Sunday, November 19, 2006

Conservatives Are More Charitable. This is a Surprise?

Wether we know it or not, we all live what we believe. But it's what we live that demonstrates what we believe, not the other way around.

Now there's a new book out that indicates, based on extensive studies, that religious conservatives give more to various charities than any other group, regardless of income.

This isn't a surprise to me. I've done tax returns for people from all different backgrounds. From retirees on dwindling pensions to millionaires I've seen this same principle hold true.

It's worth reading the whole article, but here is an excerpt:

Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.
The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24...

...The book's basic findings are that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure.


I'm still surprised that this passes as news. For Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and all the other "philanthropists" out there, I've seen quiet gifts by people with a lot less money have a much greater impact on people's lives. These gifts will never make the news and they never want them to. It's not about publicity. For Christians, it's simply about obedience and love.


Sumocat said...

Not much info in that article, such as whether the study counts church as a charitable organization. I know several churches, not just Christian, that ask for 10% of one's income and still pressure members for more. And those aren't Mega-churches (can't imagine what they bring in). If church donations are charity, this study is a no-brainer.

Mark said...

Hey Sumocat,

Church donations are a charity and would have been included in the study. My Dad worked for a megachurch for 20+ years. Real giving in most Christian churches runs in the the 3-4% range. But based on IRS data I've seen, average giving across the country is more like 1-2%. That's why this wasn't much of a surprise. I do know people who give away 25% of their income and I can honestly say, I've never met an unhappy generous person.


Sumocat said...

In one paragraph, you gave me more info than what I got from that article.