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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Are you naughty, nice? Stingy, generous?

Charity, Conservatives, Helping others, Religion

Christmas is the season of giving. Many charities make their year end pitch during the Christmas season. Whether you respond to their pleas or not, may depend more on your politics and religious beliefs than your wallet.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an interesting piece on this subject last Sunday, Bleeding Heart Tightwads: (Emphasis mine)

This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

We looked at this phenomena during the campaign in Obama doesn't spread his wealth around but wants you to and Democrat's donations key to why they think rich must pay more taxes?  Kristof's column supports what I believe to be true about generosity: Republicans give more than Democrats and people of faith give more than non-religious. The latter seems to be the more important criteria.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.
... 

“When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

This next statement leads me to believe the real litmus test on giving is religion. 

It’s true that religion is the essential reason conservatives give more, and religious liberals are as generous as religious conservatives. Among the stingiest of the stingy are secular conservatives.

According to Google’s figures, if donations to all religious organizations are excluded, liberals give slightly more to charity than conservatives do. But Mr. Brooks says that if measuring by the percentage of income given, conservatives are more generous than liberals even to secular causes.

...

Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent.

Charitable donations are down this year because of the economy. I suspect the decrease is also because of higher spring/summer gasoline prices and higher home heating costs now.  Those increases put strains on the family budget and possibly gobbled up the extra dollars earmarked for donations.

But some people still believe it is more blessed to give than receive, and their generosity is not based on abundance. 

...given the economic pinch these days, charity isn’t on the top of anyone’s agenda. Yet the financial ability to contribute to charity, and the willingness to do so, are strikingly unrelated. Amazingly, the working poor, who have the least resources, somehow manage to be more generous as a percentage of income than the middle class.

God doesn't love us more for giving, nor are we to give just to get. But He does instruct us to give and promises that we cannot out give Him. Luke 6:38 says, "Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over..." In other words, He is not stingy!

 
Please, comment content should relate to the subject of the post. Although I try to respond to many, do not interpret my lack of a response as agreement.

Links: 

 

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Vicki Mckenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Mark Levin, CNS News

 

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