July 24th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

Gillard's new tax will stymie mining, energy industries

Will Gillard be any better than Rudd?

'Inclusive' PC politics forgets the kids

The anti-family agenda of the Greens

Communist 'bombshell' rocks the Labor Party

Why Gillard's 'East Timor solution' cannot work

US, EU economics stuck in a 'long depression'

Russian secret intelligence still very much in business

Left abandons Barack Obama

Abortion-breast cancer link studiously ignored

Mathematics education at crisis point

Bid to promote Islam in Australian curriculum

Rediscovering our sense of Australian nationhood

Broadband access could be an election issue

What's in store for Australia?

Islam and usury

Descent into barbarism?

A dear girl called Julia

The Left's PC censorship of the arts.

The Australian Anti-Democratic Left and Czechoslovak Agents, by Peter Hruby

Books promotion page

Islam and usury

by John H. Cooney

News Weekly, July 24, 2010

Mr Bill Muehlenberg may have been a bit hard on Islamic banking ("Australia set to accommodate Islamic sharia finance", News Weekly, June 26).

For, historically, usury is something that Jews, Christians and Muslims have all proscribed in the strongest language. Indeed, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle also objected to the practice.

In the 15th century, St Antoninus, archbishop of Florence, then the banking capital of Europe, declared that "usury ... is the harlot of Apocalypse 17. ... Other sins only last a certain time, the sinner does not remain continually in the act of adultery or murder. But usury ever breaks and consumes the bones of the poor, night and day ... the work never ceases".

In the late 18th century, Jeremy Bentham came to the defence of usury using secular argument. Yet, within 100 years, Sir James Stephens, a judge of the English high court, had cause to deplore "the decay of the moral and religious objections to usury".

The recent global financial crisis, which certainly broke and consumed the bones of many poor people, suggests that there may well be some place for a review of the moral and religious objections to usury.

John H. Cooney,
Cowwarr, Vic.

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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