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The Real Skinflints: America's Charity Divide
Breakpoint with Chuck Colson ^ | 1/4/2007 | Chuck Colson

Posted on 01/10/2007 11:00:16 PM PST by Mr. Silverback

Are conservatives and Christians becoming too narrow and selfish? Are we hypocritical skinflints, indifferent to the suffering of the needy?

The liberals say so. But is it true? Do conservatives and Christians really love their money more than they do the poor?

A new book by an expert on charity says: absolutely not. The real skinflints, he writes, are secular liberals.

Arthur Brooks, professor at Syracuse University, writes in his new book, titled Who Really Cares, that he grew up in a liberal home and accepted one of the liberal political nostrums: that the political left “is compassionate and charitable toward the less fortunate, but the political right is oblivious to suffering.”

“If you had asked me a few years ago to sum up the character of American conservatives,” he writes, “I would have said they were hard-headed pragmatists who were willing to throw your grandmother out into the snow to preserve some weird ideal of self-reliance.”

But his own research forced him to change his mind. Religious conservatives give more, and do more, for the poor than anyone else. By contrast, liberals, who tend both to be irreligious and to believe that government can and should redistribute income, tend to be far stingier.

Brooks invites us to consider two people: one who goes to church every week and rejects the idea that it’s the government’s job to redistribute income. The second person never attends church and believes the government should reduce income differences. “Knowing only these [two] things,” Brooks writes, “the data tell us that the first person will be roughly twice as likely as the second to give money to charities in a given year, and will give away more than one hundred times as much money per year”—that’s right, one hundred times—and give it to both religious and non-religious causes.

This should be obvious when you think about it, because there are vastly different worldviews at work here. Christians are guided by revealed truth and the wisdom of the past—what’s often called the democracy of the dead. And we recognize original sin as the fundamental state of human nature, and so we are distrustful of big institutions. Moreover, Christians believe that they have a personal duty to help the poor, because the Bible commands it and because we understand that society’s problems are morally rooted and, thus, more likely to need moral solutions. So, we are involved in creating what Edmund Burke called the “little platoons” of society: organizations devoted to feeding the hungry, freeing slaves, and helping those in prison.

By contrast, the secular liberal rejects the idea of original sin. He believes that with the right education and enough money, the lot of humanity can be improved. So liberals believe that, with their superior wisdom, they can create utopia—just give them the power—which is why they believe in big-government solutions to society’s problems, solutions that we now know have done more harm than good.

This is why, the next time you hear someone berating conservative Christians for being skinflints and those “narrow-minded bigots,” use it as a double-edged opportunity: It’s the Christians, tell them, who are giving more than the non-Christians. And then explain why: It’s because we worship a God who tells us that we should “abide in faith, hope, and charity, these three—but the greatest of these is charity.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: breakpoint
Anybody surprised? not me.

There are links to further information at the source document.

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

1 posted on 01/10/2007 11:00:18 PM PST by Mr. Silverback
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To: 05 Mustang GT Rocks; 351 Cleveland; AFPhys; agenda_express; almcbean; ambrose; Amos the Prophet; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

2 posted on 01/10/2007 11:01:54 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Safe sex? Not until they develop a condom for the heart."--Freeper All the Best)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I like Colson so you can had me to your list please.

I forget the statistics, but it shows up here on FR when the liberals say something like "The United States gives less than any developed country to foreign aid...". This refers to the governmental aid. When the PRIVATE aid is taken into account the U.S. is way out in front.


3 posted on 01/10/2007 11:07:56 PM PST by geopyg (Don't wish for peace, pray for Victory.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I must say, I wasn't surprised either. Its rather like the lib Dim dummies repeating the mantra that the wealthy don't pay enough taxes even though the statistics are there for them to see. The "wealthy" in this country pay for 80+% of the government---in direct opposition to Dim diatribe!

I saw this author interviewed on FOX, perhaps by O'Reilly, and he had some very interesting things to say--including the "myth" regarding secular progressives and their supposed "charity".
4 posted on 01/10/2007 11:52:23 PM PST by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.......for without victory there is no survival."--Churchill--that's "Winston")
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To: Mr. Silverback

No, not surprised, and looking at what the libs do give to...it's mainly Communist groups (still) and other groups that try to undermine society and Christian morals. Libs demand an all-out attack on morality because they feel that Christian views are the bane of society, only causing slavery to old ideas and preventing one from living life to the "fullest", which is being interpreted as being allowed to wallow in every type of sin they want without any guilt, retribution, or condemnation. They give their money to support the kind of lifestyle they want to force on everyone else.


5 posted on 01/11/2007 12:06:11 AM PST by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: Mr. Silverback

My father taught me that as a child.
Not sure where he got it or if he reached the conclusion himself. He told me that Americans are generous by nature but that "our side" was generous with our own money and time while the "other side" was generous with everybody else's money and time.


6 posted on 01/11/2007 12:06:30 AM PST by Uriah_lost (We've got enough youth, how about a "fountain of smart")
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To: Shery
not surprised at all....by all accounts the volunteers I meet up with are basic values people...they believe in helping their fellow man.....

I'll go a step further....if you could rank honesty, reliability, common sense, hard work, stamina, humor, and joy, conservative religious people would probably rank at the top .....

I'll go even further......I bet that if they ever studied it, they would find that its conservative religious people that stop and help strangers stuck on a road, or in other dire situations.....liberals talk big but when it comes to helping in a personal way a complete stranger, they couldn't be bothered....except if they can make a good photo opportunity out of it.....

I'll also bet that conservatives are better tippers..........

you see....liberalism is actually an EXCUSE not to do anything....I think these people start out self-indulged and liberalism is their cover....IMO of course...

7 posted on 01/11/2007 12:26:21 AM PST by cherry
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To: Mr. Silverback

If Hollyweird limousine libs are so concerned about the "underprivileged" and the "poor and hungry", then they should be happy to open their multi-million dollar palaces to those unfortunates. Yes, that's right Babs, Susie, and the rest of the gang of bleeding-heart libs, stock your floors with food and other goodies, and open your doors to the people you profess to love. I'm sure that will happen in the near future. (smirk)


8 posted on 01/11/2007 1:53:31 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Mr. Silverback
Secular liberals are extremely generous, just with everyone else's money.
9 posted on 01/11/2007 2:34:22 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: Uriah_lost

Great tag, and great observations!

Just looking around our community, it is conservatives who do things for others, and who give more, much more, for charitable and church causes. I agree with another poster that liberals use government (my) tax money to "cover" their own stinginess. And I've certainly never heard of a conservative trying to donate used underwear to charity, and then trying to CLAIM it on their taxes! Yuck!


10 posted on 01/11/2007 5:13:48 AM PST by alwaysconservative (Calling illegal aliens undocumented workers is like calling drug dealers undocumented pharmacists.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
This is well written as are most of Colson's efforts. He could be a "born again" Russell Kirk in that he is 1,2,3 on message with both Kirk and most conservatives. I particularly like this terse but complete paragraph: "

"...This should be obvious when you think about it, because there are vastly different worldviews at work here. Christians are guided by revealed truth and the wisdom of the past—what’s often called the democracy of the dead. And we recognize original sin as the fundamental state of human nature, and so we are distrustful of big institutions. Moreover, Christians believe that they have a personal duty to help the poor, because the Bible commands it and because we understand that society’s problems are morally rooted and, thus, more likely to need moral solutions. So, we are involved in creating what Edmund Burke called the “little platoons” of society: organizations devoted to feeding the hungry, freeing slaves, and helping those in prison.

We do stand and are responsible to those who have gone before us and those who will follow. The essential Christian and conservative message.

11 posted on 01/11/2007 5:25:25 AM PST by shrinkermd
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To: geopyg
"The United States gives less than any developed country to foreign aid...". This refers to the governmental aid. When the PRIVATE aid is taken into account the U.S. is way out in front.
The point is that "liberals" don't count individual aid. They have contempt for the individual, on principle. Their principle is that the individual is malleable putty in the hands of "society." And by "society" they mean nothing other than government.

If a "liberal" says "Society should feed all children," that is an obvious truism. Society must - and society obviously does, or those children would have starved by now. But the "liberal" doesn't include the parents in "society," or they wouldn't trouble to make the claim in the first place.

"Liberals" systematically use "society" - and "public," BTW - as code words for government. Saying that "America" gives less aid than other countries is of a piece with that - "America" the government may give less than other governments; America the society is generous.

There is also the accounting issue of the use of the US military for humanitarian aid in natural disasters such as the Boxing Day tsunami. The argument can be made that the military would exist anyway, and cost just about as much money, if it were not engaged in a humanitarian relief operation. So in that sense there is no great virtue in using it for that purpose, only condemnation is we did not do so. But the other way to view it is that the military is for disasters, whether man made or natural. From the latter POV all military expenditure is charitable.


12 posted on 01/11/2007 5:35:20 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Mr. Silverback
“If you had asked me a few years ago to sum up the character of American conservatives,” he writes, “I would have said they were hard-headed pragmatists who were willing to throw your grandmother out into the snow to preserve some weird ideal of self-reliance.”

Someone this ignorant and provincial got a job as a professor for a major university? I wish I could say I am shocked.

14 posted on 01/11/2007 5:52:35 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: cherry
I'll also bet that conservatives are better tippers...

In general that may be true, but here in North Carolina there is a class of restaurant-going Christians who are not popular with wait staff. They order the cheapest thing on the menu, they drink water, and they tip with a dollar and a tract, or maybe just a tract. Since I became aware of this image, I've tried to distance myself from it.

15 posted on 01/11/2007 5:59:29 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Are conservatives and Christians becoming too narrow and selfish? Are we hypocritical skinflints, indifferent to the suffering of the needy?

Or are we just over regulated and taxed to the point where we can no longer afford to be as giving as we used to be?

16 posted on 01/11/2007 6:01:24 AM PST by Dead Corpse (Anyone who needs to be persuaded to be free, doesn't deserve to be.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

The book is a good one, and everybody should read it. IT's not a "democrat-bashing" book, it simply analyses a lot of data and presents the results.

I'm about halfway through the book, and it's written well enough to not put you to sleep.


17 posted on 01/11/2007 6:17:12 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Mr. Silverback

One good point the author makes using the data is that when government enters the charity business, it can cut private giving to the same causes by up to about 40%.


Once government is doing something, it discourages people from participating.

The book is great. It notes that eliminating giving to churches, church-going people give MORE MONEY to secular charity than non-church-going people. Also they volunteer more of their own time.

He has a great way of illustrating his points. At one point he notes that the churched conservatives give more blood than secular liberals, and to illustrate how much discusses how our blood supply would be if everybody gave as much as conservatives, or as little as liberals.

It's pretty hard to figure out any good reason why a liberal couldn't give as much blood as a conservative.

The book often discusses adjusting the data for all external factors, so it can give a number that is a comparison of just the factor being discussed. He is great at debunking the idea that republicans give more because they are rich, or only give to "charity" that benefits themselves, or only to churches.

The blood donation comparisons are only one of many examples of how the churched conservatives wipe the floor with secular liberals on all manner of giving.

BTW, churched liberals are almost as good at giving as churched conservatives, and BETTER than secular conservatives (which are still better than secular liberals).

In other words, being conservative does seem to make you give a little more than being a liberal, but being a church-goer is much more likely to indicate giving vs a non-churchgoer, regardless of political philosophy.

I do recommend the book.


18 posted on 01/11/2007 6:25:54 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Once government is doing something, it discourages people from participating.

I have learned the hard way you can't compete against free rent and cheap grace.


19 posted on 01/11/2007 8:24:44 AM PST by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the Truth here Folks.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I was thinking this morning about health, (yes, I live in Kalifornia)and I was wondering, didn't churches used to have hospitals for the poor? Didn't government long time ago make it harder and harder for them to operate to where they aren't around anymore?

Would a return to charity hospitals get rid of this notion that the "uninsured" have to get insurance?


20 posted on 01/11/2007 8:35:23 AM PST by TruthConquers (Delenda est publius schola)
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To: geopyg

You're added!


21 posted on 01/11/2007 9:04:59 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Safe sex? Not until they develop a condom for the heart."--Freeper All the Best)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
From the latter POV all military expenditure is charitable.

Indeed. If a war is just, the warrior is a minister of peace.

22 posted on 01/11/2007 9:09:55 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Safe sex? Not until they develop a condom for the heart."--Freeper All the Best)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
It's pretty hard to figure out any good reason why a liberal couldn't give as much blood as a conservative.

Yeah, it's not as if they can say, "I don't have to give, the government is taking blood from the rich to do it."

23 posted on 01/11/2007 9:13:36 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Safe sex? Not until they develop a condom for the heart."--Freeper All the Best)
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To: TruthConquers
Would a return to charity hospitals get rid of this notion that the "uninsured" have to get insurance?

Hmmmm...interesting idea, to say the least.

24 posted on 01/11/2007 9:14:45 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Safe sex? Not until they develop a condom for the heart."--Freeper All the Best)
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