one of personal conviction, is it more important to pay God or pay your lender? I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer here, so I don’t want to blame anyone who makes one choice over another.
Choosing Between Tithing and Solvency
Obviously, the bank has a point. The owner COULD afford the mortgage, provided he break a deeply held religious belief that it is his duty to tithe to his church. For him, to not tithe is a sign that he does not have faith in God. Part of the concept behind the tithe is faith that God will provide for those that help others. The belief in that core concept eliminates the argument of morality in regards to not paying your mortgage. He believes that regardless of the outcome, it is his solemn responsibility to tithe, no matter the consequences.
It’s apparent that for many, tithing is a core principle of their religion. When their home gets in the way of religious duty, the home has to go if no other way of paying the mortgage can be found. In the case mentioned above, it begs the question. Because providing to the church is a core religious belief, has the bank violated non-discrimination laws by telling him they won’t provide a loan mod because of his tithing? If he makes $1,100 a month, tithes 10% ($110), and is refused a loan mod, would there be a case for religious discrimination if the owner finds the neighbor got a loan mod because he only makes $990/mo and doesn’t tithe?
I think someone might have a case in a situation like this if you could prove that tithing is a required core principle of your faith. A bank can’t discriminate when providing a loan to someone because of their personal faith, so what gives them the right to discriminate on a loan mod because the borrower’s faith dictates that a certain portion of their income be given to the church? On the other hand, the lender didn’t get the option of providing the loan knowing that the borrower tithes part of their salary, so who’s right?
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