U-S- Military

Payday Lender Closes Virginia Operations

As we posted in yesterday's News Stand, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that one of the largest payday lending groups, Check 'n Go, is closing up shop and leaving Virginia. While we would normally frown on the loss of business in our Commonwealth, the predatory lending institutions like this bring no benefit to the citizens of Virginia, and we're glad to see them go. Last year we were proud to work along side a diverse coalition of organizations, including the U.S. Military and the Better Business Bureau, that sought to limit the interest rates payday lenders charge to the same rates, by law, other financial institutions, may charge, and level the playing field. The incredibly high interest rates payday lenders charged trapped Virginians into cycles of debt and put families at risk. Though we were unsuccessful in capping the rate, the General Assembly did approve several restrictions, such as the number of loans an individual can have and remedies for those caught in the debt trap.

While not thrilled with the outcome, it was an incremental step in the right direction. This year, the General Assembly further restricted these lenders after they sought to side-step last year's law (The Family Foundation did not take a position on the issue this year.) Along with the declining economy, where joblessness continues to increase, few people are spending beyond their means. Combined with the new restrictions, payday lenders are finding fewer victims.

One comment from a payday lender in the T-D article was revealing. W. Allen Jones, founder and chairman of Check Into Cash, of Cleveland, Tenn., said, "People will not overspend; they're not confident in their jobs."

Note that, according to this quote, payday lenders were counting on people overspending. Payday lenders were created to take advantage of people's irresponsibility or desperation. This is not a business model that the Commonwealth of Virginia should endorse. As bad as the recession is, at least the bright spot of a payday lender leaving Virginia, has come from it.

Holy Cow! Someone DID Call The ACLU!

On June 25, I sarcastically wrote that someone needed to call the ACLU because Fort Lee scheduled a concert of Christian and Gospel music. It's not as if the ACLU doesn't have a track record here: It has spouted its most tenuous of all its "separation of church and state" claims into the ranks of the military before, especially when the Boy Scouts contracted the use of one of its bases (Fort A.P. Hill) for its Jamboree a few years ago because the Boy Scouts recognize God. ("God forbid!" the atheist said.) Well now! Who is to say we don't have an influence around these here parts? Look what we found in The Washington Post, datelined June 25 (click here for entire article):  

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the U.S. Naval Academy unless it abolishes its daily lunchtime prayer, saying that some midshipmen have felt pressured to participate.

In a letter to the Naval Academy, Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland, said it was "long past time" for the academy to discontinue the tradition. She said the practice violates midshipmen's freedom to practice religion as their conscience leads them.

We like the Naval Academy's response:

The Naval Academy rejected the ACLU's request that the prayer be eliminated.

"The academy does not intend to change its practice of offering midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought during noon meal announcements," the university said in a statement. It said that some form of prayer has been offered for midshipmen at meals since the school's founding, in 1845, and that it is "consistent with other practices throughout the Navy."

This prayer is voluntary. If those in training to defend our country want to give thanks and receive the blessings through the strength of group prayer to the Lord their Creator throughout this process, they have every right. If they have not a care, a minute of silence might do them good in the bustle of an Annapolis day. If it makes them better officers to defend America, why should the atheists care? Who does this hurt, except our country, if this moment of prayer benefits us with the best possible officers? Shouldn't we all want the best possible officers? 

We want to publicly offer our apologies to the entire U.S. Military and, in particular, the United States Naval Academy for any role we may have had in this nuisance of an inconvenience brought on by the busy bodies at the ACLU, who constantly look for a solution where there are only imaginary problems regarding church and state. So, while we have nothing against West Point, in this instance, we're fully behind the Middies.