TOPIC: Who REALLY Cares? Conservatives or Liberals; Christians or Atheists?
The Religious Right really does put its money where its mouth is—at least more so than its secular rivals, according to a recent study from Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks. Published in late November, 2006 the controversial findings in Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism have grabbed the attention of political commentators.
"If you asked me, I would have expected to find that religious conservatives are stingy," said Brooks, a committed Catholic and political independent. "That's what academics think. That's what we are told all the time." What he found instead was the Religious Right gives more in "every measurable way," from writing checks to volunteering time to donating blood.
Brooks attributes the difference to four factors— church attendance, two-parent families, Protestant work ethic, and distaste for government social services. But he said church attendance is by far the most telling. "Religious liberals and religious conservatives give at the same rate," he said. "What you find is more religious conservatives than religious liberals." Ninety-one percent of regular church attendees give to charity each year, compared with 66 percent of those who said they do not have a religion. The gap adds up— the faithful give four times more money per year than their secular counterparts. While most of that money is given to churches, religious people also give more to secular charities, such as the Red Cross or their alma mater.
Religious people also donate twice as much blood and are more likely to "behave in compassionate ways towards strangers," Brooks said. For example, they are much more likely to return extra change to a cashier when they are accidentally given too much. Generous giving is part of the religious conservative identity, according to sociologist Tony Campolo. "The Religious Right, by conviction, is convinced that helping the poor is something that should be done individually or by the church," said Campolo. "[They say that] asking the state to do it is wrong." But religious conservatives might not want to pat themselves on the back quite yet. Christian research organization Empty Tomb Inc. said evangelicals gave away 6.7 percent of their income in 1968. By 2004, that figure had dropped to 4.4 percent, but growing attendance and rising incomes have kept many churches from feeling the pinch. At the same time, more money is staying within the church to pay for things like music and technology. Evangelical churches, on average, devote only about 2 percent of their budgets to missions.
The Sope-Bocks: While this is NOT bragging, it is an indictment of those who preach tolerance and liberalism. It is also an indictment of those who spew hateful speech about the "evils" of religion, especially targeting Christians. The fact is -- they are TALKING, while believers are DOING.
Don't believe me? When was the last time you saw Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, NOW or the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) working in a disaster area? When was the last time one of these organizations held a blood drive or food drive? When was the last time a feminist group worked in a homeless shelter or gathered garments for the local clothes closet? When have you ever seen PETA sponsor a fund-raiser that aided the poor?
The fact is -- those organizations are bent towards hate speech, accusatory rhetoric, anger and, worst of all, self-righteous pride. They don't really HELP anyone. And frankly, they NEVER will. It is NOT part of their make-up, their thought processes or their beliefs.
Isn't it time people starting THINKING -- and realizing -- that these groups are NOT helpful, but hurtful, hateful and destructive to true peace and cooperation among humans?!?