The Values and Politics of Charity
Charity begins at home. And in the house of worship. And on the conservative side of the political aisle. All of these remarkable facts grow out of a survey whose results were described in the Wall Street Journal (“Charitable Explanation,” Nov. 27, pg. A12. Requires subscription; get a copy from a friend.)
The article is so powerful, that I am reluctant to offer a meaningful summary, which might tempt people not to read the original. Read the original. A few morsels to tantalize you:
The divide between American givers and non-givers is not based on income. “The charity gap is driven not by economics but by values.”
“People of faith give more than 50% more money each year to non-church social welfare organizations than secularists do.” This includes giving to secular charities, and to volunteering time.
“People who opine that government is “spending too little money on welfare” — not a viewpoint typically associated with George W. Bush’s supposedly venal supporters — are less likely to give food or money to a homeless person than people who oppose greater welfare spending.”
“The simple act of raising children appears to stimulate giving as well — children help us fill the collection plate even as they drain our wallets.”
“While there may be nothing inherently charitable about political conservatism, today’s conservatives do outperform liberals on most measures of private giving.”
[A reminder about Orthodox giving patterns, from a December 15, 2005 Jerusalem Post column by Jonathan Rosenblum: “Orthodox Jews are 50% more likely to volunteer their time. While 14% of Orthodox Jews contribute more than $5,000 to Jewish charity, only 2.8% of the Conservative and 1% of the Reform do so. And the Orthodox do so despite carrying school tuition bills often in excess of $50,000 per year.”]
You will probably feel good about yourself after reading the article. Maybe you’ll even find it within to give a little more.
[Thanks to Yale Harlow for the submission]